Yo Ho, WeRCatz here!

This coming May 25, Dio’s debut solo album Holy Diver turns 40. Regarded as one of the quintessential heavy metal albums of all time, Holy Diver proved to the world that Ronnie James Dio could do it all by himself despite a stellar repertoire before the formation of his own band.

Before Dio made his band and Holy Diver, he was with Black Sabbath as lead singer. Due to a conflict with the mixing of the album Live Evil, Dio and drummer Vinny Appice left the band in 1982. Dio and Appice wanted to stay working so the band Dio was formed soon after. Recruiting Rainbow’s former bassist Jimmy Bain and Sweet Savage’s young guitarist Vivian Campbell, they went to work on the debut album Holy Diver.

This album would become Dio’s best effort and most successful. It became a blueprint for metal albums of the 80s. The cover art is intelligent as Dio himself stated in an interview that the cover shows that appearances are misleading. The themes of the album include influences of Tolkien, Sir Walter Scott, and fantasy elements mixed with sci-fi. This album also shows that the world is not perfect in any way: there is always darkness with every shining light.

Two staple songs come from this album: the eponymous “Holy Diver” and “Rainbow In The Dark.” The former was used in the South Park episode “Hooked on Monkey Fonics.” Dio stated that he liked the episode, though he did mention that Parker and Stone were cruel to the drummer.

You have to listen to Holy Diver and hear why Dio is regarded as one of Metal’s greatest vocalists.