HEAVEN & HELL — The Devil You Know

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HEAVEN & HELL - The Devil You Know cover
4.04 | 40 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 2009

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Atom and Evil (5:15)
2. Fear (4:48)
3. Bible Black (6:29)
4. Double the Pain (5:25)
5. Rock and Roll Angel (6:02)
6. The Turn of the Screw (5:02)
7. Eating the Cannibals (3:37)
8. Follow the Tears (6:12)
9. Neverwhere (4:35)
10. Breaking into Heaven (6:53)

Total time: 53:31


- Ronnie James Dio / vocals
- Tony Iommi / guitar
- Geezer Butler / bass
- Vinnie Appice / drums

About this release

Rhino Records/Roadrunner Records, April 28th, 2009

Thanks to Raff for the addition and Pekka, UMUR, 666sharon666 for the updates


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So I was watching this video on YouTube with Ronnie James Dio talking about all the albums he'd appeared on up until around 1994. He didn't always have kind words for everyone he'd ever worked with (Ritchie Blackmore, cough, cough) but he did have some fine opinions about most of the albums. I was glad to hear him say that "Mob Rules" was a severly underated album. It was the first Black Sabbath album I ever had and I loved it then and still love it now.

I wondered what Dio had been up to since that interview and went to Wikipedia and was reminded that the "Mob Rules" line-up had recorded an album together under the name "Heaven & Hell". Perhaps I ought to track it down was my thought. Not so easy. All post 2000 Dio recordings seem to be really expensive. I found this album as a used CD in near mint condition, imported from France, for nearly $35!

From the first track "Atom and Evil" I believed I was going to hear exactly what I had paid so much for: Black Sabbath with Dio on vocals. The riff was hugely heavy and Dio sounding as great as always.

As the CD played on, a basic soundscope began to become clear. Each song was mostly mid-tempo with ultra-heavy riffs (how does Iommi keep coming up with these?). Each song was an excellent example of doomy heavy metal. Had anyone let me listen to "Double the Pain", "Follow the Tears" or "Breaking Into Heaven" and then the first minute of several of the other songs, I would have been like, "Unholy fornicate!!! I need to get this album!"

Yes, the initial impact was that good. The issue I have with this album is that every song is more or less similar. There's no "Children of the Sea", no "Sign of the Southern Cross", no "Voodoo". One thing I love about "Mob Rules" is that hardly any two songs sound the same, and "Heaven and Hell" the 1980 album had some wonderful songs on it too. "The Devil You Know" doesn't want to tread much outside the heavy riff rockers. "Rock and Roll Angel" and "Bible Black" have some nice acoustic guitar and "Follow the Tears" gives us some organ. But everything is about heavy and ominous riffs. Any one song is impressive. And surely the album is consistent. But it lacks the variety that Black Sabbath are capable of delivering.

Soon after hearing this the first two times through, I put on Black Sabbath's "13" and found a big difference. That album seems to try to recreate the vibe of 1970 and it does so very well. There the music is more creative and more, well, progressive almost. "The Devil You Know" is all about the doomy bombast. Whump you over the head again and again. Well, it sounds good. But it isn't as good as I expected it could have been. Still, as a heavy metal album it does the job.
siLLy puPPy
It was never meant to be a serious project after being asked to record three songs for a compilation about SABBATH during the DIO years, but Tommy Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice had such an easy time writing new songs that they decided to release a whole album's worth. Although this is the exact same line-up as the BLACK SABBATH albums MOB RULES and DEHUMANIZER, they decided to name the band after the first album DIO did with SABBATH in order to differentiate it from the Ozzy era of the band.

This album is everything you could possibly want from a SABBATH album of the DIO era. The songs are catchy traditional doom metal and the production is modernly recorded but the fuzzed out metal sound makes these feel nice and dirty as well. DIO's vocals are as good as ever and the songs are very well written showing that the band really had some music makin' mojo left in them after years of mediocre albums apart from each other. The result of this reunion is more than just a nostalgic trip into the past, but this album succeeds in sounding very good in a modern sense as well being not just a carbon copy of their previous releases together.

This is my favorite album by SABBATH since the album HEAVEN AND HELL and in my humble opinion the best DIO album since his debut HOLY DIVER and if you count this as a side-project (which I don't) then it is my favorite in that department. A very welcome blast from the past and that album cover has to rate amongst my very favorites in all of metal with that totally wicked beast in the depths of hell brandishing its three-forked tongues. Sadly this was DIO's last album he performed on before he passed away from stomach cancer. RIP Ronnie James. What a great way to go out with this one.
Even if you set aside the fact that it was Dio's final studio album, Heaven and Hell's sole studio release is still a significant metal album as one of the most important Black Sabbath side projects either. (Indeed, either this is a Black Sabbath album under another name - or some really great Sabbath albums from the 80s were actually Heaven and Hell pieces).

Dio, Iommi, Butler and Applice are back together and in much finer form than the disappointing Dehumaniser, making this my favourite album any of these luminaries have appeared on since Mob Rules - and doom metal fans will be ecstatic to know that their musical direction often cleaves a bit slower and doomier than was typical for Dio-era Sabbath, drawing both on the Ozzy era and the slow dirges of songs like Sign of the Southern Cross.

However, rather than entirely committing to that direction, the band haver a bit, sometimes flirting with shifting gear to the more energetic sound of tracks like Neon Knights but not quite getting there. It's not an embarrassment, but it still doesn't quite hit the heights of Dio's original stint as Sabbath's vocalist.
"The Devil You Know" is the debut full-length studio album by heavy metal act Heaven & Hell. The album was released in April 2009 by Rhino/ Roadrunner Records. Heaven & Hell is actually the Dio-led Black Sabbath lineup that recorded the Black Sabbath albums "Heaven and Hell (1980)", "Mob Rules (1981)" and "Dehumanizer (1992)". Well... Bill Ward played the drums on "Heaven and Hell" but other than that it´s the same lineup. That means Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Tony Iommi on guitars, Geezer Butler on bass and Vinnie Appice on drums. The name Heaven & Hell was chosen to differentiate the project from the Ozzy Osbourne-led Black Sabbath, which were still active at the time.

Now these guys can change their name to whatever they want, but the music on "The Devil You Know" is through and through unmistakably the sound of Black Sabbath. Tony Iommi´s signature heavy, powerful and at times doomy riffing leads the way and with the strong and distinct vocal delivery by Dio and an extremely well playing and tight rythm section, this is Black Sabbath when they are best. With tracks like "Atom and Evil", "Bible Black", "Eating the Cannibals", "Follow the Tears" and "Breaking Into Heaven", "The Devil You Know" should prove to be a dream come true for every fan of the Dio-led Black Sabbath albums.

The production is warm and powerful and it suits the music very well.

"The Devil You Know" is one of those albums that are able to grab you by the balls and make your head bang, but at the same time provoke a nostalgic reaction to make you cry. This is heavy metal/ doom metal like our momma made it. The delivery is extremely convincing and the material is generally very strong and memorable. I don´t ask for more and a 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.
Ah, Black Sabbath, how we’ve missed you. I know, it’s not officially “Black Sabbath”, but we all know it really is. God love Ozzy, but Dio has always been the man for this band vocally. And now Messer’s Dio, Iommi, Butler & Appice have come to show all schools, old and new, how Metal is made.

With more tenacity and believability than bands half their age, Black S-…ok, ok…Heaven & Hell has returned to crush all in its path…and crush it does. This 4-headed monster devours all comers with razor wire teeth and steel jaws. The Devil You Know, front to back, beginning to end, wall to wall, is an absolute testament to what Metal can do in this day and age. 29 years after this incarnation’s debut, they’ve lost nothing. Dio’s vocals in particular are stunning. A man in the back half of his 60s should not sound this menacing…this intent on ripping out your soul. But I’m so glad he does. Iommi’s riffing is simply mammoth. Butler’s bass lines & fills are at their peak. Appice is Appice, in this instance…steady and solid, complimenting the riffs and carrying everything along well.

“Bible Black”, the first single unleashed upon the public, is simply fantastic. The tempo stomp is patented Iommi grandeur. Listening to this album, one can hear its influence on modern Doom Metal with its dark, ominous presence and unrelenting, slow to mid-tempo dirge. Songs like the aforementioned “Bible Black”, plus “Follow The Tears”, “Atom & Evil” and “Breaking Into Heaven” are straight up Doom-saturated behemoth’s…slow, angry and downright beastly. Blend in the head-banging riffs of “Eating The Cannibals”, “Neverwhere”, “Double The Pain” and “Fear” and what we have is a damn-near perfect Heavy Metal album. It is heavy & beautiful, plodding & soaring, Heaven & Hell!! If I could point to anything close to a weak moment, it’d be parts of “Rock And Roll Angel”, but even that has its moments.

Ronnie Dio, as far as I’m concerned, can abandon his own band and stay here for the remainder of his career which, I’m hoping, carries him and the rest of the band into their 80s as long as the music is this good. I may not even buy another album this year…well, scratch that…I will, but they won’t be as good as this one. Easily one of the best Metal releases of 2009.
Time Signature
Rock and roll angels...

Genre: doom metal / traditional metal

My first impression on hearing this album was "Holy cr*p! This stuff is heavy! It's superb!" It really is like going back to the roots of all things metal, and in many ways the best album that Sabbath never released (but then again, they did, kind of).

Doom-laden riff upon doom-laden riff, Heaven & Hell (or Dio-era Black Sabbath if you wish) take the listener on a timeless travel through heavy metal. Tracks like "Atom and Evil" (brilliant title!), "Fear", "Turn of the Screw", "Follow the Tears", and, last, but not least, "Breaking Into Heaven" (the doomiest and, for my money, best track on this album) remind us who invented doom metal in the first place. Iommi's riffage on these doomy songs is extremely well supported by Appice's heavy drumming. "Bible Black", "Double the Pain" and "Rock and Roll Angel" are more groovy midtempo tracks, but still heavy and doom-laden, while "Eating the Cannibals" and "Neverwhere" are uptempo traditional heavy metal tracks of the "Die Young" and "Neon Knights" type.

Musically, this is the perfect traditional doom metal album, featuring Iommi and Butler, who played an important part in the development of that genre.

There is another aspect to this album, and that is, of course, the vocals. Sadly, "The Devil You Know" would be Ronnie James Dio's swansong as he died earlier this year, a victim of cancer. May he rock in perpetuam. But what a swansong it is. He was in his 60s when recording this album, and his voice is as powerful as that of 30-year old - not once does he have a weak moment.

This should appeal to Sabbath fans, Dio fans, doom metal fans and traditional metal fans alike. It certainly was one of the best traditional metal releases of 2009.

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