It is said that all good things must come to an end. So was the case for Heaven and Hell
, the titanic group of heavy metal musicians from Rainbow
and Black Sabbath
. About a year after this album came out, the world of heavy metal lost its strongest voice. So here we are, The Devil You Know
and the memory of the late Ronnie James Dio
, what have we now?
As much as I'd love to heap praises upon this album, this isn't as powerful as it could be. Having heard the Live
at Radio City CD and DVD, the bar is set high for these performers. Unfortunately, on this album, the fast songs don't deliver as much as the slow or mid-paced ones, which can make the album a chore listening to all the way through.
The album's beginning is a slow one, but "Atom and Evil
" is a decent effort nonetheless. It is slow and crawling, like the spider in its song. Furthermore, here on this album, more than an entire career of Dio
and three other Heaven and Hell
albums, the 'evil-ness' of Dio
comes out. No longer singing about rainbows, he comes off as the voice of hell incarnate, especially on this track.
Possibly the biggest track on this album is the "Bible Black
", which, by the way, has nothing to do with the anime of the same name. This song is about a man who finds a grimoire and slowly becomes possessed by it, until he is taken at last to hell. Dio
's voice and Tony's guitar really bring this blood-chilling tale to life, just as well as any tale of rainbows and trolls.
As said before, the mid-paced and slow songs are the really good ones on this album. "Rock and Roll Angel
", unfortunately, gets ignored in favor of the album's big single "Bible Black
". But that opening riff is epic: you can just imagine the angel's steel wings unfurling to a great span as Tony Iommi
proves that even now, years and years since the 'good old 70s', he can still produce amazing riffs...with two fake fingers, I might add. Harkening back to the days of Black Sabbath
, this song, like "Symptom
of the Universe
", ends soft and acoustic, in sharp contrast to the crushing heaviness.
If singing about your feelings and how much you've failed is the mark of an emo band, please explain "Follow the Tears
" to me. It is heavy as fuck, possibly the only time in Tony Iommi
's career with Heaven and Hell
that he's turned his guitar back to the old Black Sabbath
C-sharp tuning. Of course, it's even heavier and better live. Perhaps the most chilling part of this song is the verse: "The consequences of conscience is that you'll be left somewhere, swinging in the air." No matter who you believe in or what side of the political spectrum you hail from, this is sure to resound with just about everyone.
The rest of the album really isn't that remarkable, except for the last track. Here is where the evil and epic-ness gets flushed out one last time before we bid farewell to Heaven and Hell
forever. "Breaking into Heaven
" is Milton's Paradise Lost
, coupled with the satanic image of Satan
, a la the Norwegian black metal scene, all brought together by Ronnie James Dio
's old but epic voice and Tony Iommi
's crushing guitar riffs. Unfortunately, this one is doomed to be the song that was never played live and receives almost no recognition from the fans of Dio
ends now: it is too evil, heavy and fucking amazing to be ignored!
All in all, this deserves 17 or 18 of 20. When you've only got one enjoyable fast track, "Fear", and Geezer gets only one big moment to shine, "Double the Pain
", Vinny is being Vinny and Dio
is on his last leg, well, the results will never be another Heaven and Hell
album. All that aside, this album still kicks major ass, and as we hear Tony's guitar fade out on "Breaking into Heaven
", we can only wish that Ronnie James Dio
, if he went to hell, clawed his way out and is Breaking into Heaven
now as we speak, to earn his rightful place as a god of rock and roll and heavy metal.