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The Rules of Hell ()

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A sequel to the 2004 set Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978, Rules of Hell rounds up all the Black Sabbath albums with Ronnie James Dio, beginning with 1980's Heaven and Hell and its 1981 follow-up Mob Rules, spending two discs on the 1982 live album Live Evil, then skipping forward a decade for Dehumanizer, Sabbath's reunion with Dio. Some may complain that this skips over a large chunk of Sabbath's latter-day history but 1983-1990 was a time when singers passed through the lineup like grains of sand, and the results were equally transient, leaving these Dio-fronted albums as the last great albums Black Sabbath recorded. Well, at least that's true of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules; opinion is divided on Live Evil and Dehumanizer but taken altogether, these records form a legacy. Although it is not expanded upon with bonus tracks, that legacy is treated well on Rules of Hell as the four albums are remastered, the set is given good liner notes for each album and it's housed in a slipcase. It's a handsome package but not as deluxe and luxe as Black Box, which truly felt like an indulgence. Instead, it feels like a group of individual reissues gathered together in a simple slipcase -- a nice, affordable away to get all these well-done reissues at once, but some fans may want to wait and see if Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are eventually released on their own. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi Hide synopsis

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