Heaven & Hell
The Devil You Know

Ah, Black Sabbath, how we’ve missed you. I know, it’s not officially “Black Sabbath”, but we all know it really is. God love Ozzy, but Dio has always been the man for this band vocally. And now Messer’s Dio, Iommi, Butler & Appice have come to show all schools, old and new, how Metal is made.

With more tenacity and believability than bands half their age, Black S-…ok, ok…Heaven & Hell has returned to crush all in its path…and crush it does. This 4-headed monster devours all comers with razor wire teeth and steel jaws. The Devil You Know, front to back, beginning to end, wall to wall, is an absolute testament to what Metal can do in this day and age. 29 years after this incarnation’s debut, they’ve lost nothing. Dio’s vocals in particular are stunning. A man in the back half of his 60s should not sound this menacing…this intent on ripping out your soul. But I’m so glad he does. Iommi’s riffing is simply mammoth. Butler’s bass lines & fills are at their peak. Appice is Appice, in this instance…steady and solid, complimenting the riffs and carrying everything along well.

“Bible Black”, the first single unleashed upon the public, is simply fantastic. The tempo stomp is patented Iommi grandeur. Listening to this album, one can hear its influence on modern Doom Metal with its dark, ominous presence and unrelenting, slow to mid-tempo dirge. Songs like the aforementioned “Bible Black”, plus “Follow The Tears”, “Atom & Evil” and “Breaking Into Heaven” are straight up Doom-saturated behemoth’s…slow, angry and downright beastly. Blend in the head-banging riffs of “Eating The Cannibals”, “Neverwhere”, “Double The Pain” and “Fear” and what we have is a damn-near perfect Heavy Metal album. It is heavy & beautiful, plodding & soaring, Heaven & Hell!! If I could point to anything close to a weak moment, it’d be parts of “Rock And Roll Angel”, but even that has its moments.

Ronnie Dio, as far as I’m concerned, can abandon his own band and stay here for the remainder of his career which, I’m hoping, carries him and the rest of the band into their 80s as long as the music is this good. I may not even buy another album this year…well, scratch that…I will, but they won’t be as good as this one. Easily one of the best Metal releases of 2009.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
April 21st, 2009


  1. Commented by: Shane

    These guys will go down is the single most metal humans ever. They basically invented the damn genre, Dio says he made the “horns” popular, and in their 60’s they still smoke! It’s just a matter of respect.

  2. Commented by: Dan

    I confess I’ve never really listened to Black Sabbath or Dio or any combination thereof. I’ve always been a fan of metal’s more extreme side, but fuck this stuff is awesome. It’s heavy, uplifting and most importantly, dark. Ozzy lost the right to make music this good when he made himself and metal in general a fucking national punchline.

  3. Commented by: ceno

    I have only listened to it twice so far, and if I wasn’t absolutely blown away yet, I was at least impressed at how good the new songs sound. Excellent job proving that metal doesn’t pension off even its oldest workers.

  4. Commented by: Vance

    Dio is one of my all time favorite vocalists and probably the most metal human to ever walk the earth…but I must say that in his old age he is starting to get a little too sassy for his own good, too many times he carries notes out the same way you would see Toni Braxton carrying one out if she was singing the National Anthem at a ball game. Ronnie can still belt it out, but I think he is trying too hard at times, he sounds better when he doesn’t milk each note and just sings it. The rest of the album is superb with some really good heavy riffs and solid songwriting.

  5. Commented by: axiom

    A solid album indeed. Only proplem for me is that all tempos are virtually the same, slow to mid. There’s no Neon Knights or Mob Rules this time. Total respect though, these guys still got it.

  6. Commented by: Old Pick Axe

    If “Bible Black” is any indication, this album will please all fans of Black Sabbath and Dio. I can’t wait to get it.

  7. Commented by: Holy Diver 83

    This album is very solid! The last song breaking int heaven is the weakest! But bible Black, Follow The Tears, Fear and Nevermore, make the album worth it!

    Long Live the Masters of Metal! \m/

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