16. Dio, 'Holy Diver' (1983)
After establishing himself as a top-tier hard-rock vocalist via his late-Seventies/early-Eighties stints in Rainbow and Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio truly ascended into the metal pantheon with his 1983 solo debut. More bracingly metallic than anything he had done before – thanks in part to 20-year-old Irish guitarist Vivian Campbell, whose crunchy chords and squealing leads meshed perfectly with the paint-peeling intensity of Dio's piercing wail – Holy Diver's stirring anthems like "Stand Up and Shout," "Rainbow in the Dark" and the immortal title track found Dio planting one boot in Dungeons & Dragons–style fantasy and the other in contemporary social commentary. "My writing has always been medieval-flavored," he told Artist magazine shortly after the album's release, "but I'm concerned with what we're doing with ourselves and our environment." Although it reached only Number 56 on the Billboard 200 upon its release, Holy Diver would achieve platinum status by the end of the Eighties, and serve as an influential touchstone for everyone from Killswitch Engage to Tenacious D. D.E.