The mighty Black Sabbath! This record is another I bought from Luke’s in Pawtucket. I’ve had this one a while but wasn’t always such a huge fan. I paid $3 for it at the time probably because it was Black Sabbath and I needed to get my hands on anything I saw from them. I didn’t like it at first but after all these years, I definitely have more appreciation for it and Dio era Sabbath in general.
I’m going to start this post with the following statement: When it comes to Black Sabbath, the only iteration I am really into is with Ozzy as the frontman. That said, I do enjoy a few non-Ozzy records. Heaven and Hell among them. For those not familiar, Ozzy left Sabbath in 1979 in a mostly mutial split. A year later, Ronnie James Dio (RIP) joined the band. If you had to pick anyone at the time to replace Ozzy, RJD was probably the most badass choice. I had met Ronnie James Dio at the Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI with my buddy, Mooney. He signed an 8×10 to me “MAGIC, Ronnie James Dio”. I still have it somewhere. He also signed my CD copy of Black Sabbath – Live At Last which he sings on.
The cover of this record is just so fantastic and really, is what drew me to it when I first discovered it. Being a young dude, seeing the juxtaposition of angels smoking was really interesting for me. I didn’t get into this record much when I was younger. I remember my good friend Scotty B being a fan of this and Mob Rules. It took me a while to get into this. That happens sometimes.
What makes me love this record so fucking much now is just how awesome the rest of the band sounds. It’s almost as if the drama over Ozzy forced people to not really look at and appreciate this record to it’s fullest. Admitedly, it’s hard when a successful band changes their lead singer. At first, Tony Iommi toyed with coming up with a new band completely before settling on this being a Sabbath record. While there are a lot of fans of this record these days, I feel as though the love for Ronnie James Dio came later over time.
Songs like Neon Knights and Children of the Sea are just so crushing and epics like Heaven and Hell sound so fucking crisp. Dio’s intense vocals really put a different kind of edge on Iommi’s riffs. Part of what makes Dio special is how different his style is from Ozzy. Ozzy seems to sing with the guitar melody where Dio sings across the riffs. There are people out there who prefer Dio’s Sabbath to Ozzy’s. I can see why. Dio’s vocal ability was one of the best in all of rock and metal, hands down. That combined with Iommi’s increasingly talented song writing and exploration, it only makes sense that a bunch of Sabbath faithful prefer this and Mod Rules to what came before.
This little project I’ve given myself as forced me to revisit stuff I hadn’t thought to spin in a long time. That was part of the point. I’m glad I have some folks reading but really, the re-discovery and writing about my thoughts as been incredible. Thanks for reading and we’ll talk soon!
Here is the Discogs link to the release: https://www.discogs.com/Black-Sabbath-Heaven-And-Hell/release/5767386
Here is the YouTube link to Children of the Sea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9Au3CMpXtg