Dio
Holy Diver


5.0
classic

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
May 19th, 2010 | 382 replies


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist


On May 16th, 2010, Ronnie James Dio passed away following a struggle with stomach cancer. He was 67 years old.

Dio's influence in the heavy metal scene has been vast. Appearing on no less than three classic LP's, his first major appearance was with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, with whom he recorded three albums, high point Rising having been released in 1976. Afterwards, he went on to sing for Black Sabbath after they had fired Ozzy Osbourne, creating the classic Heaven and Hell in 1980 and its also successfull follow-up Mob Rules a year later. It would not be long before Ronnie would take matters into his own hands, however, as he broke up with Sabbath and consequently formed his own band: Dio. With the then unknown Irish guitarist Vivian Campbell, former Rainbow bandmate Jimmy Bain and Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice, Dio created Holy Diver in 1983. Perhaps, it is the album that defines him best.

The tiny singer had learned from his experiences with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, but in both groups, he was not the main creative force behind the band. Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi had been making the rules for the most part, but now, Dio could be on his own and do exactly what he wanted. Holy Diver is the potential Dio had always showed, fully unleashed: it became a heavy metal blueprint on which many groups that followed would be heavily influenced by. Dio held the same ethic throughout its career: this band was here to bring you heavy ***ing metal the way it should be brought. While this has made their work fairly consistent, it also made certain Holy Diver was never bested: this record stands on lonely heights.

The main selling point about Dio is, of course, Ronnie James Dio, who commands his utterly powerful voice (which he kept in tremendous shape until his death, unlike almost all of his contemporaries) with ease. The singer was also very lucky to have stumbled upon Vivian Campbell, whose creativity and talent were a strong force to have on one's side. After Dio himself, Campbell contributed most to the songwriting, which is consistently strong and varied. Hard rockin' cuts such as Gypsy and Caught in the Middle show Campbell's excellent contributions very well, but also Bain did his share, co-writing the agressive, anthemic opener Stand Up and Shout and Straight Through the Heart.

As seems fitting, however, the two best tracks on the album are credited entirely to Dio himself. The epic title track relies more on the singer's performance than anything else on the album, and it's good for him that it just so happens his vocal performance is one of the best in his career. The mystical intro is of course another song trademark, and Campbell's solo and slower playing throughout the song are very tasteful. The other timeless classic is no other than Don't Talk to Strangers, which is an immediate rival for the title track as far as vocal performance is concerned. The track has Dio varying his voice more, ranging from a soft whisper to gruff singing, as well as his usual commanding vocals. Though Rainbow in the Dark is another Dio classic, the singer himself actually hated the track at first, not having wanted to include it on the album, which is, in restrospective, quite understandable. The opening keyboards (played by Dio) are actually quite cheesy, but still have this immeadiate likeabilitiy to them, and the lyrics, especially the chorus, are just as silly, but you can't help it: just gotta love that track.

The only weaker spot is really Invisible, which' vocals can be slightly annoying in the intro and is also too lengthy, but such a minor misstep can be forgiven. Holy Diver is a timeless metal classic created by a man who has been able to look back on a long and fruitful career in music. Ronnie James Dio was a one of a kind, and his death must be mourned. I beckon every fan of heavy metal to take up this disc and blast the voice of a dead man loudly through his speakers. Hail Dio!

'Holy Diver - You've been down too long in the midnight sea
Oh what's becoming of me
Ride the tiger - You can see his stripes but you know he's clean
Oh don't you see what I mean
Gotta get away - Holy Diver

Shiny diamonds - Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue
Something is coming for you
Race for the morning - You can hide in the sun 'till you see the light
Oh we will pray it's all right
Gotta get away - get away

Between the velvet lies
There's a truth that's hard as steel
The vision never dies
Life's a never ending wheel

Holy Diver - You're the star of the masquerade
No need to look so afraid
Jump on the tiger
You can feel his heart but you know he's mean
Some light can never be seen

Holy Diver - You've been down too long in the midnight sea
Oh what's becoming of me
Ride the tiger - You can see his stripes but you know he's clean
Oh don't you see what I mean
Gotta get away - get away
Gotta get away - get away'


Ronald James 'Dio' Padavona: July 10, 1942 - May 16, 2010 (R.I.P.)



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user ratings (1088)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
May 19th 2010


8315 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This seemed fitting to do considering the circumstances and me already having reviewed his work with Rainbow and Sabbath.

FadeToBlack
May 19th 2010


11034 Comments


great review as usual. imo this is the best thing Dio did

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2010


8391 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ily Nag, seriously this is awesome. One of my favoriute albums of all time, if not THE favorite.

FadeToBlack
May 19th 2010


11034 Comments


expecting to see a massive influx of 5s for this over the next few weeks

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 19th 2010


8391 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

well my 5 has been here all along ;). Seriously, this album is the shit right here.

Greggers
May 19th 2010


2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I knew someone would write a 5 review of this soon; excellent work Nag.

RIP Dio

vanderb0b
May 19th 2010


3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, great album. R.I.P Dio

Nagrarok
May 19th 2010


8315 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks guys.

ily Nag, seriously this is awesome. One of my favoriute albums of all time, if not THE favorite.


Finally I make Metalstyles happy with a review again.

I knew someone would write a 5 review of this soon


Yeah, I thought that too and figured I should be first in.

Bfhurricane
May 19th 2010


6197 Comments


Definitely fitting to have this reviewed, good work.

NeutralThunder12
May 19th 2010


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

needed this. good job nag

Ponton
Emeritus
May 19th 2010


5819 Comments


just another in my long list of classics to check out, awesome review nag and fitting too.

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

Rhino
May 19th 2010


71 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review again Nag, you're a solid reviewer. This would be a 5 if not for a few songs that do not stand up to the test of time.

Rhino
May 19th 2010


71 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oops, double post.

Meatplow
May 19th 2010


5524 Comments


Should be flagged, classic album.

Nagrarok
May 19th 2010


8315 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks all. I saw you reviewed this too some years ago Meatplow.

RagingStorm
May 19th 2010


509 Comments


Good review, i need to check this out

BigHans
May 19th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great job Nag, I figured this would be epic and it was.

Meatplow
May 19th 2010


5524 Comments


Thanks all. I saw you reviewed this too some years ago Meatplow.


Yeah, I had a nice little period with this album it really did it for me. I always get nostalgic when I listen to it.

I never fully warmed up to any of his other albums, however.

Nagrarok
May 19th 2010


8315 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I never fully warmed up to any of his other albums, however.


Same here. Last in Line is already a major step down, and I haven't really cared for the rest too much. This is just that debut that became so iconic the band will never top it.

Cheers Hans also.

FadeToBlack
May 19th 2010


11034 Comments


Since his death:

New 5 Ratings: 6
New 4.5 Ratings: 8
New Ratings Less Than 4: 2 < ----- perma ban please



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