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Metal has been known for elevating the act of parodying televangelism through the medium of music to an absolute art form. With such songs as Anthrax’s “Making me Laugh”, Metallic’s “Leper Messiah”, Ozzy’s “Miracle Man” and a host of others, it seems that the likes of Pat Robertson have nowhere to hide from the biting teeth of metallic satire. But then Ronnie James Dio came along with his trusty pen and paper in hand and along with the rest of the “Mob Rules” lineup of Black Sabbath, put together the most ingenious swipe at every money-grubbing, plastic Jesus selling fraud to ever plaster his face all over the small screens of America.
“TV Crimes” is slightly more interesting for its witty lyrics, but one should not discount the wickedly heavy riffs that litter this up tempo masterpiece. With that really dark intro riff that just pummels like a ton of forlorn metal, followed by what sounds like a deeper and bass happy version of the mid-tempo thrash metal that was popular with bands such as Anthrax and Metallica just a couple years prior to this. The solo sees the band reverting back to their melodic metal roots as heard on “Heaven And Hell”, but otherwise this is just an all out chromatic riff assault that just happens to be conducive to Ronnie’s catchy melodic hooks.
Naturally Sabbath can’t live completely in the realm of witty and humorous polemics, so we come to the equally auspicious b-side of this little demo “Letters From Earth”, which strikes a much more serious tone. With its punishing slow tempo and woeful melody lines, this thing just lays on the doom with the same gloomy ferocity that the title song from “The Eternal Idol” did, but with a slightly sludge-like underpinning to it. It picks up a tiny bit in the middle, going from gravely slow to moderately slow, sort of going back and forth between sounding like something from the early Tony Martin era and something that Candlemass might have put together circa 1987.
With all of the nimble Jacks out there now on the run unable to continue duping people with their quick lips thanks to the 4 prophets of true doom here, the essential nature of “Dehumanizer” becomes instantly obvious. If you haven’t heard the whole album, it is more essential that you check that out rather than spend your time looking for this long lost single, which is a mere 2 chapters out of a much longer book. But regardless on what release you hear this song, the one liners and biting humor contained in here never gets old.