Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

26May/0921

Super-cool concert alert: Venice with Billy Idol and Dave Mason

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I am WAY jealous of the residents of Santa Monica, CA, and their opportunity at the end of this week to catch one hell of a triple bill.

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Locally based California studs Venice, the coolest band of brothers and cousins that I've ever came across in my time as a music fan, are part of a very cool benefit show happening in Santa Monica on Saturday night at Santa Monica High School.

The Venice boys will be joined by the king of the 80's sneer, Billy Idol, and classic rocker Dave Mason for one unforgettable evening at the For The Arts Benefit Concert, loaded top to bottom with an enviable setlist of hits. For those of you that are familiar with the Venice covers side project Pine Mountain Logs, the pairing with Dave Mason will make complete sense. But I'm highly intrigued by Idol's presence on the bill. There are a lot of cool setlist possibilities, and I'd LOVE to see the Venice boys back Idol for a killer version of "Eyes Without A Face!"

Fans that caught the Venice performance over the weekend at Topanga Days Festival got a nice preview of this weekend's performance when Billy Idol joined Venice onstage during their set to perform "Dancing With Myself," "Rebel Yell," and Idol's signature cover of "Mony, Mony."

Venice will stop by The Mark and Brian Show on Wednesday morning between 9am and 10am PST to chat about the Santa Monica benefit concert, and perform a track with Billy Idol. You can stream the interview and performance right here.

Some tickets are still available for Saturday night's benefit in Santa Monica, and you can purchase them right here. If you haven't ever seen Venice, I can't stress enough what a great first show this would be.

The band performed at a similar benefit concert earlier this year with Michael McDonald, Tommy Shaw, and Christopher Cross to rave reviews, and if you haven't been, these shows are always a ton of fun. I'd love to be at this one, but sadly the ATV travel budget is a bit depleted with Bonnaroo on the way.

I'll leave you with some sample material to dig into, including a recent video performance of the Venice original "Weight Has Been Lifted," that was edited by longtime Venice fan and site webmaster Matt Levitz. Directly below that, you'll find fan-shot video of two of my absolute favorite Venice tunes back-to-back, "World On My Back" and "Time On My Hands."

For your enjoyment, check out some Pine Mountain Logs live videos as well!

And for all of your Venice info, check out the band's website here.

I like the lighting/sound on the following video just a bit more, so here's an additional performance of "Time On My Hands," because you can never have enough live performances of "Time On My Hands." This one was filmed at the special Lennon Lounge concert earlier this year.

I'll leave you with a couple of heavy hitter endorsements:

“Venice is the best vocal group in America right now. They're better than anybody else I know. They're fantastic. I’m a student of harmony.
That’s my thing. I love all kinds of harmony. But I particularly love theirs, because it’s so natural. It’s not like anybody else’s. Very unforced, very from their hearts. I’ve been telling people about them since the first night I heard them. I’ve told everybody I could find that they were the best. This is my favorite band in the world.”

--David Crosby

"Venice, one of my favorite bands, is quintessentially Californian, with soaring harmonies. We’ve played together at numerous benefits and at each other's concerts. What they do is sing amazingly. There are two lead singers, there are four harmony parts a lot of the time, and what it most resembles is CSN, or sometimes Sly and the Family Stone. Well, anything unique is pretty hard to describe, but that's the general musical terrain. They sing and play their asses off, and I have seen them knock out many an unsuspecting crowd. On two separate occasions I booked them for large outdoor venues where we were doing benefits and they took the audiences, who had not come to see them, completely by surprise. It's such a pleasure to play with these guys, because they have that power."

--Jackson Browne

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1May/0912

Billy Sheehan – Holy Cow!

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Some of the most talented musicians on the planet seem to get lost sometimes in the liner notes, next to the more recognizable "star" power. Billy Sheehan has luckily gotten more notice than some of his peers, and maybe a little bit of that has something to do with the fact that he's so frikkin' tall, but it's likely that it has even more to do with his legendary skills on four strings. Chances are, you know Sheehan's name from the celebrated Eat 'Em and Smile lineup of David Lee Roth's solo career, as a member of Mr. Big, Talas, his work with Steve Vai, and the list goes on and on.

As a musical nerd who really digs the cats like drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Stu Hamm, and guitarist Steve Lukather, Sheehan was of course one of the early names that wound up on my list of players that were just a ton of fun to watch, visually. My "nerd-out" record of 2008 was Lukather's Ever Changing Times, and like a rock to the head, along comes Holy Cow!, the new solo entry from Sheehan making sure that I won't find my "nerd-out" musical category lacking in 2009.

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It's a bass player's record, which means that unlike OU812 and Justice, you can actually HEAR the bass on this one. And let's face it, some of these solo excursions can get pretty damn artistic, which is thankfully avoided by Holy Cow!. In fact, this album is a must for fans of King's X, Eric Gales Band, and yes, Mr. Big. While it isn't a King's X record, or even a solo record from a King's X member (although it does feature a guest vocal on a track from King's X vocalist Dug Pinnick,) I think that King's X fans in particular will enjoy Holy Cow!. The sound of Holy Cow! flies comfortably in the zone of what many fans (myself included) have come to love about King's X - AND it contains the SONGS that in my opinion have been missing from some of the more recent King's X efforts.

But this is a Billy Sheehan album, not a King's X album, and what you'll quickly learn from listening to it is that Sheehan is just as comfortable playing guitar as he is playing the bass. Sheehan plays the bulk of the instrumentation on the album himself (14 tracks total, including 3 bonus tracks for the U.S. release,) handling all vocals, bass, guitars, and even some harmonica. Drummer Ray Luzier (DLR Band, Army of Anyone, Korn) lays down the thud on Holy Cow! and the whole thing is wrapped together with an in your face mix that really shreds. In addition to Luzier and Pinnick, Sheehan managed to dial a few more digits in his cell phone for guest appearances, including, um, Billy Gibbons, who drops some sleazy Texas riffing on "A Lit'l Bit'l Do It To Ya Ev'ry Time."

The fretwork blisters to a fever pitch on "Dynamic Exhilarator" revealing the arrival of fellow Mr. Big bandmate Paul Gilbert on lead guitar, which might inspire some to remove their Holy Cow! artwork and rename it Holy F*ck! For ye who are in search of some instrumental wank, "Dynamic Exhilarator" will do ya right.

Holy Cow! is one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable albums that I've received this year, and really, I don't know why I was so surprised that it is so good. It's Billy Sheehan, folks!

Here's a coupla sample tracks to feed your ears and after you hear these, you'll be heading out to get your own Holy Cow!

Billy Sheehan - In A Week Or Two (I'll Give It Back To You)

Billy Sheehan - A Lit'l Bit'l Do It To Ya Ev'ry Time (with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top)

Purchase Holy Cow! from Amazon - CD or MP3

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6Apr/095

The 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies – Reflections from Cleveland

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Wow, what a weekend.

Guitar extravaganza closes out the Rock Hall inductions with, from left, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield.

photo by Joshua Gunter / The Plain Dealer

I seriously had every intention of merely "swiping" and linking to Brian's overview of the event. And then, Friday night happened. My planned post for today was going to be all about Friday night's events, accessorized with a couple of personal thoughts about the induction ceremonies, with a link to Brian's stuff. After seeing the induction ceremonies, I realized that I really needed to break it down and give Friday its own special area, and put my induction related thoughts here.

D.X. Ferris from Scene Magazine got in touch with me and asked the following questions to wrap up our two week long Metallica "debate":

So Metallica is now officially in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Before we shut up about the band and their monumental recognition:

What does Metallica's induction mean? To you? For metal?

My reply:

When Chris and I were talking after the ceremonies, he made a good observation that until he saw the induction, he wasn't aware of how much the honor really meant to the Metallica guys. I've always had a huge amount of respect for how they've handled themselves as a band, particularly the way they've stuck with their management company Q Prime in the good times, the not so good times, and during times when other high profile clients (ex. Def Leppard) were bailing during the past few years for different management. Hey Def Leppard guys, how did that work out for you? They took a credibility hit with the Napster era, but recovered from it well.

I saw everything that I needed to see during Friday night's party at the House of Blues. It was really incredible to see that Metallica remembered completely where they came from, as demonstrated by the 150+ friends, current, and former associates that they flew in for the weekend celebration. They're still music fans - witness James Hetfield locked in conversation with Joe Perry from Aerosmith. They remember their friends, including one "friend" in particular - former RIP Magazine editor Lonn Friend, who famously chronicled the birth of the Metallica album via a series of articles in the pages of RIP.

Lars Ulrich talked to many throughout the night with giant bear hugs for quite a few of them, but spent most of the night talking to a circle of 3-4 friends in particular, who floated in and out of the conversations all night long. It was that same group of friends that was still there with Ulrich at the end of the night, still swapping stories and laughs about the old days.

The Metallica members are just people at the end of the day, and it was visually evident how grateful they are to have accomplished what they have accomplished as a band and unit, and they have gratitude for remaining relevant as a band during the same year that they are being inducted to the Hall of Fame.

What does Metallica's induction mean for Metal? That's hard to say. Hetfield obviously reeled off a list of bands that aren't in the Hall yet, and should be - Rush, KISS, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, etc. I think that those are all bands that might/should find their place in the Rock Hall eventually. C'mon, you GOTTA put Maiden in there! I think it is potentially a harder road for a band like Slayer, but if Slayer can win Grammy Awards, I guess that really, anything is possible.

I found myself wondering if it was any coincidence that they sold tickets for the induction ceremonies for the first time, on the year that Metallica was being inducted. For anyone that was in the building, it was evident how many of those 5000 seats were occupied by Metallica fans. I'll end with a plea - Public Hall really looked nice after 500k's worth of renovations for the induction ceremonies. It would be a great thing to see concerts return to both Public Hall and Music Hall in the coming months and years. So many legendary artists and concerts have passed through those two halls, and it is criminal that these beautiful facilities are so underused.

When induction tickets were going on sale, Brian reached out to me and asked me if I could pick him up a ticket, since he knew I would be going out to purchase tickets. Thing is, I wasn't planning to go. It wasn't a good time financially to shell out 75 bucks for a ticket, and I had other concerts on my radar that were higher on my list. When Brian called me, I thought about it for a second, and I caved. I didn't want to be one of the music fan schmucks living in Cleveland, not in attendance, fielding phone calls and emails asking "So, you're going...right?"

On the Saturday morning that tickets went on sale to the public in limited quantities at the Rock Hall, the Cleveland weather was crummy, and cold. I knew that I would have to get there early to even have a shot at getting a pair, because I knew they would go quickly, and there was no chance that I was going to score tickets via the main public onsale planned for the following Monday at Ticketmaster. Thanks to the weather, I think that a lot of people decided to stay home, and even better, the Rock Hall let us wait inside prior to the onsale time at 10am.

Friday night, and the beginning of the induction weekend - all of those details are summarized here. I got home about 4am and went to bed about 5am after the adrenaline of the evening wore off. I now have no voice, but my voice has a way of coming back after a night of sleep. Not this time.

Saturday evening, I head to Great Lakes Brewery with no voice (still!) and Brian - we're meeting up with the mysterious Bear from Clevelandrockandroll.com, and I get to converse with Bear in what is sure to be a crowded Great Lakes atmosphere. I quickly explain bullet point details to Bear about my voice, and why it is how it is (importantly noting that this is not how I always sound!,) and we settle in for a nice evening of food and fellowship.

Heading over to Public Hall for the induction ceremonies, I run into Ferris, who high-fives me for my Friday night activities before heading off to the press room. We make our way eventually through crowded hallways to find our seats, which are better than I expected.

Now, the evening of events - here are a few of my highlights from the night:

Little Anthony & The Imperials - AMAZING. Anthony really defined every definition of what a "performer" is.

Cleveland native Bobby Womack. Wow. I was familiar with the name prior to that evening, and after that evening, I realized how much of Bobby Womack's music I was really familiar with, even though I didn't own it. Famously, "It's All Over Now" is a track that he wrote and gave away to the Stones. It's interesting to hear the differences between Womack's version, and the Rolling Stones version. Womack built the foundation, and in my opinion, the Stones made it memorable and tore the house down. After the ceremonies, I needed to acquire some Womack tunage pronto, and tracked down this nice double CD MP3 download for 13 bucks. Sold.

Run DMC: I grew up during a time when you heard Run DMC and Madonna on the radio right next to Autograph, Aerosmith, Glenn Frey, and the Rolling Stones. For me, it makes total sense for both Madonna and Run DMC to be in the Rock Hall. Eminem made a great notation during his induction speech, "for those of us that grew up listening to hip-hop, they were our Beatles." That's not the first time I've heard that statement, and I don't know that I would go that far personally, but I definitely do like me some Run DMC. Their greatest hits disc has been in my CD collection since the day of release, and being at the induction ceremonies, I realized that I need to add "Down With The King" to my Ipod.

I wish that they would have played (which is what everyone is saying,) and I'm a bit surprised that they didn't, since Rev. Run was out playing tunes from the catalog with Kid Rock last year. And DMC wanted to play. So if it was Rev. Run holding things back, where/when did things change in his mind?

Jeff Beck. Blew my mind at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival in 2007. Tal Wilkenfield, Beck's young prodigy female bass player, also blew my mind at that same show. I couldn't wait for Brian to see Jeff and Tal. Unfortunately, I don't think the camera work for the video screens in house, really allowed one to fully appreciate Tal's onstage energy. If you were there, grab your self a copy of the Crossroads 2007 DVD, and be amazed. Beck also has a new live DVD and CD, Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott's, that is a good educational piece.

By the way, credit and props to Beck for a very sly middle finger salute during his speech, dedicated to "those that haven't helped me over the years."

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Beck's speech from this weekend has been uploaded yet. Instead, I'll share with you his colorfully brief speech from 1993, when he was inducted as a member of the Yardbirds.

Billboard Magazine has an interview with Beck, and also additional reflections from Jimmy Page and Joe Perry.

Metallica - see my comments above for Scene Magazine. Performance was great - great to see Newsted back out there with the Metallica boys. The finale performance of "Train Kept A Rollin'" was amazing - Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Jimmy Page, Hammett, and Hetfield - SIX guitar players on stage, which led Hetfield to proclaim the night as a "rhythm guitar player's dream!" Also on stage, Jason Newsted, and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who gave a great induction speech (I was originally critical of him being the choice to induct the band, prior to the ceremony) and dropped what I think was the first F-Bomb of the night.

Great night and good fun - I'm really glad that Brian reached out about going, and I'll echo his wishes to go again when the ceremonies are back in Cleveland.

My friend Pat is a big advocate for buying all-local, and supporting local industry, artists, etc. This weekend was SUCH a win for Cleveland as a city. The NYC board of directors for The Rock Hall finally "bought local" and bought in to Cleveland, bringing financial benefit and plenty of much-needed good vibes to the city. And you know what, I think that everybody that came to our little city, had a lot of fun.

Cheers to that!

More stuff:

Bear from Clevelandrockandroll.com will growl out his Rock Hall induction thoughts at some point today in his Monday Rant.

Brian at Broken Headphones has his wrap-up here.

Plain Dealer pop music critic John Soeder has a ton of stuff here.

Cleveland Scene was there live-blogging the event.

Eric Olson from Blogcritics was live-blogging as well.

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19Mar/094

Some Links To Know About – The Jigsaw, Propaghandi, The Alarm, + Bruce Springsteen

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I've been ill over the past 24 hours after reading D.X. Ferris's rundown of the downward spiral of Phil Lara and the Jigsaw Entertainment Group. In the past couple of years, Lara has purchased or taken a controlling interest in 4 prominent Cleveland-area landmarks - The Jigsaw Saloon and Stage, Peabody's Down Under, The Hi-Fi Concert Club, and the world famous Cleveland Agora.

What sounds like a recipe for trouble has become a lot worse, and Ferris chronicles the downfall, with several big reveals, including this:

Since Lara's team took over, the Agora has bounced checks for big shows, including a December concert by Dragonforce and a sold-out, two-night stand by Akron's Black Keys, with tickets at $28.50 a pop. "I don't think we will ever play there again," says Keys drummer Patrick Carney.

and this:

Lara declines to guess how many checks his clubs have bounced. Laeng, the former Jigsaw GM, estimates the number around 500. He says he's never knowingly written a bad one. One of his last loyal soldiers says that's possible.

I'm not going to comment on this much, except to say that it makes me sick to have a lot of friends that have lost employment as a result of this mess, during the current economic times where finding employment is already challenging. Some of my worst fears regarding the business practices of the Jigsaw Entertainment Group have come true, with the potential loss of The Jigsaw Saloon and Stage, a Parma staple and landmark for over 30 years, and the amount of damage that has been done financially, and credibility-wise, to the Cleveland Agora.

I'm disappointed but not surprised to read the quote from Patrick Carney. I would have expected to read a quote like that from a national band, but not from a "hometown" group like The Black Keys. I can understand why they would be pissed about getting screwed on payment for two completely sold out shows, but in the context of this article, which is about an individual, Carney's statement is a heavy quote that has little to do with Phil Lara, and one that will go far beyond the Scene article and ultimately hurt the Agora's ability to get shows.

Read the complete article here.

And in other news.....

On a much lighter note......let's continue onward with some musical stuff!

In less than a year, my good pal Brian from Broken Headphones has turned out some pretty cool interviews with folks that you don't hear a lot about these days, including Stompbox (one of my personal faves,) Face to Face frontman Trevor Keith, and his most recent interview with Todd Kowalski of Propaghandi.

Propaghandi is one of those bands that make me think of high school, and my friends Casey and Steve, who were both fans of the band. Thanks to them, I knew plenty about them, and they also introduced me to bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, All, Season to Risk, and so many more.

That's probably one good reason why Brian and I are such good friends - he writes about a lot of music that I'm not personally familiar with, but thanks to Brian, I've learned a little bit more after I read his stuff. Broken Headphones also has a review of the new NOFX DVD Backstage Passport. Check that out right here.

Sound The Alarm!

Good ol' Swap over at TheFrontloader.Com takes a look at one of my favorite bands, The Alarm, and their Strength release. Life for me got a little bit better the first time that I heard The Alarm and "Sold Me Down The River" from the Change album. As compilations go, The Alarm Standards package is one that pops up fairly often in my musical listening travels. "Devolution Workin' Man Blues," "The Stand," "The Road," and of course, "Sixty-Eight Guns" - love 'em all! I'd love to see a show from Mike Peters and crew in my neck of the woods someday soon!

The Alarm - Sold Me Down The River

Swap also has some tunage for you from John Mayer, someone that I've become a big fan of in the past few years. Standing in Illinois at Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2007, I finally paid attention to John Mayer, and quickly became a convert.

Bruce and Bono = Paradise

Pete at Blogness had a bit of fun churning up the rumor mill with this post, and what I really enjoyed about it all was the tasty video rendition of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" that was at the end of the post. Taken from U2's 2005 Rock Hall induction, how did I miss this one? I must have been sleeping during all of the coverage pre/post, and during the ceremonies!

The Ultimate Drinking Mixtape!

I almost left this one out! Popdose made sure that St. Paddy's Day 2009 went down in style with a mixtape featuring "116 minutes of pure malt goodness" featuring tunes from Social D, The Hold Steady (Hey Jason, Hey Narm!) The Replacements, my man Willie Nelson, and many, many more. Even if you're drinking nothing stronger than Dr. Pepper (the officially endorsed drink of Addicted to Vinyl,) you'll enjoy the heck out of this one.

Drink up and be merry! Welcome to the China Club!

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17Mar/099

Dio and Black Sabbath return with new album!

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Yeah, yeah - I know that for legal purposes, it's called Heaven & Hell. But let's be realistic here, have any of us been calling Heaven & Hell by their proper name? Sure we have - Black Sabbath!

There I go again...

The cover art, recording, and track listing details have been released for The Devil You Know, the new album from Heaven & Hell, in stores via Rhino on April 28th.

The Devil You Know will be the first new album of studio material since the release of Dehumanizer in 1992. The band did record 3 new tracks for the 2007 compilation Black Sabbath: The Dio Years. Take a listen to the lead single from that compilation, "The Devil Cried."

Black Sabbath - The Devil Cried

No wonder the girls say I'm just not "Christian" enough for them. Oh well. In my book, a little Ronnie James Dio never hurt anyone!

I'll have to admit that I wasn't always hip to Dio-era Black Sabbath. Pretty amazing, since I've always been a big fan of Ronnie James Dio. Hadn't ever listened, and it took a musical nudge from my (at the time) girlfriend's brother Carl, who immediately insisted that I should borrow his copy of Black Sabbath's Heaven & Hell, as soon as he found out I hadn't heard it. That album led me to Live Evil, and The Mob Rules after that.

Check out this amazing animation featuring art from all of the Dio-era Black Sabbath album covers:

Years later, I found myself in attendance for a reunion tour of Dio-era Black Sabbath, under the banner of Heaven & Hell. It seemed too good to be true, a concert that I couldn't possibly be witnessing, but there I was, and there they were. The results of that tour were captured nicely with a live CD and DVD recorded live at Radio City. You don't have that one? I highly recommend that you acquire it - it will be good homework for the new album and live dates that are ahead this year.

Here's the press release for your reading pleasure!

Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know

Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know (pre-order from Amazon)

HEAVEN & HELL INTRODUCES THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

Highly Anticipated New Album from Dio, Iommi, Butler, and Appice,
Their First in 17 Years, Features Epic First Single “Bible Black”

Available from Rhino Records on April 28

LOS ANGELES — After finishing several heralded world tours as Heaven & Hell last summer, Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice were tighter than ever before, both musically and personally. Agreeing that it would be a shame to stop making music together at tour’s end, the quartet began writing, first in England at Iommi’s home studio and later in Los Angeles at Dio’s studio. “The band had gotten too good to just walk away,” Dio says. “We wanted to show people that we were still capable of giving them new music that measured up to what we’d done in the past.”

With that goal in mind, the band once again converged on Rockfield Studios in Wales last winter, the same place they used 17 years earlier to record their last album, Dehumanizer. The result is the long awaited new album THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, featuring 10 soon-to-be-classic tracks from the Dio-fronted version of Black Sabbath. The highly anticipated set arrives on April 28 from Rhino for a suggested list price of $18.98 (physical) and $9.99 (digital).

It took less than three weeks to finish the album, with most of the songs only needing a couple of takes. “It was good to play them live in the studio. It keeps you on edge,” Iommi says. “I mean, somewhere along the line we were gonna have to play them live; might as well start in the studio.” Butler adds: “We’ve learned from the past that you can kill a song doing it over and over. The first Sabbath albums were done in two or three days. Technically they weren’t great, but vibe-wise they were great. If you capture that feeling, that’s all you need.”

“Bible Black,” the epic first single, begins with Iommi on acoustic guitar behind Dio’s plaintive wail before the rhythm shifts to a menacing stomp for the rest of this dark tale about a book of sinister scriptures. One of the first songs written for the album, Dio says it established a tone for the rest of the album. “When you start off with a blockbuster like that, it makes the rest of the album so much easier because it gives you a benchmark to measure the other songs against.”

Iommi proves he hasn’t lost the ability to inspire six-string envy, unleashing riffs like a pack of rabid hellhounds on “Atom And Evil,” “Fear,” “Neverwhere,” and “Eating The Cannibals,” a tune about doing more than biting the hand that feeds. Butler and Appice slow the pace while ramping up the intensity on “Follow The Tears” and “Double The Pain” and “Breaking Into Heaven,” the latter diverging from its glacial procession for Dio’s majestic chorus about fallen angels planning an attack on paradise.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
Track Listing

1.“Atom And Evil”
2.“Fear”
3.“Bible Black”
4.“Double The Pain”
5.“Rock And Roll Angel”
6.“The Turn Of The Screw”
7.“Eating The Cannibals”
8.“Follow The Tears”
9.“Neverwhere”
10.“Breaking Into Heaven”

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