Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell

Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell

Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell

(1980, Warner Bros)

The selection to present this genuine monument may face some raised brows out there from metalheads who are scratching their heads why didn’t I choose one of the four/five golden and Ozzy-fronted BLACK SABBATH albums. Well, you can call me a blasphemer or someone who is ignorant of Metal history, but I happen to consider “Heaven And Hell” as the most complete BLACK SABBATH albums from every aspect.

“Heaven And Hell” came in a period of time when Ozzy was with one foot out of the band (and soon after place and the other foot out) while the Birmingham boys seemed to be running low on composing fuel as heard in “The Technical Ecstasy” and “Never Say Die!”. In fact, Geezer Butler was also almost out of the band while Bill Ward was already fighting his own demons. Right on this crucial moment came an older friend of Iommi who just happened to be one of the greatest singers / musicians in the entire Metal scene. So, the band (at least the functioning members) sat down and with Ronnie as the driving force and as an endless well of inspiration created an impressively solid album that saw Martin Birch sitting behind the soundboard. For the first time in the history of the British band, the lyrics had a deeper meaning shining through the poetic hand of Dio. Challenge yourself and read every lyric line of this album and you will definitely get onboard with me saying that I am getting goosebumps each and every time I hear the beautiful lines “It's a long way to nowhere / And I'm leaving very soon” from “Children Of The Sea”.

This is probably the only album out there where the change of frontman did not hurt the band and, in fact, made it stronger to endure the turmoil that followed during the tour when Bill Ward decided to take himself out of the lineup. Musically, this album touches perfection with bone crushing riffs, amazing bass lines and overall sound, while the vocals are simply out of this world. The self-titled song is the epitome of Ronnie’s strong composing hand that brought together the rest of SABBATH and created a timeless piece of art that has set the barrier way too high for anyone to reach. I mean, what can be possible said about the bass driven intro, the main riff, the a-m-a-z-i-n-g solo and the fast break during which Ronnie sings “They say that life's a carousel / Spinning fast, you've got to ride it well / The world is full of Kings and Queens / Who blind your eyes and steal your dreams”… It can’t go better than this and sadly it will never simply because Dio has left this world. Even the painting by Lynn Curlee (entitled “Smoking Angels”) chosen as the cover artwork fits perfectly to this album, so once again this album should stand beside the word perfection in the imaginary Metal music dictionary.

I hope that whoever is reading these lines has already been introduced to the magic of “Heaven And Hell” and just needed a reminder. In any case, put once again this album in your player of choice (preferably an analog one), crank the volume to ten and sing with me with your loudest voice:

“Oh no, here it comes again
Can't remember when we came so close to love before
Hold on, good things never last
Nothing's in the past, it always seems to come again
Again and again and again”


Tracklist

01. Neon Knights
02. Children Of The Sea
03. Lady Evil
04. Heaven And Hell
05. Wishing Well
06. Die Young
07. Walk Away
08. Lonely Is The Word


Lineup

Ronnie James Dio - Vocals
Bill Ward - Drums
Geezer Butler - Bass
Tony Iommi - Guitar