Friday, March 17, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The Mob Rules, by Black Sabbath

In 1981, Black Sabbath was hot off the Heaven and Hell tour, where they had resurrected themselves with their new singer, the late metal god Ronnie James Dio and drummer Vinnie Appice. The public having been mostly won over by the new line-up was craving more music from them, so they went to Abbey Road Studio in England to record the follow-up. The result was yet another classic album: The Mob Rules.

The Mob Rules doesn't have quite the same energy/vibe of Heaven and Hell. It's a bit darker and heavier in some respects. You can tell there was already beginning to be some internal strife in the band. That said, it still lead to some AMAZING music. Black Sabbath got quite a bit more creative in their song writing and it shows. There are still straight up rockers like The Mob Rules, Turn Up the Night, etc. but then there are more complex and drawn out tunes like Falling Off the Edge of the World, Over and Over, The Sign of the Southern Cross, etc. It's definitely a well constructed album.

Voodoo is probably one of my favorite songs on The Mob Rules. Tony Iommi always seemed chocked full of astounding memorable guitar riffs and Dio knew the right melodies and words to put with them. It's not only heavy and reputable musically, but catchy as well. That's not always the easiest combination to pull off. The vocal harmonies are definitely a welcome part of this song - something which Ozzy Osbourne lead Black Sabbath sorely lacked. It rocks.

The Sign of the Southern Cross is arguably the best track on this album. It definitely ranks in the top five tracks Black Sabbath ever did with Dio on the mic. It's the longest track on The Mob Rules and they make the absolute most of it. It's a slow track, but it has so much dark and evil presence to it. The riffs stomp you in the face, but the vocal melody is pleasant enough to provide a counterbalance. You can really tell they are letting their inner musical fantasies out to play.

Overall The Mob Rules isn't quite as good as Heaven and Hell, but not by a whole lot. This is still some of the best heavy metal ever bestowed upon us from the metal gods. You can tell they were trying not to make the same album twice, and thus evolved in their sound accordingly. There isn't a single bad track on it. Not where I'd recommend starting with Dio Sabbath, but it's definitely still recommended to still be on your playlist nonetheless. It's without a doubt a classic.

The Mob Rules, by Black Sabbath receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Turn Up the Night
2. Voodoo
3. The Sign of the Southern Cross
4. E5150
5. The Mob Rules
6. Country Girl
7. Slipping Away
8. Falling Off the Edge of the World
9. Over and Over

Buy the album on Amazon:

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