Heaven and Hell is the ninth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released on 25 April 1980. It is the first Black Sabbath album to feature vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who replaced original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne in 1979.
Produced by Martin Birch, the album was a commercial success, particularly in the United States, where it reached number 28 on the Billboard 200 chart, and was certified platinum for 1 million sales in the United States alone. In the band’s native country, it sold well enough to be certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry in April 1982.
Neon Knights—-Seeming to abandon some of the deep sludge of earlier recordings, Sabbath roared back with Dio on vocals….it is amazing how well his voice fit with the band and how full the sound is from the band. Dio just soars with his vocal…the overlays and tales of dragons and such just seem to be a perfect fit with the band. This is a new and refreshing sound for Sabbath….a true triumph.
Children Of The Sea—-Such a remarkable sound from this band…like the vigor for creativity was regenerated with the new life in the band. this is powerful as hell…and Ronnie delivers a vocal that never grows old. The power of his voice melds with the band like a magic potion. The tales of mysticism and darkness is perfect for Sabbath. This is monumental.
Lady Evil—-A huge drum intro and the almost trademark sound of 80’s Metal ushers in the track. Do begins his tale with mystery and eerie lyrics….much as you would expect. The chord changes in the music are incredible…and the vocal overlays make Dio 8 feet tall. The power in the voice is just incredible and melds with the vibe of the band perfectly. this is a new Sabbath….and i loved it.
Heaven And Hell—-The true centerpiece of the album, you can hear familiar strains of early Sabbath right from the first notes. When Dio begins to sing over the plodding bass line, you are almost transported to a magical mysterious place. That is what music is all about…that feeling you get when you listen to a song….no matter how old it is. This is an epic track. The band created a perfect scene with the music….the voice and the lyrics. This is history.
Wishing Well—-Powerful and classic in sound, the voice is the standout point of this track. the music seems thick and layered…but the production allowed the voice at the very front of the mix and allowed it to override the sometimes chaotic mix of guitars. The drums are incredible…you can feel every hit in your head phones. This is an overlooked track….but it is brilliant.
Die Young—-Just an incredible track…right from the very first notes….the airy and mystical feel of the song is fantastic. The lead guitars seem to literally soar above your head. when the bass line and the drums kick in, the track is off at full tilt. Dio sings so fast…but never looses that feel his voice is able to convey. This track has many moods and shifts….typical Sabbath/Dio…..a brilliant piece of music.
Walk Away—-More in the classic 80’s sounding Metal at the onset, this really does not sound…musically….like Sabbath at all. At times I miss that deep sound that was there in the early days. Dio raises the band to a whole new level though…it is like the fire from his voice steered the band to a crisper and cleaner sound. This is a great song…not the stand out like some…but still holds up well.
Lonely Is The Word—-Blasting from your speakers at full volume, you hate to see this release end. The guitars are incredible….but never come close to overpowering the vocal from Ronnie. The mood shifts and down tempo from the guitars give the song a darker feel. This was incredible to listen to again. a true classic Metal masterpiece.
***** out of 5