We’ve reached ‘Live Evil’ in the super deluxe reissues from Black Sabbath and whilst the box sets have been of the highest standards the last few Dio year’s releases have been something else. from the quality of the packaging and what in the sets for Sabbath fans it’s been the ultimate treat as far as reissues and remastered packages go they’ve truly gone the extra mile for the fans. So ‘Live Evil’ might get its critics for featuring the remastered vinyl and the original but I guess it would be live evil overload to include an extra live show as part of this set anyway seeing as the original was culled from various live recordings as part of the tour.

In this box, you have a hard case with superb artwork from the original as well as the heavyweight records but the cream of this package is the lavish 40-page hardback book depicting the Dio era of Sabbath which had its critics but it also took the band in a different direction of creativity and threw up the two mightily impressive studio albums that provide the majority of the material on this live album. As you’d expect BMG has done a pretty amazing job on the remaster as they have done on all the Sabbath box sets thus far and the inclusion of the book to muse through whilst revelling in the remaster is a beautiful thing.

Stop moaning about having a pristine 180gm version of the original and marvel at yet another top-tier Sabbath box to add to your collection. Adding Dio to the ranks of Sabbath was always contentious due to the shadow cast by Ozzy but Dio committed 100% to the task at hand and with one of the most amazing vocals in metal he delivered on all fronts holding his own in such an iconic role. The myths and stories about the recording of this record have never gone away but the one thing I can say is his vocals stand tall and are incredible after all these years and Wyn Davies has done a brilliant job on the remastering ‘Neon Nights’, ‘Mob Rules’, ‘Heaven And Hell’ easily stand up to the interpretations of Sabbath classics such as ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Paranoid’ and the monster version of ‘The Sign Of The Southern Cross’ is still a magical highlight from any of the band’s output.

With this being the band’s first live album it stands as a true testament to the awesomeness of Ronnie James Dio’s vocals and live presence. A masterpiece in live albums for many many people and on the evidence of this box set BMG and Camp Sabbath have done yet another truly awesome job. Add live Evil to your collection as a matter of urgency. Sabbath mark ii was truly a giant and rightly so. What next? ‘Born Again’ please and give some kudos to the Gillan mark iii era of Sabbath. Buy it!

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Author: Dom Daley