Let me state my case plainly: if you do not like this album, you are a piece of shit. If you think this album is a joke, you're a retard and you don't know shit about metal. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that if you do not like this album you have no business listening to metal. It's as simple as that.
First of all, look at the cover! How much more metal can you get than some demon drowning a chained up priest from a mountaintop under an ominous sundown!? So fucking awesome.
The album kicks off with the balls out rocker "Stand Up and Shout." Vivian Campbell (of Def Leppard fame) lays down some killer riffs while Ronnie wails nonsensical shit like "You are the driver/ You own the road/You are the fire go on explode!" "Holy Diver" is a stone cold, undeniable classic. That epic, chugging, mid-paced riff is unforgettable. Again, I have no idea what the fuck any of it means, lines like "Ride the tiger/You can see his stripes but you know he's clean," make no sense, but who cares? From there Ronnie goes on to sing about riding gypsies, not talking to strangers, and being invisible. "Straight Through the Heart" is another favorite. It's four and a half minutes of pure fist-pumping, head-banging intensity. A song about a rainbow (even if it's in the dark) with a keyboard-driven melody doesn't sound very metal, but "Rainbow in the Dark" is an umistakable classic and perhaps Dio's finest moment. The album comes to a fitting close with the creepy-crawling power ballad "Shame On the Night" and in just over forty minutes you've experienced one of the greatest metal albums ever made.
And of course let us not forget the excellent videos that accompanied the album, the most memorable of which is for the title track, "Holy Diver." It features a fur-clad Ronnie James roaming a desolate land as the most improbable and least intimidating of warriors. He turns two vagabonds into rats with his sword and then visits a blacksmith where he receives a new sword and then proceeds to prance around a castle swinging his new sword around betraying the fact that he has no idea how to actually use it. I'm not sure which makes less sense, the video or the lyrics, but I love them both dearly.
The second video is of course for "Rainbow in the Dark." In this classic video we find our favorite heavy metal elf singing on the roof of some building in a leather vest with no shirt on while some creepy schlub in a suit lusts after some chubby girl he sees on the street. Vivian Campbell then rescues the girl from the clutches of the creepy schlub by playing a guitar solo in his face and Ronnie continues strutting and singing on the roof. Keep your eyes peeled for his pointy, fur-lined white boots. Mama mia!