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.