|4.9 (2 votes):|
A couple of unsuccessful albums and weird changes in the band’s formula gave rise to Osbourne‘s departure in such an unexpected fashion. For those reasons, the project seemed to remain headless, with no apparent direction and pointing directly to the abyss from a creative standpoint. Ronnie James Dio, on the other hand, left Rainbow after certain creative differences with Ritchie Blackmore. However, as a surprising move from destiny, Dio joined Black Sabbath as their new vocalist. As such, his arrival came along with a renewal in the Sab‘s formula but keeping essential components. Among others, the doomish paces and the trademark dark atmosphere.
The first sign of changes is visible through their legendary speed metal track “Neon Knights.” The powerful and strong feeling transmitted by the song together with the well-known mighty vocals from Dio and his trademark dungeons & dragons songwriting style, made of it a very astonishing initial shot. Moreover, the soloing from Tommy Iommi is no less than impressive due to his ability to play soft guitar solos that fit the most energetic songs.
His guitar playing skills are more evident, nonetheless, in the title track, which is with no doubts, one of the most impressive tracks Black Sabbath has ever written, definitively, a total winner. This number incredibly starts with a very astonishing guitar riff, and it moves along at different tempos. Still, as it is the style of other previously created proggy masterpieces (“Stairway to Heaven” as an immediate example), the song grows incredibly during the ending part. It runs along with a quite memorable guitar solo.
Another impressive epic piece is the mid-paced “Children of the Sea,” totally, a highlight of this album. Of course, everything here is as perfect as in the two songs mentioned above, especially, on how the song transitions from a melodic acoustic intro to heavier passages. Other highlights include the faster “Die Young” and the closing track “Lonely is the World,” which features a beautiful guitar solo at the ending part. That said, Sabbath came back to the arena with a very competent release that marked the return of a band in a very unexpected fashion. To your surprise, there is no filling stuff to be found but a song set that will make you listen to it over and over. It is is an essential release if your favorite metal subgenre talks about dungeons and dragons.