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The masters of metal, Black Sabbath, have hardly ever failed to please. With their dynamic history, it is notable how well they have lasted and were able to create such a legacy for themselves. A part of this great legacy was when Dio took the front man position of Black Sabbath and helped make some of their better material before going about other projects. Well they have returned to make an album to showcase the best of their years together (The Dio Years). Also they released this live album of a performance they did back in 1981.
I personally never had much a craze for live albums, but I still found many to be enjoyable. This album, however, is extremely well done and provides something new for the fans. I would say this will be one of the few live albums that I will keep listening to. This performance starts with the intro E5150, then sets it off with Neon Knights!
The production is outstanding. First of all the drums are clear; the high hat timbres perfectly, the snare and kick don't sound too raw, and the toms are nicely filled with bass. The guitar is superb, metallic and somewhat raw but absolutely controlled and clean. If you didn't know better, you could have confused this with a studio album at some points. The bass is very audible and provides a strong tone to the rhythm. Dio's vocals are as good as ever, though perhaps a but more gruff than in studio. But it works quite well and he still belts it when needed.
The band's performance itself is tighter than ever, each riff and fill are all done without a hitch. The drums performs perfectly and never missing a beat. The solos are executed with the greatest of care and proficiency. The classic bass fills of Geezer play out deliberately and flawlessly. Dio, like I said before, has a slightly different vocal feel but still does the songs right, as expected from one such as Dio. My only quibble is there is a few times when there was some feedback from the mic, but it happens very little.
The song line up is curious indeed. It starts with Neon Knights is expected as that is one by Dio, but then we have songs from the original Ozzy era like N.I.B, Iron Man, Paranoid and Children Of The Grave, (and much more). The original Dio ones are done well, that is obvious. The song Heaven and Hell is extended to be a cool solo jam break along with a call back with the audience. But for the originally Ozzy sung songs, it starts to get tricky. If you are an Ozzy worshipper, then you might find something to complain about as Dio does indeed do them but I personally found them very interesting. With Dio, I can actually hear what the lyrics are, as oppose to Ozzy's crazy rambling like in the original albums. In any case I think Dio does this songs well, which anyone who loves Dio will find to be a reason enough to get this album.
The album is a perfect way to complete your Dio-Sabbath collection, as the band does a killer performance along with choosing a perfect song lineup. If you can, try and get a copy, its worth it.