Black Sabbath
Heaven and Hell


4.5
superb

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
April 4th, 2010 | 48 replies | 4,582 views


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ozzy WHO?

10 of 10 thought this review was well written

Even the greatest haters of Ozzy Osbourne will have to admit one thing: the work Black Sabbath created in the 70’s fronted by the Prince of Darkness has never been topped in terms of creativity, influence and whatnot. Paranoid still stands as one of the finest heavy metal albums of all time. But things had gotten out of hand with Ozzy, and the original Sabbath was no more. Their latest records Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die! were disappointing to say the least. Sabbath sounded tired and uninspired. No singer could possibly step in to save them from utter doom and despair.

But then we got the tiny man with the tall voice: Ronald James Padanova, better known to the world as Ronnie James Dio. Known for his work with Elf, and more so, Rainbow, he seemed a rather unlikely candidate for Sabbath; Osbourne’s eerie, off-key performances were quite the opposite of the voice emboweling pure might (and magic), let alone technical ability. The question was: would Ronnie actually work with Sabbath?

As the new music proved, Dio was giving the band exactly what it needed: a new, fresh direction to pull it out of its creative misery. A new decade was home to a new start. The group’s ninth album, Heaven and Hell, was not just great. It was the very best since the band’s prime that ended with Master of Reality. Dio is the basis of why this became possible. His fantastical lyrics (he took over penning songs from Butler at this point) were different, but still suited the band’s early image, and his voice gave new possibilities. Dio could impress vocally, and while earlier records focused heavily on the dense guitar work of Iommi and Butler, the vocals were now really a big part of the experience.

"They were totally different altogether. Not only voice-wise, but attitude-wise. Ozzy was a great showman, but when Dio came in, it was a different attitude, a different voice and a different musical approach, as far as vocals. Dio would sing across the riff, whereas Ozzy would follow the riff, like in "Iron Man". Ronnie came in and gave us another angle on writing."
~ Tony Iommi

The three original members fittingly adapted their sound. No longer was Sabbath a sludgy, doomy monster that played slow and dark tunes. The leads were still vintage Iommi, and yet played with an energy and more upbeat feeling that had previously been impossible for the band. From the moment the opening to Neon Knights kicked in, everyone knew this was a very different Sabbath. But it was a brilliant Sabbath. The riffs are pumping, the bass is a prominent support (we’re talking Geezer Butler here, after all), and Ward’s trademark drum fills have made a triumphant return. On sings Dio, across the riff indeed, as he mightily commands the protectors of the realm to ride out, and beckons the captains to sail across the seas of light.

Heaven and Hell is a record that sounds vigorous. And while credit is obviously mostly given to that new, revived Sabbath, we have a legendary heavy metal producer on board. Thanked must be Martin Birch (also known for his work with Deep Purple and Iron Maiden, among others), who does a tremendous job as usual. Heaven and Hell was the clearest-sounding Sabbath record thus far, and that perfectly worked with the group’s new sound.

Despite it being a somewhat short experience, everything on this album is grade A-material. The epic title track, featuring one of Dio’s finest performances and one of Iommi’s finest solo’s in both their careers, the mystic Children of the Sea, the oh-so-cheesy but nevertheless oh-so-enjoyable Lady Evil, the fitting finale Lonely is the Word, it’s top-notch from beginning to end. The length is not even an issue, since a longer album would have only made it repetitive despite the strength of the material. Everything is just in its right place here.

Heaven and Hell was not just a magnificent comeback. It was also the birth of a brand new Sabbath, and even stands as one of the finest efforts the group has ever put out, surpassing even some of the excellent albums in their first era. that, truly, is one great achievement. Ronnie James Dio had given a band new hope and new inspiration, and he came around at the precise right time. Of course, Black Sabbath would never be the same again without Ozzy. Listening to Heaven and Hell, that isn’t a bad thing at all.

Heaven and Hell’s Black Sabbath was:

- Frank Anthony ‘Tony’ Iommi ~ Guitar
- Ronald James ‘Ronnie Dio’ Padanova ~ Vocals
- Terrence Michael Joseph ‘Geezer’ Butler ~ Bass Guitar
- William Thomas ‘Bill’ Ward ~ Drums
- Geoff Nicholls ~ Keyboards


Sabbath Classics:

Neon Knights
Heaven and Hell
Die Young
Lonely Is the Word


TO BE CONTINUED…



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user ratings (1320)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
April 4th 2010



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I intended to do this sometime later this week, but too many ideas popped up, so here 'tis already. Mob Rules will obviously follow.

Countess
April 4th 2010



818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review for a great album

cinaedus
April 4th 2010



26298 Comments


I was waiting for you to work on this discog again! Good stuff Nag.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

bloozclooz
April 4th 2010



1770 Comments


the work Black Sabbath created in the 70’s fronted by the Prince of Darkness has never been topped in terms of ... influence

more influential than Death? whoa

Dryden
April 4th 2010



12928 Comments


album rules

maidenpmcc
April 4th 2010



1424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Brilliant album, I like the 1st half of the album better than I like the 2nd half.

LeotardMessiah2
April 4th 2010



311 Comments


^do you like iron maiden

maidenpmcc
April 4th 2010



1424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ofcourse I do, best band on the planet - period. I'm actually a fanatic.

Nagrarok
April 4th 2010



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Ofcourse I do, best band on the planet - period.


Be that debatable, Hallowed Be Thy Name IS one of the best metal songs ever created, regardless of anyone's opinion of Maiden.

maidenpmcc
April 4th 2010



1424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes Nagarok, Hallowed Be Thy Name is arguably their greatest song ever.



TheSpirit
April 4th 2010



17192 Comments


Prowler, Charlotte the Harlotte...

Digging: vhmnt / blsphm - vhmnt / blsphm

Countess
April 4th 2010



818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Hallowed Be Thy Name is arguably their greatest song ever"

arguably? which would be greater then?

TheSpirit
April 4th 2010



17192 Comments


Prowler, Charlotte the Harlotte..

maidenpmcc
April 4th 2010



1424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Alot of people would consider Rime of the Ancient Mariner or even Paschendale as their greatest ever song.

Countess
April 4th 2010



818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what about "Iron Maiden"

Dryden
April 4th 2010



12928 Comments


wat about it

LepreCon
April 4th 2010



3607 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh, wasn't expecting this until tomorrow at the earliest but all the better for it, good review as always, this stands as my joint favourite Sabbath album with Paranoid.

maidenpmcc
April 4th 2010



1424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son also.

TheSpirit
April 4th 2010



17192 Comments


Wraithchild
Run to the Hills
The Trooper
Aces High
2 Minutes to Midnight
The Wicker Man
The Clairvoy...






HOLY SHIT IRON MAIDEN RULES /m/

Greggers
April 4th 2010



2375 Comments


A Nag discography continues, all is good in the world

Great review mate, as usual.



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