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Why Black Sabbath’s 1980 Album "Heaven and Hell" Is Their Best Album

Updated on November 21, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

A Beautiful Angel That Symbolizes Heaven

This angel symbolizes the great musical quality that is present when you listen to this album from beginning to end.
This angel symbolizes the great musical quality that is present when you listen to this album from beginning to end. | Source

This Black Sabbath album should absolutely be listened to by heavy metal fans everywhere

In the long career of Black Sabbath, there are probably several albums that fans could classify as their best. For this writer it is the album Heaven and Hell released in 1980. This album was released at a time when I was too young to even know what heavy metal even was. Listening to this album from start to finish was so wonderful it feels like a heavenly musical experience. What are the reasons why Heaven and Hell can be considered Black Sabbath’s best album?

Three Basic Reasons Why Heaven and Hell Is Black Sabbath's Best Album

1. The towering, powerful vocals of Ronnie James Dio.
2. The song Wishing Well.
3. The lead guitar work of Tony Iommi.

Ronnie James Dio was a much better vocalist that Ozzy Osbourne could have ever hoped to be

This is what this writer feels right now in 2017 and perhaps thereafter though these thoughts are subject to change. American singer Ronnie James Dio proves that he is a much better vocalist than Ozzy Osbourne not just because of his powerful voice but he can also sing at a better low voice than Ozzy ever could have. The classic line in the song Neon Knights is proof of Dio’s talent when he sings: “oh no here it comes again.” Sometimes good things never last as the song tries to point out so you have to try and cherish these good moments when you can. The blues solos by Iommi only add to the brilliance of this album.

Another bonus reason why the album Heaven and Hell is their best one

Even the weakest song about children going on a long voyage across the air and sea called Children of the Sea is a good song. Black Sabbath was one of the strongest rock bands in the music business from 1970 to the early 1980’s. Whether they surpass the greatness of Judas Priest is another question. But adding Ronnie James Dio to their band definitely helped them because they had a vocalist who could sing well and make it matter.

How great of an album is Heaven and Hell?

Heaven and Hell is also the highlight heavy metal album easily beating Judas Priest’s British Steel by a wide margin.

Final grade: 99 out of 100 points. You are about to see why this album gets such a high score.

Why was Ronnie James Dio such a good singer?

Ronnie Dio (1942-2010) made me believe and I still do that he was a person that really contributed to the music industry. The chorus in Lady Evil is another example of his vocals that really match in pitch and tone. The song Heaven and Hell where Dio says: “I can tell” really shows that his range does not go out of control and stays within the boundaries of what is considered good vocals.

Wishing Well Is One of the Best Black Sabbath Songs Ever

The song Wishing Well is one of the best songs ever in the history of Black Sabbath not only for its message but the incredible lead guitar work by Tony Iommi. The song’s message is that life is not always what it seems and that there is more to life than money. Love is not money. It is not something that you can just buy in a store. Love is described in this song as a never ending smile. Even if we had a wishing well that could grant us anything that we desired would we really be truly happy? That is a profound question that no song can answer but I love the message in this song!

"Wishing Well" Re-mastered Version

A photo of a sea gull (symbolism here)

This sea gull can be symbolism for the musical journey that fans will take by listening to this album.
This sea gull can be symbolism for the musical journey that fans will take by listening to this album. | Source

"Die Young"

"Die Young," "Walk Away," and "Lonely Is the Word"

The song called Die Young is about the fact that we have to live life for today because tomorrow is promised to no one. So many people die at a young age and it seems like the writing is on the wall. There are few guarantees in this life and I am glad that the band understood this. The blues style song called Walk Away features some interesting chants as well as some more strong vocals by Dio. The last song called Lonely is the Word is about someone that feels so lonely and lost that they don’t know where to go. They are ready to embark on a long journey to an unknown destination.

"Lady Evil"

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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