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Better than "Heaven & Hell"
le 18 janvier 2004
I know what they're going to say: "There's no way 'Mob Rules' is better than 'Heaven & Hell'". Let me explain.
Simply put, "Mob Rules" is a harder, more edgy effort than "Heaven & Hell". The album opens with a fast, churning rocker, "Turn up the Night". We then move into a more "typical" Sabbath sound with the bluesy "Voodoo". The third piece is one of the best on the album: "The Sign of the Southern Cross". It's an epic worthy of a Black Sabbath Greatest Hits album. It also shows Dio's voice as we'll never hear it again on any other effort - Soft, serene, soothing (only to be shattered by a strategically placed power chord to introduce the rest of the band). E5150 is, well, dumb - and the low point of the album. I'm not sure what Sabbath was toying with here, but I do know that "5150" is the American Police Code for the criminally insane. The title track is the hardest song on the album, and another one of my faves. Also a contribution to the soundtrack for 1981's "Heavy Metal: The Movie", "The Mob Rules" makes you want to really stand up and shout (no pun intended). I call the next two songs, "Country Girl" & "Slipping Away", twin songs for obvious reasons. Though many fans overlook these two, I really like the blues-metal, foot-stomping "Slipping Away". It comes complete with guitar rests to show off Vinny Appice's drumming, & an echo effect on Dio's vocals for some added attitude. This song also shows a glimpse of some chops from Geezer Butler & Tony Iommi. I don't think the album ends well with the last two cuts, "Falling Off the Edge of the World" & "Over and Over". These last two songs sound much like an afterthought, and as a result, they are rather forgettable.
The album cover is one of the best "traditional" heavy metal covers I've seen, whose hooded figures look like inner city dregs stalking thier next victim. Martin Birch's production is clean and crisp, especially for the 1980's.
On the downside, E5150 is a waste of time & the last two cuts are weak. I wish the CD had photos and lyrics...
After listening to this album, (I know this may be blasphemy to some) I think Dio-era Sabbath is better than the traditional line-up with Ozzy. Either way, the album is a must have for any fans of the "Golden Age" of traditional heavy metal.