Black Sabbath The Dio Years

That’s it, case closed: the Dio years were indeed mightier for Black Sabbath than anything Ozzy was ever involved with. And with the inclusion of three brand new tunes and some cool liner notes from rock scribe Dave Ling, The Dio Years is a rare thing indeed: an anthology worth buying. Containing five songs off of the band’s majestic Dio debut, Heaven and Hell (1980), four from its follow-up, Mob Rules (1981), three from 1992’s reunion disc, Dehumanizer, one off of 1982’s Live Evil just for the hell of it and the aforementioned three new tunes, The Dio Years is, well, a great overview of the Dio years. The Heaven and Hell material is still incredible, with "Neon Knights,” "Die Young” and the title track coming awfully close to metal perfection. Mob Rules is similarly awesome, with the switch at the drum stool not slowing the band down at all. Instead, Vinnie Appice’s drumming stepped things up a notch. The Dehumanizer material is a reminder of how dour and difficult that album was despite it packing a great punch. And the three new tunes shock a bit in that two are slow-mo doom tracks, while only the third, the excellent "Ear in the Wall,” picks things up a bit, leaving the listener with the hope that more new material is in the works. To quote the mighty wee wizard Dio himself, "Look out!” (Warner)