Do You Remember: Black Sabbath’s “Mob Rules”


via Spotify

Mike Singer

Let’s set the scene quickly. Three years prior the Birmingham, English heavy metal band, Black Sabbath was fronted by Ozzy Osbourne as they released 1978’s “Never Say Die!” Three years later, they are now fronted by Ronnie James Dio and released their second record with him singing 1981’s “Mob Rules.”

Everyone remembers the first record that had Dio manning the lead vocal helm. That record was the 1980 heavy metal juggernaut, “Heaven and Hell” and by the end of the year after the tour of the same name as the record, Dio had won the fans over and Black Sabbath had established themselves once again as a serious heavy metal band.

Since everyone remembers the first record without Ozzy, the previously mentioned “Heaven and Hell” record. The real question is, do you remember the follow-up record, “Mob Rules?”

The Dio years of Sabbath are some of my favorite years of the band. While Ozzy was as heavy metal as they come, Dio was also equally heavy, and it truly is hard to think of which frontman was my favorite since they both really sang about different stuff.

Ozzy on one hand sang about drinking, boozing, and partying as every rock and roll singer does. Dio on the other hand sang songs about fighting evil and knights in shining armor and dragons. Look at the title track to “Heaven and Hell” and you will understand what I’m saying.

The record contains nine songs that span over 40 minutes of pure heavy metal music.

The first song, “Turn Up the Night,” has a fast-paced, driving beat which makes this song the perfect opening to the record, I love guitarist, Tony Iommi’s solo around the two-minute mark of the record, and it establishes the record as a take no prisoners style record.

Track two, “Voodoo,” is by far my favorite song on the entire record. Compared to the song before, it’s much slower but a lot heavier. Bassist, Geezer Butler has a nice chunky rhythm that falls in line with new drummer Vinny Appice who replaced founding member Bill Ward who left during the “Heaven and Hell” tour.

If you look for live versions of this song, either Dio as a solo artist or Black Sabbath as a band has six and seven-minute versions of this song which makes it even cooler. Check out a few versions on YouTube.

Track three, “The Sign of the Southern Cross,” has been cited as Butler’s favorite song from the entire record and it’s hard to choose any different songs.

This is one of those heavy metal songs that deserves to be blasted with the windows down in the car or cranked all the way up on a stereo if you have a copy on vinyl as I do.

The song runs for over seven minutes and is one of the heaviest songs that Black Sabbath has ever recorded, and that’s truly saying something.

Sabbath on the next two tracks did one of my favorite things that any artist can do. They made the two tracks “bleed” or lead into the next one. The perfect example of what I’m talking about is The Black Crowes’ 2001 record, “Lions” and especially and I can’t emphasize this enough when I say that you must listen to Pink Floyd’s 1973 record, “The Dark Side of the Moon,” they all lead into one another as if it’s one giant song.

On “Mob Rules” track four, “E1550” leadings in the title track, “The Mob Rules.” The title track is just an awesome, headbanging, classic metal song.

The following two tracks, “Country Girl” is a lot like “The Sign of the Southern Cross,” in its slower, heavier riff while “Slipping Away,” is your average hard rock song.

What I like about the second to last song, track eight, “Falling Off the Edge of the World,” is that it starts out with some strings and a slow riff from Ioni but by the two-minute mark the song completely changes tempo and turns into a song with Appice beating away at the drums.

The record is capped off with “Over and Over,” which is a five-minute track. The first two minutes contain lyrics but for the majority of the song, it’s Iomi soloing away showing why he is the true godfather of heavy metal music. The fad out on this song is the perfect way to end the entire record

Most people remember the Dio years as him starting with Sabbath with “Heaven and Hell” in 1980 and ending with him quitting the band in 1982 only to return for the “Dehumanizer” record in 1992 after Sabbath had three records with three different vocalists

Some Sabbath fans remember Dio as being there forever after Ozzy left which is in fact not the case.

Dio only has three records to his name with Sabbath with “Heaven and Hell” taking the number one spot and his return to the band with “Dehumanizer” taking the second sport and “Mob Rules” being buried under both records.

This is one of Black Sabbath’s best records ever and it is a must-listen to for any heavy metal, Sabbath fan and Dio fan.

So, how much of “Mob Rules” do you remember?