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What the hell...? - 95%

Agonymph, February 14th, 2009

Okay, when Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler announced they'd be working with Ronnie James Dio again and tour with the songs from that era, one could have expected it wouldn't be any less than good. But what the hell? When I hear 'Live At Radio City Music Hall', I hear a bunch of classic Metal heroes that have rejuvenated in every aspect. Every member simply hasn't sounded this good since the last time they played together.

And yes, I am surprised. Okay, Tony Iommi has recently smacked me in the face with the amazing 'Fused' (with my favorite singer Glenn Hughes). That album was the proof that this man still had a lot of meaning to the Metal world. And Ronnie James Dio is of course still a great singer, but he hasn't sounded this energetic and powerful in the last ten to fifteen years. Compare these recordings to the recent Dio-live albums. I'm not saying he was bad, not at all, but it's as if he has suddenly gotten twenty years younger. Or maybe even thirty.

The songs are delivered with a sense of hunger and an energy that isn't equalled by a lot of bands that are a lot younger. Dio is a more vital front man than Ozzy (though that is sort of a given) and when you have the DVD, you'll notice that especially Tony Iommi is visibly enjoying playing these songs again after all these years. The sound quality is nothing short of fantastic and that offers the heavily underrated Geezer Butler the space to really shine.

You can try, but there's no way to escape the goosebumps-level of this album. Whether it's the expected classics ('The Mob Rules', 'Heaven And Hell', 'Neon Knights', 'Children Of The Sea'), the surprising selection of songs ('Falling Off The Edge Of The World', 'Lonely Is The Word', 'Lady Evil', 'I') or the excellent new tracks ('The Devil Cried', 'Shadow Of The Wind'), everything sounds great, sound quality-wise, performance-wise and vocally. Of course, anyone probably has at least one complaint about the song selection - I myself would have loved to have heard more songs from 'Dehumanizer' ('Masters Of Insanity'!) - but the fact is that the songs that are there are nothing short of excellent.

Recently, announcements have been made that this isn't just a one-off thing and I really hope that'll stay that way. Because, let's face it, this lineup is simply one of the best things Metal ever had to offer and all the people involved still sound amazing. What else can you wish for as a fan of real Metal? I'd take this over any Manowar release any day. I wish them all the best and a lot of great releases in the future!