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4.6 out of 5 stars
Mob Rules
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2008
Format: Audio CD
THE BAND: Ronnie James Dio (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitars), Geezer Butler (bass), Geoff Nicholls (keyboards), Vinnie Appice (drums and percussion) - replacing original drummer Bill Ward.

THE DISC: (1981) 9 tracks clocking in at approximately 40 minutes. Included with the disc is a minimal 2-page foldout containing song titles/credits/times, band members and thank you's (no photo or song lyrics). This is the band's tenth studio album (and Dio's 2nd with Sabbath). Recorded at the Record Plant (Los Angeles). Album cover artwork by the famed Greg Hildebrandt (with twin brother Tim, they created the artwork for the original Lord Of The Rings - circa 1970's, the Star Wars posters and assorted Marvel comics). Label - Warner Bros / Vertigo Records (UK).

COMMETS: As much as I liked "Heaven And Hell" (1980), I always thought "Mob Rules" was more of a complete album. Keep in mind - both albums are outright Dio/Sabbath classics. Ronnie James Dio was clearly in his prime - a five year stint with Rainbow, two classic albums with Black Sabbath, and then his solo career taking off with "Holy Diver" (1983). Somehow I feel "Mob Rules" got the short end of the stick being stuck between two monstrous albums. From the opening cymbal crashes on "Turn Up The Night", this album rocks. This opening track really kicks the album off to a great start. The lone single "Voodoo" is a slower track with ultra heavy drums. Both tracks have trademark Iommi guitars - rhythm and solos. The 8-minute masterpiece - "The Sign Of The Southern Cross" - is one of handful of Dio's best tunes (with ANY band). * How did Sabbath's compilation, "The Dio Years" (2007), miss this single most important song? A sluggish beat, trodden and heavy, cool guitars and effects, and stunning Dio vocals. "E5150" is a 2+ minute experiment with sound effects and guitars... ultimately the only track deemed skippable. Where "E5150" almost lulls you to sleep, it's all for naught as the following fast-paced title track kicks you in the teeth. "Country Girl" is a mid-tempo rocker... strangely, about love and desire. "Slipping Away" has some cool rhythm sections complete with dueling lead and bass guitars. "Falling Off The Edge Of The World" has a delicate and misleading intro... only to break into a fast middle and ending. The album closes on a slow but emotional note with "Over And Over" (including a shredding guitar solo). For me, this album quietly rivaled anything in Black Sabbath's catalog (5 stars).
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
You get deluxe packing, responsible mastering and the incredible Hammersmith disc that you missed out on the 1st time! Do I really need to say more?
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52 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I am sure glad to see I'm not the only one to prefer this over "Heaven and Hell," the first Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio. That was a good album, but this is better--in fact, this is really, really good.
I've always found the drum and bass on Sabbath albums a bit sluggish, and while it always seemed to match the dark brooding songs, Vinnie Appice is a bit more energetic and I like that. The real star, though, is Tony Iommi, who is at his best on this album, whether on the slower tunes like "Sign of the Southern Cross" or the faster ones like "The Mob Rules"--wait, that is the only up-tempo song on the album, if you don't count "Slipping Away," which is a throwaway standard rocker.
Someone on this page mentioned Dio's 'Dungeons and Dragons' thematics, and they were right. But I can live with it, it doesn't bother me too much, and fortunately Dio has the register and the volume to pull it off. Tenacious D may have claimed to have taken the torch from RJD, but they can't touch the vocals on this album.
I honestly can't tell if my CD is remastered (so it probably isn't), but I can tell you that it sounds great--sure you can do rock and roll using all the perks of studio equipment. Twenty-two years old now, "Mob Rules" stands as a classic, not as a replacement for the old Sabbath, but on its own. Bravo Martin Birch, bravo Sabbath--long live rock and roll.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2002
Format: Audio CD
... the mob rules! This is way better than Heaven and Hell, and is the second to last great Sabbath album (preceding Born Again). The title track rocks harder than anything they'd done in years. This is Ronnie James Dio's second of three albums with the Sab, the third one being about a decade later with "Dehumanizer", which is an okay record. Dio tones down his Dungeons and Dragons themes slightly - but he still talks about "I should be at the table round, a servant of the crown...", which is sort of silly but that was his thing. Vinnie Appice (Carmine's brother) is a solid drummer and was, at that time, in much better shape than Bill Ward. According to Kurt Cobain, Bill was in a mental institution around this time but he may have been lying. Anyway. Geezer's still in top form, check out the bass solo of "Slipping Away" and his lightning-fast hammer-ons in "Falling off the Edge of the World". Tony Iommi's solos on this record may very well be his best. From the wah-wah excursions of "Turn Up the Night" to the soulful bends near the end of the title track to the frantic fretwork at the end of "Over and Over", Iommi's leads are amazing. The riffs are a bit darker than Heaven and Hell, which was more of a melodic album. "Country Girl" is one of the heavier tracks and has a bridge that reminds the fans of Dio's love for "Sailing" (which he mentions at least 3 or 4 times between this album and Heaven and Hell). If you like this album you may like Born Again: Deep Purple's Ian Gillan replaces Ronnie James, and Bill Ward comes back for some reason.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2010
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I highly recommend this product mainly because it contains the incredible Hammersmith Odeon Concert, which was out of print.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 23, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Now THIS is 'metal done right' from the heyday of truly great world-class hard rock/metal. Heavy, bombastic, plodding, gritty, dark, impending doom only as Black Sabbath can deliver. Everyone else is a pale substitute. Ungodly riffing and emotive lead guitar excursions by the 'high priest' of metal guitar himself, Tony Iommi. At age 44, I still listen to this masterpiece a quarter of a century after it was released with my jaw agape. Talk about 'standing the test of time'! Long live Black Sabbath!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2014
Format: MP3 Music
The problem with Mob Rules is that it tears at your soul. You wanna like it more than the masterpiece that was Heaven & Hell. You can't fight it. This album is absolutely amazing! But to be better that Neon Knights and Children Of The Sea and Heaven & Hell and... Conflicting emotions! Sure Bill Ward has been replaced by Vinnie Appice, so another part of the original Sabbath is gone, but what are you gonna do? Here's what I do. I take Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules and slap them together into one great Dio/Sabbath masterpiece and call everything good. Why torture yourself. The first run of RJD/Sabbath was awesome. At this point people were like Ozzy who? (in regards to Sabbath of course, meanwhile Ozzy had slapped us in the face with Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman with guitar god Randy Rhoads). Epic metal! That's all it is. Let's look at the phenomenal tracks:

Turn Up The Night: Like Neon Knights on the last outing, this is a great opening song. Straight out of the gate you know the Sabs came here to knock you down. The wall of sound. Vinnie Appice fits right in. A rumble of thunder I'm suddenly under your spell...

Voodoo: Iommi gives us yet another classic Sabbath riff. This song is stellar. Lyrically, Dio was outdoing everything he had done in Rainbow (don't get me wrong, I love Dio/Rainbow, but this was dark and nasty). A live staple. Call me the devil, it's true...

Sign Of The Southern Cross: Along with Children Of The Sea, one of my all-time favorite songs. Seeing this live on Heaven & Hell's (Sharon Osbourne be damned) final tour with Ronnie back in '07 gave me goosebumps. If there was ever truly a single song that Sabbath did that you would call epic, this is it. Phenomenal. Superb. On a small world west of wonder...

E5150: Hmmmmmm. Well, this is a keyboard/guitar blurb that is merely an intro to the next song. Strange and dreary and hallucinatory. It exists for the sole purpose of taking us to The Mob Rules. This was part of the movie Heavy Metal. It works as a great intro and that's about it.

The Mob Rules: Spectacular! Great riff. Powerhouse metal. The lyrics are mean and nasty. Sabbath in overdrive! This works on every level. One of the great cuts from the Dio/Sabbath era. Close the city and tell the people that something's coming to call....

Country Girl: One of my all-time personal favorites. This song is often overlooked. It is killer. Iommi is grinding out the classics here. You can tell that the Sabs hadn't starting hating on each other at the point of Mob Rules recording, because everything was still clicking. Moody metal goodness. Desire, what a special name, made to snatch your soul away...

Slipping Away: Great opening riff. Geezer and Vinnie are laying down the jams in perfect succession. Another rocking tune. Is it going to be your favorite song? Probably not. But still cohesive and that counts for a lot. Mob Rules flows perfectly as its predecessor had. A little Geezer and Tony bass/guitar duel? Yup! Awesome!

Falling Off The Edge Of The World: Slow and moody. Is this more Rainbow influence, cuz this sounds like something Blackmore might have done. That doesn't make it a bad thing. Not at all. The it moves into and echoey pondersous Sabbath assault and we forget about Blackmore. Great guitar work from Iommi. Belting lyrics from Ronnie. Geezer at his shredding best. This song evolves and in the end you find yourself rocking right along. You know I've seen the faces of doom and I'm only a man...

Over And Over: Another song that sounds a little like Rainbow. Heartfelt lyrics. A little dreary if you ask me. Definitely grandiose. Iommi delivers a fine solo. This song is just a little too ponderous for me. It still flows with the album, but it's kind of dragging. Over and over and over and over...

Overall, the reign of RJD with Sabbath comes to a halt after far too little time. Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules are two of metal's most important albums but egos were to come quickly into play and since Ronnie had already had enough of Ritchie Blackmore's bullsh*t you knew it was just a matter of time before him and Iommi clashed. The result would be Live Evil and the flung accusations of mixing-board tampering on both Dio and Iommi's parts. Mob Rules had everything that Heaven & Hell brought to the table and it is awesome. Bring on Holy Diver!

Dig it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2007
Format: Audio CD
It is always difficult to follow up masterpieces. Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell album with their new vocalist Ronnie James Dio at the helm shot them right back into stardom, garnering critical acclaim both musically and sales-wise. However, what everyone was curious about was whether Heaven and Hell was going to be a one-off achievement, and if not, how the band would top it without original drummer Bill Ward who had left due to health problems. He was replaced by Vinnie Appice, who put in an unbelievable performance, making Mob Rules the timeless masterpiece it is.

In many ways, particularly its track-listing, Mob Rules tends to mirror its predecessor, and even though both "Turn Up the Night" and "Voodoo" are excellent cuts, they fall slightly short off the mark in comparison to the one-two punch start of Heaven and Hell. However, contrary to popular opinion, I happen to think this album actually surpasses the first Dio-era record, most notably because of its more in-your-face mix treatment (by the legendary Martin Birch) and rawer musical landscape. New drummer Vinnie Appice proves to be an excellent substitute, and his drum fills on this album are among heavy metal's best. The drumming on "The Sign of the Southern Cross" is stunning. Appice never lets go and supplies a strong rhythmic backbone to Iommi's sledgehammer riffage, accentuated by a fuzzed-out keyboard arrangement courtesy of Geoff Nicholls (now listed as a full-time member in the credits). Dio's vocals are among his most diverse, going from innocent, almost whisper-like sections to rousing high registers. No other metal band had written such a dynamic song before 1981, and Iommi's run-out lead simply tears the roof. "The Sign of the Southern Cross" is the greatest Dio-era Sabbath song ever.

On the whole, Geezer Butler serves to thicken Iommi's rhythm parts on the album, but the predominantly dissonant instrumental "E5150" sees weird collection of sounds built around his screeching bass guitar, smothered by sizzling keyboards and eventually darker-than-black guitar effects -- it is a frightening experience. Also, the remarkable interplay of "Slipping Away" has awesome bass lines coming through its addictive chorus, punctuated by yet another mindblowing drum performance. The title track, while great, fails to leave as strong a lasting effect as that of Heaven and Hell, but "Country Girl" is a fantastic mix of powerful vocals and hook-laden rhythms. The slowed-down middle of the the song with beautifully harmonised guitar tracks (excellent production job!) and backing vocals is sublime. And Dio's voice kills.

Unlike the first two songs, Mob Rules closes on a very high point, with the criminally overlooked "Falling Off the Edge of the World", bridging Sabbath's old, doomy side with their new-found, guitar-driven aesthetic. It kicks off with solid doomy riffery sinking the piece deep into pits of hell before launching into a rocking metal anthem, complete with a crazy solo. However, it is with the final track "Over and Over" that Iommi lays down quite possibly his longest lead solo, amidst crashing cymbals and a powerful snare sound (which would later on be copycatted by hundreds of doom metal acts in the late 80's). The funereal main riff of this song is pure bliss, and worth checking out the album alone. No one - I repeat - no one can emulate Iommi's unique riffing style, which made Black Sabbath one of the most important bands on the planet.

In terms of historical significance, Heaven and Hell is still unmatched and remains the band's renaissance. To me, the band, having toured extensively for almost a year, matured to another level in composition and therefore had a better view of honing their sound. Mob Rules is equally satisfying and overall a more consistent disc to these ears. That said, if you've never heard Dio-period Sabbath, get Heaven and Hell first -- you'll have to pick up Mob Rules after hearing it anyway.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
It was 1981 and Dio had already proven himself a fine replacement for Ozzy with 'Heaven and Hell' ( Ozzy who? ) The old-school Sabbath fans who,at first,dismissed Dio as a second-rate fill-in, quickly changed their tune. 'Mob Rules' was then released and it continued turning on a younger fan base to the mighty Sabbath sound. With an evil Satanic album cover and creepy songs like 'Sign of the Southern Cross' and 'Voodoo', this album spawned another huge hit for Sabbath. Is it as good or better than 'Heaven and Hell'? That's a tough question. It's always hard to follow-up a 'perfect album.' ( Dio's own words )

'E-5150', a bizarre synthesized instrumental blows away Van Halen's wimp-rock album with the same name. The title track screams into rock history and burns a hole into your memory of this amazing and twisted album. Some fans say if you look real close at the bottom of the vinyl album art, you can see "Ozzy" written in blood! Anything is possible listening to this pounding, unrelenting and classic heavy metal album. What's different about this one? Well, that's easy: Vinnie Appice is the new drummer ( replacing Bill Ward, who quit after losing both of his parents in a short ammount of time) and he's amazing. Returning as Producer is Martin Birch. Recorded in L.A. at the Record Plant. ( This album does have a cool L.A. feel to it, or maybe that was just the joint I was smoking at the time) Iommi's riffs are one-of-a-kind and throw you back as each song hits the speakers. This UK import has outstanding liner notes and color photos from the Mob Rules Tour. Also, the remastered sound makes the vinyl sound like a trash can. This, and 'Heaven and Hell' are must-haves for the true Sabbath or Dio fan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I had got this CD for my Birthday from one of my closest friends. When i first poped in the cd, i thought it would sound just like Heaven and Hell. Well it didnt. I was blown away by almost every song on this album.

Turn Up the Light:(4/5)Heard it many times before i owned the album so i got a little bored with it.

Voodoo:(5/5)This song has some of the finest riffs out of any Sabbath song. Amazing

The Sign of the Southern Cross:(10/5)One of the GREATEST Sabbath songs ever written, plus the best song on the album. I was absolutly blown away by this song, by its haunting riffs and metal sound.

E5150:(4/5)Dont listen to those reviews saying this is a useless song. Its not. The first minute about is just sound effects. But the rest of the song rules. Also has haunting riffs which makes the song good.

The Mob Rules:(5/5)In my opinion the heaviest song(meaning most metalish)Incredible Guitar work done here and Dio's Vocals make it even better.

Country Girl:(4/5)Kind of like Voodoo but still very good.

Slipping Away:(3/5)Least best on the album. Its alright it keeps repeating it self over nd over making it least best. It was probably just one of those filler songs.

Falling off the Edge of the World:(9/5)Just as good as SOTSC only a step lower. Second best song.

Over and Over:(5/5)Its just like Lonley is the Word from H&H but heavier which makes it better. Perfect way to close the Album.

Some advise to some people....Dont compare the Ozzy albums to the Post-Ozzy albums. Its like comparing the DLR Van Halen Albums to the Van Hagar ones. ITS not possible, its a whole different story after ozzy. This is in my opinion the best of the After Ozzy stuff. If you dont have it, GET IT!! NOW!!! You wont be disapointed. And for some more advise, DONT GET any of the so called "Sabbath" albums after Born Again. A total waste of your time. The only ones to buy are DEHUMANIZER, Reunion, and Past Lives. Now after Reading this go out and buy this now!! stop reading this review and get it.

P.S. I like to thank my friend for awarding me with this piece of Gold----Thanx
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