Alright. This may be seen as sacrilege to a lot of people, but I’ll say it anyways. Mob Rules is my favorite Sabbath album.
Yes, Paranoid is great. I love Paranoid too, but Mob Rules is even better. And to be honest, my favorite two albums with Ozzy weren’t Sabbath albums, but the two solo albums he did with Randy Rhoads.
For Dio era Sabbath, most people like Heaven and Hell the best. I love that album too, don’t get me wrong. Mob Rules though is pretty close to a perfect album.
Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules
For those of you not alive yet in 1981, let me fill you in. Metal started making a huge comeback. Disco and Punk were on the decline. Ozzy and Sabbath were feuding back and forth and it looked like Ozzy was getting the last laugh. Let’s not forget that Ozzy was fired from Sabbath a few years prior, and Blizzard of Ozz was kicking ass on the charts and on tour. (Both these albums are on my top 10 Metal albums of the 80s list).
Dio reinvigorated Sabbath, which was a dying band in the late 70s. Dio brought new life and new direction to the band. Metalheads loved his strong voice and sword and sorcery lyrics.
Musically, Mob Rules was quite memorable because it was filled with great songs. The Sign of the Southern Cross, Voodoo, Falling off the Edge of the World, The Mob Rules, these are all excellent songs. In a battle of bands, songwriting wins.
The entire album had no weak point. It starts off with a solid Heavy Metal riff from Iommi and never relinquishes. Speaking of Heavy Metal, two songs were even featured in the cult classic Heavy Metal.
The two Dio albums saved the band because in reality, late 70s Sabbath was on the decline. Despite Dio leaving after this album, Sabbath gathered a new generation of fans.
Martin Birch, who also produced Deep Purple and Iron Maiden, produced this one. The album never charted, but did eventually go Gold in the States in 1986.
I’ve talked to quite a few Metalheads who loved Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules, but most of them preferred Heaven and Hell. I happen to prefer this one, and even prefer this one over Paranoid, the album that kicked off Heavy Metal. I’ll of course always cite Paranoid for historical purposes as the most important Metal album. But my favorite Sabbath album? Mob Rules.