Review Summary: Credit should be given where it is due and there is perhaps nobody more deserving of being crowned the king of metal than Ronnie James Dio.
We really lost one of the true Gods of metal when Ronnie James Rio passed away in 2010. He offered up his signature metal voice in many bands such as Black Sabbath and Rainbow, but let's not forget about his very own band, Dio. Before starting the band he was already making a name for himself due to his work in aforementioned bands, as well as his first band Elf. He sure as hell didn't disappoint his followers when he released the stellar Holy Diver
. It is quite possibly his best work and deserves to be in any metal lover's collection.
The album gets off to an amazing start with the memorable opening riffs of 'Stand up and Shout'. The song is classic metal at its finest with Dio's top notch voice and several guitar solos. However, the next song blows it out of the water as 'Holy Diver' is not only Dio's best song, but one of the best metal songs ever constructed. It is a raging beast of a song. Until the day I die, I will never grow tired of hearing Holy Diver! You've been down too long in the midnight sea, oh what's becoming of me
. The song starts out slowly with an atmospheric keyboard opening before the guitars and drums kick into full force. Although Dio's voice is always impressive, no other song captures the essence of his voice quite like the title track does. Even people who haven't heard much of his work have likely at least heard of 'Holy Diver'. It's a metal classic that only gets better with age.
Outside of the timeless title track, the album still has plenty of other noteworthy songs. 'Don't Talk To Strangers' and 'Invisible' both show off Dio's true singing voice as they start off with a soothing ballad-like sound. They can't be considered straight up ballads however, as the songs choruses pick up the pace and are just as upbeat as many of the other tracks. 'Don't Talk To Strangers' is surely the better of the two as it contains Dio's most beautiful vocals on the record. Another standout is 'Rainbow in the Dark' which is packed full of catchy keyboards and memorable instrumentation. You really can't go wrong with any of the songs, but my final recommendation would be 'Gypsy' do to its insane riffs and guitar work.
Anybody who fancies metal who hasn't heard this album is missing out on quite the listening experience. Not only is it a timeless gem, but the album also helped inspire an entire ***ing genre. That's right, Ronnie James Dio is often considered to be the largest influence in the formation of power metal. Due to the idea to mix traditional metal with speed metal, a new genre was born. Dio's lyrical themes of fantasy and his epic sounding songs helped to transcend this genre which is why it's important to mention. This makes Holy Diver
an influential and undeniable classic that will hopefully be remembered for years to come.