Heaven and Hell
Live from Radio City Music Hall
Review by Rick Damigella
Next year may be the 40th anniversary of Black Sabbath, but 2007 will be forever known in the lore of heavy metal as the year of Heaven & Hell. With three related releases from Tony Iommi, Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice since April of this year, the second incarnation of Black Sabbath (for likely political reasons under the moniker Heaven & Hell) has also been on tour in support of Black Sabbath: The Dio Years. This live recording documents their March 30th performance at the legendary concert venue and features only material from this line up of the band. Don’t spin this up and expect to hear anything Mr. Osbourne sang, and, frankly, this is a good thing.
What is unbelievable about this double-disc set is how good the entire band sounds. One would almost never know that a combined quarter century of non-involvement and animosity had passed between the three times this line up of Sabbath have been together. Iommi and Butler play like they have playing these songs every night their entire lives. What is most striking here is the voice of Ronnie James Dio. For being 64 at the time of this recording, the man sings like it is 1981 still. There are vocalists four decades his junior who can never hope to have his kind of longevity or sing with the power and intensity that Dio does.
The people behind the scenes rarely get name checked and kudos must be given to live recording producer Barry Ehrmann and Chief Engineer Kooster McAllister for recording an amazing sounding live album. Indeed, with this release, it is time for one of the top ten live albums of all time to leave that vaunted list, for Heaven & Hell Live from Radio City Music Hall is truly one of the best live albums ever.