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Black Sabbath - Mob Rules CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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3.46 | 374 ratings

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3 stars Decent, but a band well in decline

Even as Sab fans back in the day (early 80s) my friends and I were aware we were getting the TV dinner version of Sabbath, as compared to the juicy, slow-roasted pig-on-the-spit that our older brothers got in the early 70s. Sabbath's tenure as a truly relevant, adventurous band ended with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, despite having made a few more decent albums like Sabotage and Heaven and Hell. The band were basically dying a slow, writhing death rather than an honorable quick one. After Ozzy crashed and burned, followed by Bill Ward, the new Mob Rules Sabbath had Vinny Appice and Ronnie Dio in the fold. They were now helping usher in the 80s anthemic metal scene, in my opinion a music scene dominated by formula, image, and feel-good headbanging. Not that there wasn't some of that in the classic years but there was also quite a bit more. If I sound snobbish it's not an accident: while there is nothing wrong with having fun with music, as I did and still do, it just has to be acknowledged that as important rock music Sabbath were well past mattering, flirting with the edge of banality just a few years later. But that is strictly judging them on musical importance-it you don't care about that aspect and can enjoy the 80s metal scene for what it is, then dive in! You will still find much here to get the blood flowing before Dio bolted to a solo career that sounded quite close to The Mob Rules album. Musically I find this one more interesting now than H&H, it has a bit more energy. It features those white hot fist-pumpers that Dio loved like "Turn up the Night" and the title track, which sound a lot like "Stand up and Shout" and "We Rock" in his next band. It featured the killer "Voodoo" which owned a classic Tony chug as big and lumbering as any. And the highlight was the elegant "Sign of the Southern Cross" which like the classier numbers on H&H had a real mystical feel to them, a more authentic dark fantasy vibe than the beer-party numbers which filled up the less stellar moments of the 80s teen metal scene. "Falling off the edge of the world" is another slow, brooding beauty. Generally speaking this is fun stuff which I can still enjoy on occasion but maxes in the 3 star range.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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