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Band's list Heavy Metal Black Sabbath Heaven and Hell
LP, Released date : 25 April 1980 - Warner Music Group
Produced by : Martin Birch
Style: Heavy Metal

RATING : 18/20
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Tracklist
1. Neon Knights 03:49
2. Children of the Sea 05:30
3. Lady Evil 04:22
4. Heaven and Hell 06:56
5. Wishing Well 04:02
6. Die Young 04:41
7. Walk Away 04:21
8. Lonely Is the Word 05:49
Total playing time 39:30

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203 ratings 4 18/20
Review
20 / 20
    vikingman369, Thursday 14 April 2011 Talk to your friends  
a strong way to usher in a new metal era

For my part, I have often adopted an opinion similar to that of Geezer Butler: namely, that Black Sabbath lost its essence after it became "Tony Iommi and Company". The first sign of this was the departure of Ozzy Osbourne from the band. I'm a die-hard Ozzy-fan, and used to be on the war-path against Dio-sympathizers (aka. Ozzy-haters), until I found a solid, good and original reason for liking who my mother's boyfriend calls "The Little Elf That Could." Then I decided that if I can be mature enough to like Metallica AND Megadeth, Ozzy AND Dio, then perhaps I should give Dio-Sabbath a second chance.

I prefer to refer to this album, as well as Mob Rules and Dehumanizer, as Heaven and Hell albums. The reasons being, if Heaven and Hell is just Black Sabbath, why release "The Devil You Know" under a different name at all? Why go through the whole nine yards of having a new name if its the same band basically? Another, more superficial, reason is that it is sad that Heaven and Hell has two live albums and one studio album before Ronnie James Dio passed away. Therefore, I include these three Sabbath albums in the Heaven and Hell category to acknowledge that Heaven and Hell is nothing new, but a band that has endured the test of and has more under their belt than one 21st century album with a singer in the latter years of his life (though no less amazing then than here).

Dio once said that Heaven and Hell is basically the same band as Black Sabbath...is that true? I think not. Pop in an Ozzy-Sabbath album and we've got horror, devils, drugs, revolution and war. What do we have here, though?

"Neon Knights" is a fast, heavy assault reminiscent of that godfather of thrash metal "Symptom of the Universe" but in speed only. The lyrics are very epic, increased by Dio's roaring yet equally capable voice. "Children of the Sea" is no different, featuring a melodic guitar passage before breaking into a heavy/hard song. Geezer takes us away with his sweet-as-ever bass-slapping with "Lady Evil" before that title-track of title tracks breaks into life. Though the riff reminds me terribly of the closing action from "War Pigs", it is Geezer's dominant bass and the epic lyrics of this song that stand out, especially the line "The ending is just a beginner." But don't get fooled by the slow "heavenly" start, the heavy "hellish" side of the song is about to explode if you stick around for the whole thing.

Okay, this is starting to sound like a track-by-track, I know. But I can't find anything wrong with this album. For all that sounds similar to older Sabbath - which can be excused by the fact that it is the majority of the same musicians who have the same playing style as before...generally - this album feels different. It is as thoroughly enjoyable as Holy Diver is, without that unwanted AC/DC feel to it (nothing against AC/DC, they're bass-ad and everything...maybe even bad-ass, but if I wanted to listen to them, I wouldn't put in a Dio CD).

If I considered this a Black Sabbath album, then I'd have to say, along with Paranoid, it is the best album of theirs that I've listened to. As I have stated otherwise, what we have here is a kick-ass album from a group of kick-ass musicians: a strong way to usher in a new era of heavy metal (which it is, since this was about the time the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was rising, which takes much influence from this band, as well as the later power metal genre. Priest's influence goes without saying, of course.)

Musically, it is a triumph. Tony and his two fingers are shredding and riffing at their best (as usual), Geezer may not have as many lyrics of doom as before, but what we see here is a more epic, medieval feel than the old horror material. Bill, of course, is playing his best. As for the wee veteran of Elf and Rainbow, Dio's real singing on this album is amazing (though predictably tenor), and his growling emphasizes the power in this album. His "sing-to-chord" vocal approach is apparently considered better than "sing-to-riff", and I'll have to attempt to adopt that with my own music. There, see that? Even thirty years later, and after Ronnie James Dio is dead and gone, Heaven and Hell is still influencing bands to reach higher.

There should be no question to getting/listening to this album.




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