There's no need to go into great detail over the history of this album. Most metalheads know how essential Holy Diver is to any collection. The first and in many ways still the best album under the Dio banner, Holy Diver continued down a similar "dungeons and dragons" path that Ronnie James Dio had forged with Ritchie Blackmore in Rainbow and again with Tony Iommi in Black Sabbath.
Originally issued in 1983, the new import remaster finds the album sounding better than ever. Earlier CD and vinyl versions were trebly and lacked bottom end. The new remaster rectifies that situation and one may be shocked to hear this metal masterpiece with deep and powerful bass tones.
Holy Diver has held up remarkably well, although I always found "Stand Up and Shout" to be a cheesy call to arms anthem. The title track, "Caught in the Middle", "Rainbow in the Dark" and "Don't Talk to Strangers" are indispensable metal gems, crucially featuring nineteen-year-old Vivian Campbell on guitar, Vinny Appice on drums and Rainbow cohort Jimmy Bain on bass. What can you say about vocalist Ronnie James Dio? He was already over forty by the time he recorded Holy Diver, but his voice was still very much in its prime.
The remaster also includes a bonus in the form of a 30-minute interview with Dio from 2005 in which he reminisces on the history of the album. It's an interesting interview, but nothing I'd feel compelled to hear more than once. The booklet contains all the original album artwork as well as a ridiculously hyperbolic essay by Dante Bonutto. So if you've long hoped for a decent sounding Holy Diver, you're wait is over. One can only hope that a remastered The Last in Line isn't far behind.
- Stand Up and Shout
- Holy Diver
- Caught in the Middle
- Don't Talk to Strangers
- Straight Through the Heart
- Rainbow in the Dark
- Shame on the Night
- Ronnie James Dio Audio Interview (bonus)