Review: Dio: Dreamers Never Die Honors Heavy Metal’s Most-Beloved Singer
There’s really no figure in the heavy metal scene as beloved as the late Ronnie James Dio. Whether fronting Black Sabbath or Richie Blackmore‘s Rainbow, or captivating audiences as the frontman of his own band, Dio, the small-statured singer was known as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the genre. New documentary, Dio: Dreamers Never Die, tells the detailed story of Dio’s career as a singer and heavy metal god while reminding viewers just how special he really was.
One thing that the film establishes early is that Dio was singing for a long time before he ever entered the awareness of the metal world at large. Inspired by the heavy rock of Deep Purple, Dreamers Never Die documents how the singer went from his first recordings in the 1950s to the top of the genre to his death from cancer in 2010. As the first documentary for the singer authorized by his estate, Dreamers Never Die is very much a movie that centers Dio. The film moves quickly through the early years to Rainbow and beyond, with a varied cast of characters offering their commentary on Dio’s life, appearance and personality while recalling memories. Wendy Dio (who also executive produced the film), Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, Jack Black, Lita Ford, Sebastian Bach, Eddie Trunk and Dan Lilker all offer their own loving memories and feelings.
Because of recorded interviews and unseen footage, Dio himself is able to help guide the listener through the film. It particularly works at times like the point when he was fired from Rainbow—the viewer hears Dio himself explain that he didn’t want to sing love songs and songs about relationships. He wanted to sing about wizards and dragons because that’s what he loved to do.
You know the rest of the Dio story, and if you don’t, you will. Dreamers Never Die is a complete examination of Ronnie James Dio’s life but its greatest victory is in showing who Dio was as a person. Each interviewee speaks with such reverence that it’s impossible not to smile when you watch. It reveals that Dio was not a perfect person, but he was a larger-than-life figure who truly loved music and the life he lived. Dio: Dreamers Never Die is a welcome documentary that honors one of heavy metal’s most-enduring icons.