Thursday, 30 December 2010

CD Review: Heaven And Hell, by Black Sabbath (1980)

A new decade, a new vocalist, and a new producer behind the knobs.  Black Sabbath start a new era and find Ronnie James Dio's love of dungeons and dragons a perfect fit for the band's spirit of doom and darkness.  At the controls, Martin Birch brings a new focus and punch to the recording, and as a result Heaven And Hell is a solid start to the life without Ozzy.

Most of the tracks sound fresh, trimmed, and ready for action.  Neon Knights wastes no time slipping into the fast lane and speeding to an appealing finish.

Children Of The Sea revives the old Sabbath spirit of crushing riffs, but now bolted on to Dio's meatier and more dangerous vocals.  While Osbourne always sounded tortured, Dio promises to do the torturing if necessary.

Heaven And Hell is a terrific track, among the best in Sabbath's catalogue, seven minutes of devastating slow doom that announces its intention early and persists until the bitter end.

The other memorable contribution of Heaven and Hell is Die Young, which includes atmospheric use of keyboards giving way to Iommi and Dio holding their first guitar / vocals duel as the song perfectly shifts through the gearbox and finds the sweet spot of various speeds.

Walk Away is a dud, while Lady Evil and Wishing Well are routine; but overall, Black Sabbath find more of heaven and less of hell as they start the second decade of their metal journey


Tony Iommi - Guitar
Ronnie James Dio - Vocals
Terry "Geezer" Butler - Bass
Bill Ward - Drums

Keyboards by Geoff Nicholls.

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Neon Knights - 8
2. Children Of The Sea - 9
3. Lady Evil - 7
4. Heaven And Hell - 10
5. Wishing Well - 7
6. Die Young - 9
7. Walk Away - 5
8. Lonely Is The Word - 8

Average: 7.88

Produced and Engineered by Martin Birch.

All Ace Black Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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