Black Sabbath
Mob Rules


3.5
great

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
April 6th, 2010 | 56 replies


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Heaven and Hell, Vol. 2

While Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell and its follow-up Mob Rules are often regarded as being created by the same formation, this is not true. Bill Ward was the second original member leaving Sabbath, finding it hard to cope with the death of both his parents in a short space of time. He was replaced by American drummer Vinny Appice, causing membership to become even more mixed. Mob Rules, already the group’s tenth album, continued Sabbath’s comeback started with Heaven and Hell and it seemed things continued going well again for the once diminished force.

Sabbath's tenth is very much a continuation of the sound created with their ninth. The same fantastical lyrics and powerful vocal performance by Dio and the still heavy but yet streamlined sound are once again present. Nevertheless, it cannot be helped to hear that while Heaven and Hell was a superb album, even finding its place among Sabbath’s very best, it’s follow-up is a minor disappointment. This is due to a few issues. The compositions may be similar, but almost never reach the height of those that served as their inspirations. Of course, it was almost impossible to make this a finer record than its predecessor by keeping up the very same style, but apart from that reasoning, the songs are just never as good. How much of this is due to the loss of Ward is debatable, but it is certain this had its effect. The drummer had always been an integral part of the band’s sound, and Appice just doesn’t cut it compared to him. The newcomer never even makes so much as a dent in Mob Rules. Of course, he’s hard to hear under Iommi’s driving riffs, Butler’s bass heaviness and Dio’s vocal might, but you could clearly hear Ward in Heaven and Hell. Unless I start listening the drumming on purpose, it goes by unnoticed.

But do I lay all the blame on Appice? Of course not. I only fear that the creativity in the band worked best when Ward was in the band together with Iommi and Butler, and that had been partly taken away as an effect of his absence. Don’t get me wrong though. Mob Rules is a great Sabbath album, but it is significantly less compelling that Heaven and Hell. Turn up Night, Sign of the Southern Cross and Falling Off the Edge of the World, for example, are damn excellent tracks, but it is in some moments that Mob Rules definitely doesn’t feature equally strong writing. Too many moments, among them Voodoo and Slipping Away have the band on auto-pilot composing, their riffing being repetitive and too standard-fare for Sabbath’s doing. Others are even pointless, such as the strange instrumental E5150 and the silly Country Girl. These are what detract strongly from the album's overall quality.

I won’t be too critical though. Iommi and Butler have always been one of the best guitar/bass-interplay duos in the genre, and Dio’s vocals are a force every metal band would have liked to have on their side at some point. It’s just a shame that, after Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules just isn’t as consistently delivering the goods, some weaker tracks definitely being present. This was also the last album fronted by Dio, who broke up with the band after discussions about him putting up his vocals too high in the mix. Whether this was a good or a bad thing is debatable. Possibly, if he had stayed, the next Sabbath record would have been even more of a step down from this, although still enjoyable. But then again, if he hadn’t left with Appice to form Dio, we wouldn’t have had Holy Diver.

Mob Rules is, with good reason, the last really respected piece in Sabbath’s discography, although some of their later work is still worth looking into. Another end of an era for the group, who would work with a variety of singer, bassists and drummers from this point onwards, creating quite a few decent records but nevertheless fading into oblivion. This record is what it is: a great Dio-era record, but certainly no Heaven and Hell. Despite that, those who enjoyed that album will most certainly find this a necessary addition to their collection.

Mob Rules’ Black Sabbath was:

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


Sabbath Classics:

Turn Up the Night
The Sign of the Southern Cross
Falling Off the Edge of the World


TO BE CONTINUED…



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user ratings (838)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
NeroCorleone80 (4)
A worthy, underrated follow-up to Heaven and Hell....

krusty85 (4)
The follow-up to "Heaven and Hell" and the second album with Sabbath Mark 2, "The Mob Rules" is a ve...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
April 6th 2010


8409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There will be obviously some dissapointed with my rating.

NeutralThunder12
April 6th 2010


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

very good review, I'm between a 2.5-3 on this one, it's no where near as good as Heaven and Hell. POS

NeutralThunder12
April 6th 2010


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wait Neon Knights isn't on here????

Nagrarok
April 6th 2010


8409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No, on Heaven and Hell of course.

Jethro42
April 6th 2010


12947 Comments


look at your recs ;)

NeutralThunder12
April 6th 2010


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ha you rec'd it though...

Nagrarok
April 6th 2010


8409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oops. That was meant to be Turn Up the Night. Fix'd in a sec.

LepreCon
April 6th 2010


4343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review though obviously I disagree a bit

shindip
April 6th 2010


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sick album. voodoo and sign of the southern cross are the tits

EVedder27
April 6th 2010


6088 Comments


Great work as always Nag, never knew they had so many albums.

BigHans
April 6th 2010


26515 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I need to give this album a full listen. Good job as always.

Jethro42
April 6th 2010


12947 Comments


I only know the title track on here. Great song. I prefer by far the Ozzy era.


Nagrarok
April 6th 2010


8409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

never knew they had so many albums.




Well, they've had more than 40 years to create them all, plus they were busy, busy, busy in the early 70's.



I prefer by far the Ozzy era.




Nothing they did after the Ozzy-era can compare to it. The 'real' Sabbath sound will always be with the first six classics they made. I do appreciate their other work though, especially with Dio of course.

kygermo
April 6th 2010


1000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dio mixing his vocals too high in the mix is actually Live-Evil, not Mob Rules. Great review, have a pos. My thoughts about Appice are the exact same. Do check out my review for The Rules of Hell if you get a second.

Nagrarok
April 6th 2010


8409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dio mixing his vocals too high in the mix is actually Live-Evil, not Mob Rules.
.



I never wrote it was on this album that he did it, did I?

Ire
April 6th 2010


41851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh noes

Nagrarok
April 6th 2010


8409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Classic? Really?

Jips
April 6th 2010


1139 Comments


its damn good... but the classic is Heaven and Hell

Ire
April 6th 2010


41851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think they are pretty equal.

Nagrarok
April 6th 2010


8409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I cannot imagine anyone would look at them equally, but you are of course entitled to your own opinion.



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