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It certainly is a feat to remain relevant in any musical scene for as long as Black Sabbath have been around. Just think about how many long-standing bands are out of touch these days. I don’t feel the need to start name calling; you should know who I’m talking about. I’m not saying that Sabbath haven’t released any duds, but not with this line up they haven’t!
I don’t think it’s necessary to go into a lengthy introduction of the band. Anyone who claims to be a metalhead should be knowledgeable about this band. So let’s just get on with the music, shall we? Heaven & Hell kick their debut(?) off with an excellent doomy rocker, Atom And Evil. Just from reading the song title you should be able to tell that you’re in for a real classic treat. When Iommi crunches out that slow paced mother of a riff, just turn your speakers up because it only gets better. Atom And Evil slowly bulldozes its way along, proving to be a great opener. The album soon speeds up with Fear, a faster tune reminiscent of the Dehumanizer era. If you listen to this band for the epic choruses, Bible Black is the song you should check out first. This is truly a massive tune where the whole band comes together to create something really special for the fans. It opens with a nice acoustic melody and Dio’s golden voice to make an intro that immediately reminded me of Children Of The Sea. But then - BAM - more crushing riffs from the godfather himself. This one’s a real gem for the catalogue.
Fillers? You won’t find them here. Some tracks are a bit weaker than others (Rock & Roll Angel) but every one has something to offer. Diversity is something else that impressed me about The Devil You Know. Fast tracks such as Eating The Cannibals nicely contrast with the slower songs (Breaking Into Heaven).
You seriously wouldn’t know that this was the bands first album in, hell, how many years? They really are as tight as they were in the hey-day. Each member steps up to the plate and delivers with all their balls. I think Iommi gets MVP for this album though, because the riffs here are definitely on par with his old classics. My personal favourite is Double The Pain, but they’re all fair game. Being a big Dio fan, I was glad to hear that his angelic vocal chords are still in mint condition. The drums and bass are pretty standard, but shine here and there.
If this is Heaven & Hell’s final album, there would be no shame in that. I’d safely dub this a modern classic, and certainly a highlight of 2009. This belongs in the hands of metalheads across the world.