The entire Dio-era catalogue of Sabbath has now been reissued so many bloody times. First there was the original CD issues, then the Castle remasters in 1996, then the Dio years boxed set, and now these deluxe editions. I'm feeling lightly pillaged. But buying these is optional...unless you're a die-hard like me. If you're not, stick to the Dio box. If you are a die-hard, plunge forward.
The big reason to buy this box is the Live at Hammersmith bonus disc. Folks, when Rhino announced this live album I jumped on it immediately. It was sold out immediately, a handful of copies. Limited and numbered, even if it sucked it was bound to be worth a fortune in the future right? Well not necessarily. Now it's been included as a bonus disc. So, for me this sucks -- my Rhino issue is no longer as desirable to collectors. For you, it's awesome. Now you can have this blistering live album, way better than Live Evil!
All the other expected perks are here, including bonus tracks (the soundtrack version of the title track, and a B-side from a 12" single) and liner notes. Throw in some photos and a great remastering job, and you have (hopefully!) the last copy of Mob Rules that you will ever need to buy.
Mob Rules itself is very much a brother record to Heaven & Hell. You have that big dramatic epic ("The Sign of the Southern Cross") the speedy opener ("Turn Up The Night") and everything else in between ("Voodoo"). It's not quite up to the lofty standards of H&H, although it does try to follow the blueprint quite closely. I find the closer ("Over & Over") to be the weak link in an otherwise pretty damn strong chain.
Pick it up to help complete your Sabbath collection, and to hear the awesome Live At Hammersmith.