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“Dehumanizer” (remaster) by Black Sabbath

Artist: Black Sabbath
Title: “Dehumanizer” (remaster)
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 10/17/2008
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3.75/5

In order to properly celebrate the reunion of the “Mark II” version of Black Sabbath, Rhino Entertainment recently released a four CD boxed set called “Rules Of Hell”. The set featured remastered editions of all the albums with singer Ronnie James Dio on them and I am speaking of “Heaven And Hell”, Mob Rules”, “Live Evil” & “Dehumanizer”. This was a great way to once again enjoy some truly killer Metal from a lineup that was at first met with a lot of hesitation. The albums were packaged in a beautiful slipcase box and each featured brand new liner notes from notable journalists – truly this served the needs of those who had been clamoring for all of these releases to finally receive the remastering treatment. Of course, there are many who only liked one or two of these albums and those listeners might not have had any interest in shelling out the necessary dollars for the package of four and would instead prefer to purchase the one or two that were their favorites of the bunch. Lucky for them, Rhino Entertainment has chosen to release individual versions of these four genre-defining albums. Having already reviewed the boxed set in an album by album fashion we have chosen to break that commentary up by individual release and expand ever so slightly upon those first thoughts to better focus on each unique album and what it meant to the Heavy Metal legions. Read on.

Sabbath continued along with a number of singers after Dio left and this continual rotation of vocal talents at one time or another featured the likes of Ian Gillan, David Donato, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen, and Tony Martin handling the tasks for the band. This time period also found them with a number of different drummers such as Bobby Rondinelli, Eric Singer and the late great Cozy Powell. Eventually the two sides mended broken fences and the band moved out Tony Martin and moved in once again Ronnie James Dio along with drummer Vinny Appice and Mark II Sabbath lived again. Together the magic seemed to return and they would record “Dehumanizer”, an album that was just what the Metal world needed at the time. Sadly, it arrived to hardly a whimper of interest and it’s long been said that their initial reunion album was one of those releases that nobody “got” during the time that it was first released. This makes perfect sense to me as this was 1992 and the world of music was caught up in itself with the growing Grunge Movement out of Seattle. All eyes were on this region and the movement had successfully all but killed off the Hair Metal nation from California and now was rearing its head in the direction of the legendary Metal bands as well. Everyone was listening to Nirvana, Pearl Jam or Alice In Chains and when it came to finding some interest for the new Black Sabbath, no one seemed to care at all. I admit that this one had passed me by as well since I was not following Sabbath at the time and had stopped after Dio moved on, so having a remastered copy to enjoy at this point in time was great. The album is perhaps one of the heaviest that the band had ever done and when you hear tunes like “Computer God” and “After All (The Dead” you will be convinced. It was also a little ahead of it’s time as it speaks of computers being worshipped as gods and with the way the Internet and overall technology has grown since then could they have been prophets to the way our world has become? The most powerful track on the album without a doubt is “I”, a strong number that finds Dio at his best and apparent angriest. It crunches with Metal energy and is a fist pumper. The band also seems to be playing with a renewed zeal on this one as they try to recapture lightning in a bottle like they had done ten years earlier. Sadly, the reunion would not last too long and Dio would return to his solo performing while Sabbath would bring back in Tony Martin for the immediate future on albums and touring.

A booklet is included that offers the listener relevant information about the release and its place in Black Sabbath history of the time. The fantastic read comes courtesy of Chris Ingham for this album. The only downside for me was the lack of song lyrics since it would have been nice to have them and perhaps even some additional photographs of the members during each era or even unused artwork that was originally debated for this albums use. Any of that would have been nice as an addition to an already excellent release. There aren’t any bonus tracks presented on the release as one often sees on such remasters but one would hardly care based on the excitement around it finally seeing the light of day in this manner. The old saying of “the third time’s the charm” does ring true in some sense as in 2007 the music world would see the return of the Mark II lineup once again. Together they would record some new material and present it on a compilation “Best Of” that only focused on the times with Dio. The title was “Black Sabbath: The Dio Years”, and it was an album that would lead to one of the biggest tours ever. Now calling themselves Heaven And Hell; Tony, Geezer, Ronnie and Vinny would sell out night after night and perform before tens of thousands of the Metal faithful.

The individual releases of the Dio fronted Black Sabbath come to us shortly after the bands completion of a successful tour with Judas Priest, Testament and Motorhead that was dubbed “The Metal Masters” tour. The high energy dose of classic Metal superpowers on that bill should be enough to sate the fans until the band returns in early 2009 with a new studio album. If the new tracks that were recorded for the 2007 compilation were any indication of what the guys have up their sleeves then I am sure that we shall all be pleased. Remember that while these releases can be purchased as stand alone items now collectors might still be interested in picking up the boxed set “Rules Of Hell”. There is no difference on any of them outside of the slipcase box that holds them all together in one place.

Track Listing:
1. Computer God
2. After All (The Dead)
3. TV Crimes
4. Letters From Earth
5. Master Of Insanity
6. Time Machine
7. Sins Of The Father
8. Too Late
9. I
10. Buried Alive
11. Time Machine (Wayne’s World Version)

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