Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Initial Impressions: Black Sabbath: Dehumanizer

Black Sabbath has had such a long career with so many different moving parts that it is easy to forget about some of the albums they have released. I was aware of Dehumanizer, but for some reason I just never really bothered to check it out, even though I wanted to very much at one point. I decided recently to change that when I found it, and several other holes from my collection, for cheap at Hastings Bookstore.

As you may or may not be aware, Dehumanizer was released in 1992 and featured a reunion of the second major Black Sabbath lineup for the first time since the early 1980's. Ronnie James Dio was back on vocals with Vinny Appice on drums, and of course, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler on guitar and bass respectfully. This is the same lineup that would later record under the name Heaven and Hell. It is an album that is often forgotten because it came in between two albums fronted by Tony Martin. It is an oddity and seems out of place. The lineup broke up soon afterward, not releasing another album until the aforementioned Heaven and Hell release.

Musically, this is one of the most impressive Black Sabbath albums of the band's later career. Tony Iommi has always had a gift for riffs and he pulls out some truly great ones on this release, such as on "I" and "TV Crimes". The riffing style has returned to the sound of the band's previous tenure under Dio. It's doomy and heavy, sounding much more like the original Sabbath sound than the more power metal inflections of their previous release with Tony Martin.

Dio sounds great on this album. He is more focused and straightforward on this release as compared to his solo records. His vocals are not as geared towards epic heavy metal this time around, just good, old-fashioned doomy traditional metal.

This album is a welcome return to the Black Sabbath sound of the second lineup. It's a return to the bludgeoning doom that the band created. It's unfortunate that it's often overlooked. It is one of the heaviest albums Black Sabbath created.


  1. Actually, this is not one of my favorite Sabbath albums. Of course, Technical Ecstasy, Never Say Die!, Born Again, and The Eternal Idol are worse, but I prefer any of the Tony Martin albums (excepting TEI) over Dehumanizer. "Wings of Valhalla" does it for me way more than "Letters from Earth" or "Time Machine".

  2. I don't mind the Tony Martin era, but I still definitely prefer the Dio era. I love Cross Purposes, Headless Cross, and Tyr but the other two Martin albums really are not that good. My problem with the Martin albums though, is they just do not sound enough like Black Sabbath.

  3. Oh yeah, I forgot about Forbidden. You're right, it's not that great. But anyway, I guess all I'm saying is that I prefer those three albums to Dehumanizer.