Over 20 years have passed since Ronnie James Dio unleashed his metal masterpiece on the world. It was earlier this year that the antiMUSIC family celebrated Holy Diver as an absolute classic.
Deadsun waxed poetic how "Holy Diver has lost none of its luster---it is possible that its appeal has even increased against the odds of time, and the advent of different styles, pursuant to the evolution of heavy metal," Keavin gushed that "From the opening bars of 'Stand up and Shout' a metal head was born and I was sent on a musical journey into metal that lasts to this day," and I proclaimed, "Hail the king of rock and roll, he's come to haunt your dreams."
Needless to say, the idea of Holy Diver receiving the live treatment in its entirety is quite exciting. Tack on a second disc with a few Dio, Black Sabbath and Rainbow gems and the aural assault may cause your head to explode.
The Holy Diver era lineup is long gone but Dio is still able to draft quality musicians to support his massive pipes. Doug Aldrich filled in for an injured Craig Goldy on guitar, top rock bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Simon Wright kept the bottom end low and Scott Warren abused the keyboards with the lines and melodies that set Dio apart from the metal contenders in the eighties; and is still some of the most memorable moments of a Dio song.
This version of Dio brought heaviness to the concert and the man himself kept his vocals dark and creepy through much of the show. However, he brought that voice out and soared during crucial moments. The band really played for the drama of the record, creating more atmospheres between songs and linking everything together into one being.
The one downside to this project was the lack of Vivian Campbell. His playing on Holy Diver was outstanding; it crackled and sparked with intensity. As great as Ronnie James Dio's vocals are, Campbell owned that album and the rest of the band just tried to keep up. Regardless, Holy Diver - Live is a testament to a great album that does stand the test of time and a singer who appears to be ageless.
Disc two includes some of the signature songs attached to Ronnie James Dio including Sabbath's "Heaven & Hell," Rainbow's "Man on the Silver Mountain," and the Last in Line manifesto "We Rock." Dio has such a wealth of quality music; it is no surprise tracks from Holy Diver had not been performed live until the recording of this concert. Yet each show can be brand new and never disappoint even the most rabid of fans.
This is the second live Dio record in as many years. Here's hoping he will step back into the studio and keep cranking out the rock. From Holy Diver to Master of the Moon, Dio's one of rock's real survivors, thriving in the face of the trends and the posers.
editor's note: Not Dio related but this is Zane's 100th review for antiMusic (4 were on Dio!) A big congrats and thanks for Zane for all his hard work and his perspective. He's been a big part of antiMusic for the past couple years and we are grateful to have him… Ok, now go buy this CD!