Heaven and Hell – Black Sabbath

Someone told me the other day that “there is no new music.” I’ve heard people say that before. They say it as if every chord and vocal set has been exhausted and that now people are just regurgitating old stuff. What? That’s crazy. It’s clear that these people are thinking of the movie industry, not music. There is plenty of new stuff out there in the land of music.

That being said, I did get to this album via some regurgitation by a new artist. Here’s the route:

  1. Bought Recovery by Eminem.
  2. Noted that Eminem credits Black Sabbath/Ozzy for Going Through Changes.
  3. Grabbed original Changes from YouTube.
  4. Started exploring Black Sabbath and settled on Heaven and Hell.

But paying tribute is different from copying. Just because many hip-hop artists decide to throw chords and vocals into their songs from great artists in the past doesn’t mean they are less creative. It means they respect it, and that’s a good thing. I actually love it. I love it, because I feel like even if all music innovation stopped right now, I still have hundreds of years worth of music that I’ve never even explored. Eminem actually opened me up to a “new” old band. I would have never started rooting through the Black Sabbath catalog if not for Recovery.

I’ve never owned any Black Sabbath. They were a little before the 80s Hair Metal that I love so much. By the time I started buying albums, Ozzy and Dio were doing solo stuff, which I own a lot of. After listening, it’s baffling to me that I never owned any of this stuff because it is classic 80s metal that I love.

Best song? Easily Children of the Sea. Reminds me of Rock ‘n Roll Children, one of my favorite Dio solo tunes. Additionally, Bruce Dickinson says it influenced Children of the Damned on Number of the Beast (he mentioned this on a BBC-6 radio show interview). That’s serious business. Dio and Dickinson are easily my top two male vocalists in history.

The title track, Heaven and Hell, is also great. I like it when Dio’s vocals start out against a spare background of just base and drums. Then the guitars enter and Dio ups his scream. This stuff is paced nice and slow, with a melodic guitar solo. The guitar solo eventually speeds up and Dio joins in with furious lyrics, then it finishes with a slow guitar-only section.

RIP Dio.