In 1979,After Ozzy left Black Sabbath,Dio became the new singer of the band giving the band a new life and new energy.You can feel right from the opening song "Neon Knights",that something about them has changed.Some tought,are quick to criticize Dio and of course those people just want Ozzy and nothing else,if you have an open mind then you will probably like Sabbath-Dio,if not then just don't like it that's all.Ronnie James Dio,has an amazing voice and in my opinion,he's a way better singer than Ozzy and can really bring a song to life.I can understand those people because I was once like them,beleving that Ozzy was the only true singer of the band but once I heard them with Dio it all changed.I think that Sabbath was great with Dio,maybe not as much as they were with Ozzy,but Dio certainly had his place in Sabbath and the albums he did with the band are memorable and classics ones with some great songs.
One big change is of course the fact that lineup is now consisting of Toni Iommi,Geezer Butler,Bill Ward and Ronnie James Dio,but another change is that Iommi's guitar playing has changed in the transition of Ozzy to Dio.He plays awesomely in my opinion and comes out with some rocking riffs that really stick to your head.In a way Dio is much more of a musician while Ozzy is a singer.This album has much more melody than previous albums and its a masterpiece that can sometimes be overlooked.The lyrics can also be more profound and real,they are different than in their previous album,you'll notice.Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio is still Black Sabbath to me lets make this clear.
The albums starts out with one of the best metal songs ever in my opinion,"Neon Knights" which has a great riff by Iommi and at this point already you know you're in for something special."Children Of The Sea" is considerably slower and more of a rocker.Dio sounds amazing on this one and its really an emotional song about courage,one of the best songs on the album."Lady Evil" is another great song with a good chorus and there is really nothing to complain about.I often have some of the lyrics in my head,"Lady evil,evil,she's a magical,mystical woman..." its got a good groove what can I say?"Heaven And Hell",the title track is amazing starting out slow and gradually becoming more intense.The solo in this song is amazing!A highlight of the album."Wishing Well" is pretty good,there's nothing really special,the song is just great."Die Young" is excellent no less."Walk Away"'s the song I don't really like,it's good at what it is,no more."Lonely Is The World" is a good bluesy closer but nothing exceptionnal here.
Dio was the best choice for a replacement singer,some bands after loosing such important members as Ozzy was decide to quit but sometimes continue and in some case do very well and Sabbath was one of those bands.Everything is top notch,the songs,the playing,everything is there and the result of "Heaven And Hell" is a masterpiece and one of the best Sabbath has ever done.I can't say it enough,this album is a must-have and it should be in any serious rocker's collection.Its a highlight in both Sabbath and Dio's careers.
on April 14, 2008
I still remember the first time I listened to Heaven And Hell. I was in awe. I couldn't believe that Dio fits like glove to the band. You have the impression they've been together forever. Coming from Rainbow, which is more of a Deep Purple sound, Dio made Black Sabbath darker and and created with them three masterpiece albums! Who would think, that a group that everybody thought was losing it after the horrible Never Say Die, will come back so strong! After so many great albums with Ozzy, they wrote some stunning material-Heaven And Hell, Die Young, Children Of the Sea, Lonely is The World, Neon Knights. It's about the whole album. One masterpiece after another. I love Ozzy, but I get mad when I hear people saying that Black Sabbath with Dio isn't Black Sabbath! It is! And no less than 100%
Now touring like Heaven And Hell (and sounding better than ever, I saw them last year), I cannot wait to hear the new album they are recording together.
on May 30, 2004
This is Black Sabbath's best album with Dio, easily ranking above the very good Mob Rules and the good Dehumanizer. I am a fan of Dio's solo work as well as the Ozzy and Tony Martin led Black Sabbath and this is one of the best of all of them. Dio's work with Black Sabbath is excellent and under-rated because Ozzy is so rich and famous. The opener Neon Nights is brilliant, and a good attention getting tracks that reaks of vintage masterpiece Dio. The cliche about Dio says he's the ultimate Dungeons and Dragons guy, but I put him more fantasy and I highly doubt any or most Deungeons and Dragons geeks listen to Dio. You can get chicks listening to Dio but you can't get chicks playing D & D. Track 2 Children of the Sea is also brilliant and a definate album highlight. Lady Evil is sexy and funky. The title track is the great album's ultimate masterpiece, a testament to the magesty of both Dio and Sabbath. The rest of the album is also good but I'm covering the highlights. Recommended for dark fantasy type people like myself.
on May 25, 2004
Heaven And Hell (1980.) Black Sabbath's ninth album.
Following the recording of Black Sabbath's 1978 effort, Never Say Die!, they were forced to expel legendary metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne out of the band. Ozzy would start a solo career, but would would Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, and Tony Iommi do without a vocalist? The answer to that question was simple. Get a new one. Ronnie James Dio, who previously did lead vocals in the blues rock outfit Elf and former Deep Purple member Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, became the new Black Sabbath vocalist. How would Black Sabbath measure up without Ozzy? Read on for my review of Heaven And Hell.
I had some serious doubts when I heard that Black Sabbath released material without Ozzy in the band, even though I knew that Ronnie James Dio was a great metal vocalist. Well, one things for sure - this album SHATTERED those doubts, and made me feel stupid for ever having had them! Heaven And Hell is Black Sabbath's BEST ALBUM. Period. Sorry to disappoint all you Ozzy loyalists, but it's the truth. Neon Knights, the opener, is fast-paced hard rock with a slight melodic touch - just the kind of sound that Dio demonstrated he could do beautifully in his Rainbow days. The slow-paced Children Of The Sea comes next - it's the album's ballad, if you'd like to call it such. The slow and melodic side of Sabbath never sounded finer. Lady Evil is another Rainbow-esque classic hard power rocker as only Dio could shell out. And with Sabbath backing him, the results can only be promising. By far, though, the strongest track on this album is the lengthy title track. Tony Iommi is a guitar god, and he's demonstrated it tons of times both before and after the release of this album, but NO TRACK SHOWS THAT HE IS A GUITAR GOD THE WAY THIS SONG DOES. The opening solo to this track is the best damn guitar playing he has EVER done. Combine that with some priceless vocals from Dio, and you know very well you've got a masterpiece on your hands. It is immediately followed up with another excellent rocker, Wishing Well. Once again, you get some killer vocals from Dio here. From start to finish, Heaven And Hell flat out rocks.
THE TEXT IN THIS PARAGRAPH REFERS EXCLUSIVELY TO THE WARNER BROS. AMERICAN REISSUE OF THE ALBUM. Warner Bros. did a fine job remastering and rereleasing the Black Sabbath catalogue, as did they several other artists. Unfortunately, they didn't really do anything outside of improving the sound quality. You don't get expanded liner notes, interviews, bonus tracks, or anything. It's kind of a disappointment, but it doesn't change my views on the album itself.
Heaven And Hell is, for lack of a better way of putting it, a masterpiece among masterpieces. When you take the heavy metal vocal mastery of Ronnie James Dio and pair him up with Tony Iommi's guitar expertise, the results can only be good. If you're a fan of Black Sabbath, or a fan of ANY band Ronnie James Dio has ever played in, this is a must own.
on March 9, 2004
Hey nu-metal kids, Sabbath was kicking ass way before Limp Bizkit was a wet dream in the record company's mind. Dio vocals kill, as of now, I cannot find anyone (rock/pop/other) who has the range, power, and intesity of Ronnie James Dio. Not say the other Sabbath members should be forgotten.
Iommi, has to be one of the most underrated guitar players of all time. He consistanly rocks, even if the rest of the band isn't up to par. (***Please note this is not in reference to this album***) I can say that Iommi's riffs could easily hold up with modern nu-metal with Iommi crushing the compotision.
As I said in the "The Mob Rules" review, Gezzer can be heard on this album and it is killer. Bill Ward is another serverly underrated palyer in Sabbath. He can go at it with anyone for that era (But he does fall to John Bonham).
"Neon Knights" gets this album rocking, and it doesn't stop. See other rockers "Wishing Well", "Heaven & Hell", and "Die Young". Sabbath put out two awesome records with Dio and two of my favorites. Also the artwork for both "Heaven & Hell" and "The Mob Rules" are on my list for coolest of all time.
on January 2, 2004
Wow. This album, I mean CD, brings me back to 1980. I was a huge Sabbath fan at the time. I loved everyhting they did. I remember seeing this in the New Release section of the record store and was psyched. Then I flipped the album over to look at the names of the songs and was shocked to see no Ozzy! How could there be a Sabbath without Ozzy? Oh well, I thought. They were a good band while they lasted. Then a friend of mine bought the album and called me up to tell me how good it was. He was a casual Sabbath listener and I thought it was only for those who "kind of" liked Sabbath. Boy, was I wrong! He brought it up and I was totally blown away. Yeah, Ozzy's voice was missing, but here was a new, vibrant, heavy, youthful sounding Sabbath. I couldn't believe my ears. Fast, full throttle rockers, slow churning, heavy rockers, melodic interludes, and the signature Sabbath crunch of Tony Iommi's guitar. (By the way, I believe some of his best work is on here) It took a while to get used to Ronnie James Dio's vocals in the mix, but it was worth the wait. As for the lyrics, Ronnie brought in a bit of mythological mysticism with enough dark undertones to make for some exciting new songs.
I will always love this album. It heralded in a new, albeit short-lived chapter of Black Sabbath history. It was sad that the line-up didn't remain because I believe they would have been the biggest act of the decade, even eclipse Ozzy's success (which was sadly due only to his drug and drink influenced behavior and not his new musical direction. Sorry Ozz, but it's true) Anyway, this IS Sabbath, like it or not. It rang in a new decade of heavy metal music and was THE album that broke the floodgates open for the NWOBHM that was to follow. Buy it, enjoy it. It's great heavy metal and it's great Sabbath.
on September 2, 2003
Man, this was a total transformation. From the opening chords of NEON KNIGHTS, you know something changed drastically in the band, much more than a troublesome change of singers (Dio replacing Ozzy). It has a totally different sound, more powerful, more crisp, more "talented" (production courtesy of Mr. Martin Birth, a magician who went on to produce the best Iron Maiden albums. By the way, where is he nowadays? Probably turning down offer after offer...)
There was a total change, including lyrical approach (by the way, if somenone can explain me the meaning of Dio's lyrics in this album, please call me!!). The bass is loud, really loud, ad Ward never sounded fresher. Man, the eight tracks are awesome, fantastic (yes, even WALK AWAY. It may be a little pop, but the band play it with conviction, adn Dio's voice is at its peak on this one.)
LIke the old saying goes, good things never last, and this line up lasted only one album. Appice replaced Ward for MOB RULES, still featuring Martin Birch handling the production, and this was also a very, very strong album. THen, Dio left, the band accusing him, him accusing the band, and Sabbath became the solo project of Tony Iommi.
on July 13, 2003
I have had this for about a year, and I cannot stress this enough: Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath is very possibly the best rock album EVER. I cannot put into words how great this album is. Ronnie James Dio's powerful voice was not so much a replacement for Ozzy Osbourne, it was more of a transformation. This "new" Sabbath sounds NOTHING like the old Sabbath. The musical and lyrical themes are magical, mystical kinds of stuff.
The album kicks off with, in my opinion, the best Sabbath song in their entire career. "Neon Knights" also happens to be my all-time favorite rock song. Right from the start, you know that something has changed about the band. They start off with a hard-rocking groove, and then all of a sudden... Dio's amazing voice takes the music into another dimension! In terms of songwriting, this is one of the best songs in either Sabbath's or Dio's catalog. The climax of the song, though, is Iommi's guitar solo. I could listen to this guitar solo on repeat for the rest of my life. Feel it!
The second song, "Children of the Sea," is slower, and heavier. The main crawling criff is one of the best on the album, and Dio's vocal part is very melodic and beautiful. This is one of the best songs on the album.
"Lady Evil" is an uptempo rocker that makes you want to move! "There's a place just south of Witches' Valley..." This is also a highlight of the album. It has one of the best guitar solos on the record, as well.
"Heaven and Hell," for many people, is the climax of the album (and for good reason!). From the opening hard-driving riff, you know this song is going to be something special. The guitar pummels away with the rhythm section for a little while, then pulls back, leaving only the drums and a mid-paced, galloping bass line. Enter Dio! He enters, singing his now classic line "Sing me a song, you're a singer..." After the verse, Dio sings "So it's on and on and on...", while the guitar comes crashing in, slamming out mighty power chords, and then turning into a sludgy, heavy riff. When the guitar pulls back again for the second verse, faint harmonized guitar leads can be heard echoing in the distance, giving harmony to the verse, where there was none before. After the chorus this time, the sludge riff keeps going, and Dio wails his final verse over it. One final chorus is extended for maximum build-up, and then a crashing finale! But wait...... it's not over. It is time for a monstrous, epic guitar solo! Starting quietly and slowly, Iommi creeps in, displaying his lesser-known talent for melodic beauty. Echo and delay effects make the solo very tripped-out and unbelievable! It ends on a fermata, and all is calm. Suddenly, Bill Ward starts a newer, faster beat, and all of a sudden the band comes crashing in, with power never before known!!! Dio screams and wails the song's final melody, with more intensity and inspiration than anyone could dream possible. He is soon joined by Iommi's lead guitar again, this time a fast maniacal solo that is technically impressive while still being melodically beautiful. This is the end to one of the best metal epics EVER. The song ends with a baroque-style acoustic guitar pattern that fades into the distance.
Then, suddenly, the first power chords of "Wishing Well" shake the silence! This is another great melodic track.
"Die Young" is one of the highlights of the album, with its furious, power-chord-driven riff, and infectious melody. This song contains some of Iommi's best guitar work on the album, even the little filler licks in between the vocal lines are incredible. Some of Iommi's most inspired work.
"Walk Away" is the only track on the album I would not recommend to everyone. It is kind of a pop attempt, and many Sabbath fans slander it for this reason. However, it is still a very good song, and should be appreciated for what it is.
The closer, "Lonely Is the Word," is obviously a personal song to Iommi. It is sloooow, and very bluesy. Tony Iommi himself says that it is one of his favorite guitar solos. This is a very sad song, but very calm also, and a great way to close the album.
What else can I say? If you are a fan of rock music, this is one of the best things you can possibly spend your money on. It has been my all-time favorite album ever since I got it, and it still is! It stands the test of time, and has redeeming value through many, many listens.
on July 10, 2003
Rarely do you see an album that is so solid through and through. Most people point to 'Paranoid' as Sabbath's all-time classic, and with good reason, but in my opinion it is only the original Sabbath line-up's finest effort. 'Heaven and Hell' takes the crown for greatest Sabbath album and greatest heavey metal album ever. To me, the line-up of Iommi-Dio-Ward-Butler is the true Black Sabbath: they were meant to play together. I'm not even going to discuss specific songs since all of them are top-notch, not a single throw-away or filler. Dio's vocals and songwriting are at their best, Iommi's guitar just lets loose on this album (check out 'Lonely Is The Word,' the two guitar solos just put anything today's "guitarists" can put out to absolute shame, but then again even Iommi at his worst can do that), and while Butler and Ward aren't as brutal and up front as they are in their brightest rythem moment('Paranoid'), they still lay the beat down competantly and easily justify their position as one of the greatest rythem sections ever. I love this album and it is one of the three that never leaves my side wherever I go. I think that says it all right there.
on April 11, 2003
Black Sabbath made their mark in the early seventies with the sheer incredible power of "Paranoid" and "Master of Reality". Though later albums contained great tracks, especially "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", they never really approached the brutal drive of those two albums. Ronnie Dio's hiring really rejuvenated this band, and "Heaven and Hell" was the first album in nearly ten years to capture that ferocious power. The sound is a little different- much more professional, which is why Ozzy sneeringly referred to them as "Blackmore Sabbath". But there's no sneering at this album. It picks the pace way up from where they had been, and Dio's more operatic voice fit them perfectly. Every cut here is a killer; "Wishing Well" and "Walk Away" less so, because if you've heard any of Dio's other albums (solo or with Rainbow) you'll find these annoyingly familiar. The title track is a deep dark mystical trip with a ferocious ending, "Children of the Sea" and "Neon Knights" are great cuts, and the finish is slamming. "Die Young" is a terrific speed-rush of a song, and "Lonely is the Word" has some of Iommi's best guitar work. In fact, most of Iommi's best guitar work is on this album. "Lonely" and the quiet ending of the title track are nice and necessary cool-downs from the intensity that came before them. You need to do two things: 1) Get this album and 2) play it very loud. Wait till the neighbors are gone, and crank it very loud. It will make your other albums sound bad.