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“The Dio Years” by Black Sabbath

Artist: Black Sabbath
Title: “The Dio Years”
Label: Rhino Records
Release Date: 4/3/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

The saying is that all good things come to an end and such would be the case for Ozzy Osbourne and his mates in the legendary Black Sabbath. After defining a generation and founding a genre they would each go in separate directions. Ozzy would begin a prolific solo career while Sabbath would carry on once a suitable performer had been found. A replacement was found in former Rainbow/Elf singer Ronnie James Dio whose voice was like the shriek of a banshee compared to that of Osbourne, and while the fans cried “blasphemy” or “this will never work” – it very simply would. They would record “Heaven And Hell” and “Mob Rules” and follow them up with the concert recording “Live Evil”. Bill Ward would move on after “H&H” to find Vinny Appice in the drummers chair from then on. Dio would eventually move on to front his own band and years later return to help the guys once again with the recording of “Dehumanizer”. This long overdue collection of Black Sabbath’s years with Dio celebrates some of the classic music they made together and as you listen you will be reminded of how Sabbath became a new and threatening presence to the non-believers of the Heavy Metal cause. Songs like the epic “Heaven And Hell” and “Children Of The Sea” became favorites while the follow up “Mob Rules” and “Turn Up The Night” showed the group as very in touch with the current Metal vibe. Leaders yes, but still capable of adapting to an ever-shifting musical scene. Sabbath was different with Dio and this allowed the classics to remain as such until years later when some of this lineup’s songs would achieve similar status. A long time coming, but most certainly deserving of such acclaim.

The collection is a must have for any Sabbath/Dio fan but you will immediately be aware of the omission of “The Sign Of The Southern Cross” one of “H&H”’s signature tracks. My guess was this was done to allow for the three new tunes the band penned in late 2006 to safely make it to the release. Despite that there are plenty of songs to enjoy from those three studio recordings and even a sample from the live release. Regarding the recent songs well I have to say that the new tracks are excellent as well and live up to any hype without sounding derivative or stale. “The Devil Cried” trudges along like old Sabbath would while “Ear In The Wall” is a bit more upbeat and faster paced. If you buy this for the new tracks alone or for the songs you remembered please accept that this is a consistent listen from track one through sixteen. Full historic details are presented for your reading pleasure and it is my hope that it leads to more recording and perhaps a full remastered catalog of all the individual releases from “The Dio Years”. Raise those horns acolytes.

Track Listing:
1. Neon Knights
2. Lady Evil
3. Heaven And Hell
4. Die Young
5. Lonely Is The Word
6. The Mob Rules
7. Turn Up The Night
8. Voodoo
9. Falling Off The Edge Of The World
10. After All (The Dead)
11. TV Crimes
12. I
13. Children Of The Sea (Live)
14. The Devil Cried
15. Shadow Of The Wind
16. Ear In The Wall

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