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Review: Black Sabbath - Mob Rules
Black Sabbath
Mob Rules

Label: Warner Bros. Records
Year released: 1981
Duration: 40:25
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: November 19, 2011
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Mob Rules

Rated 4.42/5 (88.45%) (71 Votes)

Mob Rules is the second of the two "original" Dio-era Black Sabbath albums. It is both similar to its predecessor, Heaven and Hell, as well as very different. The album is just as heavy yet more consistent. The highs of Mob Rules ("Turn Up the Night," "Falling Off the Edge of the World") are not quite as high as Heaven and Hell ("Neon Knights," "Heaven and Hell") but the lows ("Country Girl," "Over and Over") aren't as low ("Lady Evil," "Walk Away.")

The aforementioned "Turn Up the Night" opens the album in style, just as "Neon Knights" opens Heaven and Hell. Speedy and anthemic, you'll have the air guitar out in no time. With "Voodoo," Mob Rules taps into the old Doom Metal of Black Sabbath's glory days. Dio's ability to suck you in with his singing is on full display. "The Sign of the Southern Cross," an equally slow and brooding track, transitions into the creepy instrumental "E5150," spotlighting studio keyboardist Geoff Nichols. The title track, best known for its place on the Heavy Metal soundtrack, rounds out the first half of the album with more up-tempo flash. The second half is less impressive, but features what is easily my favorite Dio-era Black Sabbath song, "Falling Off the Edge of the World." Geezer Butler's monumental bass lines give this song an unbelievable heaviness, like a blanket of lead over your whole body. The song transitions to a faster tempo with Dio's signature lyrics about a man struggling with his own inner demons.

I am giving Mob Rules a slight edge over Heaven and Hell with a 4.25/5 vs. 4/5, but both albums are absolutely essential in any Heavy Metal collection. The two albums mark the resurrection of Black Sabbath and the point in time when Ronnie James Dio began to be recognized as one of the most talented and respected front men in Heavy Metal history. As with Heaven and Hell, if you don't own Mob Rules, what are you waiting for?

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