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Sabbath at its best (again) with Dio

This may be blasphemous, but Black Sabbath has always been a better band with Ronnie James Dio at the microphone instead of Ozzy Osbourne. And this being Black Sabbath, blasphemy has always been cool.

Performing under the new moniker Heaven and Hell, to differentiate the Dio-era lineup from the classic Ozzy roster, Sabbath shines on its fourth studio album with Dio in command. This is their third go-round together, after brief flings in 1980-82, 1992, and 2007-09.

Dio and guitarist Tony Iommi bring out the best in each other, achieving heights they rarely attain separately. Bassist Geezer Butler provides a macabre heavy underpinning, while drummer Vinny Appice lets the plodding grooves take over at the expense of flash.

“Bible Black,” a song about a Satanic scripture, starts with a nod to Metallica’s “Fade To Black,” but then achieves its own sinister spin with Dio’s soaring vocals over Iommi’s squealing guitar. It’s a pattern that repeats again and again on this album: clever, adventurous songwriting and narrative storytelling wrapped up in bone-crunching riffs and power chords that can loosen the phlegm in your chest.

“Fear” harkens back to primitive times “when only God had fire,” while “Eating The Cannibals” kicks into high-speed for a shout-worthy concert opener. Slower, riff-heavy tracks like “Breaking Into Heaven” and “Atom and Evil” pay homage to Sabbath’s early ’70s lore.

Let Ozzy have his TV show; Black Sabbath is in far better hands. Again.


Heaven and Hell

“The Devil You Know” (Rhino)

Genre: metal

Grade: A

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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