Saturday, 19 June 2010

CD Review: Holy Diver, by Dio (1983)

After leaving Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio assembled an impressive band featuring Vinnie Appice on drums, Jimmy Bain on bass and keyboards, and Vivian Campbell on guitars.

Holy Diver, Dio's first release, contains two gems: the title track and Rainbow In The Dark. Holy Diver is a truck with massive tires lumbering uphill on an unpaved path in low gear: it's not fast, but nothing is going to stop it, and it's an appropriate signature song for the album. Rainbow In The Dark is a faster track, with a playful yet haunting keyboard riff that helps to permanently pin the song to memory. It became synonymous with Dio, and is one metal's most recognizable tunes.

Don't Talk To Strangers and Shame On The Night are good supporting tracks, with the latter slowing the tempo down again, and trading speed for power. The rest of the CD is filled with solid, if unspectacular, metal that generally serves to highlight Dio's standout showmanship and vocal talent. Unfortunately, the songwriting emerges as the weakest link in the band's creative process, as many tracks border on the routine and lack the inspirational spark needed to ignite.

Holy Diver is a highly regarded album, often considered among the best of the eighties. This reputation is probably more of an appropriate acknowledgment of Dio's vocal talent when fronting his own group, and the greatness of two tracks, rather than a true assessment of the overall album quality. Nevertheless, Holy Diver does represent an important chapter in a career full of outstanding achievement.


Ronnie James Dio - Vocals
Vivian Campbell - Guitar
Jimmy Bain - Bass, Keyboards
Vinny Appice - Drums


1. Stand Up And Shout - 6
2. Holy Diver - 10
3. Gypsy - 7
4. Caught In The Middle - 7
5. Don't Talk To Strangers - 8
6. Straight Through The Heart - 7
7. Invisible - 7
8. Rainbow In The Dark - 10
9. Shame On The Night - 8

Average: 7.78

Produced by Ronnie James Dio.
Engineered by Angelo Arcuri.
Mastered by George Marino.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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