Picks and Pans Review: Mob Rule

updated 01/11/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/11/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

Black Sabbath
DIARY OF A MADMAN
Ozzy Osbourne

Since their emergence from the industrial city of Birmingham, England in 1969, Black Sabbath have devoted themselves to the gruesome. Their heavy-metal toil and trouble have produced seven gold albums, and they remain one of rock's blue-chip concert attractions, despite internal squabbles. Osbourne was exorcised from the band three years ago and replaced by elfish Ronnie Dio. Last year veteran drummer Bill Ward tossed in his sticks, ceding his spot to Vinnie Appice. Founding members Tony lommi (guitar) and Geezer Butler (bass) remain on Mob Rules, the group's 11th LP. It is typically necromantic, with spooky studio effects, thunderbolt guitar chords and lyrics that would chill even Stephen King. Meanwhile, with his new band, Ozzy is surpassing the popularity he enjoyed as a Sab. On Diary of a Madman, his second solo LP, he has a wonderfully scary timbre in his voice; when he sings about "a sickened mind and spirit," you have to believe him. As a songwriter, Ozzy can claim a better sense of melody than his old Sabbath colleagues, though hummable ditties are hardly the point with these characters. If things that go bump in the night are your thing, either one of these collections is a reasonable bet to rattle your chain.

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