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The Devil You Know
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Heaven & Hell
The Devil You Know
Rhino
2009
Metal
Tom Stewart
www.heavenandhelllive.com
N/A
Rating:
4.0 stars

Does anyone ever really expect a reunited classic line up of any band to get back together and make a killer album? THE WHO couldn't do it with Endless Wire , KISS missed the mark with Psycho Circus simply because you actually have to RECORD IT with the classic line-up in the studio, so that was a missed opportunity in my book. Let's hope VAN HALEN with the mighty David Lee Roth back in the fold will come up with the goods. Maybe it's just expecting the impossible?

But now on to HEAVEN & HELL , whom as you know is really DIO-era SABBATH under a Sharon Osbourne-proof name. The Devil You Know is the brand new studio album that was inspired by the successful tour the band did last year and how much they enjoyed working together again. Is it Mob Rules or Heaven & Hell? No, but that's a pretty high standard to judge by and considering Dehumanizer was a bit of a let down, The Devil You Know picks up the torch and is a fine slab of SABBATH er....HEAVEN & HELL (sorry Sharon!). It exceeded my expectations to be quite honest with you.

First of all, the production/mix is stellar....crisp, clear, full of massive bottom end, thunderous is a good word to describe it. This MUST be cranked up to 11 and neighbors be damned. As you would expect, the lyrics have it's fair share of fire & brimstone, wizards, angels, demons, and the typical RJD fare, but it's not one dimensional....this is METAL dude! It's not about beer and chicks. And I don't remember any rainbows being mentioned, unless I missed it! DIO's voice for a man of his age is still intact, although his delivery is different these days-less metal and aggressive and more melodic and dramatic. My biggest complaint if I have to have one is that there are too many slow and mid-tempo tracks on it ala Lonely Is The Word, Heaven & Hell, etc. I was jonesing for a real Mob Rules/Neon Knights type of rocker with the hooks attached to it, but it's not really here, and that's ok because the album is strong enough without it. That being said, there ARE some quality faster paced tunes like Eating The Cannibals, Double The Pain, and Neverwhere, which has a Mob Rules era vibe to it.

Double The Pain starts out with a phased effect bass line from GEEZER BUTLER that harkens back to N.I.B. which was a cool little nod to the past. In fact, the only nod to anything modern on here is probably Follow The Tears, which starts out with a dark nu-metal type of riff which morphs into the sledgehammer heavy SABBATH riffing we all associate with the band. Even the chorus has an ALICE IN CHAINS styled riff running under it, not unlike the type of sound KISS was attempting to do on the Carnival Of Souls album recorded right before the big reunion with the original band. But whereas KISS sounded like a desperation move playing this sort of dark, out of character heaviness, SABBATH were the originators of it, so it's natural it would come full circle and they would show the student how the master does it. Key tracks are the 1st single Bible Black, Atom & Evil, Fear, and Breaking Into Heaven. Rock & Roll Angel is really the weakest track here, only because it lacks any substantial chorus, and it's the type of song that begs for one to knock it out of the park.

Bottom line? This is a much better album than I think most people would have expected, myself included and I would recommend it to any SABBATH/DIO fan out there on the fence about picking it up.


Band Lineup:
  • Ronnie James Dio Vocals
  • Geezer Butler Bass
  • Tony Iommi Guitar
  • Vinnie AppiceDrums

 

Track Listing:
  1. Atom & Evil
  2. Fear
  3. Bible Black
  4. Double The Pain
  5. Rock & Roll Angel
  6. The Turn Of The Screw
  7. Eating The Cannibals
  8. Follow The Tears
  9. Neverwhere
  10. Breaking Into Heaven

 

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