After playing a major role in five positively classic heavy metal albums of the late '70s and early '80s (three with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow and two with Black Sabbath), it seemed that singer Ronnie James Dio could truly do no wrong. So it wasn't all that surprising -- impressive, but not surprising -- when he struck gold yet again when launching his solo vehicle, Dio, via 1983's terrific Holy Diver album. Much like those two, hallowed Sabbath LPs, Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules, Holy Diver opened at full metallic throttle with the frenetic "Stand Up and Shout," before settling into a dark, deliberate, and hypnotic groove for the timelessly epic title track -- a worthy successor to glorious triumphs past like Rainbow's "Stargazer" and the Sabs' "Sign of the Southern Cross." But subsequent metal anthems like "Straight Through the Heart," "Invisible," and the lycanthrope lullaby "Shame on the Night" were no less inspired; and by injecting uncommonly catchy melodies into the heavy rock riffery still dominating more accessible numbers such as "Gypsy," "Caught in the Middle," and hit single "Rainbow in the Dark" (where the singer himself played rather spotty keyboards), Dio proved himself perfectly capable of competing with the increasingly commercial hard rock fashions soon to come. Although most fans would agree that Dio would arguably never again replicate the simply sublime symbiosis of beauty and brawn achieved by the all-time standout "Don't Talk to Strangers." And, to be fair, aside from Ronnie's unquestionably stellar songwriting, Holy Diver's stunning quality and consistency owed much to his carefully chosen bandmates, including powerhouse drummer (and fellow Sabbath survivor) Vinny Appice, veteran bassist Jimmy Bain, and a phenomenal find in young Irish guitarist Vivian Campbell, whose tastefully pyrotechnic leads helped make this the definitive Dio lineup. So, too, is Holy Diver still the undisputed highlight of Dio's career, and, indeed, one of the finest pure heavy metal albums of the 1980s.
|Label:||Warner Bros / Wea|
Performance CreditsDio Primary Artist
Vinny Appice Drums
Jimmy Bain Bass,Keyboards
Vivian Campbell Guitar
Ronnie James Dio Keyboards,Vocals
Technical CreditsAngelo Arcuri Engineer
Ronnie James Dio Producer
Wendy Dio Artwork
Ray Leonard Engineer
Simon Levy Art Direction
Jeri McManus Art Direction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Holy Diver based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Dude, i thought this was going to be nothing but crap, until my big brother showed me who dio really is... now, i am insanely in love with his music... now, may you r.i.p. ronny james dio!! :):)
This classic album kicks off with a deft guitar-riff from the very talented Vivian Campbell, and despite a couple of fillers it has aged with dignity. Ronnie James Dio´s singing sounds like this is the band he always wanted to put together, but that doesn´t mean it´s comparable to classics like Rainbow´s "Rising" or Black Sabbath´s "Heaven and hell". The song-writing on "Holy diver" is quite simply not as good as it could be. Still, it´s a really great effort and the band sounds like they´re having a good time, especially Campbell who´s playing is very tight throughout the album. The title-track and the epic "Don´t talk to strangers" are the real highlights.
Very wonderfull tracks: "Stand Up And Shout" is very fast track and Dio signs clearly with his heart. "Holy Diver" is an all-time classic. "Gypsy" isn't so good but still I listen it now and then. "Don't Talk to Stranger" and "Rainbow in the Dark" provides the best Dio vocals ever. "Invisible" is good for its heavy heavy guitars. "Caught in a middle" is a relaxing song, not so heavy.