Dio - Holy Diver
On May 25, 1983 "Dio" released their debut album "Holy Diver", one of the most influential albums in Heavy Metal.
A perfect, flawless album, in which every song is an anthem, with no bad tracks or fillers. Do not bother to look in the dictionary for a definition of "masterpiece", it is here in front of you and it's called "Holy Diver".
So how this perfection was created?
Immediately after "Black Sabbath" released the album "Mob Rules" in 1981, friction began between the band members, mainly because Ronnie James Dio received an offer from "Warner" Records to release a solo album. These frictions will intensify during mixes for the live album "Live Evil", leading Dio and drummer Vinnie Appice to leave the band. They both felt confident enough to set up a new band. Dio turned to an old friend, bassist Jimmy Bain who he met in "Rainbow", and invited him to join the emerging band.
To complete the new band's lineup, Dio applied the successful model of colleague Ozzy Osbourne and added a guitarist who was then young and unfamiliar, but with a lot of hunger in his eyes and fire between his fingers - the Irish Vivian Campbell who emerged straight from the band "Sweet Savage" and was only 20 years old.
Until the addition of Vivian, Dio, Bain, and Appice managed to write most of the material for the album and the band immediately began recording.
Dio described the recording process as very exciting. There was a good vibe in the air and a feeling that they were creating something good. There is no doubt that this feeling seeped well into the songs as well.
The album opens up in full force with a protest song "Stand Up and Shout", which includes all the basic elements that will shape the metal of the '80s and beyond, fast riffs sobbing guitars by Campbell, powerful and fluent vocals by Ronnie James Dio and thunderous and aggressive drumming by Vinnie Appice.
Immediately after comes the theme song "Holy Diver" with an instrumental opening designed to put the listener in the mood, when after a little more than a minute, one of the great and timeless riffs in metal emerges, and when Dio's voice enters it is already an eternal anthem. Dio explained that the song tells of a figure who is in a parallel world and sacrifices herself to save its believers, like Jesus. The song, which also includes references to the book of "Revelation" - in the New Testament, is an expression of a revolt against the Catholic education that Ronnie James Dio received as a child.
The album cover corresponds with the story of the theme song and shows a figure of a priest bound in chains between the stormy waves of the sea, with the figure of Murray proudly towering above him. Some of you may raise an eyebrow at who Murray is. So similar to Iron Maiden's Eddie, Murray will appear on all four of Dio's first album covers. It is a kind of beast with horns and bright and slanted eyes with fingers claw-shaped animals that mark the famous Metal Horns of Dio. By the way, for those of you who are really interested, you can find Murray's full story on Dio's home page here: Here:
This is truly an album in which all the songs are flawless and in which there is not a single unnecessary note. The bluesy "Gypsy" with Dio's shaky scream after the intro that makes us shiver all over. "Caught in the Middle" with a riff borrowed from Campbell's previous band "Sweet Savage" and with the melodic vocals on the verge of pop. The immortal "Don't Talk to Strangers" with the melodramatic opening that soothes and caresses, only to lead you "down", with Dio's huge roar at 1:06.
"Straight Through the Heart" pierces your heart with the sudden stops, Vinnie's dribbles and the melodic and so beautiful bridge part, a track whose name was borrowed from a song by Campbell's previous lineup. "Invisible" which opens quietly, melodic and small with arpeggio chords wrapped in a flanger effect and later explodes heavily and includes one of Campbell's interesting solos on the album. "Rainbow in the Dark" is wrapped in keyboards, and was released as the second single from the album and whose lyrics were influenced by the experience of Dio and Vinnie Appice who felt isolated and imprisoned in "Black Sabbath", just like "Rainbow in the Dark".
And of course the dark and heavy song "Shame on the Night" which opens with the howl of the jackal borrowed from "Deep Purple's" "Hush" and closes the album perfectly.
Before heavy metal inflated its hair, before hard rock disguised itself as glam and in almost perfect sync with the rise of thrash, this album remained one of the standout classics of pure and rooted heavy metal, featuring a perfect sequence of songs engraved forever in the history of metal.
In 2005, Ronnie James Dio gave an unforgettable show in Israel, in which he performed the album in its entirety, as well as the best songs of "Rainbow" and "Black Sabbath". We are sure that whoever was there will testify that this was one of the greatest performances of his life.