Heaven and Hell (Deluxe Edition)
There is absolutely no point - NONE, do you hear me? - in comparing the original Sabbath line-up with this one. That way lays unnecessary teeth-gnashing and garden gnome trashing (unless you genuinely prefer songs about knights and dragons to ones about nihilism and dope, of course). Let us, therefore, treat them as two different bands from the outset and judge the inevitable re-release of the Dio-era recordings on their own terms.
While not a total ball-grabber, Heaven and Hell is rightly seen as a classic. The title track still chills the spine, with Children of the Sea and Die Young close behind it on the neck-tickling front. There are no massive surprises with any re-mastering - nothing leaps out of the speakers, like a previously-unseen sonic imp, to arrest the listener. It’s a serviceable, modern production, fair enough. Disc two contains a small reminder of the line-up in concert and a big reminder of how much this line-up was all about Ronnie James. The man truly is ‘all lungs’ and in the cuts from the Hartford show he shows himself to be perfectly capable of filling a stadium with not only sound but his personality, as well.
So, a great album, an adequate reissue job. Mount Snowdon, perhaps, rather than Everest.