My tastes have always varied drastically from the most laid back ambient tones right through to the heaviest and darkest.
One thing i will say is that i have never believed myself to be a musical snob, i feel that if someone goes to the trouble of producing a collection of sounds together to make a song, they deserve massive praise for it..regardless of it’s style.
SO…here’s another of the 5 bands who featured twice in my recent top 50 albums.
For me personally there have always been two Black Sabbath’s, Sabbath ‘Ozzy’ and Sabbath ‘Dio’
Ozzy being the original worshipped leader at it’s root core will always hold pride of place for me as there is just a completey different level of edginess to this man’s voice projection and stage presence.
This was Ronnie James Dio’s first album for Sabbath after Ozzy’s departure and for a man of 5ft 4” this chap packed one of the biggest, most powerful voices in rock music history, Fact! The fact of Sabbath having a few other singers like Ian Gillan / Tony Martin through the years are very rarely mentioned with any great fondness in the rock history books.
Right from the get go on this album when ‘Neon Knights’ power’s in it delivers some of the biggest songs ever in the metal archives. ‘Heaven And Hell’ itself is just an epic performance on an entirely different level. Tony Iommi’s guitar is absolutely stunning throughout. The parting shot of ‘Lonely Is The Word’ showcases what a complete band these guys were.
You can sense the urgency in Dio’s voice throughout this entire masterpiece, like he had such heavy boots to fill and needed to pull out all the stops and make this one count in order to be accepted by the Sabbath die hards. I believe he did so, on a grand scale.
This album was released in 1980 and the production is ever so slightly cleaner than previous but still leans back to the sheer grit of the unpolished 70’s. Every song on this album just works for me.
I believe that no-one other than Dio could have got away with replacing Ozzy and thats what makes this album very special for me. I always loved the fact that the band went full circle and Ozzy came back to his rightful place again in years to come.
As i say most days, if you’re not a fan or might have built up an idea of what you think a band are over the years, i urge you to set this aside for 40 minutes and judge a classic album on the merits of a unique collective of individuals coming together in perfect harmony to create seriously big songs. It doesn’t happen on this scale very often.
Absolute 100% winner that i will always keep coming back to.
RIP Ronnie James Dio