Black Sabbath were a legendary band. After Ozzy Osbourne was kicked out of Black Sabbath in 1979 and the band selected Ronnie James Dio to sing for the band as a replacement, a whole new era of music began. This compilation seeks to give the best of the era in which Ronnie James Dio was in Black Sabbath, and should be an interesting listening for fans of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, so let’s listen to it.
We kick off with Neon Knights with this loud palm muted riff with Ronnie James Dio’s immortal voice. Hard to believe that this is Black Sabbath, it sounds tremendously good and different from anything else Black Sabbath had recorded earlier in their career. With mystical lyrics and a great Heavy Metal styled sound, this is a great song, no doubt. Dio’s vocals are fantastic, before leading into a fantastic guitar solo by Tony Iommi here. A great and wonderful listen, this is totally awesome to hear. Great music from start to finish, and a great song by Black Sabbath. Great to hear. The outro has another neat guitar solo here. Excellent.
Next up is Lady Evil which begins with a gurgling bass guitar part and some awesome electric guitar playing, before this piece gets underway. This is a tremendous effort by Black Sabbath and sounds brilliant to this day. The guitar playing here by Tony Iommi is just really awesome and amazing sounding here, along with the pacing rhythm section here. The guitar solo here is extraordinary and magnificent, taking you to another place which is cool. A legendary, awesome and melodic piece of music, this is great stuff. With some awesome lyrics too, this is no doubt an amazing track to hear. Excellent music, and a great listen from start to finish.
Heaven and Hell is one of the standout pieces from earlier on in The Dio Years. It begins with some good chords, before the guitars conclude for some time. The rest of the band play along, with Ronnie James Dio singing along here nicely. This piece flows along well, and the guitars return excellently. This is a very suspenseful and wonderful listen about the Christian depictions of heaven and hell itself. An extraordinary listen in any case, this is a wonderful and energetic piece. Some amazing delayed sonics are here in the guitar solos around the middle, which make this a very interesting listen musically, as well as lyrically. In the second half of the song, the whole thing changes tempo and speeds up nicely. A truly divine and awesome listening experience, this is really great stuff. The outro has some lone dual tracked acoustic guitar parts which are quite melancholy sounding. A brilliant effort nonetheless.
Die Young begins with a flanger based keyboard patch which follows with some nicely vibrato based parts, before launching into the proper song section itself. This is an emotional and heavy song that sounds really great. It is one of the better songs from the Black Sabbath Ronnie James Dio era. It goes into arpeggios and female singing in the midsection, which is really excellent to hear. A really cool and amazing song charged with emotional energy, this is a really heavy listening. Really excellent to hear, this is top stuff. The outro has some amazing and some of the best guitar playing ever done by Tony Iommi. Excellent song, a must hear.
Next along is Lonely is the Word which begins with a really heavy, chugging sort of riff that is quite catchy. This is an interesting and inspired listen by Black Sabbath that sounds supercharged and incredible. It is a more melancholy sort of piece that is really cool and obviously a great piece of music. Towards the midsection we have some really excellent guitar solos that are nicely double tracked and interesting to hear. The second half of these in particular are outstanding, and just sound really top. In the second half, the song section and Dio’s singing recommences in a glorious way, before more guitar solos enter which are inspired and amazing. An eerie keyboard melody enters towards the end here. This is no doubt an excellent and underrated piece of music that just sounds really natural, effortless and top. Great to hear, all the way to the fade out.
Following is The Mob Rules which begins with a loud and amazing guitar riff, before launching straight into an energetic and excellent song that is quite uptempo. This is a really excellent listen and just sounds lively and incredibly supercharged. No wonder it is seen as one of the better pieces from the Ronnie James Dio era, it sounds so amazing and spot on that it demands repeat listens. An excellent and quite intelligent piece of Heavy Metal, this is a fresh and awesome listen from start to finish. Nice.
Turn Up The Night begins with a hi-hat led intro, before launching into a fast and energetic piece of music. This is extraordinarily great to hear and sounds quick, interesting and rhythmically excellent. It has a cool wah-wah solo solo here, as well as some excellent supporting musicianship from the rest of the band. A really top and wonderful listening experience here, this is great Heavy Metal music, without a doubt. Although this piece is shorter and kind of Poppy, it still survives today due to its wonderful effort and musicianship here. Great to hear, a fine listening experience.
Voodoo comes next, with its excellently played intro and riffs, before going into a slower, yet captivating piece that is just as wonderful to hear as the other songs on this compilation. The chorus in particular here is really awesome, with an exciting and nicely delivered vocal by Ronnie James Dio. A really wonderfully crafted piece of Heavy Metal, there is a nicely delivered guitar solo here as well. Everything here is spot on, and the four members of Black Sabbath do extremely well here. The sustained vocal part in the second half here is amazing, and is just a great listen. Crunchy guitar parts are here in the fade out, another amazing listen by Black Sabbath.
Next along is Falling Off the Edge of the World which begins with an arpeggio and a violin styled keyboard melody, before Ronnie James Dio begins singing away here. After a while, the best of the band joins into this rather melancholy tune. Some vocals that are shifted in pitch then enter, before loud guitars and crashing drums get this piece going. Some reversed sounds emerge, before going into an uptempo piece that is raw and rocking. This is a supercharged and excellent thing to hear, and is a great and fast song. Even the lesser songs on this compilation are truly amazing, and this is a fine example of that. The guitar riff here is punchy and loud, and drives the song along nicely, all the way to the end. A really great listen, once again.
After that is After All (The Dead) has a downtuned intro that sounds rather freaky. Some bass guitar parts and additional multitracked guitars then enter, before Ronnie James Dio begins to sing in a demonic way. A really top and powerful listen, with some awesome lyrics and punchy instrumentation here. It then goes into a very Metal sounding piece with an awesome groove and powerful listening experience that is extraordinary. With a multitude of sections, intelligent playing and suspense, this is very good to hear. One of the more underrated pieces by Ronnie James Dio era Black Sabbath, this is an excellent song given its length and suspense about it. Great music here, another fine listen. The guitar playing in the outro is freaky.
TV Crimes is a fast four minute long piece that sounds rather different. It is a good story about said subject, and is likely about a religious preacher or preaching in the USA. An interesting topic and very anti-religious in intention, this is a wonderful listen musically as well, with some super drop tuned guitars and a loud, fast guitar solo here. Very good and awesome listening that is incredible in effort and energy, it is a warning to others about these sorts of activities on TV. Very dark, but awesomely heavy. Great stuff.
I follows with a dark, reversed piano intro, followed by some treated bass guitar playing that sounds extraordinary. It quickly launches into a loud, raw and punchy piece that sounds really awesome. This is a song about the self being mighty, and it just sounds loud, awesome and incredible. Towards the middle is an awesome sounding riff, before going back into the riff section from the intro. A wah-wah guitar solo then emerges which is really cool. A really amazing and different listen here, this is extraordinary and lively listening. Great song for this kind of music, really wonderful and excellent listening. There is a crazy wah-wah part to finish this off. Excellent.
Next is Children of the Sea – Live which is a live performance of the classic song. It sounds very much incredibly good, and is proof that Black Sabbath could cut it live, too. A wonderfully delivered and powerful piece of music that is magical and different, it showcases the fact that Ronnie James Dio, indeed could sing near perfectly. A really great effort here, and just sounds wonderful and powerful. A really good and inspirational piece of music with a truly top singer here, this is extraordinary stuff. Proof that Black Sabbath could do it live, too. A great and epic listening experience here, this is truly amazing to hear. Black Sabbath were a fantastic band by all means. Excellent music is here.
Following is The Devil Cried which begins with some super top downtuned guitar riffs that are super cool and catchy. This is an energetic and incredibly good listen, it just sounds really fantastic and amazing here for a six minute long piece. Very nicely delivered and catchy, this is a really cool and joyous listening experience that is unlike any other here. This is one of the better pieces on this compilation. In the middle, it goes into a strange riff section before launching into an amazing guitar solo that shows just how good Tony Iommi was as a guitarist. He sounds legendary here. In fact, the whole band does. A wonderful song that induces headbanging, a really awesome listen from start to finish. It concludes with a precise and fast guitar solo here. Awesome music, all the way to the fade out.
Shadow of the Wind is a loud and powerful piece with super droptuned riffs and a slow pace to begin with. It sounds super good and extraordinary, being an amazing piece of music. This is a really demonic and dark sounding piece for many listeners out there. A very catchy and slow burning piece of music, this is incredible sounding and enjoyable, best to be played loudly over speakers in your home. In the middle we have a gloriously expressive and great guitar solo that is really amazing and wonderful to hear. The second half of this song is a lot quieter, with a more subdued approach to let Ronnie James Dio’s voice fly above it all. A super excellent and wonderful song to hear, this is where the dark side of music really shines. Excellent.
Ear in the Wall comes next. It is more droptuned magic for music listeners out there which sounds awesome and incredible. It is a bit more Thrashy here, and just sounds really nicely crafted and unique here. A really energetic and joyful piece of music, this is a really cool piece of music that is just over four minutes long. This just goes to show how really great Black Sabbath were as a Heavy Metal pioneering band. A really excellent listen, it goes into a super awesome riff in the second half of the song. This whole piece is really awesome and legendary, in fact. A great piece to hear towards the end of this album, this is superb. It ends suddenly.
Next along is The Devil Cried – Radio Edit which is a shorter version of the classic song here. It is good to hear this once again, although it is on this compilation already. A great and really underrated song by Black Sabbath here, this is a really inspirational piece to hear. The edit here doesn’t change a lot, and is nice to hear all the same. A wonderful and fine song to hear, although it is likely that the original is better. Still, Black Sabbath do impress very well all the same.
Last on this compilation is Neon Knights – Live at Hammersmith Odeon, Hammersmith, London, UK, 1/2/1981 which, honestly doesn’t that well mixed. It is a nice, but somewhat unnecessary addition to this album, as it was already at the start of this compilation. Still, the drumming in particular sounds fantastic here, as do Tony Iommi’s guitar solos. A fast, loud and energetic listen all the same, it is a good performance nonetheless. A good finish to an essential and wonderful compilation. A great and energetic song to bookend this compilation with. Excellent music here.
This is an excellent and very listenable compilation that has very few, if any, flaws to it. It is a great introduction of the lesser known side of Black Sabbath. If you like heavy music and guitar based pieces with one of the most legendary singers in the history of Rock music, you should definitely check this out. Underrated, powerful and unique.
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