HEAVEN & HELL
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
Released on April 28, 2009 (Rhino)
01. Atom And Evil
03. Bible Black
04. Double The Pain
05. Rock And Roll Angel
06. The Turn Of The Screw
07. Eating The Cannibals
08. Follow The Tears
10. Breaking Into Heaven
Ronnie James Dio – vocals
Tony Iommi – guitar
Geezer Butler – bass
Vinny Appice – drums
Produced by Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler.
Additional production by Mike Exeter.
The first impression I got when listening to The Devil You Know was the sheer brutality of how heavy this album is. Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Vinny Appice and Ronnie James Dio, along with engineer Mike Exeter, have presented us with a bombastically colossal, perhaps swansong, for a band that compromised with no one, including father time. Guys at their age should be mellowing out by now but not Heaven & Hell.
The disc starts of with the sludgy “Atom & Evil” and picks up in catchiness with the quite memorable “Fear”. The first single, “Bible Black”, will be a live fixture for as long as the band is active. Iommi‘s haunting riff throughout the verses are heavy and meaty enough to attract metal fans of all generations. “Double The Pain” and “Rock And Roll Angel” are nothing innovative or trendsetting, but are the perfect lead-ins to the up-tempo, thumping “Turn Of The Screw”.
“Eating The Cannibals” is a feeble attempt to throw a really fast one on the disc, it’s not a bad song by any means, but when hearing it I couldn’t help but think they could’ve done a lot better. “Follow The Tears” is a damn good gloomy grinder while “Neverwhere” sounds slightly forced, but as with all the songs that didn’t blow me away on this disc, it’s still a song that is catchy and heavy enough to stay in your brain for a while. “Breaking Into Heaven” closes the album in classic manner as it is classic Black Sabbath/Dio and is perhaps the strongest track on the disc.
The one complaint I would have with The Devil You Know is that it doesn’t, and quite honestly can’t, recapture the past dynamic this band once had. It is a different time and these musicians have come a long way since their younger days. Despite that small complaint, the songs on this album stand up perfectly against most of the Dio/Sabbath era material and is a welcome addition to Heaven & Hell, Mob Rules and Dehumanizer.
Reviewed by Bang Your Head With Mike & Ed’s Edward Cieplinski for Sleaze Roxx, May 2009.