Navigate: main >> reviews
F U L L . R E V I E W S


Black Sabbath - Mob Rules - 1981 Warner Brothers - Reviewed by Nailer

Track Listing
1. Turn up the Night
2. Voodoo
3. Sign of the Southern Cross
4. E5150
5. Mob Rules
6. Country Girl
7. Slipping Away
8. Falling off the Edge of the World
9. Over and Over
It may be overshadowed by its predecessor, Heaven And Hell, but 1981, Mob Rules has always been one of my favorite Black Sabbath records; really one of my favorite metal CDs of all time. The starkness of its production belies the artistry that comes from this record and it succeeds due to the sheer talent that each individual brings to the table. One could say that it was all done before with Heaven And Hell, but I think this one is a little more consistent. Though it is a bookend to the other, I'm gonna look at Mob Rules on its own.

Nobody can match Tony Iommi who crafts metallic riffs that are simple in structure, yet completely distill the spirit of the purest heavy metal. Ronnie Dio is more than able to fill a departed Ozzy's shoes with his incredible voice. Vinny Appice, who would later depart to join Dio's solo career, and Geezer Butler lay the solid bedrock foundation.

"Turn Up the Night" is an upbeat opener, not the strongest of the tracks, but also not unlikable. "Voodoo" really starts to bring the evil into the record. The first of the 5 minute+ epics is "Sign of the Southern Cross". It's an expansive doomy number of evil power; a plundering mass that leads into the havoc of the taut single "Mob Rules". "Country Girl" continues the mastery of the CD with a descending riff that adds an extra touch of darkness to the descriptive tale of a woman that all guys have some familiarity with--the hypnotic succubus who brings damnation along with her beauty. "Slipping Away" picks up the rhythmic pace similar to the first number. After a soft intro, the second of the longer epic tracks, "Falling off the Edge of the World", is bombastic menace until it changes into the panic of the main riff. It's the madness of millions of terror-stricken individuals watching a 10,000 foot high Lovecraftian monster slowly descending from a crack in the sky. "Over and Over" finally completes the album. It's a slower metallic blues number that stands uniquely with the prior numbers. To anybody who feels that Tony Iommi is all about playing riffs--listen to the solos on this one. Dio adds internal pain to lyrics like:

Too many flames, with too much to burn
And life's only made of paper
Oh, how I need to be free of this pain
But it goes over, and over, and over, and over again

Most modern metal CDs have a muti-layered sound with dozens of harmonized guitars and multi-overdubs that create a wall of sound. At times, I wish bands would take a leaner approach the way Sabbath did back in the day, but it takes a lot of skill to have power in simplicity and I don't know if today's metal generation is capable. Mob Rules is a timeless disc that should go well in any metalhead's collection.

Let me also note the fantastic cover by fantasy artist Hildebrandt. A conquering mob with faces obscured, is standing with an outstreched skin(?); it's bloodstains upon closer inspection display a demonic head that is fairly similar to the demon Ronnie Dio would later put on his record covers.

Score: 9 of 10

--Nailer 9.24.03
About this Writer:
Frank Hill // Frank Hill has been at this site since its slimy, crying birth in '03. He was born on National Metal Day--11/11 and will turn his hearing aids up to 11 when he's 111. He secretly listens to a lot of old Country and Doo-Wop tunes and wants to start a cyberband with lead vocals by Robot Plant. He is still trying to figure out what Judas Priest meant by "paratamize you". If you read this, then he salutes you.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: BLACK SABBATH
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Mob RulesBlack Sabbath
1981
Frank Hill9/23/2003
The Dio YearsBlack Sabbath
2007
Vinaya Saksena9/21/2007


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: BLACK SABBATH
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
13Black Sabbath
2013
David Hodges8/2/2013


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: BLACK SABBATH
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


YOU MAY ALSO LIKE THESE TRADITIONAL STYLED RELEASES:


<< back >>






ERIC COMPTON PICKS
Vader
Tibi Et Igni
Mean Streak
Declaration Of War
InnerWish
InnerWish
Bullet
Highway Pirates
Consfearacy
Consfearacy

GREG WATSON PICKS
Unreqvited
Disquiet
Bloodbound
Stormborn
Miss May I
Shadows Inside
The Gentle Storm
The Diary
Pink Mass
Necrosexual

FRANK HILL PICKS
Crimson Shadows
Kings Among Men
Metallica
Death Magnetic
Biomechanical
Cannabalised
Unleash the Archers
Time Stands Still
Armory
The Dawn Of Enlightenment

DAVID LOVELESS PICKS
Blood of the Black Owl
S/T
Galactic Empire
Galactic Empire
Akercocke
Antichrist
Aetherius Obscuritas
Viziok
Hatebreed
The Concrete Confessional