Skiddle Rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: 5th April 2010
Reviewed by: Jay Longley
Black Sabbath need no introduction. The masters of Heavy Metal and one of the most prolific bands of all time have re-released three of their Dio-era classic albums as beautifully presented, remastered Deluxe Expanded Editions.
Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules and Live Evil feature Tony Iommi’s bone-crushing riffs, Geezer Butler’s rumbling bass and ex-Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio’s wide-ranging, gravelly vocals, brought to the fore by seamless production. With every listen you are grabbed by the scruff of the neck and wrenched back to the glory days of post-Ozzy Black Sabbath.
Heaven and Hell
The classic 1980 release is the first to feature Dio on vocals and includes the bludgeoning title track, the enchanting accoustic intro of ‘Children of the Sea’ and a glorious slice of metallic cheese on album opener ‘Neon Knights’. In addition, the expanded edition includes live cuts and B-sides such as an epic 12-minute jam on ‘Heaven and Hell’.
From the hurtling aggression of live staple and opener ‘Turn Up the Night’ to the Zeppelin-esque psychedelia of ‘The Sign of the Southern Cross and twisted, bass-heavy gig-opener ‘E5150’, Mob Rules sucks you in and has its way with you before spitting you out bewildered but oh-so pleased. Bonus disc, Live at the Hammersmith Odeon is a classic in itself and features additional tracks from Ozzy’s tenure including ‘War Pigs’, ‘Paranoid’ and the disgustingly heavy ‘Iron Man’.
Live double album Live Evil sees the band’s third incarnation (Vinnie Appice replacing Bill Ward on drums) at their momentous best before Sabbath’s catastrophic implosion. The band tears through its back catalogue, Iommi shredding every last note, backed up by the menacing low-end of Geezer Butler’s bass and Dio’s versatile vocals. Stand-out tracks include ‘Black Sabbath’, ‘N.I.B.’ and ‘Children of the Grave’.
With the design and quality of the packaging and the crisp remastered sound, each of these albums is a worthwhile buy for die-hard Sabbath fans and metal-lovers alike.