In 1980, Heavy Metal gods Black Sabbath released “Heaven And Hell.” This record was a major change for the band. The biggest change was the fact that Ronnie James Dio after leaving Rainbow is now the front man, filling the spot that was once held by Ozzy. It is also the first black Sabbath record to feature keyboardist Geoff Nicholls who will hold that spot for at least 15 years to come. Black Sabbath still features the talented guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward.
Remember, the band recorded two records that were not to par. They were fighting internally which led to the ousting of vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. So, the band needed a fresh start. They also needed a record that would connect them to their classics that they were known for as well as direction as to where they are going. The end result was one of the most influential and highly important Heavy Metal records of all time. This record is a new chapter, which re-energizes the band and their trademark sound that will carry them into the 1980’s.
Former Elf and Rainbow front man Ronnie James Dio, just nails it on this record. His vocals are amazing. He has such as wide range to the point that his vocals are like an instrument. His style as a front man will bring Black Sabbath back on top of Heavy Metal music. Then you have the riff crushing, killer lead guitarist Tony Iommi. His sound has a lot of grit. It’s heavy and the tone sounds very deep. He just unleashes riff after riff on this record. It’s almost as if he is having fun once more playing that trademark Gibson SG. Iommi does play around with some Classical music elements which is clearly heard at the end of “Heaven and Hell.” Then you have the supporting role of Geezer Butler who bridges that monstrous sound to the tempos being unleashed by Bill Ward on drums. Butler’s bass also sounds very deep. His bass lines are fantastic. Then you the very talented Jazz orientated drummer Bill Ward. His tempos and signatures are all over this record. Geoff Nicholls provides the keyboards that compliments the overall sound of each track. The musicianship is tight sounding.
Musically, this record sound great. Some minor production noises in the background. This record does lack the Doom, Jazz and Blues elements of their previous releases, but the new sound and style is exactly what the band needed for direction. The band doesn’t try to recreate the sound of the previous records. Instead, they update their sound giving it new life that shows how confident the band is and showcases the new musical styles and influences. This is the time period that the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands were hitting the world, especially in the united States. Black Sabbath will set the standard for these groups to follow. The overall music has plenty of melody and good tempos.
1. “Neon Knights” 3:53
2. “Children of the Sea” 5:34
3. “Lady Evil” 4:26
4. “Heaven and Hell” 6:59
5. “Wishing Well” 4:07
6. “Die Young” 4:45
7. “Walk Away” 4:25
8. “Lonely Is the Word” 5:51