11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Probably the best Metal album in the world...,
This review is from: Mob Rules (Audio CD)
... in my humble opinion, of course!
This record, the second Sabbath album to feature Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals, brings out the best in both the singer and the band. The collaboration was a very controversial one at the time, with Ozzy having forged his own path with Blizzard of Ozz the fanbase polarised into pro and anti-Dio camps. The situation was not helped with the departure of original drummer Bill Ward, leaving just Iommi and Butler of the classic line-up. Vinnie Appice was recruited to fill the drum stool, and the band headed off to the studio, once again with Martin Birch in the producer's chair. Those who could not accept anyone other than Ozzy to front Sabbath however, missed out on this superb album.
As well as above-average regular Metal, as heard on the lead-off track 'Turn Up The Night', and 'The Mob Rules', there are more off-the-wall moments, such as the slow-burning 'Sign Of The Southern Cross', leading into the eerie synth-based intrumental 'E5150'. Side two (as it was on the vinyl) started on a lighter note, with 'Country Girl', more in the vein of the previous album 'Heaven and Hell', and is followed by 'Slipping Away', featuring excellent guitar/bass interplay from Iommi and Butler. Both tracks are built on superb riffs which was Iommi's stock in trade.
The album's real highpoint is 'Falling Off The Edge Of The World'. Once again it starts off quiet, and smoulders menacingly before the fast bit kicks in. They don't make them like this any more; a classic example of light and shade with Dio in top form, one minute singing softly, then roaring out the heavy part and all the while making it all seem so easy.
The final track is 'Over and Over', an old-fashioned Metal ballad with a searing Iommi solo to play us out. Little did we know it, but a live album apart, that would be it for this incarnation of the band for over a decade.
The contribution of keyboardist Geoff Nicholls should not be overlooked here; although not a full member of the band he plays a full part, his synth textures are dark, Gothic and he creates a suitably doomy atmosphere for Iommi to dredge up those immense riffs.
Following this album, the partnership did not see out 1982 - a dispute over mixing the live album 'Live Evil' resulted in Dio's departure, taking Vinnie Appice with him to form the band Dio (and create the classic 'Holy Diver' album). Iommi meanwhile soldiered on with a succession of line-ups, despite recruiting first Ian Gillan then Glenn Hughes, before settling on Dio soundalike Tony Martin, Sabbath's credibility ebbed away.
IF I were allowed to keep only two albums from all my LPs or CDs, this and AC/DC's 'Back In Black' would be the two I would choose. 25 years on, this is one of those that really does stand the test of time. With the current Heaven and Hell tour taking place which reunites the band who made this record, the time is right to give this excellent album a listen.