7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1992's Dehumanizer was Black Sabbath's sixteenth full-length studio album. It is sort of an anomaly in their career, in as much as that it was their third album with Ronnie James Dio on vocals, who had previously sang on the band's tenth and eleventh albums Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules but left the band to start a successful solo career, to be replaced firstly by Deep Purple's Ian Gillian for one album and then by Deep Purple's Glen Hughes for one album.
After the band lost Hughes they then recruited Ray Gillen before finally ending up with Tony Martin who, excluding this album which interrupts the five studio album and almost ten year streak, sang on every Black Sabbath studio album afterwards.
As if interrupting the Tony Martin streak didn't already make it feel a little odd, it is also a little odd in that it both is and isn't the band's final album with Ronnie James Dio on vocals because they did actually reform with him again briefly over a decade and a half later to put out three new songs on a greatest hits package and then once more with a different name (Heaven And Hell) and put out another album.
The album was produced by Reinhold Mack, who is notable for his work with Queen, ELO and Deep Purple. The production job of the album however is a source of complaint among many fans and critics, who argue that the record is too muddy sounding.
The general public and critical consensus surrounding the album was that it was the weakest of the three Black Sabbath albums with Dio, but people can differ on whether that's because this one is actually bad or because the other ones just happen to be even better.
How you feel about this subject will just come down to personal preference at the end of the day and you really have to try it for yourself to find out where you stand. The only thing I would say is that the album is a little dense and definitely a grower so if you really want the best out of it you should probably put in at least five or six serious listens before really making a judgment.
Musically, the album is very heavy, dark and doom orientated, primarily slow paced and mostly based around longer tracks; if any speed builds up its usually just for the guitar solo or the ending (with a few exceptions of course).
Fans of the album would argue that the songs are substantial, and critics of it would argue that the songs are overlong with too much repetition. Its not like the album is devoid of variety though, sometimes there are soft arpeggiated sections and there are a few tasteful touches of background keys, but to be fair it is mostly all about big riffs and Dio's vocals.
The tracks are quite powerful, brimming with teasing potential energy, that feels intense because the song feels like it is holding back something and threatening to explode at any moment. It can be frustrating to a lot of listeners that the songs basically overuse this teasing mechanic and rarely actually do explode as promised, but again depending on your viewpoint maybe that just makes it more intense.
If you are satisfied hearing some big Iommi riffs, a few guitar solos and Dio's inimitable vocals, then you can't really miss out on this album. It may not rewrite history and replace Paranoid and their debut in every critic's poll and top-100 list, nor should it be expected to, but it is another set of songs to be enjoyed in the form you already enjoy.
Stand out tracks include the musically-atypical single `TV Crime' which is a lot faster than the rest of the album, as well as the very heavy `Letters From The Earth' and the grand `I.'
Overall; There are certainly a lot of reasons to give this album a listen; if you are a Sabbath fan, if you are a Dio fan, if you enjoyed Heaven And Hell`s album and if you just plain like big doomy riffs and slow songs. I speculate that the album suits metal fans more so than the original rock fans, and that if you enjoy Stoner or Doom metal you'd be more accepting of the album's production and direction.
All in all, if you have the time, money and patience for it and suspect you'd be inclined to enjoy it then you should give this album a shot. At the very worst you'll get one or two new enjoyable tracks for your collection, and if you're lucky then maybe you will find something that you really connect with.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2004
To me, this is one of the best Dio era albums.Yes, it has been slated by many sabbath fans for various reasons but the quality of the music speaks for itself.
We all know that during the recording of this albums all wasn't well between Ronnie and cozy.This caused alot of friction within the band but hey presto, cozy breaks his pelvis and Vinny appice is brought in and then the chemistry of mark II or III? kicks in.
every song is heavy (even by Sabbath standards!) with some of Dio's best vocals ever . This isn't Heaven&Hell style suff more of a ninety's take on thst era.
I think the songs really hold up even 12 years down the line. Tony's guitar sound on this album is really happening and we certainly haven't heard him sound as angry for along time! please buy this album!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Despite the reunion of the MOB RULES line up this was not the album i was expecting it bears no resemblance to either MOB RULES or HEAVEN AND HELL.
Much heavier with a production from MACK which for me grates and irrtates in equal measure strangling the potential that these songs show,if you ever listen to the History of Black Sabbath Vol 2 on vhs/dvd the sound of some of these tracks in the background of the interview section sound so much better.
Having said that Dio gives his customary vocal excellence on the likes of 'Computer God' and the excellent and for me best track 'After All The Dead'
The rest i can take or leave,i see this album as a mis step from a line up trying too hard not to do what they had done before and for the most part sounding contrived,they would get it right 3rd time around
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2011
When this was first released back in 1992 I purchased the album on CD rather than vinyl as I was living outside the UK and my record deck was in storage. The original CD is reasonable in terms of sound quality but I have always very much regretted not buying it on vinyl because for me vinyl will always be the natural format for classic rock albums.
In my view this album has always been underrated in terms of music quality. I see very similar parallels here with `Come Taste The Band' by Deep Purple. When an album is done with a significant personnel change to a very famous line-up, it gets wrongly compared to the best that the legend line-up did. It should be taken on its own merit and this album is in that context, excellent.
The album was released as an USA import last year with just the original 10 tracks. I resisted purchasing as from previous experience with other imported re-masters, I have found significant differences in sound quality between releases. Now having this release I am glad I waited.
On this vinyl release we get the original album and a second record with a single edit, the B-side, an alternative version and some live material. The cover is double gatefold with some very informative notes on the inner two sides. It is an excellent package with restored artwork and a reinforced hinge to hold the heavyweight vinyl. Vinyl weight is 198 and 196 grams. The inner sleeves are excellent 18g, heavy weight paper with an antistatic plastic inner sheet. `Hats off' to EMI for this final most critical finishing touch to the packaging.
The records I rate excellent for `flatness' with but was disappointed with the background surface noise on first play. I needed to clean both records on my VPI vacuum machine to get what I consider an acceptable background surface noise level. The issue is the run-in start on the 4 sides and many of the track changes even after cleaning. Unfortunately this is common even with heavyweight re-mastered vinyl today as it was with the thin, low weight records of the 70s & 80s. I feel this could be better and hopefully it is limited to my copy. The music parts of the vinyl were fine after cleaning.
I do not have the original vinyl to compare but I consider this re-mastered sound quality to be very good. The album is heavy and `doomy': very different to what they had done on `Heaven & Hell' and `Mob Rules'. The mix on this re-master is very well balanced and clear. The drums for me sound excellent, very clean with thundering impact. The run off at the end of the records are relatively small which give the album a very reasonable volume level. Side three is noticeably louder than the others on the same amp setting.
The second album with the extras is interesting but for me not essential. I never like mixing studio and live material on the same album, as I am always disappointed with the live sound quality in most cases in comparison. The live tracks are ok but most suffer from differing amounts of compressed sound and slight high frequency distortion. The three studio tracks on this second album are the best sound quality from the extra material. I play the original part of album the most and it has rejuvenated my interest and further appreciation of this album. This vinyl re-mastered album is in my view significantly better sound quality than the original CD with much more impact and room vibrating presence, but ok I am very vinyl biased.
The quality of the album is a testament to a masterful band of musicians who together made great, classic heavy rock and gave us all so much musical enjoyment under the Black Sabbath name and later as Heaven & Hell .
In conclusion an excellent vinyl release which is highly recommended. Put it on the deck, turn up the volume and enjoy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2013
Two penneth chuckage from a true devotee of Mk2 Sabbath.
Maybe it will take some time but I'm not (at the time of typing) overly enamoured with 'Better The Devil You Know.'
RJD's voice sounds as glorious as it ever did which seems quite something considering his illness at the time but like a listen to post-'Master Of Puppets' Metallica and having serrated one's thrashier gnashers on their superb, opening trilogy, here seems to exist a sense of brooding turgidity which is quite inconruous with anything Tony Iommi has ever done and 95% of Ronnie's tenure of the Silver Mountained mic stand; it never, well 'get's going.'
'Dehumanizer,' bar its rather glassy sound quality at times, seems to me far more redolent of the salvo from 1980 and 1981 - 'Heaven And Hell' then 'Mob Rules' - in atmosphere and thus, emotion.
As an unreconstructed RJD supplicant, nobody needs discuss these two LPs before I'm gimlet eyed and dreaming of their revolutionary, Metallic impact but in fact 'Heaven & Hell' could be argued to suffer 'fillers;' its last two tracks, frankly. (I can't fault 'Mob Rules,' even slightly, however, as it represents the perfect RJD/Iommi synergy without a trace of blubber.)
This 1992 release has its sluggish moments, I find but 'Computer God,' 'TV Crimes,' 'Time Machine' and 'Too Late' alone, justify the punt.
Indeed, having really cranked up that last track, mentioned, yesterday, it struck me just how joyously immense this reunited troupe could sound; Geezer Butler swinging away merry below decks rarely fails to illicit sublime, ryhthmic inspiration and with Vinnie Appice hitting as hard as I can remember, it's left for the dynamic duo to carve their magic in the skies and rise up with a synapses electrifying flourish that only the very best of the best in Metal can concoct.
No, it's very, very good.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2007
After 10 years apart the mk III Sabbath line up (or perhaps mk IV, if were counting the Dave Walker weekend of the late 70's). However with Ronnie, Geezer and Vinnie back, certain former Sabbath members (namely Cozy Powell and Neil Murray) felt betrayed a this sudden change after the hard work they put in on the Tyr album and Headless Cross tour. But if this was a ploy on Iommi's part to boost Sabbaths profile it certainly worked as instead of having to cancel dates due to poor ticket sales, they band found themselves playing massive venues around the world.
After 10 years apart the sound has certainly changed, making 'Dehumanizer' the heaviest Sabbath album with Dio and the bands heaviest since 'Born Again'. The songs on display here and generally of a very high quality with only 'Sins of the Father' letting the side down (it's strangely reminiscent of the 'Never Say Die' track 'Hard Road'). Lyrically Dio is mainly eschewing the fantasy lyrics of old and is now singing about Computers and such, which must have been ground breaking back in 1992! Iommi of course provides memorable riffs and solos throughout. Geezer and Vinnie prove themselves once again to be the second best Sabbath rhythm section (no one did ever match Geezer and Bill in my opinion). The production on this album although a improvement on some of Sabbath's 80's work is slightly lacking as it lacks the subtly of some of the early Dio albums, perhaps the album would of benefited from Martin Birch's touch, but judging by his dire job on Iron Maidens 'Fear of the Dark' perhaps not.
Stand out tracks on this consistent and heavy album include 'Computer God', 'After All', 'TV Crimes', 'I' and 'Too Late'. The latter of which being of particular note as it has a more old school feel to it and lyrics about the 'magic one' always bring a smile to my face. So in conclusion don't miss out on this one, it's much better than it's unexplainably bad reputation in some quarters of the press.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2014
i found Dio a bit late in the game.
i then had to buy all of the Sabbath dio albums.
i include the Heaven and Hell cd the devil you know.
in fact the last effort is a massive force of dark metal.
Dehumanizer has some great songs on.
the production has dated a little but its to be expected.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2013
This album gets a lot of stick! Completely unjustified. Everyone think Sabbath is just Ozzie! No, he left!! They replaced him with better singers!
Ronnie James Dio IS sabbath for me! This album is heavy and is the only album that left me gobsmacked after the first listen.
A brilliant album - play it loud!!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2013
I have loved BLACK SABBATH for as long as I can remember and I know this album is still brilliant coz it has the BLACK SABBATH SOUND becauce of tony ionni on guitars but to my way of thinking because OZZY OSBORUNE is so well established as the LEAD SINGER i found it very strange without him. Dont get me wrong Ronnie Dio was a F A B SINGER IN HIS OWN RIGHT but BLACK SABBATH WITHOUT OZZY just not the same. but great album all the same
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 2010
The reunion that wouldn't happen number 1 - the Dio re-formation, some 10 years too early, but it bore the fruit of the darkest, heaviest Sabbath album ever - some of this would not have been out of place on Geezer's first solo album Plastic Planet.
A solid effort, woefully underappreciated in it's day - and even now a mystery to all but the true faithful Sabbath nuts.
Dehumanizer takes some getting used to if you followed Sabbath from the Martin years, but there is a treasure trove of Doom Metal here, and for older Sabbath fans, it was manna from Hell.
Computer God - Predicting the paranoia of Y2K 8 years too soon, and possibly influenced by The Terminator as a lyrical theme, this is about a dystopian world where man has been an error created by God - and our children the machines have decided to fix the problem by converting us - Doctor Who fans of the new series would notice the new Cybermen could easily match this concept - "Man's a mistake - So We'll Fix It".
After All (The Dead) - Dio doing his spooky horror stuff over a brutal riff by Iommi, this song was nearly the theme tune for the computer game Doom. Why not? The riff certainly says you are.
TV Crimes - The single and one of the few examples of an uptempo Sabbath song which really works. It's about tele-evangelists in the US, the junk food of Christianity or if you're more cynical as I am - the con men who out fleece the con men.
Letters from Earth - This one is based on a book by Samuel Clements which was condemned in it's day - and this is a story about the Bible - told from Satan's perspective - everyone knows the story from God and Jesus' perspective, but no one has acknowledged the Satanic side of the tale - hence the pleas from the Devil in the song saying "Hey, let ME explain" - of course, as the song was for many back in '92, it fell upon deaf ears.
Brutal song and one of my favourites.
Master of Insanity - Great intro by Geezer - this was actually an old song Geezer worked on in a solo band - he brought it to Sabbath to complete the album it seems. I think it's ok, but nothing special.
Time Machine - Used in Wayne's World, this version however is not the same - it lacks the polish and the speed of the Wayne's World version - and the lyrics are slightly different too. A fun little number though.
Sins of the Father - a somewhat bizarre riff from Iommi here, with an understated performance from Dio on vocals. He caught the mood of the song well - a curio, but not bad.
Too Late - the big moody ballad of the album - Dio's Born Again, but nowhere near as good. Some nice acoustic work from Iommi on the song, but overall, not essential listening.
I - classic, moody, Sabbath with a great vocal hook from Ronnie. This song killed live when I saw the band as Heaven and Hell back in 2007... finally getting the recognition it deserved.
Buried Alive - Another monster of a riff, with a slowly revolving riff that only Iommi can play - it's like your brain is going to be fed through a meat grinder - and you'll love it, if you love Sabbath. Dio is on fine form here, and Appice's drums are solid.
Shame this line up folded when it did, but the time off and the water under the bridge led to the successful Heaven and Hell outings.