Mob Rules: Black Sabbath

Rating: 90%

SabbathMob.jpgIn 1981, Black Sabbath released “Mob Rules.” This is the second album to feature lead singer Ronnie James Dio and keyboardist Geoff Nicholls and the first album to feature drummer Vinny Appice. This left guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler as the only original members of Black Sabbath.

“Mob Rules” is some ways is overlooked by many, but at the same time it’s equal the 1980 release “Heaven and Hell.” It depends on how metal heads view this album. Some feel that the music on this record falls short to almost being very dull. Others find it to the one of the best Black Sabbath records.

Musically, “Mob Rules” is very diverse. Lot’s of different song arrangements and musical styles that went into writing the music. There’s a good bit of classical music influences on here. There’s also more complex tempos. Many of the songs are upbeat and fast, but then there’s also an equal of slower material on here too. The sound is very dark and musically, it’s very heavy. It’s has a Sludge Metal feel to it in some ways.

With regards to musicianship and instrumentation, each member of the band is clearly heard. There’s a good balance off the musicians during the production. There’s a good mixture of riffs on this record.  Iommi’s guitar is more complex, but sounds awesome. Geezer Butler’s bass lines are just thundering all over this record. Vinny’s drumming is more direct and lacks the grooviness of Bill Ward. So looking at the instrumentation, the drumming styles and techniques are the first major change one will hear.”E5150″ is a nice added touch that introduces the listener to the song “Mob Rules” by keyboardist Geoff Nicholls. I think that this record shows Ronnie James Dio’s range on vocals. He is an amazing vocalist. I also noticed the usage of backing vocals which the previous records didn’t have.

Bottom line is that this record is a forgotten gem. Musically, it’s good. I do like the song structures throughout the entire album. This record does continue setting the pace for Black Sabbath, although, there will be a major line up change coming after the tour for this record is finished.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Turn Up the Night” 3:42
2. “Voodoo” 4:32
3. “The Sign of the Southern Cross” 7:46
4. “E5150” 2:54
5. “The Mob Rules” 3:14
Side two
6. “Country Girl” 4:02
7. “Slipping Away” 3:45
8. “Falling Off the Edge of the World” 5:02
9. “Over and Over” 5:28

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