Archive for Heaven and Hell

Great Metal Albums of 1983: Black Sabbath- Born Again

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2016 by 80smetalman

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The first concert I saw at the Philadelphia Spectrum after getting out of the marines was Black Sabbath. Having heard the album they were promoting on the tour, “Born Again,” I already knew that former Deep Purple lead singer, Ian Gillan, would be fronting them. However, I still thought it was a bit strange that when they came out for the second encore, they played “Smoke on the Water.” Actually, that strange feeling lasted only for a few seconds because the song worked as did Gillan singing some of the more classic Sabbath songs. I thought he did a particularly good job on “Heaven and Hell.”

This begs the question, if Ian Gillan sounded so good for Sabbath, then why did so many of the so-called rock critics slate it and why isn’t this album considered one of their best? Let me address the second point. When I hear “Born Again,” I don’t immediately start pining for the more classic Sabbath albums like “Paranoid” or “Heaven and Hell” but I won’t put it on the same level as those more memorable albums either. It’s a great album but not a classic. As for the critics, well, what do they know?

Ian Gillan’s Deep Purple influence comes out immediately on the album. “Trashed” could have been a Purple song. At least until Tony Iommi goes into one of his trademark guitar solos in the middle of the song. Plus, I can say the same thing for “Disturbing the Priest,” although the instrumental track in between those two, “Stonehenge” tries too hard to copy “E5150.” My hypothesis here is that Tony and Geezer let Ian sing according to his style and bent their guitar and bass playing styles around the vocals. Personally, I think they do a damned fine job of it as well. This really shows through on the track “Zero the Hero.” Unlike some critic, I don’t find the song embarrassing, I quite like it, especially how Tony Iommi nails the guitar solo on it.

My favourite track on the album has to be “Digital Bitch.” I love the way, they take Gillan’s shrieks and Tony’s guitar and fuse them together. The title track is a more slower bluesier number. Black Sabbath have been doing these for years except in the past, they did it with a much heavier guitar. They don’t do that so much with this one except for the chorus. At the time, it was believed that this would be the closest Black Sabbath would come to a power ballad. Ian Gillan’s voice suits the song well but then he is definitely if not the best, one of the best vocalists in rock or metal.

Now I haven’t forgotten to mention the interesting album cover. After all, I had it on a t-shirt. I always thought it very amusing even if the American religious community didn’t. Now, I wish I still had that shirt.

Track Listing:

  1. Trashed
  2. Stonehenge
  3. Disturbing the Priest
  4. The Dark
  5. Zero the Hero
  6. Digital Bitch
  7. Born Again
  8. Hot Line
  9. Keep it Warm
Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Tony Iommi- guitar

Ian Gillan- vocals

Geezer Butler- bass

Bill Ward- drums

Note: Bill Ward would not tour with the band for this album. Replacing him for the tour was former ELO drummer Bev Bevan

I wonder what would have happened if Ian Gillan had stuck around with Sabbath for a few more albums. Would musical history as we know it been changed? Hard to say. As we know, Ian would leave Sabbath after this and rejoin his mates Ritchie Blackmore and Roger Glover from Rainbow and reform that band they were in together during the early 1970s. Ian Gillan might have only recorded one album with Black Sabbath but it is definitely one to remember.

Next post: Because they supported Black Sabbath when I saw them, I thought it right that it be Quiet Riot- Mental Health

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

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Great Metal Albums of 1982: Black Sabbath- Live Evil

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2015 by 80smetalman

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Perhaps it’s something to do with having black in the title of the bands’ names but like Blackfoot in 1982, the mighty Black Sabbath also recorded a live album in the same year. Like the former, Black Sabbath were riding high on the wave of two very successful studio albums, “Heaven and Hell” and “The Mob Rules.” It could be argued that with great albums such as these and a further legacy of great albums with the previous lead singer, it is only logical that they put out a live album.

“Live Evil” is everything I would expect from a live Black Sabbath album. It’s a fine marriage of the great songs they were playing at the time from the last two albums and their classic older hits. I can easily imagine myself sitting in the audience, my anticipation ready to explode through the roof with the introduction of “E5150” and then having it actually do so when the band explodes into “Neon Knights.” What a great song to open the show with. Then lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio shows right away that he can handle the Ozzy era songs in the way he sings “N.I.B.” I am very tempted to actually take Lucifer’s hand when I hear him sing the line. Then comes my favourite Dio era Sabbath song and possibly my second favourite over all, “Children of the Sea.” Maybe with this one, it was a good idea that I wasn’t in the audience at some arena but listening at home. There I could jump around to the song totally unheeded.

Black Sabbath live

Black Sabbath live

Following “Voodoo” from “The Mob Rules” album, which is also nicely done, the band launch three of the best known Sabbath classics, “Black Sabbath,” “War Pigs” and “Iron Man,” the middle song being my all time favourite Sabbath jam. There is no need to repeat myself as to how well Dio handles the Ozzy songs, so I’ll comment about the musicianship, especially the guitar playing of one Tony Iommi. He simply cooks, not only on these three songs but the entire album. We are also treated to a drum solo from Vinnie Appice following “War Pigs” although I have heard mixed comments about this. All I know is that it sounds okay to me. However, going back to Tony, it’s “Heaven and Hell” where he really cooks. The song is twelve minutes long and most of that is him just laying down some cool guitar work. If I had been in the audience, I would be definitely holding my cigarette lighter high in the air.

“Heaven and Hell” serves as a great climax to the show. The final songs, “Sign of Southern Cross” combined with the remainder of “Heaven and Hell” lead things out nicely. However, if Black Sabbath left the stage at this point, I would have been one of the many thousands screaming for their return. Of course, as the album shows, they played the all too familiar “Paranoid” and end things with “Children of the Grave.” While, I would have been booing when the main lights came back on, I would have still left with a very contented feeling that I had witnessed a piece of history.

Track Listing:

1. E5150

2. Neon Knights

3. N.I.B.

4. Children of the Sea

5. Voodoo

6. Black Sabbath

7. War Pigs

8. Iron Man

9. The Mob Rules

10. Heaven and Hell

11. Sign of the Southern Cross/Heaven and Hell

12. Paranoid

13. Children of the Grave

14. Fluff

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Ronnie James Dio- vocals

Tommy Iommi- guitar

Geezer Butler- bass

Vinnie Appice- drums

Like some of the live albums I covered in 1982, at the time, this was the closest I had come to seeing them live. Fortunately, in the case of Black Sabbath, that would change a year later, so be prepared for when I visit that album. But if you haven’t seen them live, then “Live Evil” is the best alternative to it.

Next post: Ozzy Osbourne- Diary of a Madman

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Black Sabbath- The Mob Rules

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2014 by 80smetalman

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Vacation is over I’m afraid and now I am back in the UK. The remains of Yuengling and spicy buffalo wings are passing through my system. I had a great time on holiday although that wasn’t the real reason why I went over, that was to look after my mother whose not in the best of health but I did get some time to enjoy myself too as you saw in my last post. Now that I’m back, I will go back to posting twice a week and what better way to celebrate my return than with Black Sabbath’s 1981 album, “The Mob Rules.”

This was the second album with Ronnie James Dio at the vocals and it was simply a continuation of their fabulous “Heaven and Hell” album a year earlier. Rolling Stone might have slated the album when it came out but what do they know? “The Mob Rules” is a fantastic album. It’s yet another album that I really can’t go on about individual tracks because they are all that good. One thing I must point out is the title track. It has been said that the mix on the album is different to the version that appears on the soundtrack of “Heavy Metal.” This might be true but I don’t hear any big difference. Both versions are fine with me. Another observation I have made is that Geezer, Iommi and Appice have to do very little to alter their style to match Dio’s vocals nor does Ronnie alter his vocal style. The final three tracks definitely highlight this fact and what you get is some classic Black Sabbath at their best all over this album.

Track Listing:

1. Turn Up the Night

2. Voodoo

3. Sign of the Southern Cross

4. E5150

5. The Mob Rules

6. Country Girl

7. Slipping Away

8. Falling Off the Edge of the World

9. Over and Over

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Ronnie James Dio- vocals

Tony Iommi- guitar

Geezer Butler- bass

Vinnie Appice- drums

Were Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne in competition with one another back in 1981? Whose to say? If it was the case, that competition spurred all of them on to make a couple of magnificent albums in 1981. Half of that was “The Mob Rules.”

Next post: Billy Squier- Don’t Say No

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Metal Albums of 1980: Black Sabbath- Heaven And Hell

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2013 by 80smetalman

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Since the 1980s was the golden age of heavy metal and that golden age began with 1980, I thought what better way to pay tribute to it than to kick things off with an album by one of heavy metal’s founding fathers: Black Sabbath. The thing is however, “Heaven and Hell” isn’t just an album, it’s a iconic album destined to go down in history as one of the greatest of all time.

The main question when this masterpiece was first unleashed back in 1980 was would new lead singer Ronnie James Dio fill the void left by Ozzy Osbourne. The answer to that is a resounding “YES!” Now, I am not going to debate who’s the better of these two vocal Gods. They both have different vocal styles but at the same time, their vocals were suited to the needs of Black Sabbath. Dio’s vocals are truly amazing on this album and for Sabbath it proved to the world that there was life after Ozzy. (Although a year later Ozzy would prove there was life after Black Sabbath.) Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I suggesting that this album was all down to Dio. Definitely not! On “Heaven and Hell” Tony Iommi continues to do what he does best on the guitar providing some memorable riffs. “Children of the Sea” definitely comes to mind when I think of that. Geezer Butler and Bill Ward also as always, make the fabulous rhythm section that we all know and love. More reasons why this album is such a classic.

“Children of the Sea” is just one of the brilliant tracks I could name here. There is not a bad song on the album as each one in my mind radiates what pure metal should be. If I named each one here in this paragraph, there would be no need for me to do the track listing as all of the songs make the grade and more.

Track Listing:

1. Neon Nights

2. Children of the Sea

3. Lady Evil

4. Heaven and Hell

5. Wishing Well

6. Die Young

7. Walk Away

8. Lonely Is the Word

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Ronnie James Dio- vocals

Tony Iommi- guitars

Geezer Butler- bass

Bill Ward- drums

Additional Musician

Geoff Nichols- keyboards

In my post for the 1978 “Never Say Die” album, I mentioned that Black Sabbath would headline my dream concert. There was a twist to it however and so not to repeat myself for those who have already read that post, I suggest those who haven’t have a read and hopefully, like one reader then, you will be in awe when you think about it. “Heaven and Hell” is one of the reasons why Black Sabbath would headline my dream concert. For me, it one of the cornerstones in the foundation of what we now know and love as heavy metal.

Before I go, I would like to invite all of my readers to share in remembrance with me something that has been with me for nearly three decades. See thirty years ago tomorrow, October 23, marks the tragedy which befell the US Marines in Lebanon when 241 died when a suicide bomber drove a van loaded with explosives into the building there were housed in. This occurred less than four months after I left the marines but I served in that battalion for nearly three of my four years in the service. I know I lost friends on that fateful day. Now, I don’t hate America over this, hell no, but I do think that while America mourned their deaths for a while, they were also too quick to sweep the whole affair under the carpet. It is also why I am now officially beginning work on my next book which will be about the marines in Lebanon. For those who’ve read “Rock And Roll Children,” it will be a prequel to it as the Mitch character from the book will be the main character in the new book. I hate to end this post on such a downer, especially after visiting such an iconic album but I don’t have the time right now to put it as a separate post, so do forgive me for that. To unify these two thoughts, it was a marine buddy from my platoon when I was serving in that battalion who provided me with the first listen of this great album.

Pay tribute to these brave souls

Pay tribute to these brave souls

Next post: Sammy Hagar- Danger Zone

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London