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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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3 stars I know what you're thinking - here is another of these hardcore Ozzy fans who dismisses any other Sabbath lineup! To that I can only say; shame on you for being so prejudice and... please keep on reading!

The addition of Ronnie James Dio to the original instrumental lineup was probably one of the best vocalist substitutions in rock music's history! The only other one I can think of right now is that of Bruce Dickinson joining Iron Maiden. For Black Sabbath, this obviously meant a fresh new start where the members quickly started experimenting with new types of songs and arrangements. Among these were the fast-paced Neon Knights and dark semi-ballad Die Young which would have never worked in Ozzy's repertoire.

So why the whole good, but non-essential rating then? Simply because this is the weakest out of the three Dio-era studio albums (including Dehumanizer!). Most of the time the material works just fine but then there are those really weak tunes that just never appealed to me. Among these are Lady Evil and Walk Away which clearly show the band's inexperience as a collective. It's not that Sabbath weren't trying new things, on contrary, they did a lot of experimentation where some stuff worked and other simply didn't. The main reason for that would be the fact that the lineup had not yet come into their own and haven't learned the optimal way to incorporate Dio's vocals into Sabbath's repertoire.

Even though Heaven And Hell features great classics like Neon Knights, the album's magnificent title track and Die Young, the overall experience and fan reception reminds me a lot of Paranoid where the album is judged as a sum of its highlights while completely ignoring the grey areas. Fortunately it didn't take long for the band to blossom and Mob Rules is a great example of just that!

***** star songs: Neon Knights (3:51) Heaven & Hell (6:58)

**** star songs: Children Of The Sea (5:33) Die Young (4:43) Lonely Is The Word (5:53)

*** star songs: Lady Evil (4:24) Wishing Well (4:05) Walk Away (4:24)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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