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Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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4.07 | 661 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Sabbath catches the Rainbow

With their lead voice Ozzy gone and a couple of albums coming in before this one that didn't hit as hard as their earlier material, Sabbath really had to regroup on this effort. Clearly, recruiting someone like the legendary lungs of Ronnie James Dio of Rainbow would do just the trick, and it did. This effort is far and away from most anything that Sabbath has done before, and the change is a breath of fresh air. With the force of Sabbath's overwhelming dark nature with their evil lyrics and doom guitars combined with Dio's excellent vocals and fantasy style lyric and music writing the band molded into a whole new beast. Obviously one to be reckoned with as well, as it's easy to see while looking back on this disc just how much it impacted the face of metal coming into the 80s with the sound of the albums seeming to have paved the way for influential acts like Iron Maiden. Sabbath may have been a driving force in metal already, but with this album they really defined the way the genre would go over the next decade, and even until now. In fact, but many this is considered ''the first power metal album''.

While Sabbath's sound was often defined by heaviness and a kind of overwhelming sea of music it's been changed here. While the riffs still fill the air the music is more evened out by Dio's voice giving it a dimension that it never had before. Whether this be good or band is really up to you, but this album really seems to be coming after you instead of expecting you to be immersed by the waves of guitar. This is evident right off the bat from the time Dio's voice comes in and brings us to the first refrain of the stellar opener, Neon Knights. Other songs on the first side maintain the old Sabbath feel with the very traditionally Sabbath Children Of The Sea which is likely the most immersed you'll get by riffs listening to this album. Dio's voice still acts a driving force, bringing us further into the album.

The second half of the album is just pure power metal. While this may not always been 100% attractive to the normal prog head the music here is performed just so damn good that it's easy to overlook. These guys are amazing musicians, so even tunes like the strangely upbeat Wishing Well make for a great listen thanks to flying guitar solos and a crazy drum beat. If the first half of the album had a very Sabbath feel to it, this half almost has a thick Rainbow feel to it. Listening to a tune like Die Young you can really hear where a young Iron Maiden would have been listening and getting ideas with it's prominent bassline and ripping guitars.

The biggest standout (and most progressive song) on the album as to be the title cut. Heaven and Hell is a tour-de-force of amazing guitars, vocals and all around instrumentation wrapped up in a short seven minutes. Starting out dark and chugging like a normal Sabbath this one explodes into full blast at the middle of the song with a full shift in time and tone making for a very, very satisfying song coming into the end. Sinkadotentree likely described this section of the song best in his review of the album when he said, ''This is insane!''. I really couldn't put it better.

While not purely prog as the 70s would have us believe, this album is still progressive in the sense of what it would soon do for metal music in general. The playing is sharp, every song is a killer and Dio's voice is always satisfying. This one has to get 4 black winged angels out of 5. Absolutely essential to any metal collection, and an excellent addition to a prog collection. Fans of Prog metal will be delighted, and anyone who likes metal in general certainly need to check this one out. Highly recommended!

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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