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The Rules of Hell

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Album Review

A sequel to the 2004 set Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978, Rules of Hell rounds up all the Black Sabbath albums with Ronnie James Dio, beginning with 1980's Heaven and Hell and its 1981 follow-up Mob Rules, spending two discs on the 1982 live album Live Evil, then skipping forward a decade for Dehumanizer, Sabbath's reunion with Dio. Some may complain that this skips over a large chunk of Sabbath's latter-day history but 1983-1990 was a time when singers passed through the lineup like grains of sand, and the results were equally transient, leaving these Dio-fronted albums as the last great albums Black Sabbath recorded. Well, at least that's true of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules; opinion is divided on Live Evil and Dehumanizer but taken altogether, these records form a legacy. Although it is not expanded upon with bonus tracks, that legacy is treated well on Rules of Hell as the four albums are remastered, the set is given good liner notes for each album and it's housed in a slipcase. It's a handsome package but not as deluxe and luxe as Black Box, which truly felt like an indulgence. Instead, it feels like a group of individual reissues gathered together in a simple slipcase — a nice, affordable away to get all these well-done reissues at once, but some fans may want to wait and see if Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are eventually released on their own.

Customer Reviews

Must have set.

I am not here to tell anyone that Dio is better than Ozzy, or vice versa. However, Dio has often been viewed as having a more operatic/tenor style vocal delivery than Ozzy. Noone can deny Ozzy's presence on the Sabbath classics, so I think it's best to considar both bands seperate. This set provides all 4 albums Dio played on with Sabbath. Combine this with a collection of the 70-78 stuff with Ozzy, and you have more than enough Sabbath to last a lifetime! The set starts with the amazing "Heaven and Hell" which really shows the group going in a somewhat prog-rock direction. The title track is epic, a song about choice and consequence. My personal favorite is "Children of the Sea", a call to humanity at large to considar the impact of our actions on the earth. Die Young and Neon Knights are also highly reccomended. Mob Rules is a continuation of the first album, with amazing tracks like the haunting "Voodoo" and "Falling off the Edge of the World". Definitely a classic. Live evil has a great mix of Dio and classic sabbath, I particularly like his version of "NIB" which I prefer to the original! The live versions of Heaven and Hell and Children of the Sea shouldn't be missed either! I think the most important album in here is Dehumanizer, as it represents a real growth for the band, with a loose concept framing such amazing songs as "Computer God", "I" and "Time Machine". To add even more value, the new recordings included on "The Dio Years" are here as well! SO for just about 2 and a half times the cost of buying the Dio Years compilation, you get EVERYTHING. Forty-six songs, every one of them relevant, an amazing bang for your buck!

A good album

Great but iTunes really needs to get a legit sabbath album with Ozzy on here.

The work of gods

I think that Ozzy and Dio were both great in their own ways. It's a very different Sabbath from Ozzy-but whatever you call it, it is still a testament to the genius of four of the greatest musicians of all time, and Vinny Appice.


Formed: 1968 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An English hard rock institution whose influence on heavy metal cannot be overstated, Black Sabbath not only pioneered the genre, they helped launch the career of one of its most colorful and controversial characters in Ozzy Osbourne. The band distilled the smoke and strife of its industrial hometown into a punitive blast of doom-laden heavy blues-rock via bass player Geezer Butler's dystopian lyrics, which leaned heavily on the occult, and guitarist Tony Iommi's seismic riffing. When paired with...
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