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The Devil You Know is a great comeback from a line-up that many people never dreamed would reunite for the third time. This album is all around fantastic. This album is virtually perfect in every single way except a couple minor things, which I will get to later on in this review. When they released the single for this album, 'Bible Black', I already knew that the album was going to be great and that it would be an Album Of The Year candidate, and I wasn't wrong!
Dio's vocals on this album are just some of the best and most aggressive sounding vocals he's ever put on an album. His vocals match the intensity that the album art for the album gives off as well as the album title itself. For being a couple years shy of seventy years old, Dio has still got it. In this album, Dio blends the perfect mixture of melody and aggression together to create some of the best vocals he's ever done on an album, if not the best. Dio's lyrical ability is also top notch and on this album he created some of the best lyrics he's ever written for any other album. The lyrics on this album are just great.
Tony's riffs on this album are just killer all throughout the album. There is not one single bad riff on this whole entire album and it really shows that Tony still has the ability to create fantastic riffs, he hasn't lost a step. This album features some very unique riffs, especially on the tracks 'Fear' and 'Bible Black', the riffs on those two songs are just great. The riff on 'Rock & Roll Angel' has some similarities to the riff on 'I' from Dehumanizer but Tony managed to tweak it enough so it's not exactly the same. 'Follow The Tears' has a very heavy riff that is no doubt the heaviest riff on the whole album. It has a great blend of melody and crunch to it that really makes the song along with the lyrics. Tony in my mind is the greatest riff writer in the history of music. The man is still a genius!
Geezer's time to shine on this album came on the song 'Double The Pain' where he starts the song off with a nice little bass solo and his bass is very audible throughout the song including a break in the middle of the song for another small bass solo. Geezer is on the ball on this album as he usually is. Geezer!
Now, the worst part of this whole entire album is Vinny Appice. I've always laughed at his drumming and always looked at him to be no better than an amateur. His drum fills on this album, as always, are laughable and just very bad. I mean, the man plays with the opposite ends of his drum sticks which no doubt effects his tone, but not in a good way. I really wish Bill Ward could have been on this album so he could show Vinny the proper way to get it done. While I'm on the subject of Vinny Appice, his live drum setup is one of the goofiest setups I've ever seen. Vinny is all around a very lame drummer and really stops me from giving this album a higher percentage.
There are a couple minor flaws on this album which is how long the track 'Breaking Into Heaven' drags on. Now, it's not a bad song by any means but I just feel that they could have cut it short by a minute or even two minutes. Plus, I think that it should have been the first song on the album to kind of create this theme, I guess you could say. You're Breaking Into Heaven, which is this great album. I feel that this would be the proper way to start of the album.
It is definitely hard for me to pick out any weak tracks on this amazing album. All tracks are enjoyed equally by me, and I would feel sort of guilty if I were to pick what would be the weakest track.
This is no doubt the Album Of The Year, not even in the metal genre, just overall. There really isn't an album that's come out so far or that is coming out this year, that can rival this album. Well, maybe the new Tenet album or the Blatant Disarray album or even the Candlemass album that came out a couple months ago but overall this album is just fantastic.Tony, Dio and Geezer have not lost a step in their old age and can still kick any younger band's asses! I really recommend checking this album out if you haven't already. You'll be blown away! Believe me! The riffs are just killer!