We all miss Ronnie James Dio, his voice carried the torch of heavy metal for so many years in bands Dio, Black Sabbath, and Rainbow, but none perhaps miss him more than his former guitarist Craig Goldy, who's been trying to recapture the magic he had with his former employer for years with various bands, but it's with this latest supergroup for Frontiers Records, Dream Child, that he's come the closest to that 'Dio' sound on their debut album Until Death Do We Meet Again. Comprised of Goldy, bassist Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake), drummer Simon Wright (AC/DC, Dio), guitarist/keyboardist Wayne Findlay (MSG) and vocalist Diego Valdez (Helker), Dream Child certainly have the pedigree, so how is the music you ask?
At first, I was a little taken aback by how close things sound here to Holy Diver and Last in Line era Dio. It was a little unsettling at first, and just TOO close to home, considering the wound of Dio's passing still hasn't quite healed after all these years. However, after a few plays Until Death Do We Meet Again actually revealed some really great heavy metal songs with some terrific performances. Valdez is a top notch singer, and if you've listened to his work with Helker you already know that he sings very similarly to Ronnie anyway, so he's a perfect fit here. His commanding tones just shoot to the heavens on the piledriving anthem "You Can't Take Me Down" and the rip-snorting opener "Under the Wire", each one also fueled by chunky riffs & solos from Goldy, and rock solid rhythms. "Games of Shadows" is an epic sounding headbanger with a great riff from Goldy that is perfectly complemented by Findlays's symphonic keys, while "Playing With Fire" contains a great groove to go along with some serious guitar & keyboard firepower, Valdez of course also joining the fray with a superhuman vocal performance. From start to finish, most of these songs are also ultra catchy, the choruses memorable and the riffs instantly sticking in your head, a formula that is mandatory for ultimate staying power. "Light of the Dark" sees the band getting somewhat progressive, Findlay's dramatic keyboard tones lending an almost Rainbow Rising feel to this epic sounding track, and "Midnight Song" just kicks major ass thanks to some squealing, screaming guitar work from Goldy. The title cut is another lengthy, almost prog-metal styled barnburner with an adventurous arrangement that again brings to mind vintage Rainbow, and images of Uriah Heep pop up on the majestic "Washed Upon the Shore". The near 9-minute closer "One Step Beyond the Grave" once more brings plenty of proggy yet heavy elements to the game, keyboards and guitar colliding, allowing for the vocals to soar in a big way, especially on the engaging chorus.
If I have any criticism of Until Death Do We Meet Again, it's that this is a very long album, as with 12 tracks and most falling into the 5-9 minute range, it's a lot to take in at well over 60 minutes of total music. Trimming perhaps two songs might have made this the perfect length, however, it's all top notch stuff, and obviously the band are just bursting with creativity, so all is obviously forgiven in that aspect. Let's hope that Dream Child are not just a one-shot and done project, as this is some seriously good heavy metal music that stands up high on its own as well as being a fantastic tribute to one Ronnie James Dio. Check it out.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
01 Under The Wire 5:43
02 You Can't Take Me Down 7:21
03 Games Of Shadows 5:59
04 It Is What It Is 4:25
05 Playing With Fire 4:22
06 Light Of The Dark 5:05
07 Midnight Song 4:25
08 Until Death Do We Meet Again 7:49
09 Washed Upon The Shore 6:43
10 In A World So Cold 4:28
11 Weird World 5:45
12 One Step Beyond The Grave 8:53