Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer
Warner Music
Sabbath Metal
11 songs (55:33)
Release year: 1992
Black Sabbath, Warner Music
Reviewed by Thomas
Archive review

Dehumanizer is by some fans and critics labeled as a black sheep, a failure due to its commercial success amongst other things, and opinions seems vary widely in general about this album. Prior to its release, Ronnie James Dio and former bassist Geezer Butler rejoined Black Sabbath after Butler managed to convince Iommi that both parts would take profit from it. Today however, Iommi has expressed a lack of understanding for why they did just that, and has stated that it was not of financial reasons even though they got dropped by major labels and received very mixed reviews for their work with Tony Martin prior to the mentioned reunion. Dehumanizer was, despite the mixed reviews, Black Sabbath’s most commercially successful release in ten years, which is arguably a result of Dio and Butler’s return to the fathers of heavy metal. This was a difficult album to come through with however, but everybody stated in the end that it was well worth it. There were piles of problems during writing and recording sessions; sparks flew between the two main songwriters, and the fact that this album cost the band one million dollars says a lot. Songs were re-written; accidents forced the band to make line-up changes and so on. In the end, it resulted in Dio leaving the band because the others accepted to support Ozzy on a retirement show. In other words, sacrificed blood, sweat and tears for this album, and proved that hard work pays off.

What we have here is one of the most underrated albums in Black Sabbath’s Dio-dominated history, if not in their entire discography. This may be the album that cost the band the most effort to put out, and while it’s not considerably close to being top 4-5, it’s still one of those albums that puts a smile on your face when you haven’t listened to it in a while, and prove to contain some of, in my humble opinion, Dio’s finest moments vocally. With his trademark nasty sounding snarly vocals, he nearly carries this all by himself only backed by Tony Iommi’s timeless riffing and bursting leads. Soaring like an eagle above the mountains looking for prey, he does nothing but strike at the right places, at the right times, creating perfect moments, like on the personal favorite I and the rock solid opener Computer God. He approached a snarlier tone on his own solo-album Lock up the Wolves, and on Dehumanizer, it shows in full bloom. It’s the first thing you’ll notice, the first thing you’ll think of when speaking of Dehumanizer and the last thing you’ll forget about it.

All the praise Dio is given for his performance here is deserved. However, let us not forget Tony Iommi and his brilliant work that has been just as stellar even though the band has seen their best days. The song he has written for this album is a blend of classic Sabbath mixed with their pioneering doom metal-era. If you’re not particularly into albums such as Vol. 4, songs like After All (The Dead) and Letters From Earth might not be barking up your musical tree with their apocalyptic atmosphere and crushing riffs. However, you heavy metal enthusiasts out there shall not fear, as catchy killer songs like radio hit TV Crimes, Time Machine, the ballad Too Late and the mentioned I completely dominates this album, and makes every spin worthwhile. Every tune here sticks out in one way or another, whether it’s beams of classic Sabbath-y doom, traditional speedy heavy metal assaults, outright evil vocals, or thrilling rhythm work. Even though it’s not classic Sabbath by any means, those of you haven’t learned to appreciate this yet needs to give this further chances as Dehumanizer is way above the average-stamp clueless critics has labeled it with.

If you have read nothing but worthless reviews of this brilliant record, causing you to leave it out of your Sabbath-collection, to avoid it because of the obvious reason that it’s simply filler, made you believe that it’s nothing you’d listen to repeatedly with your attention enthralled by the music put on display, then you my good Sir are wrong. You will be stunned with the actual quality song-writing and the dedication the guys put forth here. Despite their struggle, their lack of inspiration and the tension between the two main men, they managed to create an outstanding album that didn’t and still doesn’t sound forced in any way, shape or form. While Black Sabbath at their absolute best may have faded with Mob Rules, this is Black Sabbath at their absolute next best. Go get.

Killing Songs :
Computer God, TV Crimes, Master of Insanity, Time Machine, Sins of the Father, Too Late, I
Thomas quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Black Sabbath that we have reviewed:
Black Sabbath - 13 reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Black Sabbath - Classic Albums - Paranoid (DVD) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Black Sabbath - Headless Cross reviewed by Adam and quoted 81 / 100
Black Sabbath - Forbidden reviewed by Khelek and quoted 65 / 100
Black Sabbath - Mob Rules reviewed by Khelek and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 22 reviews click here
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