Album Review – Heaven & Hell / The Devil You Know (2009)

Dio, Iommi, Butler and Appice deliver us the heaviest and darkest Black Sabbath album of all time, even with the band not being called Black Sabbath.

Rating2

The_Devil_You_Know_coverI’ve never been a fan of Black Sabbath with Ozzy on vocals, although I understand and respect his importance to Heavy Metal, and also like his crazy performance on stage. I even consider the new 13 a good album, but I personally enjoy the band a lot more with Dio as the lead singer, when Sabbath produced some of the heaviest albums of their career. When The Devil You Know was launched back in 2009, it wasn’t simply a band called Heaven & Hell, but that obscure Black Sabbath that mixed the devilish riffs from Tony Iommi with the unique voice of Ronnie James Dio.

Just start listening to Atom and Evil (or should I say Adam and Eve?) and all those accusations against Tony Iommi, saying he has a deal with the devil, will totally make sense. His riffs in this album are mesmerizing, darker than the darkest night, and impossible not to get addicted to them. He’s one of those geniuses that makes us left-handed people feel really proud of being more skillful with our left hand! All the songs have awesome riffs, but I would say the most memorable ones are from the opening track, from Bible Black and from the last song, Breaking into Heaven, and if you don’t feel anything special while listening to these songs, go listen to Justin Bieber or any other crap. You’re not worthy!

heavenandhellGeezer Butler also does an incredible job with his bass lines, especially in the songs Double the Pain (one of my favorites from The Devil You Know) and Neverwhere. Also, having the talented and precise drummer Vinny Appice working with Geezer makes the music flow a lot smoother during the entire album, which by the way was never supposed to be a regular fast Heavy Metal record: only two songs (Eating the Cannibals and Neverwhere) have a fast rhythm, while all other focus on more sinister melodies commonly found in Doom Metal. And I’m not going to say anything about the amazing front cover: it’s too evil to be real, more terrifying than any Black Metal album cover I’ve ever seen.

Finally, what can I say about the unparalleled voice of Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.)? The Devil You Know was his last record, and he sings every single line from each song perfectly, turning poetry into music. I love Bruce, Halford and many other Metal vocalists, but there’s no one that can sing with such passion and emotion as Dio. The entire world of music will forever miss that little guy, who became a real giant every time he started singing for us any of his songs. Unfortunately Dio is gone, but his legacy will remain with us, and The Devil You Know is the perfect representation of his vocal power. If this record had been launched in the 80’s, I’m pretty sure it would have been considered one of the best and most influential Heavy Metal albums of all time.

Best moments of the album: Bible Black, without any doubt. This is by far my favorite Black Sabbath Heaven & Hell song of all time. Watch the video below from the band playing it at Wacken in 2009, pay attention to the perfect lyrics, and tell me if this is not wonderful? Isn’t Dio fuckin’ awesome? “He locks himself away and tastes the silence / Hungry for another bite of wrong”

Worst moments of the album: I cannot say anything bad about this album. Maybe the fact that it ended up being just a project due to Dio’s death? I cannot even imagine how many more great albums Heaven & Hell could have recorded if Dio was still alive.

Released in 2009 Rhino Entertainment

Track listing
1. Atom and Evil 5:15
2. Fear 4:48
3. Bible Black 6:29
4. Double the Pain 5:25
5. Rock and Roll Angel 6:02
6. The Turn of the Screw 5:02
7. Eating the Cannibals 3:37
8. Follow the Tears 6:12
9. Neverwhere 4:35
10. Breaking into Heaven 6:53

iTunes exclusive bonus tracks
11. I (live) 6:30
12. Die Young (live) 6:46

Band members
Ronnie James Dio – vocals
Tony Iommi – guitar
Geezer Butler – bass guitar
Vinny Appice – drums, percussion

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