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BLACK SABBATH – Mob Rules (2010 deluxe edition)
The entire Dio-era catalogue of Sabbath has now been reissued so many bloody times! First there was the original CD issues, then the Castle remasters in 1996, then the Dio years boxed set (The Rules of Hell), and now these deluxe editions. I’m feeling lightly pillaged. But buying these is optional…unless you’re a die-hard like me. If you’re not, stick to the Dio box. If you are a die-hard, plunge forward.
The big reason to buy this set is the Live at Hammersmith Odeon bonus disc. Folks, when Rhino announced this live album in 2007, I jumped on it immediately. The CD sold out immediately, only 5000 copies were ever made. Limited and numbered (I got #3723), even if it sucked it was bound to be worth a fortune in the future right? Well not necessarily. Now it’s been included as a bonus disc. (It’s also seen a vinyl reissue.) So, for me this sucks — my Rhino issue is no longer as desirable to collectors. For you, it’s awesome. Now you can have this blistering live album, way better than Live Evil!
All the other expected perks are here, including bonus tracks: the soundtrack version of the title track, and a B-side (“Die Young”, live) from a 12″ single. It also has extensive liner notes that cover the recording, the tour, and the Hammersmith disc. Throw in some photos and a great remastering job, and you have (hopefully!) the last copy of Mob Rules that you will ever need to buy.
Mob Rules itself is very much a brother record to Heaven and Hell. You have that big dramatic epic (“The Sign of the Southern Cross”), the speedy opener (“Turn Up The Night”) and everything else in between (“Voodoo”). It’s not quite up to the lofty standards of H&H, although it does follow the blueprint quite closely. I find the closer (“Over & Over”) to be the weak link in an otherwise pretty damn strong chain.
I think the title track, “The Mob Rules”, is probably one of the greatest heavy metal songs ever written. Furiously paced, with Dio’s pipes in fine form, it an energized trip. “The Sign of the Southern Cross” is, as far as I’m concerned, pretty much an equal track to “Heaven and Hell”. Its riff is simply earth-shattering. Once again, Dio’s pipes are unequaled.
Even something like “Country Girl”, a lesser known track, blows me away. Iommi pulls another memorably powerful riff out of his bag of tricks, while Ronnie wails away…about what, I’m not sure. But it sure is fun to sing along. “Slipping Away” is another personal favourite due to Geezer’s fluidic bass solos. “Falling Off the Edge of the World” smokes, another fast Iommi riff that bores its way into the brain. You’ll be exhausted by the end of it. Really, the only mis-step is the album closer, “Over and Over”, which I find a bit too dull and slow for an album as great as Mob Rules.
Pick it up to help complete your Sabbath collection, and to hear the awesome Live At Hammersmith Odeon.