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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Dio - 1983 Holy Diver
Dio - 1983 Holy Diver

ALBUM: Holy Diver
LABEL: Mercury
SERIAL: 9 23836-1
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2005, Mercury (9830994)


LINEUP: Ronnie James Dio - vocals * Vivian Campbell - guitars * Jimmy Bain - bass * Vinnie Appice - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stand Up And Shout * 02 Holy Diver * 03 Gypsy * 04 Caught In The Middle * 05 Don't Talk To Strangers * 06 Straight Through The Heart * 07 Invisible * 08 Rainbow In The Dark * 09 Shame On The Night


Look I'll admit it. I've never been a big fan of Ronnie James Dio as far back into time as we can go. The little guy with the big voice just never seemed to cut the mustard in my books, and while I was celebrating the likes of Steve Perry and Brad Delp in the AOR masterclass of vocalists, Dio and other like minded souls were always kicked to the kerbside.. An affront I know, as Dio really is a great singer - no two ways about it, biut I could never get the big picture. Until 'Holy Diver' came along that is! Well not quite exactly 'Holy Diver'. More Black Sabbath. Having been bought up in the 70's when Rainbow ruled supreme, they were a band that never quite got my attention - for whatever reason. When Dio joined Black Sabbath I thought.. 'a ha, now we're talking'. Indeed, 'Heaven And Hell' and 'Mob Rules' are both great albums. When Dio left Sabbath and went solo, you heard all the rumours and gossip in Sounds magazine, and when 'Holy Diver' was unleashed, well it turned 1983 on it's head.

The Songs
Looking back, it's very easy to consider 'Holy Diver' a metal classic, and you won't get too much disagreement from all the readers here I'm sure. Winding back the clock, Dio was smart enough to recruit Irish guitar fledgling Vivian Campbell into the fold. Viv's only claim to fame prior to Dio was a smalltime Irish band called Sweet Savage. Talk about going from the smallfry to big time - as only somebody like basketball whizz LeBron James would know! There's no shortage of classic tracks here. The opener 'Stand Up And Shout' is an absolute barnstorming opener, and was used as such in Dio's live shows during 1983. The rest of the material reads like a heavy metal 101 class for aspiring rockers. 'Holy Diver', 'Gypsy', the essential 'Caught In The Middle' plus the standout 'Rainbow In The Dark' are all part of Dio's greatest hits package when reviewing his discography some 25 years later.

In Summary
Without doubt, 'Holy Diver' is one of the best LP's to emerge from 1983, damn poor of us not to feature it earlier! It would also prove to be his best album ever, though his follow up releases are worth obtaining, 'Holy Diver' is the premier item among the lot. The key to the success of the album, is the ability of Dio to combine the best elements of both his Rainbow and Black Sabbath eras. Even after all this time, I still refer to this album with nostalgia, it's like I can rewind right back to 1983 and picture myself buying this at my trusty LP shop way back then. Go on, get out the album and give it a thrash for old times sake!

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#1 | gdazegod on September 02 2009 16:15:25
Yep, I'll go so far as putting this in my top 10 albums of 1983.. right alongside Journey's Frontiers, Yes' 90125, Arcangel, Avion, Preview, LeRoux's 'So Fired Up', Asia's 'Alpha' and Michael Bolton's s/t. Phew!
#2 | Eric on September 02 2009 16:34:37
I remember hearing 'Rainbow In The Dark' for the first time and being absolutely floored.guitar
#3 | englandashes on September 02 2009 19:44:13
One of the best, great to see the appreciation of 'Caught In The Middle', very underated track, along with 'Don't Talk To Strangers', totally immense album, got me through my school years. Remember hearing Stand Up and Shout (Oiiii!) and buying the next day at Andy's Records (long since gone) in Bedford. Killswitch Engaged do a very good version of the title track, shows how this album is a piece of metal history.
#4 | Eric on September 02 2009 23:34:00
I think I said this before elsewhere on this site and forgive me if I sound redundant, but I think Ronnie James Dio is the greatest hard rock/ metal vocalist the genre has produced.
#5 | gdazegod on September 03 2009 00:07:54
Listening to this album again the last few days, and I'm really enjoying it. RJD I owe you an apology man.. worthy
#6 | gdazegod on September 03 2009 00:10:14
Interesting to see on the RJD website that Dio are doing a few gigs later in the year, seeing as Heaven and Hell (the band) are laid up due to Tony Iommi's recent surgery. Craig Goldy is still part of Dio, so he'll have his hands full playing gigs for both Dio and Budgie. Busy man!
#7 | sabace on June 27 2011 13:56:53
excellent lp no doubt, superb vocals and guitar .
#8 | ERJRinderknecht on April 16 2013 04:24:12
Epic album. Not much can describe this album aside from just listening to it. I put this album on at work regularly and feed off of the looks I get from co-workers.
#9 | super80boy on August 10 2014 18:28:39
The video for 'Rainbow In The Dark' still gets lots of rotation on the VH1 Metal Mania show. It's a great video too!
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