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3 stars I listened to this album for the first time in late 1983. In fact, it doesn`t bring me good memories because I was having hard times as a teenager then. Fortunately and obviously that "hard and dark period of adolescence" passed. But I still remember that this is a very good album from this band, recorded during their 1982 tour with Ronnie Dio (as he is listed in the cover) as lead singer, Vinnie Appice as "guest drummer" and Geoff Nichols on keyboards (also lsited as an additional musician).

I think that Ronnie James Dio did a very good job with this band. Some of the songs in this album which appear on the studio albums recorded with him on vocals are very good, particularly "Children of the Sea", a song which I also played with a covers band then. "Neon Nights", "Heaven and Hell " and "Mob Rules" are also very good. Vinnie Appice is also a very good drummer, and I like his drums solo at the end of "War Pigs". This line-up of the band also played very well the songs originally recorded with Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward, particularly "Black Sabbath", "N.I.B." and "Iron Man". "Iron Man" is a great song, in my opinion.

About the mixing of this album: the audience sounds very distant. The guitar and the bass are at the front of the mixing, above the sound levels of the vocals, the drums and the keyboards. Maybe this is one of the things which I don`t like very much from this album. But it has been said that it was mixed during the split of the band, with Dio and Appice leaving the band. Anyway, the guitar and the bass sound great most of the time, very heavy and distorted, adding more "darkness" to the sound of the band. Dio`s vocals sound like he was being overpowered by the guitar and bass (but I don`t think that it really happened in their concerts, being Dio a very good singer). The same happens with the drums, and the occasional keyboards sound very distant. Maybe a new mixing could improve the sound of this album.

The cover design obviously also adds "darkness" to the image of this album. It was the desired effect, of course.

Three and a half stars rating.

Despite the problems this line-up had then, they reunited in 1992 for another album and tour, and then again another split happened. Now, this year, this line-up is playing under the name "Heaven and Hell", and they recently released a live album and also a DVD from their tour. Maybe Iommi and Butler are wating for Osbourne and Ward for a new album and tour as Black Sabbath. Their label also recently released a compilation album called "The Dio Years".

Report this review (#144212)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the last appearence of Dio on a "Sabbath" album. Two studio ones and this live. Not too much actually. It will lead to a chaotic situation for Iommi, always in search of a stable vocalist whom he won't find very easily (see the later albums with Gillan and Hughes...).

This album equally mixes the "Dio years" and the Ozzy ones : seven songs each (although "Fluff" can not really be considered as a song frankly). Four come from their latest release (it was the promo tour for "Mob rules" and this live album was recorded at different venues in the US) : "E5150", "Voodoo", "The Mob Rules" and "The Sign Of The Southern Cross". Three songs from "Heaven & Hell" of which a very long version of the the title track. This one is not really memorable featuring a long karaokee exercise and a overlong and dull guitar solo), the great "Neon Knights" and "Children Of The Sea".

I guess that fans were expecting how would the oldies (and the crowd's favourites of course) be performed by Dio. Well, my opinion is between average to poor. Even if the "Sabbath" sound is somewhat edulcorated on this live album like in "N.I.B.", the other ones will be rather faithful to the original version. It is of course difficult to listen to these anthems and adapt oneself to this voice change because there were no clones available for Ozzy.

The worse being his intrepretation during "War Pigs". Not convincing at all IMO. Also weak during "Paranoďd".

If ever you would like to get one live album from "Sabbath", the choice is extremely easy. Don't waste your time and money on nothing else than the "Reunion" one. You'll get rid of lots of useless songs and you'll get dear Ozzy back on the vocals (as well as Bill on the drum kit) to be able to feel the true "Sabbath" sound.

Three stars for this one. A good live album, nothing more.

Report this review (#144545)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The last hurrah for Dio was a live effort and a good one at that. I always loved the Ozzy incarnation of the band but still Dio really sung up a storm, particularly live. I got hold of this in the bad old 80s when metal had yet to become the dominant force when Metallica, Slayer and Iron Maiden hit the music stands.

The live Sabbath experience is encapsulated in Iommi's screaming solos and Dio's roaring vocals. Best tracks are Neon Knights, N.I.B., Children of the Grave, War Pigs, Iron Man, The Mob Rules, Heaven & Hell, and Paranoid. These were Sabbath classics and live they really rock. The crowd get into these too, notably on Heaven and Hell - Dio: On and on on and on its... crowd: Heaven and Hell! Dio: On and on on and on its... crowd: Heaven and Hell! Dio: On and on on and on its... crowd: Heaven and Hell! Dio: On and on on and on its... crowd: HEAVEN AND HELLl!

I guess you had to be there. This Cd makes you feel as if you are there in a sense as you can hear the crowd clearly (sometimes too clearly) and the guitars sound fantastic. Iommi is a genius - just listen to those riffs! Of course Iron Man and Paranoid are classics and the live treatment is excellent on both. I miss Ozzy at times as Dio annoys me by singing too much and over playing the vocals, but this was a new Sabbath and translates better live than studio in my humble opium. And Dio was better than singers to come in the Sabbath incarnations to follow.

I spun this album often when I was going through the rebellious adolescent angst of a misunderstood teen and it spoke to me then. It does nothing for me now in an emotional sense but it has progressive elements if you listen hard enough. I dont like the satanic material but then again I am no longer in a rebellious state of mind. So overall what we have here is a live album that stands the test of time. Not brilliant, but worthy of a listen for certain.

Report this review (#215078)
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Live Evil, the live album following the 2 Dio-fronted Sabbath albums was the first album I purchased. Ever. Of course I had plenty of cassettes, and I had the classic Rainbow and the Ozzy Sabbath albums, but as far as I knew (we're talking 1986 something and there was no internet back then remember) both bands were dead and buried since 1978 when their front men had left.

Big was my surprise when I browsed through the second hand vinyl box and discovered that Black Sabbath had not only continued to exist but that Dio - DIO! - had taken the role as front man. I put my weeks drinking money (yes Metal was more important then food) on the counter and rushed home like a madman. The experience was holy.

However, I must have expected another 'Rainbow On Stage' experience and that it was certainly not. First of all the sound is really bad, especially the drums sound like the kit was made up of cardboard and tin cans. The guitars could have been sharper and the bass would have benefited from less presence/reverb. But my mayor disappointment at first was with the vocals. It took me quite some time to get used to Dio's rougher voice on this album. His clean operatic delivery from Rainbow is far less prominent here and sacrificed to the obviously heavier nature of the music. I gradually came to like it though and the era with Dio has become my favourite Sabbath snack.

The songs from Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules are here in blasting versions, be it that Heaven and Hell suffers from Iommi's extended solo indulgences. But Neon Knights, Children of the Sea and Voodoo rock the house. The same can be said for some of Dio's interpretations of the classics. Especially on NIB and Iron Man Dio sings the dust off Ozzy's versions. The Black Sabbath version is ominous. Not as macabre as Ozzy of course but a good alternative approach. Paranoid and War Pigs disappoint though. They do not seem to fit Dio's voice. Or should I put that the other way round?

I think this album is essential for Sabbath fans, but not to the rest of the world obviously. Not like their debut, Master of Reality, Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules were.

But can I give 'just' 3 stars to my first proper album? :-/ It's hard but I guess I'm gonna have to.

Report this review (#241199)
Posted Thursday, September 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This Black Sabbath album with Ronnie James Dio at the microphone is a mixed bag, to say at least.

I have always liked his own band Dio and what he did in Rainbow and Elf. I am not so sure about his epitaph as a Black Sabbath vocalist. This live album sums up my doubts in a nice and orderly manner.

Ronnie James Dio is without any doubts one of the best vocalists ever to grace the hard rock and heavy metal scene. In Black Sabbath, he was put in a loose-loose situation. Taking over from Ozzy Osbourne and having to sing his songs is a sure looser. Ozzy's songs are impossible to sing for others than Ozzy himself. Ronnie tries his best...... but does not win me over.

The other problem Ronnie was facing was the change of style from Black Sabbath. Out went the doom. In came the 1980s heavy metal sound. Black Sabbath adopted it and they lost their way, in my view. I am not sure if Ronnie or Tony Iommi can be blamed for this. But hearing Mob Rules on this live album makes me cringe. It is utterly horrible. So this album fails on two accounts: Ronnie's far from good renditions of Ozzy's songs and the horrible cynical 1980s heavy metal sound Black Sabbath adopted.

This album does have it's highlights though. Those are some of the best pieces of heavy metal I have ever heard. This live album really comes to live when Black Sabbath goes back to what they do best: Heavy doom. The first highlight of the album comes with the doomy Children of the Sea. Ronnie really shows us how to sing on that song. The next highlight is the medley Heaven & Hell/The Sign of the Southern Cross/Heaven & Hell medley. Black Sabbath goes epic doom here and pulls off one of the best moments in the history of heavy metal. OK, that's my very subjective view. But I really love that medley because it proves how heavy Black Sabbath was. They should have concentrated more on the heavy, slow stuff instead of the faster stuff where both Ronnie and the band falls flat on their faces. That is the flaw of this live album. A fatal flaw in my view. I can only give this album three stars.

3 stars

Report this review (#256724)
Posted Friday, December 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars For me, this is the best, if not one of the best, live album I have ever heard. Ronnie James Dio's voice is superb, and his spin on Ozzy-Sabbath classics make it very interesting. Vinny Apice's drumming is amazing, and old Geezer is still a master of the bass. Tony Iommi proves that he is a god among metal guitarists. What's better is that this was made with lots of tension in the band, and it still came out on top.

E5150- Very great opener to the concert. I always think a band should have a short opener, such as Metallica with Ecstasy of Gold. Very nice.5/5 Neon Knights- Probably the most forgettable of the songs, but it is still great. 3/5 NIB- I like it a lot. Dio singing an Ozzy song is a very good idea. The only problem is that the bass solo is too short. 4.5/5 Children of the Sea- Dio's voice shines here. 4/5 Voodoo- Like Neon Knights. It may be because I haven't heard the studio versions of Dio songs, because I haven't been able to buy Heaven and Hell or Mob Rules yet, but the Dio songs just kinda don't live up. 3/5 Black Sabbath- Tony puts a little guitar solo to open the song, and the rest just astounds. Once again, Dio proves to be the voice of Metal. 6/5 War Pigs- I didn't even think this song could get better. But it did. Dio singing in harmony with the guitar riff is beautiful. Plus, a 2 minute drum solo at the end makes everything better. 5/5 Iron Man- I still prefer the original, but this one comes close. The drums just aren't as good as the original for me. 4/5 The Mob Rules- A very very good song. I could listen to it repeatedly. 4/5 Heaven and Hell- The ultimate Dio Sabbath song. Tony here shows that he is one of the best guitarists in metal and rock with his extended solo that brings the song to over 11 minutes. 5/5 Sign of the Southern Cross/Heaven and Hell continued- Sign of the Southern Cross is pretty lackluster, but Heaven and Hell makes up for it. 4/5 Paranoid- A good version, and they continue playing a bit of Heaven and Hell at the end to close the show. 4/5 Children of the Grave- The encore. One of my favorite Sabbath songs made better. 5/5 Fluff- Audience noise that could have been taken out. Not really even a purpose in rating it.

Report this review (#285341)
Posted Sunday, June 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This first authorized Black Sabbath live album came pretty late in the band's career but at least it definitely had a great performance to back it up!

Even though Black Sabbath doesn't show that excellence of Deep Purple's live performance captured on Made In Japan, they undertake the ambitious task of creating a set-list that would please the fans of both the past and present. Of course, most of the Ozzy-era material is taken from the hit album Paranoid while only one track is picked from both the debut album and Master Of Reality. Otherwise we get a show filled with all the hits from Heaven and Hell and only a about half of the best material from Mob Rules where even The Sign Of The Southern Cross gets partially substituted for a continuation of the Heaven & Hell jam.

There aren't any real surprises on this set-list which clearly means that Sabbath weren't taking any chances when compiling this first live album. I, for once, would have loved to hear Iron Man being replaced by an extended take of Falling Off The Edge Of The World, but something tells me that I'm in a minority here. To be perfectly frank, the Ozzy-era material just doesn't work with Dio's vocal style where he prolongs each syllable. Listening to him trying to catch up with the fast-pasted tempo of Paranoid is a really painful experience. I'm also not too keen on hearing Dio dumming down some of the songs by shouting out explanations to their lyrics. Just listen to War Pigs and you'll see what I mean.

Thanks to the great dark atmosphere and pretty decent sound quality this release is still probably the best Sabbath-live release from the '70s and '80s, even though most fans would probably completely disagree with this statement. Tony Iommi really plays his heart out on most of these performances and he even goes a bit over the board right towards the end of Children Of The Grave, not to mention the freak out ending of Heaven & Hell! The is a great addition to any Hard Rock music collection and good, but non-essential addition for everyone else.

***** star songs: Voodoo (5:24) The Mob Rules (3:18)

**** star songs: Neon Knights (4:28) N.I.B. (5:09) Children Of The Sea (6:04) Black Sabbath (8:34) Heaven & Hell (11:58) The Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven & Hell (Continued) (7:16) Children Of The Grave (5:02)

*** star songs: E5150 (2:09) War Pigs (9:18) Iron Man (7:11) Paranoid (3:25) Fluff (0:43)

Report this review (#297658)
Posted Monday, September 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Live Evil" is a live album release by UK heavy metal/doom metal act Black Sabbath. The album was released through Vertigo/Warner Brothers in December 1982. The 14 tracks on the album were recorded at two concerts in Seattle in April 1982, one concert in Dallas in May 1982 and at one concert in San Antonio in May 1982. The touring band featured the same lineup that recorded "Mob Rules (1981)".

The setlist naturally focuses on tracks from the Dio-led Black Sabbath albums, "Heaven and Hell (1980)" and "Mob Rules (1981)", which were at the time the most recent releases by the band. However about half the setlist are tracks from the first two albums by the band, which includes tracks like "Iron Man", "War Pigs", "Black Sabbath" and "Paranoid". "Children of the Grave" is the only other track on "Live Evil" from any of the other Ozzy Osbourne-led Black Sabbath albums.

The musicianship is impeccable as expected. Dio was such a powerful vocalist and those heavy riffs and determined playing style of Tony Iommi and the powerful heavy rhythm section of drummer Vinnie Appice and bassist Geezer Butler interact like a great organic machine. Unfortunately the sound quality doesn´t follow suit, and much of my listening experience is drowned in the muddy sound. The band´s comments in the booklet to how the mixing process had run, probably explains a lot though. Already on the tour the band were more or less broken up. Dio and Vinnie Appice were driving in one car between shows and Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler were driving in another car. Little things that had not been adressed properly had build up and there was animosity between the two groups. During the mixing process the band couldn´t share the studio, which meant that Iommi and Butler would work on the mix at day and Dio would work on the same mix at night and then Iommi and Butler would enter the studio the next morning only to find that their mix had been altered. This led to the mixing process taking a very long time. Paired with what Iommi himself mentions "an Odd drug problem" he had at the time as an issue, so things just didn´t go as the band had planned.

What should have been a triumphant celebration of the live version of the Dio-led Black Sabbath period, ended up an obituary instead. Black Sabbath weren´t satisfied when the lo-fi sounding "Live at Last (1980)" was released as the first official Black Sabbath, but personally I don´t think "Live Evil" is a much better live album. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

Report this review (#701889)
Posted Saturday, March 31, 2012 | Review Permalink

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