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Black Sabbath – Mob Rules [Deluxe Edition]

Black Sabbath – Mob Rules [Deluxe Edition] (2010, Universal Music/Sanctuary Records – UK Import)
Original Release: 1981, Warner Bros. Records

Disc One: Mob Rules
1. Turn Up the Night … 3:42
2. Voodoo … 4:32
3. The Sign of the Southern Cross … 7:44
4. E5150 … 2:54
5. The Mob Rules … 3:15
6. Country Girl … 4:02
7. Slipping Away … 3:42
8. Falling Off the Edge of the World … 5:03
9. Over and Over … 5:28
Bonus Tracks
10. Die Young (Live – 12″ Single B-Side) … 4:04
11. The Mob Rules (Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version) … 3:14

Disc Two: Live at Hammersmith
1. E5150 … 1:18
2. Neon Knights … 4:37
3. N.I.B. … 5:16
4. Children of the Sea … 6:07
5. Country Girl … 3:53
6. Black Sabbath … 8:24
7. War Pigs … 7:40
8. Slipping Away … 3:18
9 Iron Man … 7:04
10. The Mob Rules … 3:35
11. Heaven and Hell … 14:24
12. Paranoid … 3:21
13. Voodoo … 5:45
14. Children of the Grave … 5:05

Mob Rules is an album I’ve spoken about before. That review was very brief, but really, what can you say? Looking back, it’s not my favorite of the Dio era (that nod would go to Heaven and Hell) but it’s still a classic that’s almost as good as the first album they did together. In addition to the original album of Mob Rules, Disc 1 features two bonus tracks: the original version of “The Mob Rules” (which was recorded for the Heavy Metal movie) and a live version of Heaven and Hell‘s “Die Young”.

The real pull for me getting this Deluxe Edition was to get the second disc which features performances taken from Dec 31, 1981 through January 2, 1982 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. This entire disc was originally released as Live at Hammersmith Oden by Rhino Records with an extremely limited print run of 5,000 copies back in 2007. As you can imagine, copies of that album are expensive and hard to come by so it’s great to now have the entire album included as a bonus disc.

If you don’t already own Mob Rules, or even if you do, this is still worth the pick up just for Disc 2. The band is in top form but then again, the Dio line-up was never not in top form! There are four live albums to choose from this particular Sabbath line-up (two as Black Sabbath, two as Heaven & Hell) and all of them are classics but if you want to hear this group in their formative years with a recording that takes places even before Live Evil, here’s your chance! Great studio album, great live disc = great deluxe edition!

The Metal Excess Awards: 2010 Edition

I’m really surprised by how many albums I enjoyed this year. I have a pitiful memory so I had to go back through my blog to remind myself what came out this year but I was floored when my Top 10 list was changed to a Top 20 list, then to a Top 30 list! I knocked it back down to a Top 25 list to make it seem a tiny bit more exclusive.

If you haven’t checked out any of these 25 albums, I wholeheartedly recommend you do so. 2010 was an amazing year for rock & metal, much MUCH better than 2009. I don’t see how 2011 can compete!

I’ll keep it short and sweet with my awards. As always, check the links for full reviews.

Best Albums of 2010

1. Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare
2. Buckcherry – All Night Long
3. Scorpions – Sting in the Tail
4. Halford – Made of Metal
5. Slash – s/t
6. Black Country Communion – s/t
7. Avantasia – Angel of Babylon
8. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony
9. Accept – Blood of the Nations
10. Hinder – All American Nightmare
11. Jettblack – Get Your Hands Dirty
12. Reckless Love – s/t
13. Bad City – Welcome to the Wasteland
14. Stone Temple Pilots – s/t
15. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
16. Krokus – Hoodoo
17. Helloween – 7 Sinners
18. Sister Sin – True Sound of the Underground
19. My Darkest Days – s/t
20. Stereoside – s/t
21. Y&T – Facemelter
22. Danko Jones – Below The Belt
23. Grave Digger – The Clans Will Rise Again
24. Jon Oliva’s Pain – Festival
25. Ratt – Infestation

Top Cover Albums

Seems like every year a few established artists like to cover a few *other* established artists, not to mention all those various tribute albums that small labels will slap together. Well, here’s my official ranking of the three cover albums I bothered to listen to this year. Luckily, all three albums were good fun and I think they all deserve another mention.

1. Jorn – Dio
2. Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila
3. Joe Elliott’s Down ‘N’ Outz – My ReGeneration Vol. 1

Top Live Albums

Again, I don’t buy a lot of live albums, but here’s how I rank what I listened to this year.

1. Dio – Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987
2. Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe
3. Megadeth – Rust In Peace Live
4. The Michael Schenker Group – The 30th Anniversary Concert: Live in Tokyo

Top EPs

1. Razorwyre – Coming Out
2. Skull Fist – Heavier Than Metal
3. DesDemon – The Awakening

Most Disappointing Albums

1. Ratt – Infestation
The album was good, don’t get me wrong. It landed at #25 on my Best Of list for Dio’s sake! But… most of the songs had trouble living up to the promise of “Eat Me Up Alive” and “Best Of Me”.

2. Armored Saint – La Raza
A bland album from a band that has done so much better. They seemed to be going through the motions (to which John Bush has basically admitted in regards to himself). Symbol of Salvation this ain’t.

3. White Wizzard – Over The Top
The High Speed GTO EP garnered this group a lot of hype and buzz. We all fell for it, I know reviews for this album have been positive and it’s not bad but I expected more. Hopefully a second album will get these guys where they need to be.

4. Raven – Walk Through Fire
The terrible cover art should’ve tipped me off that this album was nothing special.


Check out these other sites for even more lists and year-end awards:

All Metal Resource —

Bring Back Glam —

Hair Metal Mansion —

Hard Rock Hideout —

Hard Rock Nights —

Heavy Metal Addiction —

Heavy Metal Time Machine —

Imagine Echoes —

Layla’s Classic Rock —

The Metal Minute —

Metal Odyssey —

The Ripple Effect —


Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe (2010, Eagle Rock Entertainment/Armoury Records)

1. “The Mob Rules” … 3:47
2. “Children of the Sea” … 6:31
3. “I” … 6:17
4. “Bible Black” … 6:30
5. “Time Machine” … 4:40
6. “Fear” … 4:36
7. “Falling Off the Edge of the World” … 5:40
8. “Follow the Tears” … 6:12
9. “Die Young” … 6:42
10. “Heaven and Hell” … 17:49
11. “Neon Knights” … 5:45

Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Scott Warren – Keyboards

Recorded on July 30, 2009 at the Wacken Open Air festival.

This is one of those albums that has so many titles, it makes you wonder what the real name of the album is. Neon Nights for sure, but anything after that appears to be up for grabs. It becomes even more confusing when you consider the sub-subtitle (“sub-subtitle”?) of Live In Europe is replaced with Live At Wacken for the European release.

If Dio was alive today, I suppose you’d be hearing a number of groans about yet another live album from these guys. This is the third live album they’ve released either as Black Sabbath or Heaven & Hell since 2007 (and fourth total), but given that the great Ronnie James is no longer with us and this album stands to document what came to be the band’s final tour, I think most Dio fans will give this album a warm embrace. It holds a lot of sentimental value for fans I think and Neon Nights does well to hold up the legacy this group started in 1980.

Right up to (and during!) the discovery of cancer, Ronnie was a phenomenal vocalist. For the most part on this album, he sounds just like he always has though with age his voice has gotten a bit gruffer. He’s was still sounding great, still hitting the notes and singing better than almost anyone else around though. Tony is playing great as well. For a guy that never seems to move around much on stage, it’s amazing to hear how fast he can fire off the notes. Even Geezer gets to stretch his fingers during “Heaven and Hell”. That almost makes me wish I did have the DVD, I’ve always enjoyed watching him play bass.

If you’re a big Dio fan, you’re probably going to get this disc no matter what. We all know what to expect from these guys in the studio and on stage and this is good album to close out the chapter of Heaven & Hell. They don’t put on bad shows and they get to show off just how good they can be on the epic 17 minute plus version of “Heaven and Hell”. You just can’t go wrong with these guys in concert.

A DVD version of this show was released simultaneously and features “E5150” and also “Country Girl”. Would’ve been nice to have those two extra tracks and the DVD was only $1 more than the CD but I just don’t have much use for live DVDs compared to CDs.

Highlights: “The Mob Rules”, “I”, “Die Young”, “Heaven and Hell”, “Neon Knights”


Black Sabbath – The Dio Years (2007, Warner Bros. Records/Rhino Records)

1. “Neon Knights” … 3:51
2. “Lady Evil” … 4:23
3. “Heaven And Hell” … 6:59
4. “Die Young” … 4:44
5. “Lonely is the Word” … 5:50
6. “The Mob Rules” … 3:13
7. “Turn Up the Night” … 3:42
8. “Voodoo” … 4:32
9. “Falling Off the Edge of the World” … 5:03
10. “After All (The Dead)” … 5:42
11. “TV Crimes” … 4:02
12. “I” … 5:12
13. “Children of the Sea” (live) … 6:12
14. “The Devil Cried” … 6:01
15. “Shadow of the Wind” … 5:40
16. “Ear in the Wall” … 4:04

Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Bill Ward – Drums (Tracks 1–5)
Vinny Appice – Drums (Tracks 6–16)

Additional Musicians:
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards (Tracks 1–13)

I’m becoming quite the completist when it comes to Ronnie James Dio and Black Sabbath. I never gave much thought to this album until recently. I own all of Sabbath’s albums so why would I need a compilation of the Dio years? For the three new songs: “The Devil Cried”, “Shadow of the Wind”, “Ear in the Wall”.

As a representation of Sabbath’s Dio era, this is a near perfect release. The only songs I think they missed the boat on are “The Sign of the Southern Cross” from Mob Rules and “Computer God”, “Master of Insanity” and “Time Machine” from Dehumanizer. What can I say? I’m a huge fan of Dehumanizer. It’s one of Sabbath’s most underrated albums alongside Born Again and Headless Cross.

But let’s get back to the new tracks. The story goes that the label had informed Iommi & Dio that they were putting together this compilation and asked if they had any unreleased songs they could use. They didn’t but Tony and Ronnie got to talking and decided to try to work together again on some new stuff for the album. The rest is history and the third go-round of this fantastic partnership lasted up until Ronnie’s unfortunate passing due to cancer.

The new songs don’t really sound like anything they might have done on Heaven and Hell or Mob Rules. The songs here sound more powerful, darker, and gloomier. Much more in line with Dehumanizer, though not quite as heavy. Anyone who likes The Devil You Know will like these tunes as well. “The Devil Cried” is the best of the bunch but truthfully none of these songs are classics but it is all still solid & enjoyable Sabbath. It’s mid-tempo, plodding doom metal (“Ear In the Wall” picks up the pace a bit) with Dio in as good as form as ever. As time went on, his voice never wavered in power but got slightly deeper and richer in sound.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the Dio years and wants to dip their toes in the water, this is a great way to do so.

Ozzy suing for bigger ownership of Black Sabbath name

Courtesy of

Ozzy Osbourne has filed a lawsuit against Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi, claiming Iommi illegally assumed 100% ownership of the band’s name.

Ozzy is seeking a 50% stake in the “Black Sabbath” trademark as well as royalties Iommi has already earned. The suit suggests it was Osbourne’s “signature lead vocals” that brought Sabbath its “extraordinary success.” The suit uses Sabbath’s decline in popularity post-Ozzy as proof.

This suit follows an $80 million suit Iommi filed against Live Nation last year, claiming the company sold Black Sabbath merchandise despite a deal that expired in 2006.

Someone’s jealous of Heaven and Hell

There’s no doubt Sharon is 100% behind this and I doubt Ozzy really has a clue what is going on, but who cares? Ozzy is pathetic these days and was always overrated, in my opinion.

Though it’s sad that Sharon/Ozzy can’t just let Iommi be, this can only further solidify the bond between Dio & Iommi and that’s good news to me. Hopefully, in another 2 years or so, we’ll be seeing a new Heaven and Hell release because Zeus knows it would be 1,000 times better than anything involving Ozzy.

2008: The Rock Strikes Back!

Well, it’s that time of year again, the time where all the bands are gearing up for a tour or they already are on tour. It’s also the time they start rolling out the new albums.

2008 kicked off in an awesome way with Avantasia’s The Scarecrow, but let’s take a look at other hopefuls and what’s out now, what will be out soon, and what will be out later in the year.

Jon Oliva’s Pain – Global Warning
Release Date: May 6?
I’m a fan of early Savatage (before they got all progressive), so I checked out Jon’s Tage Mahal hoping for a Savatage-worthy release. I didn’t get it. BUT… The songs I’ve heard on JOP’s MySpace page for this new album are pretty good and reviews are saying THIS album *is* worthy of Savatage. There’s some conflicting reports (at least to me) as to what day it has been/will be released. I’ve seen quite a few supposed release dates for March, April, and May. Amazon & CD Universe are listing May 6 though…

Whitesnake – Good to Be Bad
Release Date: April 15
While I don’t own it yet, I have been able to listen to this album numerous times in it’s entirety and it complete rocks. It stands right beside their 1987 self-titled and Slip of the Tongue. Great, great guitar work. I can already say this is one of the year’s best releases.

Def Leppard – Songs from the Sparkle Lounge
Release Date: April 29
A lot of places (such as Rolling Stone magazine) are giving the album so-so reviews. But I’m liking what I’ve heard so far and it seems like YEAH! really inspired Def Lep to rock again.

Dokken – Lightning Strikes Again
Release Date: May 13
Admittedly, I’ve never followed Dokken closely. I own Tooth and Nail, but I always found them a bit bland. They just didn’t stick out for me amongst other bands of the era. Again, thanks to MySpace, I’m able to hear the new stuff and I’m loving it. It definitely sounds like Dokken and I’m loving the song “Heart to Stone”.

Motley Crue – Saints of Los Angeles
Release Date: June 17
Crue Fest has been announced (I have my tickets for the 7/15 Detroit show) and the Crue has released their new single “Saints of Los Angeles” and it absolutely rocks. It has that old-school Motley sound, I can’t get enough of it. I can’t wait to get this album and to see them play it live.

Judas Priest – Nostradamus
Release Date: June 17
June 17th– the best day of the year in 2008! Priest AND Crue! The newly released song gives me hope.

Release Date: September
Okay, so St. Anger was a huge dud, but the band seems to realize and admit that now. They say they’re going old-school (somewhere between ...And Justice For All and the Black Album), but don’t all the veteran bands say that to keep the old-school fans coming back? Hopefully, they can pull it off. I’ll be buying it to find out.

Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider
Release Date: July?
Alice really hasn’t disappointed over the years. He had a few missteps in the 80s, but everything from Trashed onward has been either solid or great. I wonder if they garage sound he went back to on The Eyes of Alice Cooper and Dirty Diamonds will continue here. It was originally scheduled for May ’08, that date was pushed back a long time ago. His official website says it’ll be released sometime in the summer to coincide with the tour that starts in July.

Steelheart – Samurai
Release Date: 2008?
The Just A Taste EP was released in 2006 and featured three tracks from Samurai plus the original version of “We All Die Young” (before it was re-recorded for Rock Star). I can’t find any release date other anymore specific than 2008. I’ve heard the songs off the EP, and they’re great. Especially “LOL (Laughing Out Loud)” very heavy, very modern. Not what I was expecting from Steelheart, but that’s okay because it still rocks.

Release Date: Fall/Winter
Again, I can’t anything definite on this release other than “2008”, but I’m assuming it’ll be released in the fall. I’m really looking forward to this. Much like YEAH! inspired Def Leppard to start rocking again, I’m hoping Honkin’ On Bobo did the same for Aerosmith. Please no more trash like Just Push Play! “Devil’s Got A New Diguise” was classic Aerosmith, so hopefully we’ll get more of the same. Although, I’m reading some rumors that the album will be a mix of new material, plus re-recordings of older stuff that didn’t make any previous albums. That’s kinda lame if it’s true, why do I want to listen to stuff that wasn’t good enough the first time around?

Heaven and Hell
Release Date: 2008
I’m really looking forward to this one. The new songs they recorded for the Black Sabbath: The Dio Years compilation were really good and I’m always game for Black Sabbath without Ozzy. No definite date set, I’m not even sure if they’re recording anything right now, but Dio says 2008 and that’s good enough for me.

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