BLACK SABBATH — Heaven And Hell — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

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4.36 | 163 ratings | 9 reviews
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Album · 1980

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Neon Knights (3:53)
2. Children Of The Sea (5:34)
3. Lady Evil (4:22)
4. Heaven And Hell (6:55)
5. Wishing Well (4:07)
6. Die Young (4:45)
7. Walk Away (4:25)
8. Lonely Is The Word (5:46)

Total Time 39:51


- Ronnie James Dio / vocals
- Tony Iommi / guitar
- Geezer Butler / bass
- Bill Ward / drums

- Geoff Nicholls / keyboards

About this release

25 April 1980
Vertigo, Warner

Reissued as Deluxe Edition in 2010 with a bonus disc with the following tracklist:

1. Children Of The Sea (live, single b-side) (6:24)
2. Heaven And Hell (live, single b-side) (7:19)
3. Lady Evil (mono edit) (3:54)
4. Neon Knights (live in Hartford, CT, US, 1980) (4:49)
5. Children Of The Sea (live in Hartford, CT, US, 1980) (5:58)
6. Heaven And Hell (live in Hartford, CT, US, 1980) (12:34)
7. Die Young (live in Hartford, CT, US, 1980) (4:36)

Total Time 45:34

Thanks to Raff, Stooge, Pekka, Lynx33 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Man i got a lot of mileage out of this cassette back in the early eighties. Of course hearing that Ozzy was out of the band was a little deflating at the time but they couldn't have picked a better replacement in the legendary Ronnie James Dio. This 1980 release isn't as doomy as their classic albums, heck even Iommi is lighting up the soundscape most of the time instead of offering up those down-tuned guitar expressions. While there are four killer tracks on here there are some average sounding tunes as well. Okay i'd describe "Walk Away" as below average and "Lady Evil" is right on the border i suppose. "Neon Knights" is a great opener as they put the pedal to the metal throughout. Love that track. "Children Of The Sea" is even better and i can't help but think of "Children Of The Grave". The title track is the longest at almost 7 minutes. Ahhh this is more like classic SABBATH with that darker vibe coming to the fore. "Die Young" is my final top four. I like the contrasts between the heavier and calmer sections. I've always felt that this could have been so much better but with the great core of songs this is an easy 4 stars.
Conor Fynes
'Heaven And Hell' - Black Sabbath (8/10)

Black Sabbath have made some of the best heavy metal albums I've ever heard. Both "Paranoid" and "Sabotage" have claimed their rightful thrones as masterpieces, and even the relative 'lesser' of Sabbath's early works were still excellent. Alas, the band hit a brick wall, the brick in this analogy representing a ton of drugs and petty argument. By "Never Say Die!", Black Sabbath ironically felt dead, not in an atmospheric or morose way, but in that it was clear that music was no longer their number one priority. With this, Ozzy Osbourne left to pursue a successful solo career, and a Mr. Ronnie James Dio came into play. Then best known for his work in Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Dio's operatic style was a sharp contrast to Ozzy's more nasal, down-to-earth voice. This shift also made for a big risk on the band's part, but it was one that they needed to take. "Heaven And Hell" is now seen as the return to grace for Black Sabbath, although it bears little resemblance to the classic Sabbath sound.

Disregarding the fact that I'm visiting this album a good three decades after it was released, I would not have believed that Sabbath would have sorted out their shit and gone back to recording passionate music after "Never Say Die!". In a way, the 'classic' sound of Black Sabbath seems to have died with "Sabotage", but then again, Sabbath were never a band to stay in the same place for long. Although Ronnie's solo work would not be out for a couple of years yet, "Heaven And Hell" tends to sound more like a Dio creature than the signature sound of Iommi and company. Although I may have preferred to hear a doomier incarnation of Sabbath here, Dio's contributions are impressive and work in the favour of a band that sounds young again.

Although "Heaven And Hell" would be the most refined and polished Black Sabbath had yet sounded, it has a deeper grounding in heavy metal than most of their previous work. Iommi's riffs are a little less massive than they had been in the past, and as Sabbath albums go, the sound is pretty homogeneous. Although it was commonplace to hear ballads, experimental interludes, and metal screechers all within a single Sabbath record, the songwriting and tone lean towards a theatrical, upbeat energy, with the occasional call for mellowed rock instrumentation. Though this makes "Heaven And Hell" more difficult to distinguish on a song-by-song basis than albums from the band's golden era, this is arguably the most consistent the band had ever sounded. Highlights include "Children of the Sea" and the immortal title track, but one thing is for sure; "Heaven And Hell" is the return of passion for a band that had lost their way.
After a run of five classic studio albums, one patchy but still quite good piece (Sabotage) and a couple of albums best forgotten, the Ozzy-fronted incarnation of Black Sabbath finally disintegrated for good. Luckily, Iommi, Ward and Butler had been having a good time jamming with Dio of late, and took him on as their new vocalist - a crucial moment for the careers of both Dio and the band as a whole.

Wisely, Sabbath do not try to mimic the sound of the Ozzy-era albums, instead taking the opportunity of their new lead singer to update and rejuvenate their sound and show those NWOBHM whippersnappers how it's done. The result is a confident and capable album which might not be as starkly original and groundbreaking as their first releases, but still represents a striking return to form after a fallow patch in the band's fortunes and a refreshingly new sound for the group.

Particularly striking is the way Iommi is able to weave guitar solos in his own classic style into fast-paced tunes like Neon Knights, which in their pounding rhythms and Dio's dramatic delivery rank compare favourably to the sort of material produced by Iron Maiden or Judas Priest at around the same time. Meanwhile, Dio proves he's capable of handling slower, doomier material like the title track, Lonely Is the Word, or Children of the Sea. These slower tracks take on a more operatic tone than the sledgehammer-heavy dirges of early Sabbath, but this is only appropriate for Dio's vocal style - which is on top form this time around.

On the whole, this album is probably more closely aligned to Dio's early solo style than the classic early 1970s Black Sabbath sound, so if you're fond of the former but aren't so keen on the latter, don't be put off from giving it a try, while if you love the early Ozzy sound don't expect more of the same with a different vocalist here. Of course, if you love both early Sabbath and solo Dio, you'll probably end up giving this album heavy rotation anyway.
The early Ozzy years will forever remain the most relevant in the history of Black Sabbath. His morbid tone combined with the awesome wall of sound that Iommi produced made Purple and Zeppelin sound like innocent school boys. Metal was born.

The formula didn’t remain successful though. Ozzy became a wreck and the creative well where Iommi used to unearth one majestic riff after another seemed to have dried up after a few albums.

Out went Ozzy and in came Dio of Rainbow fame. And while he was never accepted by many Sabbath purists, no one can deny that he completely reinvigorated the remaining members and propelled Sabbath into the 80’s with a vengeance. The basic formula hasn’t changed that much actually. The music is direct, heavy and straightforward, but still smart enough to remain interesting for a whole album. The sound does luckily not fall into 80’s trappings. It is clear, dry and heavy. Much like Master Of Reality sounded.

Neon Knights kicks off the album in full gear (well for Black Sabbath it does) and has everything a classic metal song needs: catchy riffs, solos, great epic melodies and a heavy dark undertone. It is an 80’s upgrade of Paranoid and a much better song. Children of the Sea is the heaviest track on the album, featuring one of Iommi’s best chugging riffs, dueling with a slow bass/drum groove. Lady Evil is a nice hard rock tune, not unlike Rainbow’s Run With The Wolf. Heaven & Hell is an epic monster. Dio’s excellent vocals with Iommi’s sustained background guitars are simply stunning. The track goes crescendo and builds up to an extensive climax. Wishing Well and Die Young are less well know but nevertheless very competent hard rock. Walk Away is Dio's typical slip song. But it doesn't bother me much as there's still one major winner ahead. Lonely Is The World is a very powerful and emotive ballad with an entrancing guitar loop that is both dead heavy doom and beautifully ethereal. Especially so Iommi delivers his most beautiful solo on the album. Wonderful what this man can do with his axe. Less is more!

Iommi has that magical gift to craft perfect songs from just a few basic ideas. Add the power chords of Dio on top of that and you end up with one of my favorite classic hard rock albums.
Black Sabbath is a Giant! We all know that!

In the 80's they come like a 'new band', keyboards always was present in their records (see Rick Wakeman Aka Spock Wall on Volume 4 album), but this time they brought in Geoff Nicholls for the hole album, and of course, the voice.

Ronnie James Dio (who sadly died a couple of days ago) come in, and brought a new sound to the band, we can't deny this fact, Ozzy will always be THE man from Black Sabbath, but you just can't ignore Dio (and shouldn't do that) just like Ian Gillan on Born Again album (what a grest record).

'Die Young' alone probably could resist the test of time, but Heaven And Hell have so much more, enjoy!
Time Signature
Metal knights...

Genre: heavy metal

Enter the 80s. Exit Ozzy. Enter Dio. After the somewhat tired-sounding "Never Say Die", the energized "Heaven and Hell" is very refreshing and, while I have always liked Ozzy's unique voice, I do like Dio better as a singer - he is doubtlessly a technically much better singer than Ozzy ever was.

Musically, "Heaven and Hell" is less progressive and less psychedelic than the Ozzy-era albums generally were, and it is also less obviously blues-based. It starts out with the uptempo rocker, the now classic "Neon Knights", followed by the slower and more melodic "Children of the Sea" which also contains a darkly epic bridge. "Lady Evil" is another straight rocker, while the title track is relatively heavy, containing another one of those Iommi-style guitar riffs; it also serves as a blueprint for the pumping-bass-verse-power-chord-chorus style compositions that would later becore quite popular within traditional 80s heavy metal. "Die Young" is another "Neon Knight"-style uptempo rocker and, for my mony, a slightly better one, because it has a really nice mellow bridge followed by an almost epic sounding transition back into the main verse riff.

A lot of the songs on this album are, as mentioned, straight rockers much like on "Never Say Die" (although the style is a different one), but "Heaven and Hell" never becomes trivial and nor does it lose its captivating properties. I think that Dio fronting the band has a lot to do with this. His voice is simply so powerful that it adds a dimension that Ozzy couldn't (and I stress once more that I really like Ozzy's voice both on the eariler Black Sabbath albums and in is later solo work), which makes all the songs on this album remain interesting.

"Heaven and Hell" is a great metal album and belongs in any metal collection, and I think that especially fans of early Rainbow and traditional heavy metal in general will like it.

Members reviews

Sing me a song, you're a singer

Ronnie James Dio joins Black Sabbath here and starts a new chapter in the band's long career. Heaven And Hell has become something of a classic and it is admittedly a strong album, perhaps even up to par with some of the Ozzy-era albums. However, having been a fan of the band for some years (even if I wasn't born until one year after this album was released), I remember being less than impressed when I first heard this album. I have come to like it a bit more since then, but some of my initial misgivings still stand.

First of all, this album is certainly not as obviously experimental and progressive as the Ozzy-era albums like Sabotage or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath or even as some of the Jazz-Rock/Fusion inspired tracks on the previous Never Say Die. I would even say that the Dio-era is the least inventive of all of the band's different eras. There are some slight progressive touches in Heaven And Hell, but if you want to find them you must look very closely. The loud and quite elaborated bass lines from Geezer, the discrete keyboards in the background, the Gothic choir-like backing vocals and the mystical lyrics are some features to pay extra attention to.

The keyboards are played by Geoff Nicholls here for the first time and while he contributed to every album from this one onwards plus following them on tours, he was never recognized as a full member. This man deserves some credit for being there!

Heaven And Hell alternates between longer and more interesting pieces and shorter quite conventional Hard Rock songs. The excellent Children Of The Sea is followed by the straightforward Lady Evil; the classic title track is followed by the similar Hard Rock song Wishing Well and the superb, Queen-like Die Young is followed by another one of those straightforward songs in Walk Away. The album being book-ended by the powerful Neon Knights and the slow, heavy Lonely Is The Word.

The title track and Children Of The Sea both became a live favourites, and rightly so. These are classic Black Sabbath songs as are Die Young, Lonely Is The Word and Neon Knights. However, this album is not very varied. There are no real ballads to speak of or even semi-ballads like there were on many previous and later Black Sabbath albums, neither are there any instrumentals (apart from the all too brief but lovely acoustic outro to the title track) like the ones that enhanced some previous and subsequent albums (remember Embryo, Orchid, Fluff, Don't Start (Too Late), Scarlet Pimpernel, etc.).

Heaven And Hell is a fine album and for Black Sabbath fans this is essential. However, despite a few really great tracks, it is hard for me to raise very much enthusiasm over this album as a whole. Especially if I compare this with previous albums by the band like Sabotage, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Master Of Reality, or the best of Ronnie James Dio's previous work with Rainbow (i.e. Rising) for that matter.

I find this album a bit overrated, but still very good with a few great songs
Before I even start, I wish to make one thing clear: this is one of my top 10 albums of all time. So, I will not deny being very much biased, and well aware of it- though I am not the only one to consider "Heaven and Hell" one of the absolute masterpieces of classic hard rock/heavy metal, signaling the band's return to sparkling form after the severe decline shown by their late Seventies albums.

At the beginning of the Eighties, Sabbath underwent what we could call a total makeover. Gone was the muddy, uncertain sound a of their earlier albums, to be replaced by Martin Birch's state-of-the-art, crystal-clear, diamond-hard production, which allowed every instrument to shine - Geezer Butler's and Bill Ward's thunderous rythm section, Tony Iommi's legendary riffing, but especially new guy Ronnie James Dio's awe-inducing roar. The latter's addition to the lineup made the real difference in the band's performance: though Ozzy's distinctive, vaguely disturbing wail had been Black Sabbath's trademark for nearly a decade, Dio was simply one of the best vocalists ever heard on the rock scene.

Obviously, such changes could not help altering the band's sound in a rather substantial way. As a matter of fact, "Heaven and Hell" sounds quite unlike their Seventies output - less chillingly menacing, more crushingly powerful. Album opener "Neon Knights" (to these ears, one of the best opening tracks ever) sounds like a statement of intent right from the very beginning, brimming with Iommi's towering guitar riffs and Dio's soaring bellow. Things slow down for the second item on the tracklist, doom-laden "Children of the Sea" - one of Dio's career-defining vocal performances together with Rainbow's immortal "Stargazer". Though not one of the album's highlights, "Lady Evil" is a catchy, uptempo song, punctuated by Butler's dynamic, booming bass lines.

Strategically placed at the end of Side A when the album was originally released, the title-track, is a crushingly heavy cavalcade bolstered by Butler's thundering bass and Iommi's manic riffing, with Dio's voice soaring and swooping above the din in true epic style. As a sort of release of tension, another catchy tune follows, the almost poppy "Wishing Well" (no relation to the Free song of the same title) - perhaps nothing to write home about , but a song I have always been partial to. On the other hand, "Die Young" can be counted as another of the album's high points - a classic, powerful, keyboard-laden hard rocker, it sees another cracking vocal performance by the inimitable RJ Dio, and sterling guitar work from Iommi.

While the slightly nondescript "Walk Away" is in my opinion the only real filler on the album, closing track "Lonely Is the Word" most closely resembles Sabbath's earlier output with Ozzy - a sinister slice of doom driven by Iommi's positively monstrous riffing, and featuring at the end what might be his best solo ever, while Dio's vocals sound pleading and commanding in turn. Without the shadow of a doubt, one of the band's undisputed milestones, and one hell of an album closer.

A classic by every other name, "Heaven and Hell" is one of those albums that every self-respecting metal fan should hear at least once in their lifetime, even if to some ears it might sound somewhat 'lightweight'. If you are into great music, regardless of labels, do yourself a favour and grab a copy - you will not regret it.
Sean Trane
With Ozzy now out for good, the band had to think about its future with Wazrner Bros pushing the group for their tenth album. Torn between LA and England, the group eventually ended up in France in their tax-exiles (so the H&H album was partly recorded at Criteria studios in the UK and Studio Ferber in France), but personal problems also plagued Butler and prompted him to head back home to sort his problems (see later in the review).

Produced by Martin Birch (but not wearing the usual Birch Purple-sound), Black Sabbath's comeback album is one of the most impressive and influential albums of the 80's, as the group headed a Heavy Metal Revival, with Judas Priest (British Steel) and Motorhead's ascension to fame as well (Ace Of Spade), just in front of a wave of new groups that will be called NWOBHOB; Having secured RJ Dio on vocals (and bass), the group started rehearsing, with Geoff Nichols on bass (as well), because Geezer Butler was busy in his divorce case. Once the original bassist returned (therefore wiping out any legend that he didn't play on H&H), Geoff Nichols remained with the group but concentrated on whatever keyboards sounds were needed. Dio's new ideas mixed Iommi's writings created the new fresh approach ion the album, and the album's general ambiance is a huge part of its success.

Starting on the hit single Neon Knights (one of Sabbath's most up-tempoed tracks ever), the group charged heavily on the dramatics, developing to goosebump levels on the longer Children Of The Sea, the H&H title track and Lonely Is the Word tracks. With another two shorter tracks like the "anthem" Die Young and the abrupt Wishing Well, H&H is a stunning metal album, and strangely enough one of the last one (chronologically and historically-speaking) this writer will really consider highly. Butler's usual superb bass playing is still a very important feature, but Ward's drumming is a bit less mightier than in his early days. Superb closing track in Lonely Is The Word, as well.

While I wouldn't call H&H a progressive album per se, it certainly became the emblem of a new era for metal music, even if (IMHO) it's never been bettered by any metal group since.

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