on September 15, 2003
Destined to be overshadowed by it's predecessor, the immensely popular (and deservedly so) HEAVEN AND HELL, Dio's second effort with the band is actually one of the most underrated and under-appreciated album in Black Sabbath's canon. I would even try to argue that MOB RULES is just as good, if not a little bit better at times, than HEAVEN AND HELL.
The main credit to this album's success is that it maintains its brilliance all the way though... HEAVEN AND HELL is a great album, no doubt, but the album's best and most memorable songs are tagged onto the front of the album, with the last song on it being the worst on the album (still good, but not fantastic). Not so with MOB RULES... every song on this album is absolutely fantastic, with no slip in quality whatsoever.
"Turn up the Night" is what we've come to expect from Dio... an upbeat and fast-paced metal song with infectious harmonies and wailing vocals. "Voodoo" is a nice mid-paced rocker with some impressive riffs to its credit. "The Sign of the Southern Cross" is without a doubt the masterpiece of the album, and the best song Dio ever did (Sabbath and otherwise). An epic that clocks in at 7:49, it's an undeniable highpoint in the band's career... nothing that Sabbath did afterwards even comes close to matching it.
The band does some experimenting with "E5150," which I guess you could compare to VOLUME 4's "FX," SABOTAGE'S "Don't Start (Too Late)" or any other tinkerings the band did throughout its career. The title track is another instant classic, and when the band slows things down in the middle of the otherwise heavy "Country Girl," you can't help but be impressed. Out of the last three songs (all of them amazing songs), the incredibly catchy "Falling Off The Edge of the World" comes across as the best...
If you haven't picked this up for some crazy reason, drop what you're doing and do so immediately. Not to put down anything that Dio did in his solo career (which was much better than Ozzy's, by the way), MOB RULES is perhaps the best thing that he was ever associated with. It's an unsung classic in the metal community, and an essential release. One of the very best...
on March 29, 2003
After 1980's successful Heaven&Hell, Black Sabbath continued down an almost identical path for its follow-uo, 1981's Mob Rules. The album is a near exact copy of H&H, but when the music is this good I'm not gonna complain. Ronnie James Dio's vocals remain strong(indeed his voice is far superior to Ozzy's) and he continues to lead the band effectively. Tony Iommi's guitar work is great, just as in H&H(somewhere between Ozzy and Dio his guitar style changed totally, and this change fits Dio's vocal style perfectly). Geezer Butler lays some good rythems on bass, espescially on Voodoo. New drummer Vinny Appice is no Bill Ward, but still a very good skin-pounder.
The songs themselves are great again(with the exception of the odd E5150) with epics(Sign of the Southern Cross), mid paced tracks(Voodoo, Country Girl) and all-out heavy metal(Turn Up the Night, Mob Rules).
Black Sabbath would never be quite as good after Dio's departure in late 1982. Mob Rules represents Black Sabbath at their Dio-era peak, and one is left to wonder about what they might have gone on to do had he and Tony Iommi not had a falling out.
on February 25, 2003
I am sure glad to see I'm not the only one to prefer this over "Heaven and Hell," the first Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio. That was a good album, but this is better--in fact, this is really, really good.
I've always found the drum and bass on Sabbath albums a bit sluggish, and while it always seemed to match the dark brooding songs, Vinnie Appice is a bit more energetic and I like that. The real star, though, is Tony Iommi, who is at his best on this album, whether on the slower tunes like "Sign of the Southern Cross" or the faster ones like "The Mob Rules"--wait, that is the only up-tempo song on the album, if you don't count "Slipping Away," which is a throwaway standard rocker.
Someone on this page mentioned Dio's 'Dungeons and Dragons' thematics, and they were right. But I can live with it, it doesn't bother me too much, and fortunately Dio has the register and the volume to pull it off. Tenacious D may have claimed to have taken the torch from RJD, but they can't touch the vocals on this album.
I honestly can't tell if my CD is remastered (so it probably isn't), but I can tell you that it sounds great--sure you can do rock and roll using all the perks of studio equipment. Twenty-two years old now, "Mob Rules" stands as a classic, not as a replacement for the old Sabbath, but on its own. Bravo Martin Birch, bravo Sabbath--long live rock and roll.
on December 16, 2002
While it might be heresy to say so, I like Dio Sabbath better than Ozzy Sabbath. RJDs voice is a better match for Iommi's low, pre-goth guitar than Ozzy's high pitched, nasal offerings. Dont get me wrong, "Paranoid" and "Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath" were terrific achievements, but Sabbath met their true voice on "Heaven and Hell."
Speaking of "Heaven and Hell," many have effectively argued that "Mob Rules" is less consisten, and a slightly less successful rehash of its predacessor. Be that as it may, "Mob Rules" is still a superb album and one of the finest examples of heavy metal ever cut.
Like "H&H," the disc opens with a fast-paced, straight-ahead heavy metal rocker, "Turn up the Night." "Voodoo" and "The Sign of the Southern Cross" get most of the attention, but the fun really starts after the title cut.
RJD's voice effectively safes "Country Girl" from being mere filler. Then comes "Slipping Away," where RJD once again turns up the vocal growl among the masterful Iommi Riffing and Geezer Butler's improbable bass line. Butler is clearly an underrated bassist and metal's finest. Like Iommi's influence on rock/metal guitar to come, Butler elevated the bass beyond mere rhythm instrument. There would have been no Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)without Geezer first. After ripping great lines throughout, Iommi and Butler then have a rolicking good time trading scorching leads. All good, clean fun in a very dark vein. "Falling off the Edge of the World" starts with a quiet, slow lament, flows into a heavy gothic riff, then finishes with a full-fledged metal assualt ont he aural senses. This one alone is worth the price of admission. Unfortunately these latter cuts, despite being the best, are not available for sample here at amazon. Take my word for it-- they rule!
Given its admittedly minor weaknesses, I hesitate to give this one 5 stars, but it's simply too good to be left behind with the second tier. Should you get "Heaven and Hell" or "Mob Rules?" What the hell--get 'em both. At a mid-range price, they're a steal.
on January 15, 2002
Though this album is almost universally rated below "Heaven and Hell" as the lesser of Ronnie James Dio's output during his brief re-incarnation of the band in the early 80s, "Mob Rules" was always my favorite of the two. Stylistically, its almost a carbon copy of its predecessor. Its almost as if they tried to write the same songs again to recreate the success they had with "Heaven and Hell". Check out "Turn Up the Night", "Voodoo" and "Over and Over" from "Mob Rules" with their counterparts on "Heaven and Hell" - "Neon Nights", "Children of the Sea" and "Lonely is the Word". Suprisingly, they are equal to, if not better than the originals.
With only 2 mediocre songs ("Country Girl", "Slipping Away"), and 3 instant classics that rank up with Sabbath's all-time greatest hits: "Falling of the Edge of the World", "Sign of the Southern Cross" and "Mob Rules" - this may be Sabbath's most underappreciated record.
Also recommended: "Killers" by Iron Maiden (Martin Birch, same producer as "Mob Rules"), "Very Beast of Dio" and "The Very Best of Rainbow" (Dio is featured on side 1).
on May 29, 2001
There are many words I could use for this cd. But I will just simply say it's awesome. This is the first sabbath cd i ever got, and it started my Sabbath frenzy. Now I know because of that statement, Ozzy die-hards may ridicule and say I don't know real sabbath, but they're wrong. I have all of black sabbath's cds except for live at last, and this one is very special to me. In listening to this cd, i personally don't get why reviewers of this keep bashing Ronnie and Vinnie. I think they're great musicians and performers, I'm willing to bet that the only reason people slag them is because they're Americans. Now to the CD. Turn up the night is an awesome starting track, voodoo grooves all the way through, sign of the southern cross is the best track i'd even say it's better than iron man(Uh-Oh, I'm in trouble!) Mob Rules is the heaviest song on the album, and i love Ronnie's vocals on this, he can scare the [heck]out of any Hanson fan. Country girl rocks and shows a gentle side, slipping away is kinda odd, but i love all the solos from geezer, tony, and vinnie. Falling off the edge of the world is an excellent tune that sadly never got included in the live set. And Over and over is the melancholic track that ends the album with ronnie's sympathy for the dying world of hate and frustration. I give this 5 stars, i wish i could give more. Like i said in my review of Eternal Idol, buy this if you have an open mind and you aren't too stubborn to listen to anything that doesn't have Mr. Banshee on it.
on March 4, 2000
In my review of the 'Heaven and Hell' album, I'd stated that 'Mob Rules' was the weaker of the two. While that's true in comparative terms, as a free-standing release, the second and last LP with Black Sabbath a la Dio (forget 'Dehumanizer' for a moment) seriously blows the mind.
'Turn Up the Night', 'Mob Rules' and 'Falling Off the Edge of the World' are extremely fast and deadly tracks that really do showcase some of Dio and Iommi's finest moments performing together. 'Voodoo' and 'Country Girl' are both hard rock wonders but slower in tempo, the former track making it onto the Sab's live set on 'Live Evil'. Probably the finest song on the album is 'The Sign of the Southern Cross' which is a long-winded, slower epic piece, the LP's answer to the title track on 'Heaven and Hell'. It's here where Dio's sword and sorcery-laced lyrics play at their best off the rest of the band. This, together with 'Over and Over', represent the last good doom tracks before Black Sabbath succumbed to its creative coma. Overall, 'Mob Rules' is a good buy and you can't go wrong with it. This is really the last true Black Sabbath album before Tony Iommi became the visible father figure and annexed himself into what had been Black Sabbath, the group. The best tracks from 'Born Again', 'Headless Cross', 'Tyr', 'Crossed Purposes' or 'Forbidden' combined can't even get close to the rock value of 'Mob Rules'. Get it as your sixth Black Sabbath album and don't bother looking for best-of CDs to cover the 'prime cuts' of this CD because, number one - they don't exist and number two - the whole album sounds like a greatest hits compilation.
on February 4, 1999
Go Dio! I never was a real fan of Ozzy, whom I consider someone with little talent and who makes up for it by "shock rocking" the world to gain notoriety. Ronnie James Dio is a much more talented singer (not screamer, mind you) than Ozzy can ever hope to be. His vocals strike a chord in my skull that Ozzy tries his best to split with that irritating banshee wail of his. Getting back to the music, the motley crew of Dio, Iommi, Butler, and Appice actually churn out a top-notch assault on your false sense of security by making you jump at shadows in the street ("Mob Rules"), or by making you want to harmonize with the lyrics on "Country Girl" or "Voodoo". Sadly, Dio left soon afterward, but all 3 albums he performed with the Sab bruisers will last until the final construction job of man crumbles. Hot picks "Turn Up the Night", "Mob Rules", and "Country Girl".
on August 29, 2002
Ronnie James Dio is a legend still nowadays for one simple reason, I guess... He was capable of being part in seven (SEVEN!...) consecutive rock releases that are heralded as classics today! Unbeliavable. The ercords were:
* THe three albums he did with RAINBOW (RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW, RISING, LONG LIVE ROCK N'ROLL)
* The two with Sabbath (HEAVEN AND HELL, MOB RULES)
* THe first two of his solo career (HOLY DIVER, LAST IN LINE).
So, by any standard, MOB RULES is classic. Its mood is fantastic, courtesy of Martin Birch again. We have Vinnie Appice here and, altough he adds his personal talent in a amrvellous way, this unfortunately poited to a dark future for Sabbath, being forced to change a band member once again.
"TUrn Up THe Night", "Sign of the Southern Cross" and "Falling Off The Edge Of The World" are the gems here, but I like them all!!
on November 2, 2001
It really is a pity that Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iommi cannot get along in the same band, because when they are together, the results are superlative.
"Heaven and Hell" to me is the Sab's finest hour, but this is a worthy successor. If anything it is heavier. Vinnie Appice's drumming is excellent, if not as distinctive as Bill Ward. Add to that the trademark guitar/bass interplay of Iommi and Geezer Butler, with that amazing Dio voice soaring above it all.
I remember reading stories of this tour being very nerve-racking, with people going to the concerts just to yell "Ozzy!" Silly.
Highlights too numerous to mention, but definitely "The Sign Of The Southern Cross".
Please break out of your "Paranoid", "War Pigs", "Iron Man" prejudice and give it a listen.