1980. Do you remember it? Well that was the year I got to see Black Sabbath live at the Hammersmith Odeon. My mate Aiden did his usual skip off school to take the money to queue at the box office for when it opened, his Dad drove to London every day for his job so dropped him off. This was the Heaven & Hell tour, Ozzy had moved on and Bill Ward was not well enough to stay in the band at that time. So the Dio, Iommi, Butler, Appice line up was on the road. We were in row D I think. Bugger it was loud! I remember a lot of the old lags calling for Ozzie, which was a shame as I thought it a darn good gig, I also thought that album good.
Wind forward to 2007 and the lads get back together for the third time after 1991's Dehuminizer album. They record three new songs for the Dio Years complilation and decide to tour again. Then they decide to make an album...
First track Atom and Evil tells you all you need to know. This is one hell of a band and they are right back. The slow riffs blow you away, Iommi is definitely still the king of heavy riffology. Dio has a great voice, slow vibrato and a singer not a screamer. And without a doubt there is something just amazing once Geezer and Tony Iommi start riffing together.
Bible Black is one of my favourites, a slow acoustic opening with a restrained Iommi bluesy solo as Dio narrates in his own style. Then the build with the rest of the band until you get a totally classic riff along classic you can't help but headbang away to. Eating the Cannibals is about as up beat as it gets here although this is not thrash you know. I love that name, no doubt someone will already have beaten me to grabbing it on Myspace. The closing track Braking into Heaven is another blinder starting with a slow sledgehammer of a riff that instantly conjures evil thoughts.
This is metal of the top order, if you like any of Sabbath's back catalogue dispell any "where is Ozzy" concerns and try this out.
Quite probably the metal album of the year, well let's put it this way it'll take something bloody stunning to beat it.