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Black Sabbath - Mob Rules CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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3.46 | 375 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Over and over, but not slipping away (yet!)

Mob Rules is Black Sabbath's tenth album and for the first time in their career they followed a formula. Say what you want about albums like Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die, but they showed a band willing to change and try out new things. Mob Rules followed on the heels of the successful Heaven And Hell, and maybe they thought 'why divert from a successful formula?' Personally, I am prepared to forgive the formulaic approach here and for me Mob Rules is about as enjoyable as Heaven And Hell is!

With the sound of the band remaining constant, the line up, however, did not. Vinnie Appice takes over the drum stool here. He is a very competent replacement for Bill ward. The album opens with Turn Up The Night which is this album's Neon Knights. This is a powerful opening number. The Sign Of The Southern Cross is this album's Children Of The Sea and is actually my favourite Dio-era Black Sabbath song. It starts out with lovely acoustic guitar and an excellent vocal performance from Ronnie. This is every bit as good as Children Of The Sea!

Voodoo, Country Girl and the title track resembles Lady Evil, Whishing Well and Walk Away from the previous album. These are the least good songs from these albums. I can't help thinking that had they discarded these straightforward Hard Rock songs and put the longer, more elaborated songs from both albums onto a single album, it would have been a really excellent one! But this is what it is and as they stand both Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules are three star albums.

The instrumental E5150 does not have any representative on Heaven And Hell. But it follows in the same tradition as FX from Volume Four, only better. I'm not too impressed by this little interlude and I would probably not put it on my imaginary album. But I don't mind it too much. This inclusion might signal keyboardist Geoff Nicholls' increasing importance for the band. Nicholls was never recognized as a full member, but he contributed to every album from Heaven And Hell onwards plus following them on tours.

Falling Off The Edge Of The World and Over And Over would, on the other hand, definitely make it onto that dream album as they are excellent, heavy songs in the style of Lonely Is The Word. Again, these have excellent vocals by Ronnie.

As it stands, Mob Rules is a fine album that will undoubtedly appeal to most Black Sabbath fans as it does to me. While some songs have interesting bits, particularly the excellent The Sign Of The Southern Cross, the Dio-era albums are among Black Sabbath's least progressive albums. It is therefore hard for me to raise very much Prog-enthusiasm over these albums despite some engaging songs and moments. But at least one of these similar albums is worth having in your Prog collection.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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