Friday Full-Length: Heaven and Hell, The Devil You Know

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 7th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

The science of realistic expectations made it abundantly clear in Spring 2009 — now 15 years ago — that the debut and only studio full-length from Heaven and Hell, The Devil You Know (review here), was not likely to form the basis for the legacy of any of the players involved in making it. Even the title itself seemed to be tamping down anticipation for what the assembled four-piece of vocalist Ronnie James Dio, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Vinny Appice had put together for a studio follow-up to the LP that had introduced them — 2007’s Live From Radio City Music Hall — as a new incarnation of most of the Black Sabbath lineup that in 1980 released the album which would become the basis of their moniker, the mega-classic Heaven and Hell (discussed here). They were, in essence, that version of Black Sabbath operating under a name and without drummer Bill Ward, from whom Appice took over ahead of 1981’s Mob Rules (discussed here).

In style and sound, the 10 songs/54 minutes of The Devil You Know have the most in common with 1992’s Dehumanizer (discussed here), which was a one-off Black Sabbath reunion with Dio during the currently-having-a-revival Tony Martin era of the band, and like that record, it starts doomed. But where “Computer God’ seethed with one of Dio‘s most snarling performances and moved at a deceptive midtempo, “Atom and Evil” replaces that with a more complex melody and a stately slog with a chugging chorus. I’ll argue for it being the worst song on the record. How much stronger would The Devil You Know sound launched by “Fear,” which follows, and works from both a more interesting central riff, or even “Double the Pain,” the takes-a-bit-to-get-there intro of which could easily have served as an unfolding into the album itself.

“Atom and Evil” is more vocals-forward, and given that we’re talking about the last Ronnie James Dio studio album before his death in 2010, every second of his voice on the recording is a thing to be treasured, but while it would’ve been weird to put “Eating the Cannibals” in that spot just because, well, it’s a weird notion to start the record, at least the penultimate “Neverwhere” at least has a push. It’s not “Neon Knights” from Heaven and Hell, but it moves. “Atom and Evil” teases dynamic without paying it off and leans on Mike Exeter‘s keyboard line for personality. Not exactly the best first impression, but it does live up to The Devil You Know‘s titular promise of being mediocre. It feels familiar. Maybe that’s enough.

However, redemption comes quickly as the aforementioned “Fear” gives an energetic kick with the first of the record’s vital hooks, backed by the even-more-memorable “Bible Black,” which calls to mind the three songs Sabbath recorded with Dio — “The Devil Cried,” “Shadow of the Wind,” and “Ear in the Wall” — for 2007’s The Dio Years compilation. “Rock and Roll Angel” is a classic Dio lyric, and follows the duly-pounding-but-goes-somewhere “Double the Pain,” Butler‘s bassline setting the nod soon to unfold in the intro before they dive into the chugging verse, Appice‘s drums finding an approximate swing to complement the chorus and sounding duly relieved when the song shifts through the bridge to the next Heaven-and-Hell-The-Devil-You-Knowverse that follows. Iommi gets a moment to shine in the solo for “Rock and Roll Angel,” but has already delivered a slew of characteristic riffs and even an acoustic/electric blend at the start of “Bible Black,” so it’s not like he’s hurting at that point regardless.

The label, Rhino Records — what, Relapse didn’t want it? — released The Devil You Know as a three-sided 2LP, and that puts “Follow the Tears” in a well-justified highlight position at the beginning of the second platter. A tradeoff is the fact that “The Turn of the Screw” is somewhat lost between the more billowing “Rock and Roll Angel” and the relative gallop of “Eating the Cannibals,” which offers scorch even before Dio‘s first verse playing the restauranteur in lyrics that are some kind of comment on human-on-human cruelty but were maybe inspired more by the sound of the phrase itself than any particular idea that might’ve birthed it. “Eating the Cannibals” is the shortest inclusion at 3:35, but in that time there’s plenty of Iommic shred in line with the brief introduction, and it’s the moment here Heaven and Hell most seem to be enjoying what they’re doing. Appice seems comfortable timekeeping at a rocker’s clip, Butler adds nuance and persona as ever, and Dio‘s performance is spirited in a way that seems to find mischievous delight in the lyrics.

Soon enough they’ll close with “Breaking into Heaven,” which reaches toward Dio Sabbath epics like “Heaven and Hell” or “The Sign of the Southern Cross,” but “Follow the Tears” and “Neverwhere” precede, the former also with a theatrical aspect to its keys and the latter with due sweep such that the finale arrives with some momentum behind it. That suits the dramatic and still resoundingly heavy ending, calling back to the plod of “Atom and Evil,” but in a richer and more realized interpretation.

At the time, The Devil You Know felt like it was high stakes, but I’m not sure it was, and certainly after Dio‘s death, the time that Black Sabbath — because that’s what they were in everything but name — spent as Heaven and Hell is a footnote in the history of the band and players. But even if DioIommiButler and Appice had moved forward from these songs to do, say, three more LPs between 2009-2024 — I’d gladly trade Black Sabbath‘s 2013 album, 13 (review here), for even one more Dio-fronted outing — The Devil You Know was never going to be the basis for the legacy of anyone involved. Indeed, one of the most satisfying ways to hear it is as a celebration of the band Dio Sabbath was and a victory lap for the Iommi/Dio dynamic as it played out in Heaven and HellMob Rules and most especially Dehumanizer, on the other side of Black Sabbath presenting themselves as a metal band, having of course played a significant role in defining what that means for themselves and the generations of acts who’ve followed.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

This week was mostly dedicated in my head to the comedown and catchup after returning from Freak Valley this past Sunday. I posted every day, but much of it was written beforehand, and I got to spend some of the intervening time with my wife, whose company it feels like something of a novelty these days to enjoy given the high-impact nature of our co-parenting experience, the divergent nature of our individual lives — she’s a college professor and on the local board of ed; I do this, parent poorly, and periodically fly off to some festival — and other obligations, familial or not. We don’t hang out as much as we did when we were, say 17. Or 25. Or 35. When we do, it is a thing I appreciate.

Next week is full. I could look in the notes and list what it’s full with, but if you’re gonna read, you’re gonna read and if not, not. There’s a Fu Manchu review on Monday, I know that off-hand. As to the rest, in my head I’m in get-through-the-weekend mode, which since the next two days entail two kid-birthday parties and an ice skating performance to attend, feels like enough to get through. Today is a “patriotic performance” at school as well, where she’ll sing  “Grand Ol’ Flag” and “This Land is Your Land,” probably a couple others. Then Girl Scouts. Yesterday was skating rehearsal. She’s getting pretty good zipping around. Wants to do speed-skating, of course. “You mean there’s a more dangerous version of a thing I enjoy? Fuck yes!” seems to be the general frame of reference there. The mind boggles, continually.

The week after next, we’re traveling to the Nevada for a National Parks tour with The Patient Mrs.’ mother, whom I love dearly but probably has no idea what she’s in for traveling with the three of us. I will write as much as I can on any given day — as always — but if two weeks from now there are one or two posts a day instead of three, four or even five, that’s why. Heads up. I’ll probably remind of that next week as well.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’m gonna go hit the weed store and then settle in as much as I can before we need to go back to school for all the hearts beating true for the red, white and blue, etc., maybe play a little Tears of the Kingdom, which I foolishly restarted on the flight home from Germany last weekend. Silly.

And if you kept up with the Freak Valley coverage at all, thanks. You might be curious to know my mother is doing fine, recovering, doing what the physical therapist says, all that stuff. Good behavior, cooperation. These things do not always abound among those who share my blood.

Thanks for reading. Great and safe weekend. No injuries, as few arguments as possible. Fun?


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Friday Full-Length: Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 27th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

I’m not going to pretend to have any insight on Black Sabbath‘s Heaven and Hell beyond the scope of what’s been written about the album over the 42 years and one month since its arrival. It is simply one of if not the greatest piece of heavy metal ever released. Think of this as a celebration. It not only brought the band into contemporary status with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and revived the arc of their career with the inclusion of then-Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio on vocals in place of Ozzy Osbourne, but it brought their songwriting to a new level of complexity entirely, as guitarist Tony Iommi seemed able to find a manner in which to channel the riff-driven approach that made records like Master of Reality (discussed here) and Volume 4 highlights of early ’70s heavy — as well as the landmarks from which the aforementioned NWOBHM was in part built — into something newer and more grand. Black Sabbath weren’t breaking ground stylistically in the same way they did with their self-titled or Paranoid, but Heaven and Hell (which previously closed out a week here) was a revolution and a reignition for them and it helped steer heavy rock and roll and heavy metal into a new era for the 1980s, the soaring, seven-minute title-track alone standing out for its ability to find a way to convey a sense of the epic without tipping fully over into the self-indulgence of prog rock. Heaven and Hell, then, is Black Sabbath having it both ways.

Forgive me if I assume familiarity on the part of the reader with the album. If you’ve never heard Black Sabbath‘s ninth LP (in 10 years, mind you), or you’ve never really bothered to dig into the various post-Osbourne eras of the band, it was issued by Warner Bros. in 1980 as the follow-up to 1978’s Never Say Die, and to put the two albums side-by-side is perhaps one of the starkest contrasts one could hope to make. Famously drugged-out and careening toward mediocrity, the combination of IommiOsbourne, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward still were able to conjure a few classics even in sounding past their peak just several years earlier, but no question it was a slide from both the grittier heft of Master of Reality and the electrifying performances on albums like 1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and 1975’s Sabotage, never mind the genre-codifying influence of their first four LPs — though I know Never Say Die and its predecessor, 1976’s Technical Ecstasy (discussed here) for sure have their proponents. In considering Black Sabbath, however, the only proper scale to rate it is alongside other Black Sabbath. Sometimes that isn’t even fair. So here we are.

Among Heaven and Hell‘s stunning aspects — and there are many, between the scope of the production, the range of songs like “Children of the Sea” or “Die Young” in bringing Iommi‘s acoustic work into the actual pieces themselves, Butler‘s bassline alone on the title-track still imitated, and the nod of the closer “Lonely is the Word” remaking blues rock in its image — is the fact that, all told, it runs just about 40 minutes in length. Four songs on a side, rocker up front with “Neon Knights” opening — an energy Black Sabbath Heaven and Hellthat a year later “Turn Up the Night” on 1981’s Mob Rules (discussed here) would brazenly attempt to recapture — and then quickly unfolding into the broader intentions of “Children of the Sea,” setting up the back and forth interplay of grandiosity and straightforwardness that the bass-led “Lady Evil” and “Heaven and Hell” continued on side A and “Wishing Well,” “Die Young,” “Walk Away” and “Lonely is the Word” reaffirmed on side B, Black Sabbath pushing and pulling their audience along this dynamic course without even really letting on what’s happening; a subversive duality further conveyed through the album cover. Still, what they accomplish in the five and half minutes of “Children of the Sea” is more than many bands have done in their entire career, to say nothing of “Heaven and Hell” or the scorching payoff of “Die Young” to come. Pairing those with the hooky — and outwardly misogynist in a way that became a hallmark of Dio‘s lyrics — “Lady Evil” and “Walk Away” or even “Wishing Well,” which is probably as close as this record comes to filler, establishes a pattern and a personality unlike anything else in the Black Sabbath catalog, before or after.

The band’s run with Dio was short. Already noted, Mob Rules arrived in 1981, minus Ward on drums, and after 1982’s crucial Live Evil (discussed here), Iommi and company teamed with Deep Purple‘s Ian Gillan for 1983’s still-undervalued Born Again (discussed here) before a few floundering years — lest we forget Glenn Hughes on Seventh Star in 1986 — led them into the Tony Martin era with 1987’s The Eternal Idol (discussed here). A momentary reunion with Dio for 1992’s Dehumanizer (discussed here) brought a darker, meatier tonality and a signal of refocus not unlike what Heaven and Hell did following Never Say Die, but it was a short-lived collaboration and Dio was back to his own band soon enough, Sabbath returning to work with Martin for the bulk of the ’90s until their reunion with Osbourne in 1997 led to years of touring and their first Ozzy-fronted studio recordings in two decades (looking at you, “Psycho Man” and “Selling My Soul” from the 1998 Reunion live album).

A 2007 collection The Dio Years with new Dio-fronted studio tracks led to the formation of Heaven and Hell with IommiButlerDio and drummer Vinny Appice, and though Dio would pass away just three years later, the band nonetheless managed to tour and offer up 2009’s The Devil You Know (review here) even amid his and Iommi‘s declining health, finding a way to salute their long-intertwined paths while remaining vital, creative and unabashedly heavy as elder statesmen of metal; a magic that 2013’s Rick Rubin-helmed 13 (review here) would attempt to harness, seemingly as a closing chapter for the band’s studio work with Osbourne and their first album with him since Never Say Die. Retirement touring, Osbourne‘s own, well-publicized physical decline, and other collaborations have come in the years since, but the future of the band is never written until its written. I won’t speculate.

However you ultimately define Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell is a touchstone beyond touchstones. In the realm of desert-island albums, it is the island you want to be stranded on.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

I’m still sick. Or I’m sick again? Or I have allergies? I’m not really sure. I woke up at about 4:15 yesterday morning and was miserable from that point on. Sinus pressure in my head utterly inescapable, snot leaking out my nose all day, coughing. No sore throat to speak of, and in direct comparison to the week before, the rest of my body didn’t feel the same as when I was covid, which was somewhat ironically like a lockdown keeping me in place because my entire being felt so wretched — for only about two days, thankfully — but still, a wreck.

I’ve been awake now since 3:15AM. The Patient Mrs. has already gotten up and given me a bucketload of shit for getting up so early, thereby inevitably leading to hardship and fatigue later in the day. The facts that (1:) I wasn’t sleeping anyway because in my head I’d already started to compose the above writeup for Heaven and Hell and (2:) it’s not like she’s about to stop grading to let me write about 42-year-old metal records for a couple hours in the early afternoon and (3:) big change, I managed to think better than to mention. But there really is nothing like starting what’s probably going to already be a long, tough stretch of hours with your spouse pissed off at you. Super, super helpful.

She bought me medicine yesterday, which was helpful — perhaps none of us are at our best in the middle of the night — and I took all of it. I said this out loud yesterday to her and I stand by it. If it’s allergies that I was suffering from yesterday — some mysterious pollen blooming or whatever — then it’s the worst allergies I’ve ever had. Even more than that, The Pecan was in the exact same condition. A fucking mess. All day. Miserable. Kept him home from school. I did go to bed yesterday afternoon for about 90 minutes, which helped — so thanks to The Patient Mrs. for that, definitely — but by the time Strange New Worlds was over was no less desperate to return there than I had been after lunch. It was a brutal day.

His covid test, meanwhile, was negative. I show a faint line positive on the home test. The PCR I took last Thursday, meanwhile, was negative. No one knows anything, everything is fucked. I’m glad fewer people are dying, and I’m glad not to need to be put on a ventilator. I know some who were not so fortunate. Needless to say, having the sick kid as an additional factor of anxiety did not aid on any level whatsoever. It’s been a tough few days. I was feeling better before that.

Steps to be taken? Well, I’ve got nose spray, a leftover steroid inhaler hanging around, Zinc, various Claritins, Mucinexes, DayQuils and so on to parse out. I’ve already finished an iced tea and nearly a full pot of coffee, and I’ve set an alarm on my phone for noon to make another. Beyond that and the usual hydration, I’m not really sure what there is to do. I’m out of Paxlovid, if this is still covid, and in the meantime, one of my nephews up the hill at my mother and sister’s house has tested positive, so even if I was willing to bring someone from over there in to assist here — a thought I find not particularly thrilling, given the potential risk of exposure from us to them, never mind from them to us — outside help would seem not to be forthcoming.

Survival-mode, then. The tv went on early yesterday, may go on earlier today. We’ll see.

I did manage to floss yesterday and this morning though, and that felt good. And I’ve gotten about 150 responses from people looking to take the Obelisk Questionnaire, so it seems that feature will continue for the foreseeable future. I’m glad. I like it.

I wish you a great and safe weekend. Have fun, stay healthy, watch your head, drink water. It’s 5:30AM now and I have more writing to do for today, so I’mma skip out. New Gimme show this afternoon. It’s a good one. I know you don’t care but I do.

Thanks for reading.


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Dunsmuir: New Band Announced with Members of Fu Manchu, Clutch and Black Sabbath

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

As of right now, there isn’t much more to go on when it comes to Dunsmuir than a logo and a lineup, but it’s a considerable lineup to start with. Frontman Neil Fallon of Clutch brings a loyal following with him wherever he goes, and in Dunsmuir he’s joined by The Company Band guitarist Dave Bone, Fu Manchu bassist Brad Davis and Heaven and Hell/Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice. The band takes its name from the sleepy fishing getaway town in Northern California that, in 1991, was the site of the largest chemical spill ever to happen in the state — a train fell off a cliff into a river carrying toxic, ecosystem-destroying this-and-that — and while there’s no word yet as regards what they’ll actually sound like, for the rhythm section pairing of Davis and Appice alone, the safest bet seems to be that it’ll rock.

For those reading between the lines of the above, the roots of Dunsmuir would seem to be in The Company Band. Dave Bone played guitar in that band and was principal songwriter, but Fallon and Davis were also members along with CKY‘s Jess Margera and Jim Rota of Fireball Ministry. That group’s last outing was the 2012 Pros and Cons EP (review here), which followed behind their 2009 self-titled debut full-length (review here) and 2008’s debut EP, Sign Here, Here and Here. If Dunsmuir is a continuation on some level of what The Company Band were doing, perhaps without the underlying corporate thematic that the last EP seemed to push away from anyhow, then I doubt they’d meet with many complaints, but it’s really all speculation at this point until some audio begins to surface.

As to that, there’s nothing yet at least that I’ve been able to find. When and if something comes along, I’ll let you know, but here’s that logo and lineup in the meantime, as posted by Davis, along with website/social links in case you’d also like to keep an eye:

dunsmuir logo


Brad Davis (Fu Manchu)
Vinny Appice (Dio / Black Sabbath / Heaven & Hell)
Dave Bone (The Company Band)
Neil Fallon (Clutch)

The Company Band, “El Dorado”

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Friday Full-Length: Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 4th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell (1980)

I just wanted to end this week with an album I love. On a high note, maybe, but even more than that, just something that I can’t see being the person I am without. So here we go, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell. It’s not a record I can claim to be Johnny Groundfloor on — it came out a year before I was born — but it has touched me profoundly over the years and I’ve gone back to it over time the way you do to things when they become a part of who you are. It’s been a while since last I made my way through, and I’ve missed it. Fucking “Children of the Sea.”

Yeah, you can go ahead and argue in favor of Ozzy-fronted Sabbath. I don’t even necessarily disagree. The way I see it, Master of Reality is just about the best heavy album ever made. It’s apples and oranges — or for a comparison of two even more disparate things — Ozzy and Dio. I’m glad both exist, I’m glad Geezer Butler played in both and I’m happy to leave it at that.

What a week. If I was drinking, I’d already be drunk. I was out this afternoon to meet with a guy from the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center to explore funding options for buying a bar. It went like this: “Uh, I see here you’re poor. There’s no funding for poor people.” I’m not out yet, though that was a fun hit to take. Then I went to the grocery store and had — not one, but two! — debit cards declined. I was doing a pretty good job on the maintaining thing, keeping my head together, but then it was time to break out Heaven and Hell, which is right up there in my book with watching Futurama in the dark.

Normally — though using such a word feels like a perversion of the concept — I’d probably follow up the one (Heaven and Hell) with the other (Futurama in the dark), but instead of sitting on my ass and wallowing in the waste of space and precious oxygen I’ve let myself become, I’m going out tonight. Gonna go catch Cortez and Pants Exploder at Radio in Somerville, then tomorrow there’s an early show for Esoteric and I might just hit that too, because fuck it, music’s still good.

There was a lot this week I didn’t get to post. In addition to reviews for one or both of the shows above, look for reviews to come of The Freeks and Mos Generator, an interview one way or another with Dave Wyndorf of Monster Magnet and some new audio from Supervoid. So there’s a lot as ever. I’ve got some work-type work to finish up, so I’m going to get through that while Heaven and Hell rounds out and then have a bite to eat before I head to Radio for that show. If you’re going, I hope I’ll see you there.

And even if not, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you get the chance, please hit up the forum and the radio stream.

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Ronnie James Dio, 1942-2010

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 16th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

There were rumors floating around some last night, but Wendy Dio has now confirmed via Blabbermouth that her husband, LEGENDARY metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio has died of the stomach cancer he’d been battling since winter. As a longtime fan of Dio‘s work, I on behalf of this dinkly little website The Obelisk send condolences to Wendy and others who knew Ronnie in either a personal or professional capacity.

I don’t know what to think and I’d feel dirty editorializing. He was my hero. We knew he was sick and we could extrapolate if we wanted to that it wasn’t going well when Heaven and Hell canceled their touring plans. I didn’t want to extrapolate. I wanted to think he’d beat cancer like it was a giant rubber dragon in 1983 and be back putting out Magica II and III in no time.

Mourning later. Music now.

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Yes, I Did Just Get off the Phone with Tony Iommi…

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

…because I am awesome. How was your afternoon? And was I the only one who didn’t realize Neurosis is opening for Heaven and Hell in Seattle on Saturday? That’s the kind of show that’ll let you call your grandkids wusses. “In my day, Scott Kelly and Geezer Butler got on the same stage and killed everyone in the place!”

Since now I can’t concentrate, here’s a relatively recent video of Mr. Iommi‘s glory:

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TFFH09 #4: Heaven and Hell, The Devil You Know

Posted in Features, Whathaveyou on June 17th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

They look pretty solemn. I guess they're disappointed at being number four. Geezer says, "I can't believe I dyed my hair for this!"Number four is kind of a no-brainer, and I’m honestly surprised you didn’t see it coming. The Devil You Know is the first studio release with the lineup of Ronnie James Dio (after whom the couch-dwelling little dog Dio is named), Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice since Black Sabbath‘s 1992 album, Dehumanizer. Of course, today’s Heaven and Hell band is a different animal than the Sabbath roster that birthed the album of the same name in 1980, but The Devil You Know shows there’s still creative life in them yet. If nothing else, there’s “Eating the Cannibals.” That shit rules.

Hail this guy.Fueled by the power of Tony Iommi‘s moustache, The Devil You Know achieves everything a Heaven and Hell studio album should; songs ranging from fast rockers in the tradition of “Neon Knights” to creepy doom numbers like “Bible Black” or the excruciating closer “Breaking into Heaven.” Yeah, we all know it’s ProTooled to death, but as far as corporate metal goes, this is still the best you’re going to get.

In the spirit of sharing, here’s “Bible Black.” Any interested parties can also find about 7,000 live versions on YouTube. This one’s right off the album.

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Heaven and Hell: Knowing the Devil

Posted in Reviews on March 24th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

It's like Pan's Labyrinth meets Legend! Bad ass!Let’s get this out of the way first: anyone who goes into this record expecting the team of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Vinny Appice and Ronnie James Dio to come out with a new Heaven and Hell or Mob Rules is out Objects in image may not be to proper scale. (Photo by Chapman Baehler)of their minds. 1980 was 29 years ago. It’s like asking Al Pacino to be Michael Corleone from the first Godfather movie again, or doing a sequel to Dr. Strangelove. The first two albums Black Sabbath released with Dio on vocals captured a special moment in time, one that couldn’t even be revisited on 1992’s reunion album, Dehumanizer. To think they’d pull it off 17 years after that is just ridiculous. They’re simply not those people anymore.

To their credit, they know it, and rather than try to recreate something from their past as Black Sabbath, the band Heaven and Hell are moving forward. The Devil You Know (Rhino) meets every reasonable expectation that could possibly be placed on it. It’s never going to be as influential or top albums that have already had 30 years of deifying, but it sounds modern, heavy and like the four legendary players in the band are enjoying making music together. We all know Iommi‘s been itching to do another Sabbath record for years. This is his opportunity, and he makes the most of it.

The band has hinted that The Devil You Know has the most in common with Dehumanizer, and to a certain extent, it’s true, but thankfully, the early ’90s production that now makes that album sound so dated where its two Dio-fronted predecessors are timeless is nowhere to be found. This is a modern album with classic players, and though that can be an awkward fit, Dio, Iommi, Butler and even Appice pull it off sounding fresh and not overly overproduced.

After the jump is the track-by-track breakdown…

Read more »

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