This Deluxe Edition is the fourth in the series of Dio reissues from Universal. I was very impressed with last year’s releases (which you can read on TINAS here). “Dream Evil” doesn’t disappoint either.
There are two main things to consider with expanded remasters: sound quality and bonus content. This package succeeds with the former. As for the latter… that depends, but we’ll come to that later.
Vivian Campbell departed Dio in 1986 to join Whitesnake and eventually Def Leppard. His replacement was ex-Rough Cutt guitarist Craig Goldy who joins his old band’s keyboardist Claude Schnell. The difference in style between the two guitarists is evident immediately in ‘Night People’ where Goldy makes his mark with not one but two shredding solos in contrast to Campbell’s more old-school metal playing.
Also evident from this first track is the enhanced audio. The improvement in sound quality is most apparent when Schnell’s synth is present. There is more clarity and better instrument separation than on old CD issues. The intros to ‘Sunset Superman’ and the middle section of the epic ‘All the Fools Sailed Away’ sound more bombastic than ever. Jimmy Bain’s bass too has more definition and punch.
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned yet if the music’s any good. There’s a reason for that. This is one of Dio’s best albums and a classic of 80s metal. No more need be said other than to acknowledge the majesty of ‘All the Fools Sailed Away’ which is on a par with anything Ronnie recorded with any band.
The bonus disc leads with ‘Hide in the Rainbow’ which was written for the movie Iron Eagle and was previously only available on the soundtrack album and on 1986’s ‘The Dio E.P.’ It was the last track Campbell recorded before packing his bags for cock rock megastardom. The single edit of ‘I Could Have Been A Dreamer’ is also included.
The remainder of the disc is devoted to Dio’s set at Monsters of Rock in 1987 where the band rip through a selection of songs from Dio, Rainbow and Black Sabbath. Frustratingly some classics are abridged, giving the impression it must have been incredible to be witnessing this show in a muddy Midlands field but don’t expect these to be definitive versions of ‘Holy Diver’, ‘Heaven and Hell’ or ‘Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll’.
The live material is already available (along with the 1983 festival appearance) on 2010’s “Dio at Donington UK” double CD. If you don’t already have a document of this piece of rock history then this is a nice extra. If you do then certainly for the sound quality of the studio cuts it’s worth upgrading your old CDs. If you don’t have “Dream Evil” at all then (a) what have you been doing? and (b) what are you waiting for?