The Dio fronted Sabbath is the best version of Black Sabbath in my book. Black Sabbath with Ozzy was all about doom and gloom, no imagination or life in the songs what so ever. Don’t get me wrong, some of the Ozzy albums were classics such as Sabotage and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, but when Dio joined in 1979 and 1 year later the band released its’ masterwork, Heaven and Hell. This is the best Black Sabbath album period! Dio’s lyrics are at his best, taking shape during his Rainbow years, Dio songwriting reached it’s peak here. Tony Iommi’s riffage is just as hard hitting on this to any other riff he’s laid down. The rtythm section is tight too, and this being Bill Ward’s last chance in the drummer’s seat with Dio in the band. The album opens with the hard riff rockin’ Neon Knights, and from there on the album is killer all the way to the end. All the songs are classic Sabbath songs as well as for Dio too. Heaven and Hell proved all the skeptics that there was life after Ozzy afterall.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
I know I will stir the pot with this review but I have to say that “Heaven and Hell” is the best Black Sabbath disc to date. Ronnie James Dio is a better singer than Ozzy and I think it shows here. The title track to me is one of the best hard rock songs of all time! There are no filler tracks here and you should get acquainted with this disc before the HEAVEN AND HELL tour comes in ‘07. This disc will not disappoint!
This is the greatest LP ever recorded. You don’t have to believe me. Buy it and find out for yourself.
This is Black Sabbath’s first album without Ozzy, and Dio’s divine performance reveals all of the band’s former front man’s shortcomings. Dio has better tone, better range, and better lyrics, and is just much more powerful than anything the band released in the 70’s, though most those albums stand on their own as heavy metal masterpieces.
Also improved are the guitar sound and the rhythm section. Iommi crunches out riffs that are more than heavy, more than fast, and more than perfect. Bill ward proves he can play straight 4/4 and do it incredibly well, and Geezer plays bass in a way that is unparalleled in rock.
Every song is great, the production is good, and the lyrics will suck you in. From the opening chords of “Neon Nights” to the last tear-jerking chorus and solo in “lonely is the word” Heaven and Hell will enthrall you. It is utter musical perfection and I have no doubt that it will never be equaled.
Heaven and Hell is proof that metal can be powerful, melodic, heavy, and meaningful all at the same time. It is not just for metal heads, but anyone who loves real music.
Again, utter musical perfection. The best album ever recorded.
Ok, maybe not perfection, but dang close! Sabbath absolutely made the perfect choice by picking up ex-Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio to fill Ozzy’s shoes. Personally I find Dio to be a MUCH better singer than the now over-blown Ozzy.
I actually got into the Dio-Sabbath era backwards because at first I got into Dio’s solo efforts. After loving his solo albums Holy Diver, The Last in Line, and Sacred Heart, I decided to go back and check out his efforts with Sabbath. Of course I heard and liked Sabbath of old but for some reason I never gave the Dio era Sabbath a whirl. All I can say is WOW!
The album definitely has the traditional Sabbath sound thanks to the guitar talents of Tony Iommi, but it also isn’t exactly like their past releases either. For this we can thank Dio as like the vocalists to follow him, he was the main lyrical writer. Because he is the main lyrical writer it comes to be no surprise that a lot of these songs seem like they come straight from a Dio solo album. We even get an epic fantasy song called Children of a Sea about a society that lives under the ocean.
The album opener Neon Knights is one of Sabbath’s best songs. It’s a faster number with a great sing along course. Another faster song is the most excellent Die Young which features a simple yet monstrous riff by Iommi. The epic doomier title track is another one of Sabbath’s best songs.
Everything is just grand about this album. The song-writing is mature and well structured and the production is crisp thanks to producer Martin Birch (who later went on to produce Iron Maiden). The songs are all catchy and the guitarmanship is aw-inspiring. The album may not be as groundbreaking as their debut or Paranoid, but it very well might be better.
It’s would have been interesting to see where the band would have gone if Dio stayed in the group. Some might either view it as a good or a bad thing that he left, but after hearing such a good album as Heaven and Hell, one can’t help but wonder…
I have had this for about a year, and I cannot stress this enough: Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath is very possibly the best rock album EVER. I cannot put into words how great this album is. Ronnie James Dio’s powerful voice was not so much a replacement for Ozzy Osbourne, it was more of a transformation. This “new” Sabbath sounds NOTHING like the old Sabbath. The musical and lyrical themes are magical, mystical kinds of stuff.The album kicks off with, in my opinion, the best Sabbath song in their entire career. “Neon Knights” also happens to be my all-time favorite rock song. Right from the start, you know that something has changed about the band. They start off with a hard-rocking groove, and then all of a sudden… Dio’s amazing voice takes the music into another dimension! In terms of songwriting, this is one of the best songs in either Sabbath’s or Dio’s catalog. The climax of the song, though, is Iommi’s guitar solo. I could listen to this guitar solo on repeat for the rest of my life. Feel it!The second song, “Children of the Sea,” is slower, and heavier. The main crawling criff is one of the best on the album, and Dio’s vocal part is very melodic and beautiful. This is one of the best songs on the album.”Lady Evil” is an uptempo rocker that makes you want to move! “There’s a place just south of Witches’ Valley…” This is also a highlight of the album. It has one of the best guitar solos on the record, as well.”Heaven and Hell,” for many people, is the climax of the album (and for good reason!). From the opening hard-driving riff, you know this song is going to be something special. The guitar pummels away with the rhythm section for a little while, then pulls back, leaving only the drums and a mid-paced, galloping bass line. Enter Dio! He enters, singing his now classic line “Sing me a song, you’re a singer…” After the verse, Dio sings “So it’s on and on and on…”, while the guitar comes crashing in, slamming out mighty power chords, and then turning into a sludgy, heavy riff. When the guitar pulls back again for the second verse, faint harmonized guitar leads can be heard echoing in the distance, giving harmony to the verse, where there was none before. After the chorus this time, the sludge riff keeps going, and Dio wails his final verse over it. One final chorus is extended for maximum build-up, and then a crashing finale! But wait…… it’s not over. It is time for a monstrous, epic guitar solo! Starting quietly and slowly, Iommi creeps in, displaying his lesser-known talent for melodic beauty. Echo and delay effects make the solo very tripped-out and unbelievable! It ends on a fermata, and all is calm. Suddenly, Bill Ward starts a newer, faster beat, and all of a sudden the band comes crashing in, with power never before known!!! Dio screams and wails the song’s final melody, with more intensity and inspiration than anyone could dream possible. He is soon joined by Iommi’s lead guitar again, this time a fast maniacal solo that is technically impressive while still being melodically beautiful. This is the end to one of the best metal epics EVER. The song ends with a baroque-style acoustic guitar pattern that fades into the distance.Then, suddenly, the first power chords of “Wishing Well” shake the silence! This is another great melodic track.”Die Young” is one of the highlights of the album, with its furious, power-chord-driven riff, and infectious melody. This song contains some of Iommi’s best guitar work on the album, even the little filler licks in between the vocal lines are incredible. Some of Iommi’s most inspired work.”Walk Away” is the only track on the album I would not recommend to everyone. It is kind of a pop attempt, and many Sabbath fans slander it for this reason. However, it is still a very good song, and should be appreciated for what it is.The closer, “Lonely Is the Word,” is obviously a personal song to Iommi. It is sloooow, and very bluesy. Tony Iommi himself says that it is one of his favorite guitar solos. This is a very sad song, but very calm also, and a great way to close the album.What else can I say? If you are a fan of rock music, this is one of the best things you can possibly spend your money on. It has been my all-time favorite album ever since I got it, and it still is! It stands the test of time, and has redeeming value through many, many listens.