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Back when i was at the tender young age of 14, still immersed in the world of 70's hard rock like Queen and Aerosmith, I decided to listen this band i had heard of called Black Sabbath. I was intrigued. Being a member of the newer, more technology-driven generation, I searched for this band on itunes, and I decided to listen to this album called Heaven and Hell. (Being the inexperienced kid I was, i thought that was still Ozzy on vocals...my how far i've come.) The title track basically tore my head off. I listened to this song obsessively. After hearing this, I said to myself, "hey, this heavy metal stuff is pretty cool, i'm going to listen to more of it." And here I am today.
Naturally enough, I went on to buy the whole album. The opener, Neon Knights, is easily my favorite track after the title track. It has such a driving riff, catchy choruses, and lyrics you just couldn't forget (I had no clue what Dio was singing about but i could care less--come to think of it, I'm still not totally sure; I just know i love it).
Children of the Sea gives you a bit of a rest after the opener. This band can set a mood, let me tell you. Then, of course, the full song kicks in; if you don't love it, you don't love heavy metal.
Lady Evil has more of a straight up blues/rock feel to it, but it's still a great track. Not my particular favorite but still excellent.
Then it happens; "Sing me a song, you're a singer, do me a wrong, you're a bringer of evil." The opening riff just hits you right in the mouth. It's a classic, genre-defining riff. Then, as with Children of the Sea, it goes into a quiter setting, perfectly accented by Dio's amazing performance and Iommi's passionate, emotion-filled solos (great use of delay, by the way), which the song follows for about four minutes (give or take), until Vinnie and Geezer push it into overdrive. Tony keeps it going, then, "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's Heaven and Hell." Words simply cannot describe the excellence of this portion of the song. It is perfect. Iommi delivers one of the most impressive solos I have ever heard, and just when you think it's done, a dueling acoustic line ends the song perfectly. Classic.
Then, in true heavy metal fashion, the band says, "ok, we have them calm, now ATTACK!!" And just like that, you are immeresed in the driving riff of Wishing Well. This is a very catchy song with a memorable riff (like many of Iommi's riffs). Again, Dio is fantastic, the acoustic guitar in the background adds quite a bit of depth (in my opinion), and again, Iommi makes great use of delay in his solo.
Die Young is another mood-setter. It starts off slowly with a revolving, flange-y sound effect with dueling guitar harmonies to set you up for another driving riff. This song is just another reason why this album is a genre-defining classic. After a few moments of intensity, the song goes into a slower, acoustic/clean part with more flange and delay, with Dio's voice raising hairs on the back of your neck. A few fills by the band, and it's into an Iommi solo. Bloody excellent.
Walk Away also has a 70's rock-ish feel to it. It's probably the most upbeat of the songs. Perhaps not the most memorable track, but still a great one.
Lonely is the Word is a slower one, another great mood-setter. Some great soloing by Iommit and a powerful performance by Dio. A fantastic closer to an excellent album.