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There are some groups of people who when they get together, are bound to deliver quality. Be it the coordination among themselves coupled with their talents, you can see a spark, a striking superior quality compared to that of their peers. OK the group may have differences, ego problems, may even split, but be what may, they are an integral part of each other, and when they are together, they are bound to shake the world. The group of Tony Iommi, Ronnie James Dio and Geezer Butler is one such iconic group. Though having just a couple of albums together prior to this one, there can be no denying the fire these guys brought with them. So Tony Iommi, with limited success with Tony Martin (No offense against Martin, he is a terrific vocalist), decided to go for a reunion. Totally abandoning the power metal direction Iommi had taken since Dio's arrival, the band takes a dark, heavy and punishing road which can be dated back to the days when Tony Iommi single-handedly revolutionized the art of heavy riffing.
Technically the band is in awesome form. Tony Iommi proves just why he is the God of heavy riffs. The riffs are slow, heavy and crushing and majestically interwoven into each other. It feels as if you have been hit by a dozen of jackhammers on your head. The vocals are truly spectacular; an insane combination of spite, rage and fear mixed together in a glorious manner. If ever there was a doubt about Dio singing aggressively, it is put to rest here. He snarls, shrieks, roars and croons effectively adding a bleak and unpleasant colour to the music, a stark contrast from his Children Of The Sea days. Geezer is in great form himself with his grim bass lines providing for a perfect backdrop in the bleak scenario. The production is raw and punishing, with the rhythm guitar having a crisp and crunchy sound to it. The rest of the elements aren't ignored, and the vocals, drums and bass are balanced perfectly in.
The album comprises of ten spectacular tracks rooted down in pure doom metal. The consistency of the album is quite high; high so much so that this might be their most consistent album ever. A dark, sludgy and many a times an angry atmosphere decorates this album throughout its duration. The songs are catchy enough to be appreciated at the first listen and the choruses are creative and powerful. The lyrics are simple, yet powerful and go well along with the general bleak atmosphere of the record. The songwriting is simple and straight-forward, yet displaying a matured sense of musicianship which can only be achieved by veterans. Mostly the songs are constructed around a single or at most two riffs but are arranged cleverly enough to ensure that the song remains powerful throughout it's duration. The song length is perfectly balanced and is utilized well for most of the time. Low points in the album are few and between. Just somewhere between Time Machine, Sins Of The Father and Too Late, the album loses its steam which it has picked up. But fortunately the lows are not too low and are far few and between to be ignored.
This album deserves a worthy mention among the very best of Black Sabbath with such gems as Sabotage, Master Of Reality, Heaven And Hell, Tyr. Bottom-line, this album is a must listen for every fan of heavy metal. It is a shame that this album came out during the dark ages and failed to receive the attention it deserves.
This is the creative apex of both Ronnie James Dio and Black Sabbath as a unit. Yup, this is even better than Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules, mostly because it doesn't suffer from "goofy filler song" syndrome that plagued Sabbath from Day One. And who knew Dio could be this fucking menacing? Just listen to I and After All.
There's not a weak moment on this album (Buried Alive is average, but far from bad), and this is pretty much the standard for heavy fucking metal. You have the obligatory speed metal number (TV Crimes, with one of Iommi's most killer riffs), great mid-tempo rockers (Time Machine and Master Of Insanity), and of course, soul crushing monsters (After All and I...never mind the fact that the little lick in the intro and break is Purple Haze, it's probably the best song Sabbath has ever done!). Oh sure, this is pretty much a "metal by numbers" album (not that it's bad...but it's incredibly straightforward and there are no random changes), but if you want a straight-up traditional metal up, this is as good as it gets.
Special notice has to be given to Dio's performance here. While he's never had a bad performance on an album, he's never been this amazing. He nails the necessary "evil" vibe that the lyrics are going for, especially in After All and I (which happen to be the best songs here). Just listen to the first verse of After All ("Wonderful day for a killing...IT'S KILLING ME!") or the last verse of I ("I'll smash your face in, BUT WITH A SMILE!" And to think, that predates American Psycho by 8 years!). Oh sure, Dio's solo albums to this point were amazing, but they were all uplifting (not that that's a bad thing), and suddenly he just breaks out and starts spitting acidic lyrics with a passion! A total must-own.
Oh yeah, this is also the only Sabbath album cover that actually makes sense AND doesn't suck!
Iommi and Dio split for several reasons, but over the following decade it became clear that one of them was a desired divergence in style. Dio pursued his taste for epic rock'n'roll, while Iommi restored the blues to his music in style. When these two mighty forces met again in 1992, their various sprawling catalogues were again forced to bottleneck.
It is clear what Dio was drawing on for Dehumanizer - the angrier, rougher vocals and thumping song textures of Lock Up the Wolves led smoothly into the reunion album's throaty attack. Iommi however, in a rare show of artistic capitulation, collapsed the majestic power metal of Tyr to augment Dio's dark lyrics and increasingly complex songwriting with almost thrashing guitar riffs and cold, dirgelike, doomed atmospheres. Perhaps this is where the album earned its name - the sound of Sabbath here is less personal, less direct, instead dwelling in worlds of technical apocalypse and the abusiveness of humankind both lyrically and in its harsh aesthetic.
With all that said, the composition on Dehumanizer goes far beyond just angry, doomed sounding riffs. The staccato first half of 'Computer God' lurches like a stop-motion monster into a mournful, epic acoustic section not a million miles away from Martin-era Sabbath before rebooting into Mob Rules style heroic soloing. Besides being an absolutely spot-on assault on TV evangelism 'TV Crimes' infuses the trotting pace of Dio-Sabbath favourites like 'Turn Up The Night' with the hard guitar sound and acerbic vocals of fairly early thrash, as does the more sinister 'Time Machine.' While 'Master Of Insanity' is an interesting rocky take on the dark sound at large here, 'I' is like nothing recorded by the band before or after. The distorted intro never fails to excite, before the thrashing march of the guitar riffs comes in. Dio sounds almost too enraged to sing coherently, and Iommi's playing is more precise and heavy than an A-level maths teacher. Absolutely anthemic - you won't find anything like this.
"What do they do with your soul? Is it just lying there busted?"
The production sets this album apart, with its dry, clattering impression of open space and distance. This seems at first to give the tracks a sense of uniformity, especially with the low, rumbling bass dominating as much during the AOR-sprinkled "Sins of the Father' as it does on the huge, screwdriving head-smashing doom of 'Buried Alive' which brings the album to its sudden death. It's almost a death metal production - loose, crashing kit, thrumming bass pared away from the buzzing guitars - sounds like early '90s stuff to me. But despite this Dehumanizer covers all the bases for a diverse album of Sabbathy goodness. 'After All (The Dead)' is the best doom song gone long unnoticed, with Dio's vocals sounding evilly triumphant in his philosophical commiserations, and enormous cliff face-like riffs crashing behind. 'Letters From Earth' is a lumbering but catchy bit of Sabbath doom, classic Iommi riffs driving it all forwards - predictable, but it's a satisfying climax to the slower, more doomy songs of Dio's preceding decade. 'Too Late' has the quintessential beautiful acoustic opening with tender singing from Ronnie, before rousing itself to an epic scale and noble visage to rival 'Sign of the Southern Cross.'
Dehumanizer was a huge, harrowing return to the bleak bludgeoning riffwork of very early Sabbath, with an injection of modernism. It boasted both Iommi's talent for stylistically matching and musically challenging any singer he works with, and fits seamlessly into RJD's smooth and career-spanning development of his sound and lyrics. Each song on here is a varied-paced steamroller of jagged guitarwork and classic vocals - not to be missed for those who love either of these two central chaps, and a fine introduction to Sabbath if you come from the harder side of metal.
After the less than favorable reception given to the Black Sabbath line-up fronted by the underrated Tony Martin, guitarist/bandleader Tony Iommi decided to bring back a few figures from his more prominent past and resurrect the line-up led by vocalist Ronnie James Dio on 1981’s "Mob Rules." The resulting album remains one of Sabbath’s most punishing and overlooked efforts to date.
Despite possessing the same line-up, this album’s music has very little in common with the material found on the first two installments of the Dio era. Songs such as "After All (The Dead)" and "Letters from Earth" provide powerful doom metal dirges while songs like "TV Crimes" and "Time Machine" show off faster riffs and energetic vocals and a ballad track manifests by means of the depressing "Too Late." Of course, there are also tracks like "Computer God" and "Master of Insanity" that feature elements of all three styles. The band’s chemistry is also worth noting with Dio in particular delivering one of his angriest vocal performances to date.
Just as Dio’s solo band had done a few years prior to the reunion, the album’s lyrics have also changed to meet the more morose tendencies of the music. While previous albums showed the singer being pre-occupied with the fantasy metaphors that have given him both fans and detractors, this album seems to completely throw them out the window in favor of more realistic themes. Nearly every song is packed with pessimistic themes relating to misuse of technology ("Computer God"), questions of the afterlife ("After All (The Dead)"), televangelists ("TV Crimes"), social commentary ("Letters from Earth," "Master of Insanity"), and a few personal musings in between. The song "I" provides the album’s only glimmer of hope with messages of individualism and self-empowerment. Of course, it also provides some of the silliest lines that Dio has ever come up with (“I’m a virgin/I’m a whore”)...
For the most part, the album’s flaws are relatively few and far between. Listeners that are expecting to hear "Heaven and Hell" part 2 will certainly be in for a shock when they hear the slower songs and equally crushing lyrics. Other than that, it’s a pretty safe to purchase to make.
All in all, it's a very underrated effort and perhaps the best Sabbath album since 1983’s "Born Again" (Yes, I'm one of those weird people that loves that album).
1) Excellent band performance with crushing riffs and angry vocals
2) Intelligent lyrics with even darker themes
3) Great songwriting and song structures
1) May be a little too slow for more mainstream Sabbath listeners
My Current Favorites:
"Computer God," "After All (the Dead)," "TV Crimes," "Letters from Earth," and "Master of Insanity"
Black Sabbath's 1992 album Dehumanizer marked the first reunion of the "Mob Rules" lineup of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice (the second being 2007's tour under the alias Heaven and Hell). A classic version of the band, for sure. But with a decade apart, one wonders if there wasn't a bit of tension surrounding this reunion. It's been said that Iommi wanted to increase Sabbath's profile in the US, and in that aspect the reunion was a success. The album, however, is something of a mixed bag.
Dehumanizer fails to capture the vibe of the early Dio-Sabbath albums, "Heaven and Hell" and "Mob Rules." The music and production values are more modern, as is to be expected. But maybe the band should have taken more time to become comfortable working with each other again (most evident in the fact that this is the only album they did before breaking up again). Dehumanizer isn't a weak album by any means. Fact is, it's mean as Hell on some tracks. But it's about half-and-half, and the other half kinda bores me. The standout tracks are classic Sabbath, and I'd say those are "Computer God," "After All(The Dead)," "TV Crimes," "Too Late," and "I." These five songs pretty much sum up what is best about Dio-Sabbath. Sadly, the other songs don't really measure up to the best songs. They're not bad, but they are somewhat filler. "Time Machine" appeared on the Wayne's World soundtrack, but they only played about ten seconds of the song during the movie. Iommi appeared onscreen briefly in Wayne's World 2, but I digress.
Regardless, Dehumanizer is another great album in the Sabbath discography and a must have for Dio-Sabbath fans. The musicianship is superb, but songwriting-wise they should have taken a bit more time to clean the rust off of this legendary heavy metal beast before venturing back into the studio.
Ronnie James Dio's brief stint back into Sabbath showed that the master was still able to deliver the goods with an age far beyond the average peak of a metal singer. While Dio has proven many times that he's almost invincible (he still delivers to this day - just check the new Heaven & Hell single "The Devil Cried" - but that's another review) "Dehumanizer" is definitely one of the best Black Sabbath albums and also one of the strongest in Dio's entire career.
This is, without a doubt, one of (if not) the best traditional heavy metal album(s) of 1992. We all know that the early 90s were a bad time for heavy metal since the uprising Grunge scene took the mainstream by force, but "Dehumanizer" is a gleaming gem amongst the masses of so called "alternative rock" artists.
Songs like the grand opener "Computer God" are incredibly dark and haunting while being witty in the lyrical department (the whole album features great poetry) and strong in the songwriting. "Dehumanizer" is also one of the heavier Black Sabbath albums, featuring crunchy doom-style riffs and a fierce vocal delivery by Dio.
"After All (The Dead) is probably the strongest song lyrical-wise, featuring awesome lines like:
"What do you say to the dead? Is there a place where it's burning?
It says in a book I once read; yes there's a chance of returning"
Brilliant. The metaphors and hidden meanings behind many of the songs featured on this album are rare gems of lyrical excellence. Definitely a highlight of this album.
Iommi's and Geezer's performances are once again stellar, wiping the floor with many of modern songwriters who simply don't even possess half of their songwriting qualities; Geezer's bass intro in "Master of Insanity" and Iommi's guitar solo at the end of "Computer God" being great examples of this. The overall guitar work drinks heavily from the doom-style, showing an even darker faceted side of Black Sabbath. Many songs are slow- to mid-paced, filled with a fairly large amount of bludgeoning and delightful riffs.
There are no bad songs to be found here, but the definitive highlights are "Computer God", "After All (The Dead)", "Master of Insanity" and "I".
If you enjoy classic heavy metal, which is quite a bit darker than usual, then this album is definitely recommended. Another shining moment in Dio's career.
Black Sabbath has probably been the most imitated band in history, which is a consequence of pioneering any genre of music, let alone one containing so many sub-genres. 1992 is a significant year for this subject as it was loaded with bands that were trying to recreate the spirit of this band during the Ozzy Osbourne years; many of them failing miserably in the process yet were embraced as amazing successes. However, even amongst better imitators such as Soundgarden and Alice in Chains in the grunge scene, all one need do is compare the students to the master and see how big the contrast is.
Dehumanizer is extravagant not in that it tries to paint as bleak of a picture as possible by focusing solely on the negative (which is what Alice in Chains’ Dirt did), but in that it deals with darkness with an intellectual and musical flair that is more fitting to metal and all that falls under its umbrella. For example, many grunge bands took to the more doom and gloom approach to religion that was established on Metallica’s rather forgettable MoP song “Leper Messiah”. By stark contrast, the lyrics to “TV Crimes” takes a quasi-satire approach to the issue of televangelism, and paints the less flattering picture of the TV bible-beater as a 2nd rate conman. Voltaire would definitely be proud of this one.
Throughout the entire listen we are treated to a variety of lyrical themes that are quite a departure from RJD’s earlier work with Sabbath. From the futuristic technological tyranny of “Computer God” to the egoistic anthem “I”, we get songs that are poetic, yet still catchy and easy to sing along with in the concert hall. We also get a taste of older Sabbath themes from back when Ozzy was still fronting the band such as the somber introspective song “Too Late”, and the social commentary included on such tracks as “Letters from Earth” and “Sins of the Father”.
The music contained on here is a rather brilliant combination of several eras of Sabbath. “After All (The Dead)” sounds a good deal like “Disturbing the Priest”, while “Buried Alive” has an introductory riff that reminds a good deal of “Zero the Hero”. “TV Crimes” and “Time Machine” could almost pass for faster tracks from the earlier RJD era of Sabbath, although the riffs do contain a darker tinge that keeps them in line with the subject of this album. “Master of Insanity” is definitely similar to some of the darker tracks from the Ozzy era, and contains one hell of an evil sounding bass intro.
Some of the music on here is a bit more original sounding, though still in line with the precedents set on previous efforts. “Too Late” starts off with a sad sounding acoustic guitar intro that sounds a tiny bit like “Odin’s Court” off the last album, only to kick into some rather evil sounding electric guitar riffs that seem more in line with the dark title track to “The Eternal Idol”. “I” has a very blues inspired intro that could pass for Sabbath’s debut album in 1970, though the rest of the song sounds similar to some of Dio’s later solo work.
If I had to pick the best standout track on this album it would have to be “Computer God”. Although I am a Sci-Fi junkie and am thus partial to the lyrics of this song (TV Crimes is a close second), the true power of this song for me comes from the riffs. Tony Iommi really outdid himself on this one, both in terms of the grand collection of great rhythm guitar lines and two rather amazing solos. Geezer Butler and Vinnie Appice also deserve credit for their efforts on this one, and of course kudos to Ronnie for the dramatic vocal performance.
In conclusion, this was and will forever be the greatest album of 1992, nothing else that was going on musically during this time period even hopes to come close to this. It is unfortunate that this reunion was short lived, but on the bright side both Dio and Sabbath would go on to have solid releases in 1994. This album is recommended highly to all fans of Sabbath and all fans of metal; it stood tall and told the masses in one gigantic shout what metal was all about, despite the fact that many of the ears that they were shouting at had been deafened by the noise of Nirvana’s Nevermind and a host of other bands vomiting out musical debris.
After a string of mediocre albums with Tony Martin, Sabbath regroup with former vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Dio, of course had a succesful solo career but like Sabbath, he had kind of lost his touch over time. I guess both Sabbath and Dio really needed something to get them back on track, and boy this was the album to do it.
The production is absolutely perfect, Sabbath hasn't sounded this heavy since Volume 4. Dio is back on the top of his game, putting his powerful voice to good use. Geezer is absolutely amazing as usual, there's good reason why this guy is one of the best bassists ever. Appice is solid, his drum sound is pretty bad ass on here. But it's Tony Iommi who really makes a come back, you would think after 20,000 albums Iommi would have ran out of riffs long ago. But this shit is so fresh and heavy you can't help but bow down and give the man his due. His lead work has improved alot too, playing some of his fastest and at the same time most melodic solos to date.
"Computer God" starts the album off quite nicely, a really heavy, vocal driven song. Awesome pre-chorus harmonics, nice breakdown about half way through blazing back in at even faster speed for an awesome solo. "After All(The Dead)" is a slower song with some menacing layered vocals from Dio, after a while it picks up and turns into a nice plodding head banger. Not the best Sabbath song in the world, but not bad either. "TV Crimes" is a fast paced rocker, borderline speed metal. A nice contrast to the slower songs before it, great song, this is what heavy metal is all about.
"Letters From Earth" sounds like something that could have been released on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath or Vol. 4. A dark and brutally heavy song, nothing new or special but effective none the less. "Master of Insanity" comes up next, that riff that kicks in at about 40 seconds...Oh yeah, that's got Iommi wrote all over it. An insanely catchy chorus, man that thing will get stuck in your head for days. Awesome song. "Time Machine" is probably the most well known song from the album, it's more up-beat and VERY catchy. That intro riff sounds like something Manowar would write. A definite highlight. "Sins of the Father" is an awesome mid paced epic, Dio sounds exceptionally great at the beginning. Listen to that breakdown at about 2:20....Total fucking ownage, man that riff gets me every time "They call it mystery, but any fool can see..." one of the greatest moments in heavy metal history, right up there with "The world is full of kings and queens, who'll blind your eyes and steal your dreams..."
"Too Late" is really cool song, another epic. Starting off with just an accoustic guitar and Dio's voice, building up to extreme heaviness and ending in the same manner it started. "I" seems to be a favorite off the album, and there's no doubt as to why. A fast paced head banger, kick ass riffs and some more menacing vocals, an absolute crusher of a song. Some classic Dio lyrics also. "Buried Alive" ends the album in good fashion, fast and heavy. Probably the best solo on the album.
All in all this is a great "come back album" for Sabbath. It's not really anything new or innovative, and it's not the best album in the world. It's just some really kick ass heavy metal, simple as that.
Dehumanizer reminds me of a really, really fat man. When the fat guy is walking, running even, it’s immensely entertaining to watch because you get the sense of all this weight moving, swinging plunging and indeed rippling in ways God never intended. However, when said fat guy just sits there though, he just wallows and bores the hell out of whoever is watching because their ain’t nothing to do except to watch with morbid fascination and try to guess when it’ll collapse under it’s own weight. Dehumanizer is like that fat man friends, because it is an album possessing ridiculous density and weight (but not true doom) but a lack of drive and inspiration.
The word ‘ponderous’ was coined for albums like this. On every Sabbath album there are slow songs (“Black Sabbath”, “Heaven and Hell”), mid-tempo songs (“Into the Void”, “Fairies Wear Boots”), and songs that do some pretty brisk business (“The Mob Rules”, “Symptom of the Universe”), but here the album seems shrouded in a hazy fog in which a bunch of immovable objects reside with no hope of an unstoppable force to upset their mouldering and slow petrifaction. There are islands of hope in this sea of muck, including one track I consider a classic, but even amongst these few measure up to even mid-rangers from Sabbath’s early catalogue (both the Ozzy and Dio years, hell even the first two Martins) and so Dehumanizer is little more than a footnote, a good anecdote when telling the whole sordid Black Sabbath story to a newcomer to this massive coven.
Dehumanizer, along with the other two studio records, really suggests that Dio is really in charge of the band to a degree most wouldn’t guess. Consider that Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are much more Rainbow/Dio than Black Sabbath records, the HaH tracks particularly being of a make and model that wouldn’t be out of place on either a fictional Dio-fronted post-Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll Rainbow project, or a long lost pre-Holy Diver Dio record. Dehumanizer apes the Dio records that bookend it in the same way, the change in sound from Lock up the Wolves through Dehumanizer to Strange Highways not being particularly jarring.
The similarities of this trio of records are not hard to see, big wallowing riffs and Ronnie trying to focus on more ‘mature’ themes, as well as using the same (or very similar) vocal melodies on every damn song. Listen close to “After All (The Dead)” (or “Strange Highways” even) and you’ve got the idea, a thickening up of the song “Dream Evil” stretched over a whole album, Ronnie crooking his finger at you and snarling in a more snarly fashion than usual. One or two of these songs per album are good, an infusion of vein-coagulating red meat, but it gets to the point where you just lay there and let this roll off you back and mostly can’t remember a damn thing about what just happened.
However, there are some breaks in the mediocrity. “Master of Insanity” starts out like a Sound of Perseverance-era Death track, some very tricky-sounding rhythm-section fireworks before launching into a great stomping mid-tempo crunch with an unconventional and aurally pleasing chorus, Dio leaving the “to eleven!” growl behind for a few minutes. It’s great how the solo actually has some build-up too, restrained wankery if you will. There is a ballad (“Too Late”) that isn’t going to give “Falling Off the Edge of the World” a run for it’s money, but at least it gives your mind a break from the sludgy non-event “Time Machine” and the back half of “Sins of the Father”. “Computer God”, like the best tracks from Dio’s other ‘heavier-than-thou’ records, manages to make the wallowing work by making it only a small part of the song, slowly creaking open the door to a labyrinthine power drumfest and some really nice guitar work throughout that belies Tony’s age. The best track in my opinion is among the more conventional, “I” a great rebellious fist pumper that pounds the floor and gives one of the albums very few shout along chorus opportunities, and also the giggle-factor of Dio proclaiming “I’m a whore” in his most metallic call-to-arms style.
However these highlights (in the case of “Too Late”, minor breaks in the monotony) are tempered by the sheer suffocating boredom songs like “After All (The Dead)”, “Letters from Earth”, and “Time Machine” (twice!), songs that remind you that Dio, Butler (the G//Z/R project), Appice (WWIII with Tracy G), and Iommi were all in one of the most sludgy reactionary ‘more metal than metal’ phases of their careers, like one giant shared mid-life crisis from hell that further buried their collective reputations (arguably Dio’s uber-heavy records are an exception) under a surge of fat riffs and subterranean (when existent) grooves. So yeah, Dehumanizer has highlights (“I”, “TV Crimes”, “Master of Insanity”, and “Computer God”) but a few songs don’t make a record, they can only heroically attempt to salvage it, and this album is lurching , battery-drained proof of that.
Highlights: “I”, “Master of Insanity”, “Computer God”
One of the most underrated Black Sabbath albums happens to be one of the best. Dehumanizer welcomes back the vocal god Ronnie James Dio, and one of his best performances is put on this album. For the most part we have a very similar vocal production from Dio, his straight out power wielding vocals. However, there are some songs where pure evil reigns in his voice. What I mean is that on some songs Dio's voice is very low and with the powerful sounds of doom riffing makes it sound evil. Best song that shows this is After All, which is one of the best songs on this album.
For the most part, the riffs are typical doom metal oriented. Very slow and at times melodic, but there is so much more to it on this album. The way the crunch is worked, and the distortion puts an evil edge upon the songs, something Black Sabbath has been lacking for awhile. I agree with Ultra Boris, Black Sabbath got back to a familiar tone of the Ozzy years. They got back the dark and evil sound that made Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath. Dio even sounds a lot like Ozzy on the song Sins of the Father.
All the songs are pretty exceptional with awesome Iommi riffs. Dio's vocals shine high on this album, and can well be placed up with Mob Rules and Heaven and Hell. There are two types of songs, semi-fast paced and the slow doom metal tunes. Drumming, the bass, production, everything comes together on this album. If everything didn't come together, it would probably be a good album still because the song structures are solid and just really that good.
And with awesome songs and dark lyrics I wonder why this is an underrated album. Plus if you got the US version it comes with Time Machine the Wayne's World mix. If you love Black Sabbath then you probably own this album and already know what I am talking about. If you haven't heard this album...well shame on you, because it is a masterpiece of heavy metal.
This is an album that sounds very different from its predecessors, both the Tony Martin era and the previous RJD albums. This harkens back to a certain time when Tony Iommi wrote the heaviest riffs on earth, by far. The whole album sounds as heavy as the 70s, while coming up with subtle bits that recall the best of the band's 80s output, pretty much combining the best of all eras.
Most of the stuff has been summarised here - there tend to be two major categories of songs here. There are a few uptempo numbers like TV Crimes and Time Machine (there are two versions of this song, they seem to be not fundamentally different). Of these "TV Crimes" is the utter speed metal song, while Time Machine is more a midpaced song.
Then, the rest of the album is made up of slow-to-midpaced CRUSHERS. Stuff that fits the style of the old masters (of reality!), stuff like "Buried Alive", and the epic "Too Late", which is just the finest doom metal has to offer. Each riff is like being hit on the head by one or two warehouses full of hammers. This is excellent stuff here. More great songs include "Computer God", which is a bit faster but no less heavy. Yes, this is what this album is - really fucking heavy! The riffs just completely pummel you, and force you to to obey or die.
Highlights... probably the opener, "Computer God", which creaks and lurches its way into prominence before culminating with a classic solo that is all Iommi - early 80s style, with those bizarre note sequences that easily identify him. Also, "TV Crimes" is a fun basher that sounds like a Mob Rules song with extra crunch, and the intro riff set of "Letters from Earth" recalls all that is good about the early 70s - from Into the Void to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, while the first fast riff is total Eternal Idol.
Essential Sabbath - THIS is really the return to the Ozzy era, even though it's got Ronnie on vocals. This is on par with the 70s stuff as far as pure riff bludgeonry goes.
This album cannot be slagged in anyway. The component are; Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Vinny Appice, and Ronnie James Dio. This lineup in a sense, is perfect. Ronnie came back into the fold after jamming at a concert one night with Geezer, and so it just seemed like a good idea from a financial standpoint, since the maximum NON-DRAWING power of Tony Martin was leading Sabbath into onlivion. I respect Tony, but ANYONE could've been better than him. So here we are in 1992, and the Sabbs release their last true piece of art....Dehumanizer. The songs aren't the same phoned in riffs and cliche imagery that dominated Headless Cross -> Tyr era Sabbath, hell no. The band gives us an almost concept album on the future, with a production job that captures this theme immensely. This is the sound Sabbath is best in, and it shows clearly as their simply is no low point on the album. I've tried to find it, as I've looked to see which was my least favorite song, listened to it a few times and began to love it. My biggest suprise was Dio's lyrics, because he'd been on a creativity drought since Sacred Heart and here he's got totally new themes and a great new angry growl that would go on to rule his DIO follow-up "Strange Highways". The drumming is perfectly matched with the music, and Geezer's bass fills in "Computer God" make the song work and flow nicely. Words cannot describe the long term value of this album, I am still finding new things to appreciate in it. Sure addicts to "Heaven And Hell" and "Mob Rules" might not like the production, but this album in my opinion is stronger than either of those, and its a shame both Ronnie and the band have forgotten this classic in their setlists.