Coming midway through their ongoing super deluxe edition catalogue reissue series, these new deluxe editions first appeared in the US in 2021, and are now finally getting a European release. Although much less grand in their presentation than the preceding expansive box sets - the most recent of which being 'Technical Ecstasy' which arrived in October 2021 - it's none the less great to see these finally released this side of the Atlantic.
With a fresh remaster for 2021, it's a joy to hear these albums once more and revisit just why they're more than worthy of their legendary status.
While many wrote off the band following Osbourne's departure in late 1979, Black Sabbath regrouped with Ronnie James Dio at the helm, and turned in their best album since their golden 1969 - 1972 period. Put simply; 'Heaven and Hell' is a metal masterpiece.
More progressive than anything they had done since 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' in 1973, unsung hero Geoff Nicholas' keys added colour to Tony Iommi's fierce riffs, particularly on the the biblical title track, and the driving 'Die Young'.
Thanks to Martin Birch's production meanwhile, the band had rarely sounded better, and lead single 'Neon Nights' and the semi-acoustic 'Children of the Sea' - the first song penned by Iommi and Dio - ebb and flow, with Geezer Buttler's unmistakable rumble driving through both.
Although 'Mob Rules' which arrived just a year later, saw Bill Ward depart and Vinnie Appice take up residence behind the kit, the band barely missed a beat, with opener 'Turn Up the Night', and in particular, the towering title track and the epic 'Sign of the Southern Cross' proving that the magic with Dio was no one-off.
Presented as double CD, and for the first time, double LP sets, there's a whole disc of extras on both sets, in both live and studio material, the highlight of which being the original 'Heavy Metal' soundtrack recording of 'The Mob Rules'. And although almost of this bonus material has been released before, it's great to finally have it on vinyl.
It's a shame however, that these weren't treated to the same opulent upgrade as the aforementioned super deluxe editions. None the less, 'Heaven and Hell' and 'Mob Rules' are essential albums that every self-respecting metal head should own.
'Heaven and Hell' and 'Mob Rules' deluxe editions are available now. To order, click here.