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Black Sabbath - Mob Rules CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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3.47 | 397 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Here's a satisfying hit of bottom-heavy metal from the genre's founding fathers which will appeal to prog fans looking to take their intellect down a few notches and revel in what makes rock music so fun: pure excitement, energy, and electric crunch. Mob Rules abounds with each of these, and while the songwriting is only occasionally elevated beyond straight-ahead hard rock fare, the experience is completely satisfying.

Black Sabbath's down-tuned, gloomy sound for this release follows in the footsteps of the excellent Heaven and Hell, the album which revitalized the band. Mob Rules has that same sense of scope, weight, and power. Iommi's guitar work is excellent throughout, while Geezer Butler continues to be one of the most underrated bassists in the history of rock. These two guitarists lay down a ton of sound, and unlike metal music which would appear later in the decade - and in contemporary metal, for that matter - the production is smart enough to let us hear them play! You can pick out every fuzzy riff of Butler's bass and each threatening note of Iommi's chord transition. He also does some powerful soloing throughout - any one else think that the guitar solo is rapidly disappearing? Great playing!

Dio is incomparable as always. He's one of the all-time greats in the genre and it shows throughout the album. A lesser vocalist would not pull off these songs, even the mediocre ones like "Country Girl." Lyrics throughout this album are not as engaging as in previous Sabbath albums, but they aren't all bad either. Some have a lot of gravitas that increase the scope of the album.

Highlights include the sleazy vibe and style in "Voodoo", the world-ending power chords of "Sign of the Southern Cross," and the rip-roaring energy in "Falling Off the Edge of the World." Unfortunately, for each of these moments there's a less ambitious "Mob Rules," "Country Girl," and "Slipping Away," hard-rock filler that strives for radio-friendly play, but feel like concessions when compared to the other more interesting songs.

All in all, Mob Rules is very satisfying. With only a few prog or art moments, it's appeal will be limited to the listener's interest in classic - and above average - heavy metal, but that shouldn't prevent one from cranking up the stereo and letting Black Sabbath give us an ear-full of what real heavy metal sounds like.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |


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