“Mob Rules” (remaster) by Black Sabbath

Artist: Black Sabbath
Title: “Mob Rules” (remaster)
Label Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 10/7/2008
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

In order to properly celebrate the reunion of the “Mark II” version of Black Sabbath, Rhino Entertainment recently released a four CD boxed set called “Rules Of Hell”. The set featured remastered editions of all the albums with singer Ronnie James Dio on them and I am speaking of “Heaven And Hell”, Mob Rules”, “Live Evil” & “Dehumanizer”. This was a great way to once again enjoy some truly killer Metal from a lineup that was at first met with a lot of hesitation. The albums were packaged in a beautiful slipcase box and each featured brand new liner notes from notable journalists – truly this served the needs of those who had been clamoring for all of these releases to finally receive the remastering treatment. Of course, there are many who only liked one or two of these albums and those listeners might not have had any interest in shelling out the necessary dollars for the package of four and would instead prefer to purchase the one or two that were their favorites of the bunch. Lucky for them, Rhino Entertainment has chosen to release individual versions of these four genre-defining albums. Having already reviewed the boxed set in an album by album fashion we have chosen to break that commentary up by individual release and expand ever so slightly upon those first thoughts to better focus on each unique album and what it meant to the Heavy Metal legions. Read on.

With Bill Ward gone and a new album to be recorded and delivered to the faithful fans, Black Sabbath brought on ex-Derringer drummer Vinny Appice. He is the brother of legendary Carmine Appice and his addition as a member of BSM2 would be a little bit of a step up in terms of the recent level of drumming being done in the band. Bill was good at what he could do, but I always felt Vinny was quicker and had much better fills. The bands music was showing signs of being faster on occasion and Appice was very good at driving this point across with apparent ease. One of my favorite tracks has always been “Turn Up The Night” and hearing it with the better production was just awesome. “Mob Rules” was actually my own first purchase for this lineup of Sabbath so songs like the amazing “Sign Of The Southern Cross” and “The Mob Rules” were stronger in my mind than the album that preceded it. These tunes were instant classics to me and the album and the tour that followed it were met with resounding success. We would find a recording during this tour captured on the bands live release which followed – “Live Evil”. What I also liked about “Mob Rules” was that it showed that this version of the band had a lot more staying power than many might have believed them to have when they first made their appearance. The sophomore curse didn’t apply to the Mark II lineup and they continued to keep the material strong and relevant. Dio’s powerful voice and writing style seemed to fit right in to the riffs that Iommi and Geezer were doing. To this day I find that “Mob Rules” has remained one of my very favorites out of the total Black Sabbath catalog of releases. The material is just too powerful for this to be any other way and I am sure that many fans agree with me on this one.

A booklet is included that offers the listener relevant information about the release and its place in Black Sabbath history of the time. The fantastic read comes courtesy of Bryan Reesman for this album. The only downside for me was the lack of song lyrics since it would have been nice to have them and perhaps even some additional photographs of the members during each era or even unused artwork that was originally debated for this albums use. Any of that would have been nice as an addition to an already excellent release. There aren’t any bonus tracks presented on the release as one often sees on such remasters but one would hardly care based on the excitement around it finally seeing the light of day in this manner. The old saying of “the third time’s the charm” does ring true in some sense as in 2007 the music world would see the return of the Mark II lineup once again. Together they would record some new material and present it on a compilation “Best Of” that only focused on the times with Dio. The title was “Black Sabbath: The Dio Years”, and it was an album that would lead to one of the biggest tours ever. Now calling themselves Heaven And Hell; Tony, Geezer, Ronnie and Vinny would sell out night after night and perform before tens of thousands of the Metal faithful.

The individual releases of the Dio fronted Black Sabbath come to us shortly after the bands completion of a successful tour with Judas Priest, Testament and Motorhead that was dubbed “The Metal Masters” tour. The high energy dose of classic Metal superpowers on that bill should be enough to sate the fans until the band returns in early 2009 with a new studio album. If the new tracks that were recorded for the 2007 compilation were any indication of what the guys have up their sleeves then I am sure that we shall all be pleased. Remember that while these releases can be purchased as stand alone items now collectors might still be interested in picking up the boxed set “Rules Of Hell”. There is no difference on any of them outside of the slipcase box that holds them all together in one place.

Track Listing:
1. Turn Up The Night
2. Voodoo
3. The Sign Of The Southern Cross
4. E5150
5. The Mob Rules
6. Country Girl
7. Slipping Away
8. Falling Off The Edge Of The World
9. Over And Over.

Official Website: www.blacksabbath.com
Official Website: www.heavenandhelllive.com

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