If I am to start a Heavy Metal collection of albums/CD’s from scratch, DIO “Holy Diver” is at the top of my Metal list. Not to smear or take anything away from the legendary Ronnie James Dio of today, however, the prolific and powerful vocals of Dio are evident and found on “Holy Diver”. A younger Ronnie James Dio, of course, with a penchant for delivering the most remarkable Heavy Metal vocals I have ever heard, all here on this Metal masterpiece. I understand everyone gets older, not every vocalist is going to sound like they are in their 20′s or 30′s again when they hit their 50′s and 60′s. I revere Ronnie James Dio, all the vocals, on all the albums he has done. Outside of the Dio fronted Black Sabbath albums – “Heaven And Hell” and “Mob Rules”, along with all the Dio fronted Rainbow albums, “Holy Diver” still ranks right up there as what I consider Ronnie James Dio’s greatest vocal achievement to date. (This is my Metal opinion). After all these years, going on three decades… I have never, ever, grown tired of this remarkable album. There will forever, only be one Ronnie James Dio, there will never again be another Metal album like “Holy Diver”.
When this album was released in May of 1983, I was lingering in High School. What Ronnie James Dio with his vocals became for me, was a friend. Dio was a lead singer for two of the biggest bands out there, and eventually the namesake for his very own Metal band. “Holy Diver” gave me the inspiration to charge ahead - during those younger years when I needed it the most. (Little does Dio or any of my favorite bands or musicians realize the impact they had on me as a young dude… I thank them all to this very moment). Throughout my life, sure, I root for my New York Yankee baseball heroes, yet I root for my Metal Music heroes stronger and longer. To make an analogy, sports legends are limited to the number of years they can play… Ronnie James Dio can still sing, make albums and tour, going on four decades. Music lives on, never goes away. ”Holy Diver” lives on too – only the songs are just as big as life for me now as they were in 1983.
“Stand Up And Shout” is the Heavy Metal battle cry that opens up this album, leading right into “Holy Diver”, which to this day, still mesmerizes me with it’s eerie keyboard intro. “Rainbow In The Dark” is the more melodic - but still heavy – popular tune that seems to get the most notoriety. “Gypsy” and “Caught In The Middle” are indicative of the Metal spirit that was dictated, both vocally and musically by Dio on this album. There are those select Metal albums that are to be celebrated and looked upon as true templates of musical greatness… “Holy Diver”, in my Metal opinion, is one.
Dio, the band, as they appeared on “Holy Diver”: Ronnie James Dio on vocals & keyboards, Vinny Appice on drums, Vivian Campbell on guitar and Jimmy Bain on bass & keyboards.