Black Sabbath The Dio Years

Black Sabbath

Honoring the years that Metal guru Ronnie James Dio recorded albums with the legendary BLACK […]
By Grigoris Chronis
April 14, 2007
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath The Dio Years album cover

Honoring the years that Metal guru Ronnie James Dio recorded albums with the legendary BLACK SABBATH - and due to this era(s) reunited lineup, named as HEAVEN AND HELL, touring around the world this summer - this collection reviewed here contains a set of tunes that marked the relative eras and (especially tracks 01-09 and 13) contributed the most in the transformation of Metal music from the 'fuzzy' 70s to the 'sharp' 80s. Three brand new tunes, recorded with Dio himself on vocals, may be the actual motive for purchasing this specific release, provided you already have (melted) all Dio-era studio albums. Else, you're listening to the wrong music genre (shame on you)...
Longtime BLACK SABBATH fans all around the globe will attend some living Metal history this summer. Headlining various Metal festivals - plus some selected individual dates - the reunion of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice (unfortunately, Bill Ward would not make it to this new songs/tour) is served as the only chance to hear some of the most magical BLACK SABBATH songs performed live in a row. Yeap, the Ozzy-era is significant nonetheless due to its impact to what we enjoy to as Heavy Metal maniacs all these years, but the musical instinct of (two only) albums like Heaven And Hell (1980) and Mob Rules (1981) to the whole Heavy Metal tornado of the 80s is the one and only; objections overruled! It's not weird the fact that most Metal fans/artists tend to honor these two albums on behalf of what they 'feel' Heavy Metal music is in their hearts/minds/instruments, even if noone can ignore the vast influence of the BLACK SABBATH 1970-1978 archetypals in our beloved sounds. Ozzy and Co. may gave initial shape to the 'Metal' term, but (in my poor opinion) it was the abovementioned pair of albums that 'raised' the fist of the Metal child, ready to conquer the world in plenty of forms!
No matter how, no matter what, Ronnie James Dio is far better than Ozzy Osbourne in singing metallic anthems; and these albums, featuring the ex-RAINBOW frontman, are total gems from beginning to end! Dio, taking over most of the lyrics writing (a Butler duty till then) also provides countless of the bands to follow with tons of sources for magical, mystical, epic, social and 'personal' writing. Can't recall the impact of songs like Heaven And Hell, Die Young, Neon Knights, Lonely Is The Word, Falling Of The Edge Of The World and Voodoo in Heavy Metal music? Phew, you can listen to 'em again and feel the 'force' to each and every Metal sub-genre raised in the early 80s and onwards. The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (of course!), US Power/Epic Metal, 80s Central Europe Metal, US Doom Metal (along with the Ozzy-era principals, of course!), 90s/00s European Power (not happy!) Metal etc etc etc ...
1992's Dehumanizer comeback was not a bad album at all! Certainly inferior to the shining of Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules, this effort succeeded in a) bringing back the memory of the 1980-1983 'mark', b) denoting 'chemistry' is time-independent by referring to all-time-classics like After All (The Dead), TV Crimes, I and Time Machine (which - surprisingly enough - is out of this collection's tracklist!).
(Not to forget, Children Of The Sea's live rendition comes off the 1983 Live Evil double vinyl album; hence, all four recordings with Ronnie James Dio on vocals offer tracks for this compilation).
As for the newly-recorded songs: The Devil Cried bears a crawling riff of unique heaviness (uncle Tommy did it again!) while the Butler/Appice rhythm section throws tons of bricks to the unsuspected listener. As for Ronnie's voice, the man's simply a phenomenon. Jumping on to Shadow Of The Wind, the excitement grows to a bigger scale: among the best BLACK SABBATH tunes ever written, the basic riff - simple but fuckin' ample - denotes the supremacy of the man in black, supporting adequately the displaying of Ronnie James Dio's fantastic singing! Feeling every single word his spitting out, Dio delivers a monumental performance that combines passion, mysticism and monolithic harmony in one. The last song, Ear in The Wall, wraps up this trilogy the most appropriate way: in a more up-tempo 'mood', it reminds the listener of the dominancy of Tony Iommi in both slow-pace and faster-driven songs. And who would defy?
Reviews from the very first gigs of the reunited quartet report a chilling performance; a relative DVD is on the way, providing eternal souvenir from this historic move; the three new songs are more than fine; the normal tracklist bears a Metal bible itself. In a basic cover 'enriched' with most of the fold-out with a fantastic artwork by Wes Benscoter (info) plus a 'tasty' history of the band, Black Sabbath: The Dio Years is destined to be an essential...again. This incarnation of BLACK SABBATH is alive and kickin' and lyrics like fine day in hell... serve as the guiding light when Metal music falls apart at the seams (a usual status in our days). Long live, long live, long live!

10 / 10


"Black Sabbath The Dio Years" Track-listing:

Neon Knights
Lady Evil
Heaven And Hell
Die Young
Lonely Is The Word
The Mob Rules
Turn Up The Night
Falling Off The Edge Of The World
After All (The Dead)
TV Crimes
Children Of The Sea - Live
The Devil Cried (new track)
Shadow Of The Wind (new track)
Ear In The Wall (new track)

Black Sabbath Lineup:

Tony Iommi - Lead Guitar
Geezer Butler - Bass
Ronnie James Dio - Vocals
Bill Ward - Drums (tracks 01-05)
Vinny Appice - Drums (tracks 06-16)
Geoff Nicholls - Keyboards (tracks 01-13)

linkcrossmenucross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram