Spun: Heaven and Hell

By Ken Clarke

The Devil You Know is the first studio album in 17 years from the line-up of vocalist Ronnie James Dio, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Vinny Appice.

For those not in the know, Heaven and Hell are actually the Dio-era Black Sabbath who, due to legalities, are recording under the name of the album they released in 1980 as Black Sabbath. Despite the long wait, these metal vets have managed to conjure up one hell of an album.

The music is old school doom metal and the band doesn’t seem to have the slightest interest in playing anything else. Since Heaven and Hell are masters of their craft, this new release is simply four musicians unapologetically doing what they do best.

Most notable is the bone-crunching guitar riffs of Iommi. The man who single-handedly invented metal music hasn’t lost any of his demonic edge– or soloing technique.

Amazingly, Dio’s vocals are as powerful as ever, with his dynamic range and evil snarling fully intact. The tight rhythm section of Butler and Appice pound out an appropriately heavy bottom end.

The Devil You Know is darkly layered with macabre lyrical references to fallen angels, torture and, of course, the devil. The gloomy nature of the lyrics aptly compliment the menacing music.

If you’re willing to delve into Heaven and Hell’s metal netherworld, crank it up.

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