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The Dio Years (Bonus Version)

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Album Review

The original lineup of Black Sabbath possesses such a mythic quality that it's easy to overlook how far they slid by the time Ozzy Osbourne up and left the band...or how far they rebounded after they hired Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio as his replacement. Countless compilations over the years have preserved the initial part of the story line — celebrating the innovations of the first four albums with a near fetishistic quality — but there has never been a good retrospective concerning the Dio years until Rhino released the aptly titled The Dio Years in early 2007. True, the Dio years didn't last all that long — the singer joined in 1980 for Heaven & Hell, then lasted through one more studio album, the following year's Mob Rules, before departing under a shroud of controversy after 1982's botched live album Live Evil — but Dio had a powerful impact upon the band and its legacy; these were the last years that Sabbath exerted pull as an active band, and after his departure they stumbled through various singers over the next decade before intermittently reuniting with Ozzy in the '90s. The Dio Years proves that during his brief time with the band, Dio did help Sabbath make music that could hold its own with some of the classic lineup's finest moments. With Dio as a frontman, the band was harder, nastier, and a little faster than the slow sludge of the early Sabbath records, but it fit in nicely with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal at the beginning of the '80s and it's aged very well. Some of it can sound silly — Dio's lyrical obsessions always do — but this is harder, heavier, better music than either Technical Ecstasy or Never Say Die! Anybody who's refused to give this latter-day incarnation of the band the time of day might find this compilation revelatory.

Customer Reviews

metal mad!

This CD is perfect for all you metal fans out there with awsumn riffs and vocals, the new Sabbath CD is is a great feat above all other metal. The songs "Ear In The Wall", "Shadow Of The Wind", "I" and "The Devil Cried" are all classics, Let me know what your favourite is. If You Rock Then Buy This CD!!!

Turn up the volume

People always think of Sabbath and Ozzy and forget that Dio and Sabbath did some excellent songs. This is a great album and great value. Dust off your air guitar and get ready to rock!! Enjoy

The world is full of Kings and Queens who blind your eyes, and steal your dreams...

... its Heaven and Hell.

I was about 14 or 15 when I first heard the compilation album 'Axe Attack' back in the early '80s. I was blown away by the track "Die Young" by a band called Black Sabbath. The vocal prowess of the diminutive Ronnie James Dio (formerly of the bands Elf and Rainbow, laterly of the eponymous Dio and of course, Heaven and Hell - the recreated Sabbath...) was a wonder to behold among the dross of 80's pop.....

This compilation sets out a selection of songs from the post Ozzy era, celebrating the change in style and direction that Dio brought to the band. Songs like Heaven and Hell (that gives its name to the re-incarnation of the band these days) and Neon Knights are perfect examples of the new found coherence the band delivered.

Ronnie is a master lyricist and singer, who, now in his 60's, can still command the stage and put on a fabulous performance. Sword and Sorcery, fantasy rock, call it what you will, but RJD sings with power and passion. But not to worry, if thats not your thing, because the songs here don't just encompass the fantasy genre. Die Young, Lonely is the Word and Turn up the Night are the farthest from that genre.

However, it IS that genre where RJD is in his element, and Sabbath is a great vehicle for his talents. Take a few moments to listen to the lyrics of Heaven and Hell, Neon Knights or Die Young, try and understand what the words mean and how they fit so wonderfully into the music. Remember that Dio joined Sabbath from the more bluesy and sometimes funky sound of Richie Blackmores Rainbow. Sabbath were (and are) more 'metal'. Much more. The classic metal riffs and thumping drums just seem to carry Dio perfectly. May be more so than Rainbow ever did. That is high praise.

That said, I don't recommend this collection. At all. I'd suggest you buy the albums Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules. They ARE the Dio years, period. Forget the Dehumanizer and to an extent Live Evil, just get classic Sabbath and classic Dio in their prime. The two albums together will get you 17 tracks. You will get to hear a different side to Dio too - Country Girl (reminds me more of Dios Elf days - well worth a visit by the way), Wishing Well and Walk Away for example are too good to drop from a compilation purporting to showcase this era of the band.

Is it just a marketing gimmick? well, thats for you to decide, but I leave you with the following words of wisdom from the man himself: "Life is full of Kings and Queens who blind your eyes and steal your dreams, its heaven and hell...."


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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