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Black Sabbath – The Dio Years

Label: Rhino Records
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

I am so glad that finally the time Ronnie James Dio has put into Black Sabbath is getting the spotlight and due respect outside of just the Heavy Metal community where Dio’s contributions have always been regarded and loved. With a more than successful tour following this release (going under the band name Heaven and Hell, thanks unfortunately to a certain outside party from what is understood because we all know this is Sabbath), I think those records "Heaven and Hell" and "Mob Rules" that Ronnie recorded with the Sabbath in the early 1980’s will become more recognized after it is all said and done.


Personally I thought Ronnie should have been on stage with Ozzy, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward when they received their induction into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, and I think many would agree with me on that.

So "The Dio Years" is a collection of songs off the three records Black Sabbath recorded with Ronnie James Dio on vocals, "Heaven and Hell", "Mob Rules", and "Dehumanizer" from 1992. The song selection includes all the classics 'Heaven and Hell' (a well known anthem on the level with the band’s very own 1970 namesake classic), 'Neon Knights', 'The Mob Rules', 'Turn up the Night', 'Children of the Sea' (presented in its live form off the live record "Live Evil" from 1983), plus gems 'After All The Dead' and 'I' from "Dehumanizer". Only track I feel that is missing 'The Sign of the Southern Cross'.

Also included a radio friendly (in comparison to the usual Sabbath song) 'Lady Evil', fan favorites and also gems the dynamic 'Die Young' and 'Voodoo', to a slower track like 'Lonely Is The Word' (which features Tony’s veritable fret work), and 'Falling off the Edge of the World'. Aside from this being a "best of", retrospect collection, you get three brand new recordings done in 2006. Now while many bands who record new tracks for a compilation release rarely or never are able to match the music of their past, Sabbath has no problem with recording music that is well up to standards with its legacy.

'The Devil Cried' is a mid tempo monster, in sound and nature very much in tune with the "Dehumanizer" record with Tony’s riffs and Geezer’s equally heavy complimenting bass lines driving the track joined by Ronnie Dio’s imaginative lyrics and Vinny Appice laying down a solid drum beat. A bit slower, 'Shadow of the Wind' also would fit well into "Dehumanizer" yet has a bit more of a classic "Heaven and Hell" feel to Tony’s riff choice and Ronnie’s vocals with the harmonies. Just really heavy stuff here folks, this is what it must feel like to have a couple thousand pounds of rubble fall on you. 'Ear in the Wall' picks up the pace, aggressive, and here Tony’s leads reminded me a bit of the dark ferocity heard on the "Born Again" record.

Do pick this up, it’s a great lesson in an important part of Heavy Metal’s history and will hopefully bring some more well deserved credit to this period of Black Sabbath’s legacy.

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