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Pretty damn impressive - 84%

UltraBoris, August 26th, 2002

This is where Black Sabbath really gets their shit together, after wandering aimlessly through the desert for five years. Before that, there was the godly Sabotage, and before that five LPs that are historically unquestionable, but at times full of noise. Sabotage seemed like a real start, but then there were the two after it, which drank heavily from the jar of What the Fuck. Starting here, they'd release a series of albums that varied in style somewhat, but all were consistently very good.

Enter Ronnie James Dio, and we get a collection of songs that are at worst average, and at best immensely spectacular. We start with "Neon Knights" - with Dio on vocals, the band sounds much more power-metal. This is possibly the best album that Dio has done vocals on - very powerful, and the riffs are quite marvellous, thus I prefer it to his solo career, which also started out pretty well. Total speed metal, and Iommi also throws in a very cool solo. Then, the ballad "Children of the Sea". The best song on here - though the first time I heard it is still the best: with Rob Halford on vocals from 11/15/92 - I strongly encourage you to track down that version, it is quite amazing.

"Lady Evil" is a bit more pedestrian, and then we get to the title track, which comes in a very close second for best song nominations. The guitar solo, especially the first few seconds, is completely out of this world. "Wishing Well" is kinda ordinary but not at all bad, with some nice guitar work again (Iommi's best solos are definitely on this album), and then we get to "Die Young" - the fastest song on here (well, except the "someone stopped the flame" section, which is slow and has keyboards, but still works brilliantly). Dio's vocals are in top form - just runs rings around Ozzy, enough said. Then, "Walk Away" is decent, and "Lonely is the Word" is actually quite nice - it is long, but not overlong. The last 2 minutes or so are all soloing - maybe it borrows from Stairway to Heaven (I read that somewhere, I haven't heard the two songs in close enough proximity to notice), maybe it does not... in any case, as I said, the best lead work Iommi has ever done, combined with some awesome riffs and Dio's killer vocals, make this an indispensable Sabbath album.