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Digitally re-mastered and expanded deluxe two CD edition of this 1983 album from the Metal maestro including bonus live recordings and b-sides plus an expanded booklet with notes by Malcolm Dome. Despite recording two hit studio albums with Black Sabbath and playing throughout the world to huge crowds, Ronnie James Dio left the band in 1982 and began to put together his first solo project. Dio's band debut, Holy Diver, was issued in 1983. The album quickly became a favorite among head bangers worldwide and eventually earned the group platinum certification. The somewhat upbeat sounding "Rainbow in the Dark" was an MTV favorite, while the title track proved to be another standout. Other album highlights include the opening anthem "Stand Up and Shout," "Invisible," and "Don't Talk to Strangers." Holy DIver proved that Dio's departure from Black Sabbath had not affected his spirits. In fact, he sounds most inspired here, aided by his new, hungry backing band. Universal.
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I would say Audio Fidelity is closer to the original recording, crisp and clear, dynamic and all instruments sound like they were recorded during that golden era. It's tad louder than the original but not too much to sacrifice dynamic range. You can hear some snaps and studio hiss in quiet parts, for example in beginning of 'Don't talk the strangers'. I verified this particular track against remastered version Bill Ingloit (Dio - Anthology 2003) and did not find any differences.
Rock Candy is like turbo charged version of the original and sounds loud compared to AF remaster. Vinnie's drums are brought up to date or at least his kit sounds much "heavier" than it originally was. Especially kick drum is really audible and almost too aggressive knowing it was recorded early 1980s. And the same goes for Jimmy Bain's bass, but this time it sounds better than on Audio Fidelity 24K version. Fuller, richer and fulfilling this undervalued instrument's sonic purpose: building steady foundation and groove for any good rock song.
Conclusion: Audio Fidelity is huge improvement to the original without any audible loss in audio department, everything just sounds much better. 'Holy Diver' by Rock Candy is totally different beats. Maybe Gary Moore not only remastered but remixed it a bit? It sounds compressed, really loud and probably better if you prefer modern production values. Most notably on rhythm section which sounds HUGE when compared to AF or to original CD.
Rotel RC-990BX preamp
Denon DVD-2910 SACD player
Beyerdynamic 831 headphones
Often hailed as "one of the very best and most powerful rock vocalists of all time" (with a lung capacity unrivaled by traditional operatic singers) Dio does not disappoint - it was only a matter of time - distancing himself from Elf, Rainbow and even Black Sabbath (where he shined brilliantly enough) - Dio "as Dio," which is to say, on his own and especially, here with his debut album and the followup, "Last in Line," leave the listener speechless with a kind of heavy metal rapture unknown by any other name.
"Holy Diver" the track is a precious gem, and I would NEVER use the term "plodding classic metal" to describe it. Better, I would compare it to the best of the best that Rush, Kansas, Yes or even Styx conjured during their earliest, jamming heydays. I would call this song, "A Classic Rock Treasure," period. A treasure that never grows old, nor stale to the ear. Forever interesting. Fascinating. And forever stimulatingly NEW!
Then of course, "Rainbow in the Dark." A fitting finale to an altogether priceless debut. It was years before I finally realized that "Rainbow in the Dark" was in fact, NOT a "Rainbow" song at all. But part of the NEW DIO!
Ronnie James just keeps on giving his best, better and better and better. And going strong to this day, circa 2010. Wow!
Interesting trivia: Dio popularized the "evil eye" gestures of fore finger and pinky finger, using both hands with arms out-stretched in a sort of "salute" or "salutation" (valediction), at all his concerts once he became exclusive "Dio." Yet this should never be construed as any kind of form of "devil worship" or Satanic symbol, per se. On the contrary, Dio is quoted as saying he learned to make this hand "signal" from his grand mother born in southern Italy, where "the evil eye" was a standard trope TO WARD AWAY ALL EVIL! So those who associate Dio with "Satanic Rock," perhaps - should take a deeper listen I think. Dio's a poet, but not necessarily a black magician, certainly not exclusively. One part Aleister Crowley perhaps, two parts William Blake. Perpetually an explorer of hidden realities - light and/or dark. Either way, a master of his time, his music, his genre. Long live the Best that is Dio. Forever mystical and wonderfully mystifying. Here he is in rarest best form. High Amperage. True theatre of the mind. [Dio(s) Mio!] Keep and Forever Enjoy!
Regarding the original album from Ronnie James Dio—an absolute classic. From the title track to "Gypsy", "Rainbow In The Dark", "Stand Up And Shout", etc.—a flawless nine-song gem.