Black Sabbath

Heaven & Hell (Deluxe Edition)

Written by: GR on 01/09/2010 01:24:13

This is an album that needs no introduction. However, as always when someone says that, you're going to get one. It was a dark, misty night (possibly) in 1980 (definitely) and former Rainbow vocal powerhouse Ronnie James Dio had joined Heavy Metal godfathers Black Sabbath, replacing the ousted Ozzy Osbourne. This was a move many at the time probably expected to fall flat on its face, but through sheer song-writing brilliance the resulting album "Heaven & Hell" revitalised Sabbath's career and became a landmark of the genre. Sure, for some this wasn't, and still isn't, 'true Sabbath' (even Tony Iommi wanted to change the band's name) but it would take a fool to dismiss the genius on show here, especially all these years later.

With the untimely passing of Dio back in May, whose huge influence on the genre can't be overstated, reviewing this album carries a hint of sadness; knowing these songs will no longer be blasted out live my the man himself. And what songs they are! Even a casual fan will recognise the calling card of such classics as rousing opener "Neon Knights", the foreboding "Children of the Sea" and the epic title-track. Even lesser-known tracks like "Wishing Well" and "Walk Away" keep the standard high as the riffs unfold, the prominent bass lines charge on and Dio's vocals soar majestically over the mix. If I'm being completely honest, the production (of the almost as legendary Martin Birch) does show its age to a certain extent but this is a record that will never become dated, such is the timeless nature of its songs.

In today's world of downloading, a 'deluxe' reissue such as this has to tempt people away from their torrents - or for an older generation, make replacing their original copy worthwhile. What you get here is a 2-disc fold-out digipak adorned with vintage photos and artwork, along with a booklet featuring fairly extensive liner notes on the album's creation by Dave Ling. Included on the bonus disc are 7 tracks: 6 live versions and a '7" Mono Edit', which do vary in terms of sound quality but provide an enjoyable snapshot of the band in their most potent arena. So, the packaging is nice but the bonus material hardly essential. Maybe not one for those who already own the album then - apart from the die-hards that will have already bought the reissue - but anyone lacking this classic in their collection now has no excuse if they find this version at a reasonable price. Remember, "The world is full of Kings and Queens. Who blind your eyes, then steal your dreams. It's Heaven and Hell!" RIP Dio.


Download: Not much use in a deluxe edition unless you buy it!
For The Fans Of: Dio, Rainbow, Deep Purple
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 06.04.2010

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