Bringer of Evil: Definitive Edition, Heaven and Hell World Tour 1980 (no label)
Disc 1 (Sydney, Australia, November 27, 1980): Supertzar; War Pigs; Neon Knights; N.I.B.; Children of the Sea; Sweet Leaf; Drum Solo; Sweet Leaf (reprise); Black Sabbath; Heaven and Hell; Iron Man
Disc 2 (tracks 1-3, Sydney, Australia, November 27, 1980): Guitar Solo; Die Young; Paranoid; (tracks 4-9, US Tour, August, 1980, venue unknown, “taken from the original TDK AD46 master cassette which belonged to Cozy Powell. “Sabbath (Ronnie) Live” handwritten on the tape label by Cozy himself.”): Supertzar; War Pigs; Neon Knights; Children of the Sea; Black Sabbath; Die Young
Disc 3 (Live at Civic Center, Hartford, CT, August 10, 1980)(Best of the Biscuit): DJ Intro; War Pigs; Neon Knights; Children of the Sea; Heaven and Hell; Die Young; (Super Groups in Concert): Supertzar; War Pigs; Neon Knights; Children of the Sea; Heaven and Hell; Die Young
For some Black Sabbath fans, the band that created and performed Mob Rules was a pinnacle in the group’s history. With lead vocals and major songwriting duties masterfully performed by Ronnie James Dio, memories of a sloppy Ozzy in the late 70’s faded fast. Also breaking from Sabbath’s past was the drummer used for Mob Rules, Vinny Appice, who joined the group in late August, 1980. An incredibly powerful, cement-mixer type of drummer, Appice brought a youthful energy and creativity into the group’s sound that was missing in the seemingly tired and unimaginative efforts of the once great Bill Ward on Heaven and Hell, Dio’s first Sabbath album. Appice’s on stage set-up was also gorgeous and gigantic, with a huge gong bass drum elevated to his rear, enhancing what he brought to Sabbath’s table.
In assessing Dio’s career, Appice’s influence on Dio’s sound, and success, cannot be overlooked. He was pretty much the only drummer who played with Dio after he left Rainbow, in his solo years after Sabbath, return to Sabbath, and in Heaven and Hell at the end of his time with us here on earth. Their chemistry was apparent from the beginning of Appice’s work with Sabbath, and no label’s Bringer of Evil: Definitive Edition, Heaven and Hell World Tour 1980 provides fans with the opportunity to compare how Sabbath’s sound instantly transformed when Bill Ward left and, Appice joined.
Because of this reviewer’s preference for Sabbath’s 1980 sound with Appice, this review focuses largely on the stereo soundboard recording of Sabbath in Sydney, Australia, on November 27, 1980, contained on disc 1 and half of disc 2 in this title. Fans who also like Sabbath’s music from the Heaven and Hell 1980 tour with Ward should enjoy this title because it contains three (3) separate soundboard recordings of August, 1980 shows with Ward. Tow of those recordings are taken from radio broadcasts, and the other taken from what the insert describes as a master cassette of Cozy Powell’s from an unknown venue (which suggests that Powell also may have been considered to replace Ward).
It is significant that no label put the recordings with Appice first in this set. Just listening to the respective performances by Appice and Ward on “War Pigs”, which occurred a mere 3 months apart, showed a group with increased enthusiasm with Appice. Iommi’s riffs were more accented, and his guitar sounded thicker and darker. Dio used a bit more “gravel” and punctuation in his vocals, and Geezer Butler was absolutely smoking in the rhythm patterns he laid down during guitar soloing. The stereo separation is also fantastic during this track, which adds to the enjoyment of listening to this clear recording. But it’s Appice who drove the song to different heights, with original ideas and devastating fills that were new to this classic Sabbath tune.
Then they tore into “Neon Knights”, which both Ward and Appice counted in with four swishes of their hi-hat cymbals, but that’s pretty much the end of their similarities in how it was played. Appice’s simple, double-stroke beat with the snare fit so perfectly into the song’s tempo, and yet differed from Ward’s beat. Dio’s performance of this song also changed when played with Appice, becoming more aggressive and exciting. “NIB”, another Sabbath classic, also benefited immensely from the new line-up, with Dio once again putting his individual stamp on the song’s vocals.
Harpsichord in segments of “Children of the Sea” can be heard in this recording, offering another plus to the listener. The awesome interplay between Dio and Appice on the song, after the guitar solo, further evidenced their immediate artistic chemistry. “Sweet Leaf” followed, which marked a change in the set-list from the earlier shows with Ward. Dio called it “the illegal song”, which he said was “about don’t smoke dope.” In other performances of the song during this tour, Dio improvised lyrics leading into the main verses, which he did not do in this show.
An entertaining 3+ minute drum solo occurred about midway through, after Appice laid down a very cool, quick beat that differed from the studio recording. “Heaven and Hell” fades in, and fades out, supposedly from the same show, and was again performed with the same strength and creativity present throughout the show. “Iron Man”, which was next, may be one of the heaviest versions I’ve ever heard of this song. Appice employed perfect patterns with his china cymbals, Dio’s vocals (with echo) conveyed the emotions of the song’s frustrated, vengeful main character, and Iommi and Butler went after each other during the guitar solo. Like “Heaven and Hell”, this song also fades out. The last 3 tracks of this recording, a guitar solo, “Die Young”, and “Paranoid” finish off the recording in a more complete fashion than the other 3 soundboard recordings of partial shows from earlier in the tour.
Packaged in a fatboy jewel case with fitting, tasteful artwork, and the 3 discs in black with white lettering, this is a title that should appeal to Black Sabbath collectors who enjoy the Heaven and Hell – Mob Rules era.