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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Review: Heaven And Hell - The Devil You Know

Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know
2009, Rhino Records

Heaven & Hell just might be the ultimate 1970’s Metal supergroup. Lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio has a long and storied career starting out with Elf, then Rainbow, Black Sabbath and as a solo artist. Guitarist Tommy Iommi is the axe wizard behind Black Sabbath’s distinctive sound. Bassman Geezer Butler was also a part of the juggernaut that was/is Black Sabbath. Drummer Vinny Appice has played with Sabbath, Dio, WWIII, Rick Derringer and John Lennon, among others. Together they’ve found a mutual musical space that is familiar enough to fans of individual members while becoming something distinctive. Heaven & Hell’s latest CD, The Devil You Know, trods upon these almost familiar sands while finding something new in the sound.

The Devil You Know opens with Atom & Evil, a dark and heavily lumbering rocker. The song features some tremendous progressive guitar work and Dio hasn't lost a note. Bible Black is big guitar work at it's finest and even features a lyric prologue. This is Ronnie James Dio in his wheelhouse, pushing the sound he's been creating since the 1970's. Double The Pain is a surprisingly hooky bit of early prog-metal and sounds classic Sabbath at their most inspired. Dio and Iommi really rev it up on Eating The Cannibals with this highly melodic and driven prog-metal song. Both are at their best here. Follow The Tears is an interesting change of pace and sound: a martial horror movie in song. Angry, swelling guitars fold into ambient and ethereal synths, dark, minor keyes and Dio's iconoclastic voice for one of the most memorable hard rock songs of the year. Heaven & Hell kick the whole project up another notch with Neverwhere, a classic guitar rocker you won't soon forget. The album closes out with Breaking Into Heaven, a slow and plodding guitar metal song that hopefully finds more life live than it did here.

Heaven & Hell is a dream come true for some fans. Folks who have followed Dio or Black Sabbath will love The Devil You Know. If you're unfamiliar with the names and want to know how metal sounded back in the 1970's and early 80', then this disc is for you.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Heaven & Hell at or You can pick up a copy of The Devil You Know at, or as a download through iTunes.

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