Black Sabbath – The Dio Years (2007, Rhino)
- Neon Knights
- Lady Evil
- Heaven And Hell
- Die Young
- Lonely Is The Word
- The Mob Rules
- Turn Up The Night
- Falling Off The Edge Of The World
- After All (The Dead)
- TV Crimes
- Children Of The Sea (live)
- The Devil Cries (new recording)
- Shadow Of The Wind (new recording)
- Ear In The Wall (new recording)
(Tracks 1-5 from HEAVEN & HELL, Tracks 6-9 from MOB RULES, Tracks 10-12 from DEHUMANIZER, Track 13 from LIVE EVIL, and Tracks 14-16 new recordings)
Tony Iommi – Guitars
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Geezer Butler – Bass
Bill Ward – Drums (Tracks 1-5)
Vinny Appice – Drums (Tracks 6-16)
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards (Tracks 1-13)
(photo of the current Dio-era Black Sabbath under the new name: Heaven & Hell)
Total Time – 1:19:27
It’s about time the Dio-era of Black Sabbath got recognized. Ever since the late ’90s reunion with Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath history has been suppressed by the band, management, and media unless it was about the original lineup. Fortunately for the fans, the Dio fronted Black Sabbath was so powerful and successful that it still remains a memorable point of Heavy metal history.
For almost two years, Rhino Records has had plans to celebrate the Dio years of Black Sabbath. At first, plans were to have a box set including all four studio albums (HEAVEN & HELL (1980), MOB RULES (1981), LIVE EVIL (1982) and DEHUMANIZER (1992)) and any outtakes there may be. Unfortunately the plans were pared down to a single CD but three new songs were recorded specifically for this collection.
This is a compilation so I am not going to do a song-by-song review except for the new songs. As far as the songs picked to summarize this era’s output, I think it’s an excellent representation. The only two songs I would have liked to have seen added would be ‘The Sign Of The Southern Cross’ (MOB RULES) and ‘Time Machine’ (DEHUMANIZER)…..I wouldn’t have minded eighteen songs instead of sixteen. Obviously, HEAVEN & HELL is the crowning achievement of this era so that album gets a six song representation but it’s nice to see MOB RULES and DEHUMANIZER with multiple songs because I find they are always forgotten under the long shadow of H&H.
On to the new songs…..
‘The Devil Cried’ is a slow dirge that really packs a punch. A wall of Iommi guitar and RJD sounds in top form. This is an extension of the DEHUMANIZER sound: a more modern sound but trademark Sabbath.
‘Shadow Of The Wind’ is another slow piece that harkens back musically to Ozzy-era Sab but with a better singer. Slow and muddy doom, that’s the good thing. Another track at home on DEHUMANIZER.
‘Ear In The Wall’ is the fast rocker. Trademark riffs and vocal but I find that Vinny shines most on this song, he gets to let loose and put in some nice fills.
If you haven’t heard what Black Sabbath sounded like with Dio at the helm, this is a great compilation to get started with. Each album is represented well and the new songs follow the Sabbath tradition. I am still playing this record but I’m really only listening to the new songs now. I know all of the Dio-era albums by heart, the new songs make the difference for me. There is still serious creativity in Iommi, but he’s saddled with Ozzy in the official Black Sabbath. RJD has been churning out excellent albums all along so his mark is especially obvious on these new studio tracks. I wouldn’t mind hearing a new full album under the touring name: Heaven & Hell. I’ll be seeing that show on May 15th!