Loudwire.com 1983 Metal Album Of The Year—-Dio / Holy Diver

Holy Diver

Holy Diver is the debut album by American heavy metal band Dio, released in 1983. Vocalist Ronnie James Dio had just finished his first tenure in Black Sabbath, whose drummer Vinny Appice he took with him to put together his own band. The roster was completed by his former band mate in Rainbow Jimmy Bain on bass and by the young guitarist Vivian Campbell, coming from the NWOBHM band Sweet Savage. The album was acclaimed by the music press and is the most successful of the band.

The Analysis—-

Stand Up And Shout—-One of the premier Metal voices and attitudes of the 1980’s, Dio kicks things off right from the first note with arena ready Metal that still stands the test of time. The ability that Dio had to make himself seem so large is just incredible. The guitars are outstanding….we had those guitar interludes back in those days. Of course the drums are incredible…and the energy permeates your soul still.

Holy Diver—-For me, this has always been the centerpiece to Dio’s career….it showcases both the fine tuning of the band, the incredible voice and the tales of mythical lands that made Dio so legendary. To hear keyboards played so prominently was a first for me as well. The sound of the band….for a debut release is so tight and well rehearsed. I wonder how long Ronnie had sat on the songs that would show up here on the debut. This really is a piece of history.

Gypsy—-Huge power chords blast the opening of this track and that is followed by a bellow from Ronnie that just blasts your headphones. This has a bit of a blues lean to it that grates me a bit…but the power of the band overrides that feeling. This is fantastic 80’s Metal…before it all became pretentious and full of hair. This still sounds incredible.

Caught In The Middle—-Sharp blasts of power guitars introduce the song…Dio enters with a somewhat subdued vocal for him at this point on the record. His range is not phenomenal…but the tone and the timbre’ is so damn pleasant you can’t help but get caught up in the entire attitude of the song. This is understated…but still powerful and full of some good vocals. Tales typical of the Dio catalog never get old.

Don’t Talk To Strangers—-Sedate and filled with a nice melody line that teases you in to thinking you are going to get the perquisite ballad….the song explodes and takes a few twists and turns. I can still see Dio on the stage with his huge arm sweeping movements…making him seem so much larger than life. this is a great memory. I miss the grand voice of the man.

Straight Through The Heart—-Classic drums and the back and forth guitar sway open the song…..power chords galore. Dio enters the fray with another tale of dark mystic visions and Harry Potter novels. The voice is so powerful….rising above all the instruments and becoming the true star of the show. The charisma is just incredible…it never left him either.

Invisible—-Again, classic 80’s guitar filled with atmosphere and a magical feel that only music from this era can emit. Dio sounds like his vocal is put through some type of filter….and there are echoes every where on the track…..then the track kicks in to high gear and we are back to the classic Metal that made this release a masterpiece. Dio led a fantastic band.

Rainbow In The Dark—-Perhaps the most popular song in the Dio playbook, and possessing one of the most recognizable keyboard lines out side of Europe’s The Final Countdown, this track is still all over the radio. What a grand legacy to have….and the video is famous as hell as well. the voice is just incredible of this song…I have never once ever skipped over this song when given the chance to hear it….there are to many memories…and that is what music is supposed to be about….that magical feeling one song can give you.

Shame On The Night—-Returning to a slight blues feel upon the entrance of the song, it quickly gives way to a literal wall of power chords and then ebbs back to the lower tones of the blues…giving a nod to Ronnie’s Elf days. A grand way to close out the release, this song is just as powerful as the opener. There was not a single misstep on this release…this indeed…makes it a classic.

*****out of 5



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