Black Sabbath and Dio
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Dec. 13, 2013
DioFinding the Sacred Heart: Live in Philly 1986 (Eagle Vision)
Black SabbathLive ... Gathered in Their Masses (Republic)
Given Ozzy Osbourne's uneven performances fronting Black Sabbath on this year's album/tour cycle for 13, the inevitable live DVD arouses suspicion. Damned if the Melbourne-filmed Gathered in Their Masses doesn't find the old devil staying on key and mustering some of his ancient powers, however. This Sabbath is all about Tony Iommi anyway, and the cancer fighter finesses those doom riffs with incomparable skill and dignity, expertly meshing with loyal bass partner and lyricist Geezer Butler and drummer Tommy Clufetos. The set list boasts relevant performances of smashes ("Paranoid," "War Pigs," "Iron Man"), favorites ("Into the Void," "Behind the Wall of Sleep," "Children of the Grave"), and even new keepers ("End of the Beginning," "Loner," "Methademic"). Meanwhile, Ozzy's late successor Ronnie James Dio demonstrates why the Sabs tapped him for Heaven & Hell, Mob Rules, and more in Finding the Sacred Heart, his self-titled band pounding 1986 teenagers in one of its strongholds. Dio howls ferocious, melodic, and his conviction, whether belting out "Don't Talk to Strangers" or wielding a plastic lightsaber during "Sacred Heart," scans absolute. The hits-packed set list includes not just Dio staples "Holy Diver," "Last in Line," and "Stand Up and Shout," but Rainbow's "Man on the Silver Mountain" and "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll," plus Sabbath classics "Children of the Sea" and "Heaven and Hell." The Blu-ray includes a pair of interviews, backstage tomfoolery, and the video for "Rock 'n' Roll Children," while a separate, 2-CD combo soundtracks the heavy metal séance.