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The Devil You Know

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  • This live concert recording captures the sold-out Radio City Music Hall performance of former Black Sabbath rockers Ronnie James Dio, Vinny Appice, Tony Iommi, and Geezer Butler, who reunited under the name Heaven and Hell in 2006. Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: MUSIC DVD Rating: NR Age: 603497992447 UPC: 603497992447 Manufacturer No: 243708


When metal masters Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice reunited for the first time in 15 years to record new bonus tracks for Rhino’s 2007 compilation Black Sabbath: The Dio Years, an otherworldly force reignited their musical connection. ’Everyone had so much fun playing together that we didn t want it to end,’ the band recalls. It didn’t- they reformed as Heaven & Hell- named for the classic 1980 LP that was the lineup’s debut as Sabbath-and staged a triumphant, sold-out world tour throughout 2007-2008. Fueled by their chemistry on the road, the quartet returned to the studio in 2008 to record THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, their first new set of original material since 1992’s Dehumanizer.

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  • Regardless of what anyone says, The Devil You Know is the fourth Black Sabbath album featuring Ronnie James Dio on vocals despite the change in the band’s name. The only reason they are going by the moniker Heaven and Hell is because they do not want to be bothered by Ozzy-obsessed fans when playing live.

    Just like its predecessor, Dehumanizer, the album was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales in only three months, which has given the band the chance to capture a rather live feel which is both intense and powerful. The band did take a longer time to write the album though, partly in England and partly in the USA.

    The Devil You Know expands on the classic Sabbath sound, chock full of thunderous riff work, stomping drum intensity, growling bass lines, and godly vocals. This album once again solidifies the fact that Dio is and always will be the voice of Heavy Metal. He is in fine form here, slightly straying from his style on his recent solo material, and revisiting his glorious past where he exerts a doomy vibe on some of the tunes that fits the compositions like a glove.

    It all begins with the sonic punch that is “Atom & Evil” (Adam & Eve) whose rolling drum intro suggests the production on this disc is huge and powerful. Everything sounds crisp; the range of dynamics is great and the instrumentation very vivid. As Iommi lays down his unique riffs, a dark, menacing atmosphere is achieved and perfected with the arrival of Dio singing lyrics of abstract symbolism. Note the use of discreet synths in the background, proceeding through a terrain of rhythmic power. Also pay attention to the mini-riff that is planted beneath Dio’s vocals on the chorus. That riff doesn’t let go till the end — it is absolutely fantastic.

    Being a fan of Sabbath’s darkest and heaviest material, tracks like “Follow the Tears,” (what a great, great song!) “Bible Black,” and “Breaking into Heaven” are the album’s most shining moments. The heavy, almost sludge-infested opening riff of “Breaking into Heaven,” once again complete with metaphorical lyrics about fallen angels trying to break into paradise, is a modern take on doom metal while the intro of “Follow the Tears” is so heavy that it would crush just about anything that gets into its path. Iommi will always be the god of riffs, as his writing has been unparalleled for over thirty years. He unleashes riffs, rhythms, and solos unlike any other guitarist in the world. His acoustic guitar playing on “Bible Black” is stunningly dark, as is his volatile, chugging lead solo that follows it. The way the song builds from a pain-ridden dirge to a monstrous finale induces goose bumps every time. Add to this Dio’s vocals that recall his stuff from his most underrated album Strange Highways and Iommi’s schizophrenic solo and you have a masterpiece of composition.

    Geezer Butler mostly stands out on the bass-centric “Double the Pain,” again with vocals reminiscent of Strange Highways, where he lays down a sick, stomping bass solo. Likewise, it is the bass that permeats “The Turn of the Screw” which boasts a shred-intensive guitar solo that erupts like a volcano following the patient build-up. This would make for a perfect live performance given the energy between the drums, bass, and guitars.

    About the other songs, “Eating the Cannibals,” the shortest song on the album, is the loud, in-your-face number, retaining its heavy drive from start to finish while “Fear” sees Dio’s most theatrical singing highlighted with awesome drum fills by Vinny Appice (whose work on the earlier albums is much, much better — perhaps the best drumming in Heavy Metal).

    Admittedly, “Rock & Roll Angel” and “Neverwhere” lack the same intensity and songwriting bliss of the other tunes, but the lead solo on the former is arguably Iommi’s finest on this album as it recalls his blues-inflected playing on Mob Rules quite a bit, and the latter is a hook-laden, catchy rock anthem into which scalding riffs and slamming drums are tucked.

    A great entry into the mostly brilliant Sabbath catalogue. Though at this point, I rank it below the other three albums with Dio, this is still one of the best Heavy Metal albums of the year.

    Posted on December 16, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The best thing about the new Heaven and Hell CD “The Devil You Know” is that there is not one blessed thing 2009 about it. I don’t mean that as an insult either.

    From the campy 80’s metal cover art to the 10 track listing that seems utterly trapped in a Side One/Side Two, LP format… to Dio’s unending stream of Dungeons & Dragons lyrics… There is nothing modern about this CD… and that is why I love it.

    There is no denying the talent here, the direction. This record is so F’ing heavy, and not in the modern sense of all of these players that shred like they get paid a dollar a note… The music on “The Devil You Know” is outstanding. Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Vinny Appice and RJ Dio simply crush everyting in thier way with a sledgehammer of riff’s and unrelnting power… music changes and people beg, borrow, and steal what they like from the best, but no one makes music like this anymore.

    This CD could have come out anywhere between 1975 and 1995 and it would have seemed right at home. I just hope the guys continue to enjoy the union and that a tour and new album are already on their minds…

    This record may not be what some of you wanted but it sure is what rock needs a bit more of.

    Posted on December 15, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Black Sabbath with Dio were always great. Everything they did together was brilliant and as good as their best Ozzy records. Their new album is amazing. I don’t think we’ll have a better metal album this year. Everything that defines Black Sabbath is there- thunder bass from Geezer Butler, great riffs from Iommi, heavenly vocals from Dio. I don’t understand the one and two star reviews. I guess they are from frustrated new musicians. They don’t understand that metal is not about technique. Some newer bands have great technique, but the most of them sound dull and uninspired. You don’t remember anything after you stop the CD. The more style definitions, the duller the band. These days , everyone can get a guitar and play and even record music. And frustration comes quickly when they realize they can never compete with the great bands. They envy Sabbath because they can never be as great as they are And what a stupid review starting with “I never liked Sabbath or Dio…” So, then, why the hell are you writing a review? With these words, you make it automatically irrelevant! An intelligent person does not listen to music because of technique. Some of the greatest songs ever were amazingly simple.

    Posted on December 15, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I have been a BIG Black Sabbath fan for decades.. i have owned most of the records in vinyl before CDs existed, i have over 100 live audio shows and many video boots from years of patiently collecting and trading..

    I remember when i was growing up in South America, it was impossible to find any of Sabbath’s records with Ozzy and the only way i was able to hear Paranoid was to borrow a cassette copy from a kid who lived in Los Angeles and was had returned to live back home. The first time i heard Paranoid, i was ecstatic.
    The first LP i have ever owned was ironically ‘Heaven and Hell’ when a friend and I pooled some saved allowance money and bought a locally released copy. (neither one of us could afford to buy the record on our own.. remember, i grew up in a third world country and we were just kids with no money.) We used to take turns and hold the record to listen to it.. so, when i first got the Heaven and Hell LP i spent hours listening to it many times in my bedroom using a really cheesy turntable with a built-in speaker. It was an amazing experience.

    When i made my first trip to the USA, the first thing i did was to buy every single Sabbath vinyl record i could get my hands on..
    When i went back home to South America two years ago, i brought the same friend who i had purchased the Heaven and Hell LP with, a copy of the live Heaven and Hell DVD.. and he loved it.

    When i heard the band had decided to record an album after their successful tour as “Heaven and Hell” i started counting the days.. and now.. finally the record is here!

    NOTE: The band are calling themselves Heaven and Hell NOT because “they do not want to be bothered by Ozzy-obsessed fans when playing live” as one clueless reviewer wrote here in The truth is that Sharon Osbourne forced Tony Iommy legally to use the Black Sabbath name ONLY when playing with Ozzy as a condition do a reunion tour(s) with him.

    After listening to “The Devil you know” i can tell you the following:

    1-The production is flawless (if you are a long time Sabbath fan, you know some of their records suffer from less than stellar production.. like Born Again)

    2-Dio’s voice is amazingly intact. The guy is truly one of the most amazing metal singers of all time (if you’ve heard Ozzy go out of tune singing with Sabbath in Ozzfest more than once, like i have, i am sure you can relate.)

    3-The songs are heavy and powerful.
    Most of the them are midtempo (slow). Older songs that i think are closer to the songs on “The Devil you know” are “Falling off the Edge of the World” or “Lonely is the word”
    There are no fast songs like Neon Knights or Turn up the Night, and while that is not a bad thing, it may put off some fans.
    This is not a remake of “Heaven and Hell”, “Mob Rules” or “Dehumanizer”, this album stands on its own.
    IMHO, the songwriting is better than Sabbath’s last album with Dio, Dehumanizer, which seemed to me like the band was forced to write the songs just to release an album.

    A few reviewers have criticized this album for sounding the same, that the lyrics are not that good. that there are not GUITAR HERO anthems!!
    Well.. i am glad the band didn’t write a Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules or Dehumanizer clone.. that would have been too easy.I am glad they didn’t write any cheesy guitar hero anthems for clueless teenagers, and if for some reason you think Dio’s lyrics are too juvenile or trivial, maybe you shouldn’t be listening to pop music!
    The lyrics in “The Devil you Know” are just fine, after all this is a BLACK SABBATH record (even if the band is called “Heaven and Hell”) and the lyrical subjects are not up for a change, not 30 years ago, not today.

    Let’s face it.. the band doesn’t really need to release another album.. they don’t need to write some cheesy billboard charting single or Guitar Hero track, they don’t need to be on tour (specially if you consider the fact that these guys are in their sixties!) they have enough money.. they are still touring and releasing albums because they still have the passion for writing and playing music, and this album demonstrates that.

    “The Devil you know” ranks right along some of the great Sabbath albums, with or without Dio!
    The days of watered-down commercial Sabbath records are gone (if you’ve heard the “Forbidden” album you know what i am talking about).. this is pure Black Sabbath!

    This album is recommended to ANY metal fan!
    Black Sabbath invented HEAVY Metallic music and the fact that the band can still write GREAT music after more than 30 years is a testament to the greatness of Black sabbath (er.. i mean “Heaven and Hell”)

    Posted on December 15, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • 1980 brought together some of the most well respected members of the Metal/Rock community for what is considered one of the genres shinning moments. It goes without question that Sabbath took the 70’s by storm but Ozzy felt the need to branch out on his own and allowed (whom was front man of Rainbow at the time) Ronnie James Dio to grasp the reigns and Sabbath become something darker, heavier and what many consider two of their best studio albums were released under Dio’s reign of Sabbath. The question as to which was better suited for Sabbath in my opinion is irrelevant. Both Ozzy and Dio suited the music of their time in Sabbath and both are amazing vocalists and both are legends in the genre.

    So was I surprised when these boys got back together? Yes, I was completely blindsided when the news that the 80’s lineup was getting back together under a new banner. When the initial shock wore off I was excited when I realized I would get a chance to see this line up live. I went to their show skeptical, hoping to hear all the classics of their time, and I wasn’t let down. Just getting to hear them play “Neon Knights” was enough of a Metal dream come true to leave me satisfied. I went home smiling and waited and waited and waited and finally after many months of anticipation the news broke that Heaven & Hell would be releasing a completely brand new album with all original tracks, I was floored. I expected a best of, or a live compilation but no, years after their last studio album they were going to give their fans a completely new dosage of Dio era Sabbath, under the title of The Devil You Know.

    The album kick’s off with “Atom & Evil” A track that is true to the Dio era Sabbath albums. Tony and Geezer are the first to shine on the album with a low riff bordering on the darker side of things which soon turns to pummeling bass lines, slow pounding drum work and some amazing riffing by Iommi. Dio shows fine form from the get go and once you hear his tone you already know this is going to be a quality album, it’s all business in the vocal department, no filler. “Fear” the second track on the album kicks up the tempo a bit with a ripping guitar riff, bombastic drumming and more of those pummeling bass lines but soon Iommi cranks up the speed with some mildly fast paced riffing that shows these guys got some spunk in em even after all this time. The execution is flawless on The Devil You Know and the third track on the album “Bible Black” starts off with some well played acoustics and some mesmerizing soloing from Iommi, Dio’s voice is full and strong and soon the track explodes into one of the heaviest tracks thus far. Geezer puts down some fairly complex bass lines here accented by more crushing riffs by Iommi.

    By this point the only one whom hasn’t really shown off his skill is Vinny on drums, but what you do hear from him is quality and every now and then he breaks out some interesting patterns on the cymbals. “Bible Black” is easily one of the ’stand out’ tracks on The Devil You Know and has some of the finest guitar pieces from both Iommi and Geezer. “Double The Pain” begins with some creepy bass work and then erupts into another chugging catchy riff from Iommi. By this song both Iommi and Geezer are on fire throwing out some of the best playing we’ve heard of them in many years. The vocals on Double The Pain are some of the catchiest yet and just when things don’t seem to be able to get better Iommi shreds up his fastest solo yet. The fifth track on the album starts up with similar chugging riffs and some intense grinding bass work accented by Dio’s to the point lyrics and vocals. Half way through “Rock And Roll Angel” comes easily one of my favorite solo’s by Iommi which starts out backed by acoustics but later the riff from the beginning of the song fades in and Iommi finishes out the song laying down some very nice acoustics while Geezer puts down some mellow B lines.

    Half way through “The Turn Of The Screw” is an upbeat track where Dio let’s fly some of his finest vocals thus far in the album. Vinny starts to get a little more creative with his patterns towards the end of the track and both Geezer and Iommi accent one another with more upbeat riffing leading into yet another amazing solo from Iommi. One would think Dio would be the member to steal the spotlight but Iommi’s playing on The Devil You Know is definitely the icing on the cake, the man hasn’t lost an inch of skill since his days in Black Sabbath and some parts even rival them. “Eating The Cannibals” turns the pace up even more as both Iommi and Geezer throw down some of their fastest riffs and lines on the album, Vinny continues to use some interesting patterns and then Iommi again steals the show with some incredible soloing in the latter half of the song, this track is yet another stand out but the band isn’t done yet, not even close. The eigth track “Follow The Tears” is easily the darkest track on the album beginning with an eerie organ playing in the back ground as Iommi shreds up some nice riffs, the song erupts into a barrage of chugging thrashy riffs, slow drum patterns and pummeling bass work by Geezer. This is easily my favorite track on the album and has has some of the most addicting riffs and vocals on the album, the track ends with some superb soloing and fades out with the same intense riffing it began with.

    “Neverwhere” explodes into a rollicking track with an upbeat atmosphere and has a faster pace not unlike “Eating The Cannibals”. This track is pretty much straight forward Metal with no filler except for some nice soloing and a few complex B Lines from Geezer, overall one of the few tracks on the album that just sounds like your basic old school Rock/Metal song. Leave it to these guys to go out with a band on their debut with “Breaking Into Heaven” which starts out a slow rolling tune that soon turns into a mid paced riff fest between Geezer and Iommi. Theirs a couple parts where Geezer breaks away and his bass over powers Iommi and even Vinny manages some decent cymbal work but it’s Iommi that steals the show again with one of the best solo’s on the album before the band rips out one last chorus and then ends it with a simple fade out as if to say “We don’t need a three minute long finale to blow you away!” and that’s true, I was blown away after the first couple tracks.

    I waited outside for four hours to get this album first thing and it was worth every minute. All in all the band is in great form as a whole, nothing but quality music from start to finish. But as in all things there are those that shine on this album more then others. Dio puts down a solid performance, his voice isn’t what it was back when these guys first banded together but still solid vocal’s from start to finish and some extremely catchy and on point lyrics. Vinny on skins was the only one that really felt to be keeping it down a notch though he did manage to toss in a few surprises towards the end of the album. Geezer is still one of my favorite bassist’s and one of few reasons I myself took up the bass as a kid, through out the album he shone as one of the stronger members of the group whether it be his subtle thudding licks or his complex breakaways the man still has it and demands attention. However, the MVP of The Devil You Know is by far Tony Iommi as he shows some of his finest playing to date and some solo’s that make even his earlier work look amateur. He in my opinion is the leader of this pack and he lead them to a triumphant victory, fans of Iommi will be pleased with what he has to offer on this debut and may even surprise some especially being 61 years young.

    A history making release that actually lives up to it’s hype. I recommend this to all fans of Rock and Metal alike, I am sure this will become of of 2009’s greatest releases and I for see lot’s of airplay for Heaven & Hell in the coming days, weeks, months and years. Now I just can’t wait to hear these song performed live, the next thing to look forward to from this history making group. Thank you for reading and I hope that my review at least kept your interest for a few moments and ultimately helped at least a few of you to purchase this ground breaking album. If it had helped you please let me know by hitting ‘Yes’ below where it asks Was this review helpful to you?

    As an after thought if you don’t already own them I recommend fans of Heaven & Hell to also purchase the following recordings…

    Heaven And Hell By Black Sabbath
    Mob Rules by Black Sabbath
    Live Evil by Black Sabbath
    Iommi by Tony Iommi
    Plastic Planet by Geezer
    Rising by Rainbow
    Holy Diver by Dio

    All are excellent albums especially the first two studio releases of this line up with Dio as front man, the third Sabbath album is a live album with the same line up and is of excellent quality for a live album of it’s time. To hear some more amazing guitar work by axe wizard Iommi be sure to check out the self titled debut solo album, which features some interesting guest vocalists through out the rock and metal universe. If a fan of Geezer Butler’s intense and often complex style of Bass playing as I am then Plastic Planet is an amazing solo album featuring Fear Factory vocalist Burton C. Bell. And of course are the two must have albums by any fan of metal icon Dio, both of which show him at his best. Again I hope that my review was helpful and gave you some insight into this amazing line up as they once again give a definition of what it is to be a great rock band. We can only hope these guys plan to continue releasing music under the banner of Heaven & Hell and continue ravaging the world with their earth shaking live performances.

    Posted on December 15, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now