Heaven and Hell - The Devil You Know
|Heaven and Hell, previously known simply as "Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio singing and Vinny Appice on drums" excel at ye olde power-dungeon plod. Too bad Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler's most churning riffs tend to last mere seconds, before getting buried under attention-deficit arrangements and Dio's theatrical mythopoeia — which gets tiring when so many songs exceed six minutes.|
Here and there, gothic-dirge effects and emotionally spent choruses shine through. More pressingly: Is "Eating the Cannibals" a secret update of Total Coelo's 1983 New Wave novelty "I Eat Cannibals"? The world may never know.
The amount of praise this album gets reveals not only how used to mediocrity so many of today's metal heads have become, but also how vastly out of touch they are with what originally made Black Sabbath the legends they are. If The Devil You Know were the debut album of a band today, it wouldn't get a second glance.
Even by the beginning of the '80s, Sabbath had given up their status as unparalleled innovators to join the ranks of unsophisticated sound-a-likes all churning out the popular brand of overproduced post-NWOBHM power/glam, devoid of the subtlety and relying mainly on echoing drums and a steady stream of power chords to sound 'heavy'.
At least Iommi still had a few good riffs up his sleeve in those days. The ones on The Devil You Know are no better than any number of the generic chord patterns used by countless doom metal bands of recent history, and most sound like Iommi came up with them in about three seconds each.
This problem is compounded by the total blandness of the general sound. With such a clean production style and heavy emphasis on the guitar and vocals, it's evident that they were *trying* to sound catchy rather than textured and opaque (this is a band renowned for writing catchy music, after all), but at that they fail miserably. This is simply nowhere near the order of creativity that produced "Iron Man", "Electric Funeral", "Wheels of Confusion", "Mob Rules", and other classics.
After fourteen years out of the studio, I was really hoping Iommi had at least a few more classic riffs, a few more memorable songs, to leave the world with. Sadly, this album is even more forgettable than what Sabbath released in the '90s. They're merely going through the motions at this point, without any of the original energy and creativity behind it, and it's time they retired.
find more news | add an article