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Operatic heavy metal reaches a dizzying crescendo

Dio’s 1983 debut is an immaculate marriage of operatic vocals, fantasy storytelling, and NWOBHM-style energy. Fresh off stints with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, he carries over his obsession with the eternal struggle between good and evil. As “Caught in the Middle” implies, it’s a struggle from which the vocal powerhouse can never escape. And while guitarist Vivian Campbell was still an up-and-comer at the time, he shreds all over the album, especially on the smoking “Don’t Talk to Strangers.”

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