In our first guest review on Push To Fire, we asked guitarist Jason Higson of Sydney sludge-metal band Lomera his thoughts on the re-released, deluxe version of the the classic Dio album, Dream Evil.
I was introduced to the likes of Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, KISS & AC/DC at the tender of age of 5 courtesy of my father & his like-minded brothers. I still listen to these bands to this day, however when I heard the Sex Pistols for the first time aged 13 via a tape slipped to me at the school library, my life changed forever. As D.Boon from the Minutemen said “Punk rock changed our lives”.
I immediately ignored anything that didn’t fall under the ‘Punk’ label for about the next 7 or 8 years. Hard rock, classic rock, heavy metal etc all became stupid & uncool. Bands like Dio & their brethren were to be mocked & ridiculed for their cheesy, ostentatious ramblings.
Fast forward to 2013 & I get handed the deluxe edition of Dio’s Dream Evil. I first heard this album a few years after its initial release in 1987 & to be honest, I hated it. It represented everything I hated musically at the time. Despite being all about punk rock, I had friends who loved & worshipped bands like Dio, Ozzy’s solo stuff & Whitesnake. We would argue the respective ‘merits’ of punk vs metal for hours on end, rarely agreeing – always with something metal, punk or hard rock blasting in the background.
Being a complete & utter Sabbath freak, Dio will always be the dude who sang in Sabbath part II – despite his impressive resume both before & after Sabbath. A tiny man with a huge voice, Ronnie James Dio’s influence in the world of metal & hard rock is undeniable – from stoner rock to thrash you can hear the mans influence, & hey, the dude invented ‘The Horns’ for fucks sake!
Dream Evil to me is without a doubt Dio’s best album (as a band). Listening to this album now with the musical insight that only the years can bring, I can appreciate & acknowledge that this is a pretty cool album – something I would never have acknowledged growing up. Songs like ‘Sunset Superman’ & ‘Naked in the Rain‘ are great, stomping, riff fueled 80’s rock/metal complete with cheesy keyboards, ridiculous guitar solos & anthemic choruses (Long Live Rock N Roll anyone?) with Ronnie’s incredibly powerful, soaring vocal mastery.
On CD 2 , tracks 3 to 13 are all live – recorded at the 2010 Monsters of Rock Festival at Donnington. With Dio-era Sabbath classics like ‘Neon Knights’ & ‘Heaven & Hell‘ along with Dio & Rainbow classics like ‘Holy Diver‘ & ‘Man on the Silver Mountain‘ on offer, it is a far more interesting proposition. I prefer the rawness of the live recordings over the sterile 80’s production of the studio disc.
All in all, this is obviously one for the die-hard Dio fans. I doubt the point of these releases is to win over new fans, it’s more about celebrating the life & work of Ronnie James Dio & ensuring his legacy lives on.
A massive thank you to Jason for taking the time to guest review this release. You can check out Lomera via their site: http://www.facebook.com/LomeraBand