DIO — Dream Evil

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DIO - Dream Evil cover
3.65 | 53 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1987

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Night People (4:08)
2. Dream Evil (4:28)
3. Sunset Superman (5:47)
4. All the Fools Sailed Away (7:12)
5. Naked in the Rain (5:11)
6. Overlove (3:49)
7. I Could Have Been a Dreamer (4:45)
8. Faces in the Window (3:52)
9. When a Woman Cries (4:42)

Total Time: 44:00


- Ronnie James Dio / vocals
- Craig Goldy / guitars
- Jimmy Bain / bass
- Claude Schnell / keyboards
- Vinny Appice / drums

About this release

Release date: July 21st, 1987
Label: Warner Bros. Records

Thanks to Time Signature, Pekka, diamondblack for the updates

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Dio’s fourth album Dream Evil is the last studio album to feature Claude Schnell and the first to feature gutiarist Craig Goldy (previously of Rough Cutt, but not at the same time as Claude.) Craig ably and deftly handles guitar duties and although his style is slightly different to previous guitarist Vivian Campbell, fits into the overall Dio sound perfectly.

Dream Evil is a bit of an interesting one, in that some fans say it isn’t as good as the first three (or two in some cases) albums and some say that it is great and the last good Dio album. Personally I find Dream Evil to be everything I want in a Dio album, I think it is strong and well written, I like the general style and the majority of the songs are up there with the best Dio has to offer.

I will admit that there are one or two songs that seem a tad weak or generic when listening to the album from beginning to end, but which are fine in isolation. Still, the album contains tracks like ‘Sunset Superman,’ ‘Dream Evil,’ and ‘All The Fools Sailed Away,’ that no right minded Dio fan could ignore, some of the best material the band put out and essential for any best of compilation.

The only real problem I can find with Dream Evil is that the production (largely because of the keyboard sound) has dated somewhat, which may be a problem for some fans who only like Dio’s harder and heavier material… but the band slowly introduced keyboards more and more over the previous three albums and it just feels like the logical progression here.

Another thing that needs pointing out is that Dream Evil isn’t some weird departure; with the exception of the scope of keyboard usage, and the introduction of an almost-power-ballad, Dream Evil is stylistically bang on the trademark Dio formula, riffy fast songs mixed with mid paced melodic numbers, soaked in Dio’s great voice and guitar solos all over.

Guitar solos have always played a big part of Dio’s sound and even with a new guitarist on board, Dream Evil does not disappoint in this department. And while guitarist Vivian Campbell was gone, at least spokes-daemon “Murray” returned for the album’s front cover, shame he never took off in quite the same way as Vic Rattlehead, Snaggletooth or Eddie.

To summarise; as an album, Dream Evil is worth a place in your collection, it is up there with the best Dio albums, if just shy of being able to be called a contender for best Dio album. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to get into Dio and who has already bought and enjoyed Holy Diver.
Time Signature
I could have been a screamer...

Genre: traditional heavy metal

"Dream Evil" by Dio is a mostly solid heavy metal album in the good ole traditional heavy metal style, containing mostly upbeat hard rocking tracks fronted by Ronnie James Dio's fantastic voice.

While I think that "Dream Evil" is a very good album, it's not specifically original or outstanding or groundbreaking in any way. The music contains a lot of klichés from hard rock and heavy metal, and a lot of the riffage can - in style - be traced back to Ronnie James Dio's days in Rainbow.

Now, is this a problem?


"Dream Evil" is traditional heavy metal the way traditional heavy metal is supposed to be. And that is one of the things I really like this album for. No diggiddy, just rock 'n' roll (well, I must admit that I think that there are too many commercial moments in "I Could Have Been A Dreamer", which, for some reason, reminds me of 80s Eurovision music).

This albul should appeal to fans of traditional 80s heavy metal, and also fans of early Rainbow. I think that those who prefer hard rock to all out metal would like this album, too.
The fourth installment of Dio's solo series, "Dream Evil", marked the first appearance by ex-guitarist of Giuffria and long-time friend of Ronnie, Craig Goldy, replacing Vivian Campbell who decided to join Whitesnake upon the firing of John Sykes. This is also the last album to feature drummer Vinny Appice before his return in 1993. The musical style on this album is pure traditional heavy metal, a plain extension to his earlier works, but Goldy's exceptional guitar delivery is something interesting to watch and listen here, beside the mighty vocal of Dio himself.

The album started off with the uptempo and catchy "Night People", followed with the title track which reminiscent of his classic structure, "Man On The Silver Mountain". "Sunset Superman" displayed a brilliant keyboard by Schnell, thunderous riffs, but unfortunately got sloppy on the chorus. The peak of the album erupted with the epic, "All The Fools Sailed Away". This 7-minutes deep and dark arrangement offered a mesmerizing riffs and a deadly keyboard/guitar combo. "Overlove" shown a bluesy-Black-Sabbath approach and "Naked In The Rain" is another good mid-tempo number. "I Could Have Been A Dreamer" is a commercial power ballad which maybe despised by some but I love this song, it's just simple and beautiful.

"Dream Evil" is one of my most favorite Dio albums of all time, it has a lot of great songs, killer guitars, impressive cover art, good production, and as always, a majestic, heavy, and strong voice. The weakness of this album is probably a predictable pattern and lack of variety in song structure, but if you don't have a big issue with that, this is a wonderful album not to miss.

Members reviews

Not quite a “dream album”, but a very good album about dreams!

After the almost complete disaster that was Sacred Heart, Dio regained their strengths for this follow up. While the music is still a bit formulaic in nature, the band seems to have received a new boost of energy and they deliver the most inspired set of songs since Holy Diver. Overall, the sound of Dream Evil is darker and slightly less commercial than previous albums.

Guitarist Vivian Campbell who played on Dio’s first three albums was here replaced with Craig Goldy but otherwise the line-up remained the same with Jimmy Bain, Vinny Appice and Claude Schnell on bass, drums and keyboards respectively. Goldy proved to be a good choice and maybe it was his presence that rejuvenated the band or maybe it was just the fact that they took more time to prepare this album compared to previous albums? Even the cover art is inspired this time depicting a sleeping child (‘dream child’?) surrounded by all kinds of creepy objects and creatures, supposedly the contents of the child’s evil dreams (‘the dark that you find in the back of your mind’). Personally, I like this picture better than the iconic Holy Diver cover and it has a connection to the contents as well.

The album opens with another up tempo Stand Up And Shout-like song in Night People that sets the scene very well for the rest of the album. This is followed by the melodic title track about ‘evil’ dreams that is so well depicted on the cover. I think that this album is at least partly conceptual, though not all songs fit into the concept of dreams in any obvious way. Sunset Superman does however seem to be somewhat thematically connected considering that its opening line is “The night has a thousand eyes, but he moves in only places where the eyes can never be”. While otherwise a good song, the chorus of Sunset Superman is really tedious and repetitive. I have always felt that this song would deserve a better chorus.

All The Fools Sailed Away is the album’s highlight for me and one of my all time Dio favourites. This rather adventurous song runs for over seven minutes which is rather long by Dio standards and contains a quite brilliant middle section with a short keyboard solo and great guitar work. The opening is particularly captivating when Ronnie sings “There's perfect harmony in the rising and the falling of the sea, and as we sail along I never fail to be astounded by the things we'll do for promises… and a song” followed by the main riff of the song. Even this song might be made to fit into the concept of dreams. Consider in particular the following passage “We bring you fantasy, we bring you pain. It's your one great chance for a miracle. Or we will disappear, never to be seen again”. What is it that brings fantasy and pain and then disappears never to be seen again if not our dreams? The chorus itself could be interpreted as “sailing off” into the land of dreams, which is, after all, something that all of us “fools” do every night!

I will not attempt interpretations of all the songs, but even Naked In The Rain has a line about dreams in “Take aim and blow all the dreams away”. Otherwise, it could perhaps be interpreted as an existential song about mankind’s desolate situation in this world. Overlove pretty much explains itself and is the weakest song of the album, in my opinion. Again the chorus is rather tedious and repetitive.

I Could Have Been A Dreamer is about the type of dreams that we have when we are awake and this song works quite well as a kind of melodic ballad. Faces In The Window returns to the main lyrical theme and could again be taken to refer to something from the cover picture, namely the face of the devil in the window above the bed (which is, of course, the figure that is also depicted on the covers of Holy Diver and The Last In Line). This song also contains the phrases “Sleep comes slowly” and “Creations of the mind” that obviously connects it thematically to the first couple of songs.

It doesn’t really matter whether this album was intended as a (semi-)conceptual album or not because it is up to the listener to make his own interpretation and I am quite sure that Ronnie would agree with me on that. To these ears this album contains some of Ronnie James Dio’s most intelligent lyrics (despite some slightly cheesy passages that I have mostly ignored).

As you probably have guessed by now, I like this album a lot more than the previous two and I even think it is up to par with Holy Diver! Admitedly, there are a couple of weak moments too but they are mostly well disguised behind the stronger moments.

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