Black Sabbath’s first official live album, Live Evil, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a new Super Deluxe Edition that introduces newly remixed and remastered versions of the acclaimed double album.
LIVE EVIL (40th ANNIVERSARY SUPER DELUXE EDITION) will be released on 2nd June as a 4-CD set, a 4-LP set and digitally. The collections feature two versions of the legendary album: a newly remastered version by Andy Pearce along with a new mix created from the original analog multi-tracks by longtime band associate Wyn Davis. The physical versions also come with illustrated hardback books that include new liner notes and replicas of the concert book and poster from the Mob Rules tour. The newly remastered version of “The Mob Rules” is available digitally, today. Listen now.
A new era of Black Sabbath began in 1979 when singer Ronnie James Dio joined the band, along with founding members Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward, to launch a new incarnation of the iconic heavy metal band.
The newly minted quartet debuted in 1980 with Heaven and Hell, a platinum-certified smash that won over fans of the original lineup. Halfway through the album’s tour, Ward left and was replaced by Vinny Appice. When the tour ended in 1981, the group decamped to Los Angeles and quickly recorded Sabbath’s 10th studio album, Mob Rules. Released in November 1981, the album would be certified gold. While touring for the album, the band announced plans to record several shows for what would become its first official concert album.
In the extensive liner notes that accompany LIVE EVIL (40th ANNIVERSARY SUPER DELUXE EDITION), Hugh Gilmour writes: “The ten-month Mob Rules tour was certainly a very successful one, resurrecting their reputation not only as a band that could fill major venues, but one that could sell plenty of vinyl and cassettes too. Black Sabbath Mk 2 had given their record label two best-selling LPs and were about to present a third.”
When Live Evil arrived in 1983, the double album was a commercial and critical triumph, reaching #13 in the U.K. and #37 on the Billboard Top 200. Reviews were overwhelmingly positive, including one from influential heavy metal magazine Kerrang! that hailed it as “one of the greatest live albums of all time.”
The recordings capture the ferocious chemistry and dark magic that defined this incarnation of Black Sabbath with thrilling live versions of recent tracks like “Neon Knights,” “The Sign Of The Southern Cross,” “Voodoo,” and “Children Of The Sea.” The album also honored the band’s original lineup with Dio-led versions of Sabbath classics like “Paranoid,” “War Pigs,” “Iron Man,” and “N.I.B.”
Alas, the lineup split before the album was released. Iommi and Butler continued as Black Sabbath, while Dio and Appice left to record Dio’s solo debut, Holy Diver. Still, it wasn’t the final chapter for the band.
The story continued over a decade later when Dio and Appice rejoined Iommi and Butler to record 1992’s Dehumanizer. They went their separate ways yet again, only to reconvene in 2006 – under the moniker Heaven and Hell – to record three new songs. After a hugely successful world tour, the quartet released what would be its final studio album, 2009’s The Devil You Know, which entered Billboard’s Top 200 chart at #8. Shortly after the album’s debut, Dio was diagnosed with cancer, a disease that led to his passing in 2010.