Today is May 16, 2013. It is three years to the day that Ronnie James Dio, one of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal’s True Legends passed away after battling cancer. I will never forget hearing the news as I was about to head into work. I was a wreck, as many of you were I’m sure, and it still hurts.
So, in honor of him, this week’s Classic Albums features MY favorite Black Sabbath release, Mob Rules. This one’s for you, Ronnie.
We start off with “Turn Up the Night”, the ultimate song for burying the needle in your 80’s muscle car. The riff is insane, and I have to play it at least three times before moving on. “Voodoo” is unmistakable. You KNOW what it is as soon as you hear it, and is one of my favorite songs from the Mighty Sabbath, especially live.
The best song on this album is without a doubt “The Sign of the Southern Cross”. Not only is it the best track here, it is my ALL-TIME FAVORITE SONG that Ronnie has ever sung. I was blessed to hear them perform it live in 2008. With a soft intro that slowly turns into a giant carnivorous beast, it is sheer magic.
After the eeriness of instrumental “E5150” sets the ominous mood, title track “The Mob Rules” kicks you in the face and beats you into submission, reminding you what real metal is made of. Phenomenal song!
“Country Girl” has to be one of the most unique opening riffs I’ve ever heard, and segues perfectly into “Slipping Away” with its tightly wound drum, bass, and guitar lines.
“Falling Off the Edge of the World” leads you down a slow path of darkness for about 2 minutes before exploding into an uptempo rocker that leaps out of the speakers while “Over and Over” gives you time to FINALLY catch your breath and soak in the metal majesty you’ve just been privy to, before flipping the record over (then), or hitting the REPEAT button (now)
I will always love Ronnie’s solo work, but Dio-era Sabbath is the Be All, End All for me. Check it out if you haven’t already, and pay your respects to one of Metal’s Founding Fathers.
FAVORITE TRACKS: “Turn Up the Night”, “Voodoo”, “The Sign of the Southern Cross”, “The Mob Rules”, “Slipping Away”