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Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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4.07 | 660 ratings

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4 stars Heaven and Hell is the ninth full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Black Sabbath. The album sees the first lineup change since Black Sabbath began their recording career with their self-titled debut in late 1969/ early 1970. The inevitable exit of lead vocalist Ozzy Osbourne was a result of clashing egos, musical differences and an extensive drug and alcohol abuse. The latter reason meant that rehearsals for their ninth studio album were drawn out for nearly a year and the work was done in an unpleasant atmosphere. As a consequence of the animosity and fighting guitarist and main composer Tony Iommi made the decision to fire Ozzy Osbourne from the band in 1979. Former Elf and Rainbow frontman Ronnie James Dio was brought on as the new lead vocalist in Black Sabbath and finally the band started working on writing new material for what was to become Heaven and Hell. in addition to Ronnie James Dio keyboardist Geoff Nicholls was also added to the lineup. He was initially brought in as a replacement for Geezer Butler on bass as Geezer Butler left the band for a short while during the sessions for the album. When Geezer Butler returned Geoff Nicholls shifted to keyboards.

The music on Heaven and Hell still sounds unmistakably like Black Sabbath. Ronnie James Dio is a powerful and very skillful singer and compared to the last couple of albums by Black Sabbath where Ozzy Osbourne sounded rather uninspired and tired, Ronnie James Dio´s performance here really ignites the dying spark in the band and re- launches Black Sabbath´s career. It really sounds like they quit the drugs and ate some vitamines instead because this album just oozes of the joy of playing music. The songs are all powerful heavy metal tracks and a few of them even have an epic edge to them I can´t remember hearing in Black Sabbath´s music before. Songs like Children of the Sea and Heaven & Hell are really majestic. The only song I´m not that fond of is Walk Away which has a bit of AOR/ soft heavy rock feeling to it. But it´s not really bad. Songs like Neon Knights, Lady Evil and Die Young just blow me away. Raw power and great songwriting. Note how fierce yet melodic Tony Iommi´s guitar solos sound on this album. Talk about a resurrection.

The musicianship is absolutely outstanding. The best performance up until then in their career. There´s so much bite and will to work for a great result that it´s breathtaking.

The production by Martin Birch ( Deep Purple and Iron Maiden among others) is powerful. A very professional production that suits the music perfectly.

I wasn´t mature enough when I listened to this album fifteen years ago and dismissed it for being soft heavy rock which at the time was of no interest to me. Heaven and Hell has really grown on me ( or I´ve grown up) and today I regard it as one of the best albums by Black Sabbath and a classic in the genre. It fully deserves a BIG 4 star rating. It´s highly recommendable to fans of heavy yet melodic heavy rock/ metal.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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