BLACK SABBATH — Heaven And Hell (review)

BLACK SABBATH — Heaven And Hell album cover Album · 1980 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
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.
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