This week saw the re-release of deluxe packaged versions of several Black Sabbath albums.
Black Sabbaths 10th studio album and second following the controversial and highly publicized sacking of front man Ozzy Osbourne seen the band prove to critics and their fans that this was one band here to stay. Following such a commercial and critical success as its predecessor Heaven and Hell was never going to be an easy job.
Written on the tour of Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules is a more hook and riff-laden contribution from the band. Seen as a darker and heavier follow up, the album is often referred to as being a classic among Black Sabbath’s back catalogue.
Relentless Turn up the Night is full of some outstanding guitar riffs and gives front man Ronnie’s voice a full workout. The track is upbeat and has a very commercial sound allowing the band to continue their reign in mainstream heavy metal and is a perfect album opener.
Bass heavy Voodoo is informant and haunting and contains an impressive guitar solo by lead guitarist Tony Iommi. The album also features an imposing live version on the second disc.
With a soft intro easily comparable to that of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters, The Sign Of The Southern Cross lures the listener into darker ground. The verses, gentle and almost ballad like, are built around an aggressive and forceful chorus.
From here the album is a bit of a hit and miss in my opinion and falls into the habit made by so many bands who place their stand out tracks at the beginning of their albums.
E5150 is a bit of a let down on the record. The band here prove they are capable of providing token instrumentals however this track seems to be little more that an album filler – somewhat purposeless in its attempt to be something special. This leads to another filler, the title track Mob Rules. The track isn’t very catchy and contains not a hint of a hook to urge another listen and quickly becomes a skipper.
Country Girl is a monster of a song and is considered by many Sabbath fans as being the single-that-never-was for the band. Sentimental yet heartbroken and melancholic lyrics telling the story of unrequited love and a message ‘don’t ever fall in love with a country girl’.
Falling Off The Edge Of The World is one of the saving tracks nearing the end of the album. You can tell with this number that a lot of blood and sweat went into its production. Sounding like two songs joined at the hip the tracks first half is moderately laid back and quite eerie in parts before lifting off to become catchy and more effortlessly charged and is arguably the best track on the album.
The rest of the album is made up of unfortunately more filling than is needed. Nothing really to write home about. The deluxe re-release also comes with a second disc of some fairly good live versions of the track listing.
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