Album Review: DREAM CHILD – Until Death Do We Meet Again

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Dream Child – Until Death Do We Meet Again

Label: Frontiers Music srl

Release Date: September 14, 2018

Longtime Dio guitarist and collaborator Craig Goldy has at long last channeled his pain, energy, and inspirations into a project that pays respectful homage to his late friend in a fitting manner–the creation of fantastic new music, that resonates with the memory of Ronnie James Dio. Ronnie gave Goldy the nickname Dream Child during the sessions for their first album together 30 years ago, 1987’s Dream Evil.

Now three decades later, the former Rough Cutt/Giuffria guitarist has drawn together a band and an album of songs that recall metal’s heady past while also providing something fresh and relevant. Goldy reached out to fellow Dio alums; drummer Simon Wright (AC/DC, Operation Mindcrime) and bassist Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot), as well as guitarist/keyboardist Wayne Findlay (Michael Schenker) to aid him in his quest. The line-up is rounded out by Argentinian vocalist Diego Valdez (Helker/Iron Mask) who certainly taps into that Dio vibe without delving into mimicry.

From the opening track, “Under the Wire” it’s clear Goldy has drawn from his experiences with his beloved mentor. After a piano intro that recalls the old Halloween movies, Craig cranks up a monster riff that takes you back to that classic era of metal. Diego’s vocals are equally powerful and dramatic. Findlay adds a perfect mix of keyboard elements to add depth, while Sarzo and Wright set a propulsive foundation. This is followed by “You Can’t Take Me Down” which slows the tempo, but keeps it heavy with groove and swagger. There is an old school Whitesnake nod here.

“Games of Shadows” owes as much to classic Led Zeppelin and Whitesnake as it does to Dio, though it also feels like a companion piece to “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”. The song has a bombastic feel to it. Meanwhile, a spiraling guitar riff sets the tempo for the winding “It Is What It Is” while “Playing with Fire” has that iconic Dio strut to it.

“Light of the Dark” harks back to earlier bands such as Uriah Heap and Deep Purple. The latter stands out on the raucous and bluesy rocker, “Midnight Song”.

The band plants back to back epic pieces together with the ominous yet poignant title opus, and the monolithic and progressive beast that is “Washed Upon the Shore”. Findlay steps out of the shadows for the latter track, with numerous cinematic keyboard textures.The album closes out with the mammoth and lumbering, “One Step Beyond the Grave” which builds to a big melodic and hooky chorus.

Track by track, Until Death Do We Meet Again is almost a Dio blueprint with crunchy and muscular guitars along side soaring vocals and grand imagery. However, Dream Child’s debut album is more than just a modern tribute to its primary inspiration. There are many other influences at play throughout the album’s 12 tracks. Goldy’s fretwork and Valdez’s throaty and nuanced vocals stand out as the shining stars on an album packed with talent. Valdez hits all the right notes in revitalizing the memory of a heavy metal hero, while Goldy sounds as spirited and vigorous as he did in the 80s. Fans of 70’s and 80’s hard rock and metal, and Dio fans in particular should thoroughly enjoy Until Death Do We Meet Again. There will of course be naysayers, but Dream Child has the résumé and musical credentials to defy the elitists. Here’s hoping this is not a one-off project, and that more will follow.

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