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Vivian Campbell Sailed Away. - 97%

hells_unicorn, February 6th, 2007

Dio’s career in the 80s after his brief though brilliant stint with Black Sabbath was hailed at the time as the continuation of the greatness that was achieved then. However, amongst Dio fans there is a pseudo-elitist bunch that constantly rips on the post-Vivian Campbell era as being sleep worthy. Newsflash, Vivian Campbell’s entire career both before and after Dio was and is sleep worthy. When asked about his experiences with Ronnie he would constantly whine that he was under pressure to do something extravagant. When one combines this with his extremely non-existent stage presence and lack of showmanship, it becomes further clear that in addition to only being as good as what Ronnie could force out of him, that he lacked the soul of a metal musician.

By stark contrast, Craig Goldie is everything that a metal guitarist should be: a technician, an animated stage presence, and above all someone who loves the art enough not to complain about being pushed to improve himself. When you listen to the solos and the riffs on here, you hear all of this, along with a good sense of musicality shown in the idiomatic harmonies that are incorporated into what are otherwise great shred solos. In more recent times, while Vivian sees fit to hide behind the superior lead playing ability of Phil Collin in Def Leppard, Craig would help compose a brilliant trilogy of albums to bring Dio into the 21st century.

For those of us with musically inclined ears instead of unquestioning devotion to the past, this is Dio’s high point in his career in the 80s. “All the Fools Sailed Away” is a grand epic containing some of the most complex set of musical sections and transitions ever conceived by the evil little elf, not to mention among the most poetically complex lyrics he’s ever penned. Claude Schnell shows his lead playing capabilities on here with a brilliant exchange with Craig, who pretty much owns this entire song when Ronnie isn’t singing.

The song accompanying on this single “Overlove” is another beast all together. The intro sounds like a more up tempo and complex version of a late 50s early 60s blues/rock riff, although when the distortion kicks in it sound like an extremely fast version of “Man on the Silver Mountain” with some Shakespearean lyrics thrown into the mix. Vinnie Appice also makes one hell of a racket on this one, although his finest drum work would be found on other songs that would appear on the same album as this one.

To all fans of Dio, if you are of the older generation of fans and already own this, you will agree with me that there is nothing like experiencing Dio on vinyl. In addition to this rare little beauty, I also possess Holy Diver on vinyl, in addition to my CD copy. For those of you who have not had the experience of hearing this single, its on the Dream Evil LP, so just pick that up and enjoy 9 excellent songs from a guitar player that could teach Vivian Campbell a thing or two about rocking out.