Okay, so after our review on "The Black Sheep of the Black Sabbath" earlier this week, we felt we owed you compensation. A review of a "Bomb" album by this great band. And this time it is not just a "bomb", it is a 10-ton bunker penetrating bomb, because it's the Ronnie James Dio lineup reunion album, which is also considered Black Sabbath's heaviest album released June 22, 1992. So here is our review on "Dehumanizer"...
Like any good story, our story begins with a great quarrel.
In November 1982, after two huge and successful albums, Ronnie James Dio leaves the band, taking drummer Vinnie Appice with him to form the band "Dio". The reason for leaving the band is in one word "ego". During the mixes for the live album "Live Evil", a "Black Cat" walked between members of "Black Sabbath", with Tony and Geezer accusing Dio of sneaking into the production room at night to increase the volume of singing relative to the rest of the instruments. In addition, Dio did not like the picture that was meant to be on the front cover. Bassist Geezer Butler also accused Dio and Vinnie of secretly working on a solo project without updating the rest of the members. Add to that we'll add the fact that Dio asked to be more involved in the mixes and production of the album and the other two refused, and you get an "Egotrip" salad in antagonism sauce, and believe us, it was not tasty.
Dio's departure was so full of negative emotions that it was clear to everyone that the chance of these four returning to play together was almost as good as the chance of true peace in the Middle East. And what did we do? We were saddened, and overwhelmed, mourning the loss of a mighty and meteoric lineup that was expected to be greatness. But as in any other mourning process, after the denial, came the anger, followed by the depression, and finally the acceptance. The acceptance that we probably could not do anything to save this relationship, because after all these are musicians at the highest level who each have a more inflated ego than a hot air balloon.
And after the reception came to the consolation. Comfort in the form of the masterful debut album, "Holy Diver", the masterpiece of the band Dio which came out in 1983 followed by another album and another album of this great band and we forgot, and we forgave.
Then a miraculous thing happened, apparently the four friends also forgot and forgave, because during the tour of Dio's album "Lock Up the Wolves", he invited Geezer Butler to take the stage with him and perform the song "Neon Nights". At the end of the show, Geezer contacted Dio and asked him if he would be interested in making another album with the band. Dio jumped at the chance to create another masterpiece with Black Sabbath, and the two met up with Tony Iommi and began to conduct what was going to be the album that Dio himself would consider one of the best albums he was ever part of.
(Photo by John Harrell)
The first sessions for the album were held with legendary drummer Cozy Powell playing with Sabbath on the latest album "Tyr" from 1990, but a strange accident took Powell out of the equation. His horse died and fell on Powell as he crushed his pelvis, in a way that did not allow him to be part of the album. Recordings of songs from the album in which Cozy Powell's drums, exist in bootleg albums from the period.
Dio was quick to offer drummer Simon Wright, who played with him and with "AC/DC", among others, to replace Powell, but Iommi and Butler turned down the offer. Finally recruited Vinnie Appice who played with the band on its latest album with Dio from 1982 - "Mob Rules", and was also part of Dio's band in its early years.
The choice of Appice greatly influenced the album musically. Although in fact, it is exactly the same band that was part of the album "Mob Rules", the music is fundamentally different from it. This is one of Sabbath's heavy albums, whose heaviness is attributed, among other things, to Appice's powerful and aggressive drumming. The style on this album is more similar to the music of Dio's band on his next two albums - "Strange Highways" and "Angry Machines", than to the two masterpieces with "Black Sabbath" from the early 80s.
Interestingly, the renewed idyll between Dio and Iommi and Butler was not entirely perfect, because at one point during the recordings, Iommi and Butler considered replacing Dio with singer Tony Martin, again due to professional disagreements. After several attempts to record with Martin, Iommi and Butler decided that it would be better for them to "smooth things over" with Dio, in favor of the project.
And how lucky that the quartet managed to solve the chemistry problems between them, because as we said at the beginning of the review, this is literally a "bomb" album !!!
The album opens with "Computer God", which immediately after the short intro designed to put the listener in the mood, explodes right inside us with the powerful and aggressive drumming of Appice that shakes all the bones in your body. Iommi enters exactly eight bars behind him with a riff that flips you directly to the "God of the Computers" and when Dio starts singing that he is "waiting for a revolution" you want to dive headlong into the speakers and shout with him "The revolution is here !!!". Then, 1:10 into the song after Dio finishes the sentence "Touch tomorrow, ENERGIZE", Butler's "energy bomb" lands on your head with an amplified bass line playing ping pong in your gut. This mini piece consists of 3 main parts, when at 3:00 into the song all this power that has exploded before us since the opening is reduced, refined, and drained into one minute of softness, calm, and serenity, a kind of mini ballad, melodic and moving, straight from Ronnie James Dio who proves that his sonic range stretches from the depths of the "Midnight Sea" of the "Holy Diver" to the summit of the "technological paradise" of the "Computer God". And just then, when you have already allowed yourself to relax a bit and lower all the defenses, suddenly out of nowhere the Appice firing machine shoots you a bundle directly from the snare drum (4:00 min) and when you're sure it's the end and it could not be more powerful, suddenly the tempo doubles (Min 4:20) Just to company Iommi with another immortal solo in the dark corridor leading straight into the arms of the "Computer God" waiting for you at the end of the song.
Then, "After All (The Dead)" opens with Iommi's moaning guitar that sounds like a cello connected to distortion, and we enter the cemetery gates to a dark and gloomy song on the verge of Doom, which for a few small moments had It sparks from the theme song from the band's first album (especially at 1:03 minutes).
The third track "TV Crimes" actually completes the trilogy of different styles that can be found on this album and proves the diversity it has, which ranges from the speed metal of "TV Crimes" and "Time Machine", through the classic heavy metal of "Master of Insanity" And "Computer God" to the doomed tracks like "Letters From Earth" and "After All (The Dead)".
Other notable tracks on the album that you must not miss in any way are "I" and "Too Late".
Very unfortunate this little union of the Dio lineup survived only a few months because our story ended just as it began, in a quarrel rooted in a testosterone-wrapped ego. In November 1992 just five months after the album was launched Dio leaves the band slamming the door again, after his friends asked to go on a joint tour with Ozzy Osbourne and serve as the latter's warm-up show, as part of what was to be his last tour. The plan was that during the show, Ozzy would go on stage and sing 4 songs with the band, but that was already too much for Dio's ego, who simply left the tour. The one who eventually replaced Dio in several shows, was none other than Metal God, Rob Halford.
And just like the wheel of life that revolves around life and death, 14 years later Dio reunited with the other three members again in the band "Heaven & Hell", released a good album named "The Devil You Know" and went on a long tour with them that included "Black Sabbath" songs from Dio era, which was documented Also on two different live albums.