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A Sign of Recovery - 85%

ballcrushingmetal, April 21st, 2017

Dio took the world by surprise with this album, and also took the band back to life after the decadent predecessor. In general terms, the album is still following the basic blueprint from previous works, but this time, Dio was more focused on providing it with a melodic vibe rather than on pretending to make aggressive stuff. The riffs from their new guitarist are still harsh and heavy as hell, and the drumming work done by Appice came back to life, but the choruses are not as aggressive as they used to be. Rather, they are more catchy and melodic, which results hard to believe considering how powerful and emphatic was his voice.

Despite the fact that the Campbell's departure from the band was like a strong punch in the face for the project, Dio moved quickly and hired the young talented guitarist Craig Goldy. He had a somehow similar guitar playing style, though Campbell was more fluent (let's say, somewhere around all those guitarists who were part of Shrapnel Records). Nevertheless, Goldy was efficient with his instrument and able to play solos at an acceptable speed, and he also played tremendously harsh riffs in the Campbell's vein. Of course, there are many examples throughout the album. And for his luck, he was not disturbed by the excessive keyboards used in a commercial aim for the previous release, nor even limited to their narrow-minded songwriting work, as Campbell was in "Sacred Heart".

Appice took his drumming back to the levels of intensity and dynamism that the fanatics of the band were used to, being "Over Love" his most significant moment. That said, the album features an excellent set of songs. "Night People" is the kind of song that would be recurred in the next following releases (for instance, "Better in the Dark") and is fast and efficient. The title-song runs slower and is one of the most melodic moments in Dio's vocal performance. Its riffs are memorable, and the song itself is such an excellent composition. However, no one around would expect from Dio such a frenetic speed metal track in the levels of "Over Love". Even though the ZZ Top-inspired intro riff was not precisely the most appropriate way to begin such an insane track, the guitar playing work afterward is quite efficient. The solo is quite crazy, and it would make you move the tapes/CD backward like twenty times so that you can enjoy it over and over. Other interesting highlights include cuts like "Sunset Superman" and "I Could Have Been a Dreamer". Both songs are part of the melodic orientation of the band and are average Dio, except for the melodic passages of course.

Although it is not an essential album, it is for sure a symbol of hope for a project that was deadly injured. Fortunately, Dio did not apart from this path, and the next following albums would be as good as this one (except for "Angry Machines", which is the most forgettable release in their catalog). However, the band will make some changes in their musical foundation going forward. The next album will show a more doomish sound from which the drumming style of Appice would never move, especially after the release of the Black Sabbath album "Dehumanizer". Having said the above, what you should do at this point is enjoy the album and let the music run wild.