[Review] Dio: Dream Evil (1987)

The last album with the core group (may they rest in peace).

Kronomyth 5.0: Goldielicks and the threadbare.

Dream Evil is the last in line of the classic Dio albums to feature the rhythm section of Jimmy Bain and Vinny Appice. At this point, Dio had fully incorporated two members of Rough Cutt into its ranks: Claude Schnell (who had been something of a second-class citizen since Dio’s second album) and Craig Goldie/Goldy. Despite the lineup changes, the Dio formula was too firmly established at this point to allow for much tinkering. Schnell’s keyboards are given a more prominent role on a few tracks, Goldie is (of course) given gratuitous space to solo, Vinny Appice kicks in some interesting and oddly tribal beats, but otherwise it’s the usual mix of demons, duality and rainbows in the dark.

As clearly talented as Ronnie James Dio and the band are, I began to grow a little weary with the formula around Sacred Heart. From that point onward, Dio songs became interchangeable. Now, maybe you find Dio’s consistency comfortable, even reassuring, and that’s fine. But I find Dream Evil to be most interesting when it challenges my expectations. All the Fools Sailed Away, for example, is my favorite song on the album because it sounds least like the songs around it. It’s infused with melody, has an awesome keyboard solo in it, and is so epic that it could almost be considered prog (which, as you should know by now, is my preferred province of pleasure).

If pressed for more highlights, I would point you to Night People, Sunset Superman and Overlove. They rock, which has been the band’s mission statement from the beginning. The rest of the album is otherwise forgettable in view of what came before. Somebody at the label must have thought I Could Have Been a Dreamer could have been a hit single. They were wrong. Faces in the Window and Naked in the Rain are Dio done by the numbers. Dream Evil is at least menacing, When a Woman Cries switches up the formula to interesting effect, but I wouldn’t champion either song over Dio’s career.

I didn’t care that much for Dio’s next album, Lock Up the Wolves, either. The first two albums are heavy metal classics. Based on those two purchases, I’ll bet a lot of people bought into Sacred Heart too. After that, if you continue to find yourself buying Dio albums, you’re probably a fan—and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just bear in mind that the people telling you Dream Evil is awesome are probably fans too.

Original elpee version

A1. Night People (4:06)
A2. Dream Evil (Ronnie James Dio/Craig Goldie) (4:26)
A3. Sunset Superman (5:45)
A4. All the Fools Sailed Away (Ronnie James Dio/Craig Goldie) (7:10)
B1. Naked in the Rain (Ronnie James Dio) (5:09)
B2. Overlove (Ronnie James Dio/Craig Goldie/Vinny Appice) (3:26)
B3. I Could Have Been a Dreamer (Ronnie James Dio/Craig Goldie) (4:42)
B4. Faces in the Window (3:53)
B5. When a Woman Cries (4:43)

Songs written by Ronnie James Dio/Jimmy Bain/Vinny Appice/Craig Goldie/Claude Schnell unless noted.

The Players

Ronnie James Dio (vocals), Vinny Appice (drums), Jimmy Bain (bass), Craig Goldie (guitars), Claude Schnell (keyboards) with Mitchell Singing Boys (chorus on A4). Produced by Ronnie James Dio; engineered by Angelo Arcuri.

The Pictures

Illustration by Steve Huston. Original concept by Wendy Dio. Art direction/design by Janet Levinson. Hand lettering by Margo Chase. Photography by Gene Kirkland.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and compact disc on July 7, 1987 in the US (Warner Bros., 25612-1/4/2), the UK (Vertigo, VERH/VERHC-46), Greece (Vertigo, 832 530-1), and Mexico (Vertigo, LPR-23055) and on September 5, 1987 in Japan (Vertigo, 25PP-234/25PT-271/32PD-320) with innersleeve. Reached #8 on the UK charts and #43 on the US charts.

  1. Re-issued on compact disc in 19996 in Japan (Vertigo, PHCR-4129).
  2. Re-released on remastered compact disc in 2007 in Japan (Universal, UICY-93393).
  3. Re-released on 180g vinyl elpee in 2016 in the US (Warner Bros.).
  4. Re-packaged with Holy Diver, The Last in Line, Sacred Heart and Lock Up the Wolves on 5CD set in 2017 in Europe (Spectrum, 00600753785164).
Posted in Dio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *