Ronnie James DIO had a lot to prove with this his first solo offering since departing rather unceremoniously from BLACK SABBATH and prove he did and the rest as they say is history.
DIO had salvaged the flagging career of the Ozzy-less SABBATH resulting in two of SABBATH'S finest recordings: "The Mob Rules" and the classic "Heaven And Hell". Portraying a much stronger and consummate singing voice that has since become world renowned DIO was not only a better singer than Ozzy but also an intelligent songwriter and composer who wielded a myriad of thoughts and ideas for Tony Iommi. He was also a man who know that his destiny lay out side of SABBATH so after nursing wounds brought on by his leaving he delivered, some would say his solo bands finest hour - "Holy Diver".
Free from the constraints of SABBATH DIO quickly ensconced himself in the fantasy imagery and world that he wanted to bring to the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal playing field. The album cover depicting the malevolent DIO creature attempting to do away with a member of the clergy was an effective image as any one could imagine to the contents of the album.
"Stand Up And Shout", "Holy Diver", "Don't Talk To Strangers", "Straight Through The Heart" and "Rainbow In The Dark" all bona fide Rock classics. Masterminded by the voice of DIO the music is a mixture of classy Hard Rock in "Gypsy" and "Caught In The Middle" supplemented with American style Metal with the likes of "Stand Up And Shout", "Straight Through The Heart" and "Shame On The Night", the colossal title track "Holy Diver" complete with an Iommi riff that the Master himself would dearly have loved to have written to the sublime intro of "Don't Talk To Strangers" climaxing in "Rainbow In The Dark".
Yes, this is still a very good album and one that deserves to sit proudly in your collection. (Online June 8, 2003)