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The Rules of Hell

Black Sabbath

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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

Don't pay attention to the first review

All of Dio's matterial with Sabbath is solid, if you are a new fan know that there was another era in Sabbath outside of the doom and gloom era that fizzled out towards the end with Ozzy. The Ozzy albums are classics, but the last few pale in comparison to the rejuvination of Sabbath under Dio. With Dio in the fold their song writting became more agressive, and the musicianship was raised to another level. There will always be Ozzy fans, and Dio fans of Sabbath, but there are some of us that love everything that they've put out regardless of the singer. Again, everything here is solid, and if you don't have these albums, it's a good way to take them all in at once.

Ronnie James Dio Rox!

i'm sick and tired of all you people slamming Dio because he doesn't sound like Ozzy. not trashing the Ozzman or anything but he was the one who pursued a solo career. Ronnie James Dio is the one who made Sabbath what it was and is remembered as. and to the afi931 or whatever... the jonas brothers sound way worse than Dio ever would.

Finally, the fans get what they want

Black Sabbath created Heavy Metal. Many associate Sabbath only with Ozzy and dismiss the rest. That is unfortunate, as Dio breathed new life into this band that was dying on the vine in the late 70's. Dio kicked off his brief tenure with the Heaven and Hell album; a true classic that is every bit as powerful and inspired the eraly Ozzy records. This box recognizes that the real fans not only appreciate these Dio era releases, but consider this music just as valid, as heavy and as awe-inspiring as the early material. The remastering is long overdue and simply amazing. Put in Heaven and Hell and listen to Children of the Sea or the title track and you will feel the difference immediatly. Amazing. Mob Rules was the follow up album and it was kicks off with the "Turn up the Night" riff that is as thunderous and memorable as Iommi ever dreamed up. The recoding most in need of this remaster, however, was Live Evil, which always sounded muddy and confused in its original format. It now sounds crisp and the music cuts right through and sounds great. Live Evil also has one of the coolest album covers ever, check it out. The pacakge comes cased in a sturdy black slip case holding all 4 releases (Live Evil is a double disc, creating 5 total) in jewel cases. I hate it when box sets go cheap and give you these discs in cardboard slip cases, like they did with first Sabbath box set. The music is insanely good, don't let others fool you - these discs are NOT just for the hardcore fan, they are inspired heavy metal that stand on their own. No comparison to Ozzy required. The only reason I give it 4 stars is that there is no new material, no demos, no hefty box set book, no DVD. There are new liner notes, but nothing else that we didnt already have. The remastering, though makes the price well worth it. If you are just buying this download and the packaging doesnt matter to you, then this is 5 stars. Highly recommended. (now, go crank up "I", "TV Crimes","Neon Nights","Mob Rules" and "Heaven and Hell" and see how great these discs are!).


Formed: 1969 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

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

Black Sabbath have been so influential in the development of heavy metal rock music as to be a defining force in the style. The group took the blues-rock sound of late-'60s acts like Cream, Blue Cheer, and Vanilla Fudge to its logical conclusion, slowing the tempo, accentuating the bass, and emphasizing screaming guitar solos and howled vocals full of lyrics expressing mental anguish and macabre fantasies. If their predecessors clearly came out of an electrified blues tradition, Black...
Full Bio

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