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Mob Rules

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Mob Rules was the first Sabbath release to feature Appice on drums (replacing Bill Ward). This album delivers high-octane classics including ’Falling Off The Edge Of The World’ and ’Turn Up The Night.’ This remastered album features in-depth liner notes including new band interviews.

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  • One of the downsides of having such a big music collection like I have is that sometimes it will take me years after buying an album before I actually sit down and listen to it thoroughly from start to finish. The Mob Rules was unfortunately one of those albums. I put off really listening to it for several, silly reasons…one was the album title itself, which seemed so..umm…MOBBISH! Another reason was the cover, which I thought was a bit disturbing, even for this band! And my third reason was the songs themselves, which somehow didn’t impress me too much the first time around.

    Well, I am happy to report that after listening to this album OVER AND OVER again this past month, that I now absolutely love it. Is it as good as ‘ Heaven and Hell ‘? Probably not, but for the time being, I actually like it better, probably due to the fact that I’m not as familiar with it. As with it’s predecessor (or it’s two or three predecessors), the first half is much stronger than the second half, though I’m finding that I really like the last two songs quite a bit now. This is also a terrific sounding album, especially the bass guitar and drums. Not only was this Sab’s second album with Dio, it was also their second album with producer/engineer Martin Birch, who once again, seems to have brought out the best in bassist Geezer Butler. The drumming, too, by Vinnie Appice, is outstanding, particularly on the album’s centerpiece, ‘ The Sign of the Southern Cross ‘.

    The album starts off with a fast and heavy one, “Turn Up The Night”, not one of the strongest lead off tracks on a Sabbath album, but still darn good in its own right. ‘Voodoo’ is another good song, but the album really picks up with seven minute plus ‘ The Sign of the Sothern Cross ‘, which is easily my favorite tune here. The whole band sounds great on this…I love Iommi’s guitar riff and the spooky synthesizers underneath it, Dio’s lyrics, and Appice’s drumming, which I think may be his best ever; I love all of those drum fills he tosses in! ‘ E5150 ‘ is an eerie and atmospheric keyboard and synthesizer and effects driven instrumental, that leads right into the kick butt title track, another fast one along the lines of ‘Turn Up The Night’ only much better.

    The second half starts off with what I think is it’s two weakest tunes, ‘ Country Girl ‘, which has an Irish Pub singalongable quality about it during the verses, and the throwaway track ‘ Slipping Away ‘, on which Geezer gets a chance to play some bass solos. The last two tracks are somewhat better…I particularly like the fast part during ‘Falling off the Edge of the World ‘ and ‘ Over and Over’, though somewhat repetitous, has some great soloing from Iommi…though they are not on par with the great stuff from the first half.

    So, this album is heavy, has some great songs, and it sounds terrific when played loud. What more could one ask from a Black Sabbath album?

    Posted on March 5, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Black Sabbath had just released their 1980 album Heaven and Hell in the midst of a lot of critisism. Sabbath continued to shut their critics up the following year with Mob Rules. The album lineup consists of original members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler with newly instated frontman Ronnie James Dio and drummer Vinnie Appice(who replaced the unhealthy Bill Ward). Although Mob Rules is a classic Sabbath album and a strong follow-up to Heaven and Hell, it certainly doesn’t compare to H&H. For example, the first two tracks on Mob Rules, “Turn up the Night” and “Vodoo”, are straight up rockers that totally kick ass but they don” compare to Heaven and Hell’s “Neon Knights” and “Children of the Sea.” Other strong tracks on the album are the title track and “Falling off the edge of the world” which show that this album wasn’t exactly a crappy follow up to Heaven and Hell. However, the highlight of this album is by far “The Sign of the Southern Cross.” This is an epic 7 minute journey through god knows where that can easily compare to any track on Heaven and Hell. Although this song may be better than any song off of Heaven and Hell, the overall album was not as strong. Not to say I didn’t go out and buy Mob Rules just as fast as I got Heaven and Hell, but you know what I mean.

    Posted on March 5, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Now THIS is ‘metal done right’ from the heyday of truly great world-class hard rock/metal. Heavy, bombastic, plodding, gritty, dark, impending doom only as Black Sabbath can deliver. Everyone else is a pale substitute. Ungodly riffing and emotive lead guitar excursions by the ‘high priest’ of metal guitar himself, Tony Iommi. At age 44, I still listen to this masterpiece a quarter of a century after it was released with my jaw agape. Talk about ’standing the test of time’! Long live Black Sabbath!

    Posted on March 4, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • THE BAND: Ronnie James Dio (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitars), Geezer Butler (bass), Geoff Nicholls (keyboards), Vinnie Appice (drums and percussion) – replacing original drummer Bill Ward.

    THE DISC: (1981) 9 tracks clocking in at approximately 40 minutes. Included with the disc is a minimal 2-page foldout containing song titles/credits/times, band members and thank you’s (no photo or song lyrics). This is the band’s tenth studio album (and Dio’s 2nd with Sabbath). Recorded at the Record Plant (Los Angeles). Album cover artwork by the famed Greg Hildebrandt (with twin brother Tim, they created the artwork for the original Lord Of The Rings – circa 1970’s, the Star Wars posters and assorted Marvel comics). Label – Warner Bros / Vertigo Records (UK).

    COMMETS: As much as I liked “Heaven And Hell” (1980), I always thought “Mob Rules” was more of a complete album. Keep in mind – both albums are outright Dio/Sabbath classics. Ronnie James Dio was clearly in his prime – a five year stint with Rainbow, two classic albums with Black Sabbath, and then his solo career taking off with “Holy Diver” (1983). Somehow I feel “Mob Rules” got the short end of the stick being stuck between two monstrous albums. From the opening cymbal crashes on “Turn Up The Night”, this album rocks. This opening track really kicks the album off to a great start. The lone single “Voodoo” is a slower track with ultra heavy drums. Both tracks have trademark Iommi guitars – rhythm and solos. The 8-minute masterpiece – “The Sign Of The Southern Cross” – is one of handful of Dio’s best tunes (with ANY band). * How did Sabbath’s compilation, “The Dio Years” (2007), miss this single most important song? A sluggish beat, trodden and heavy, cool guitars and effects, and stunning Dio vocals. “E5150″ is a 2+ minute experiment with sound effects and guitars… ultimately the only track deemed skippable. Where “E5150″ almost lulls you to sleep, it’s all for naught as the following fast-paced title track kicks you in the teeth. “Country Girl” is a mid-tempo rocker… strangely, about love and desire. “Slipping Away” has some cool rhythm sections complete with dueling lead and bass guitars. “Falling Off The Edge Of The World” has a delicate and misleading intro… only to break into a fast middle and ending. The album closes on a slow but emotional note with “Over And Over” (including a shredding guitar solo). For me, this album quietly rivaled anything in Black Sabbath’s catalog (5 stars).

    Posted on March 4, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I am sure glad to see I’m not the only one to prefer this over “Heaven and Hell,” the first Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio. That was a good album, but this is better–in fact, this is really, really good.I’ve always found the drum and bass on Sabbath albums a bit sluggish, and while it always seemed to match the dark brooding songs, Vinnie Appice is a bit more energetic and I like that. The real star, though, is Tony Iommi, who is at his best on this album, whether on the slower tunes like “Sign of the Southern Cross” or the faster ones like “The Mob Rules”–wait, that is the only up-tempo song on the album, if you don’t count “Slipping Away,” which is a throwaway standard rocker.Someone on this page mentioned Dio’s ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ thematics, and they were right. But I can live with it, it doesn’t bother me too much, and fortunately Dio has the register and the volume to pull it off. Tenacious D may have claimed to have taken the torch from RJD, but they can’t touch the vocals on this album.I honestly can’t tell if my CD is remastered (so it probably isn’t), but I can tell you that it sounds great–sure you can do rock and roll using all the perks of studio equipment. Twenty-two years old now, “Mob Rules” stands as a classic, not as a replacement for the old Sabbath, but on its own. Bravo Martin Birch, bravo Sabbath–long live rock and roll.

    Posted on March 4, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now