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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.