DIO — Holy Diver (review)

DIO — Holy Diver album cover Album · 1983 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Ronnie James Dio declares independence with gusto on his first solo outing HOLY DIVER. To be accurate this was the band effort that he created and directed that utilized his last name. The leading track “Stand Up And Shout” is a ferocious and enthusiastic tribute to this independence after being a subordinate talent to Ritchie Blackmore in Rainbow and Tony Iommi in Black Sabbath. Well, I should say regaining his independence since he had been a founder of many bands since the 50s including The Vegas Kings aka Ronnie & The Redcaps and then Ronnie & The Rumblers as well as his 70s band Elf. This band effort includes some formidable talent in the metal world in 1983. Vivian Campbell was an up and coming guitarist who matched the intensity (but not technical prowess) of the talent of Randy Rhoads. The drum abusing beast known as Vinny Appice was snagged away from Sabbath after RJ DIO left and seems more on fire than anything he ever played with Sabbath or Rick Derringer. Also on board was Jimmy Bain on bass who RJ DIO played with in Rainbow.

This is one of those magical albums for me. This combination of musicians at this time in musical history all managed to channel some strange transitional energies that made a fantastic album that incorporated the fantastical oriented energy of early Rainbow combined with the dark doomy magic of Sabbath and then included the youthful up-and-coming fury of the evolving genre of metal in the early 80s via the melodic power playing of Vivian Campbell. The recipe is a complete success in my book. I find this album to be the pinnacle in Ronnie James Dio's lengthy career where all the different eras that he represented collaborated perfectly to create this highly melodic, mystical and energetic traditional metal masterpiece. After this album DIO as a band would start the slow descent into losing what this album started but for a brief moment in musical history all the stars aligned for Ronnie James DIO in his nascent leadership of his new band and the result is an album that I have loved from first listen to the present.

Listening to this so again so many years later I can understand if it may sound outdated to newcomers simply because this album was so influential. It has a black metal “feel” to it without musically sounding like that subgenre. The title track is one of the first examples of a substantial ambient intro for any metal band that I can think of. That intro still gives me chills and creates a “evil” feel to it before the actually metal begins. Yes, this could be considered “proto” in some ways but for me this album still holds up quite well even if the ideas have been improved upon and surpassed. DIO is Latin for God and at this moment in metal history he was just that. CLASSIC!!!!
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more than 2 years ago
I like "Killing the Dragon".
Pekka wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Not a lot of love out there for Killing the Dragon, that's probably my favourite after the first two.
Colt wrote:
more than 2 years ago
One of the "voices" of metal RIP Ronnie
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
He's actually one of those classic artists I haven't given much time to checking out (I had a similar situation with Judas Priest until very recently). I have heard this one once but other than this I'm more familiar with his time in Black Sabbath and the Heaven & Hell album.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Master of moon, huh? I gave up after Lock Up The Wolves
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Dio's first two albums and his last album 'Master of the Moon' are his best in my opinion.
666sharon666 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Yeah this is a great album. I really like The Last in Line too, but the rest I've never got into as much.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Believe it or not, it´s actually one of those albums I haven´t listened to yet. I´ve seen it countless times in the second hand bins, but somehow alwasy managed to come home with something else. It´s definitely on my to-do list for the future though :-)
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I wonder if there is any metal fan who doesn't like 'Holy Diver', because It's just such a flawless release.


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