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Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know
It’s time to call the Guinness Book of Records on this one, because The Devil You Know must be the metal debut album with the oldest band members ever. Singer Ronnie James Dio is close to 70 and the other band members are close to retirement age too. Heaven and Hell is a musical collaboration featuring Black Sabbath members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler along with former members Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice. The four members of Heaven and Hell toured together performing the Black Sabbath material from 1980-1982 and again from 1991-1992 last year. To some there is no Sabbath without Ozzy, to me it is the best singer they ever had. They decided to tour under the name of the first album they released in 1980, being Heaven and Hell, so that nobody would request 'Paranoid' or 'War Pigs' during live gigs. It was a great success so they decided to continue their renewed relationship for the third time in history.
 
So the big questions are of course, is The Devil You Know a worthwhile release? Does it match the Sabbath classics? Or should they have left it where it was? To answer the first: yes it is a worthwhile release. It is a great album in the traditional heavy Sabbath style. Tony Iommi again shows he is the maestro of guitar riffs. Dio is great as ever and as soon as he starts singing you know you’re in for a great ride. Will this man ever grow old? ‘Double The Pain’ is a testimony to that: it is a strong melody backed with the typical Sabbath sound, a riff backed with slow pounding drums bordering on the darker side of life which immediately reminds of how important Sabbath was and still is to metal.

The album is way better than 1992’s Dehumanizer, but it doesn’t match Heaven and Hell or The Mob Rules. That is of course impossible, both of them are regarded as classics. As if Iron Maiden will ever release another album matching the impact of Number of the Beast. Although officially a debut album, it is the first new full length album of Black Sabbath in 14 years. Fans will be thrilled with this release. Not only Dio shines on this album, Iommi and Geezer also deliver the goods on this one. It isn’t a Dio album backed with Sabbath members nor is it a Sabbath album with Dio on guest vocals.
 
Even the record cover is quite striking. It actually looks like a death metal cover. As the original album artwork is adapted from a painting by Per Haagensen entitled Satan, it will raise a few eyebrows. If you look close enough you can see that the artwork features the numbers 25 and 41. According to Geezer Butler these numbers refer to the Bible verse Matthew 25:41. It is about angels that sit on the left hand of God that fall from grace into hell. He also has explained that the name of the album is a reference to the name of the band, as fans know them as Black Sabbath.
Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know
80/1001Details Roadrunner Records
Released on Monday Apr 20th, 2009
Heavy Metal

Writer @Angel on Monday May 4th, 2009

Tags: #Heaven & Hell
Tracklisting 1. Atom and Evil
2. Fear
3. Bible Black
4. Double the Pain
5. Rock and Roll Angel
6. The Turn of the Screw
7. Eating the Cannibals
8. Follow the Tears
9. Neverwhere
10. Breaking into Heaven
Line up Ronnie James Dio - vocals
Tony Iommi - guitar
Geezer Butler - bass guitar
Vinny Appice - drums