Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know

To say this album has been highly anticipated would be putting it lightly – very lightly. It’s Heaven & Hell, the Dio led re-incarnation of Black Sabbath, an album from them after all these years is something to be excited about! But that aside is it any good? Yes, yes it is.

There’s one thing that’s blatantly obvious about Tony Iommi, Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice; they have nothing to prove. But The Devil You Know sounds like the blood, sweat and tears of a young band desperate to make a dent, the vigour of their playing is astonishing.

Right off the bat tracks like “Atom And Evil” and “Fear” successfully merge (once again!) Dio’s trademark vocals with some classic Sabbath riffing. The first aspect to really hit you on the record is its heaviness; even father time must give into Heaven & Hell’s yearning for the heavy!

Lead single “Bible Black” shows how on fucking fire Dio is. His classic fantasy laden lyrics accompanied by the fine guitar work of Iommi make it an engrossing number, which brings me to Iommi. On this outing he schools anyone that has ever picked up a guitar, peeling off some of his finest riffs. The excellence of “Rock And Roll Angel” and the unbelievable riffs and soloing of “Eating The Cannibals” will suffice as proof. I defy you not to play air guitar to the latter! Last track “Breaking Into Heaven” is foreboding in its delivery and serves as a suitable closer. Here, the class of Dio’s vocals are the centrepiece.

Iommi and Dio are the shining light of The Devil You Know though Butler’s basslines are the perfect accompaniment. However despite the high quality of his drumming Vinny Appice remains somewhat of a backdrop.
This record is beautifully and satisfyingly heavy and catchy. It will surely appeal to fans both old and new and will certainly be one of the finest albums you’ll hear this year. Bow down and the respect the masters!


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