Sound — 9
Man, I really wish I was old enough to know who Black Sabbath was or appreciate them when this album came out. Unfortunately, I was just a mere one year old. However, I can only imagine the excitement and anticipation behind this record's release. A return to the Dio era could bring joy to almost any Sabbath fan, and that's the way I approached listening to this record for the first time: stoked. The certain element that Dio always brought Sabbath drew me into the music. He was so formulative and so- evil. Nevertheless, 1992's "Dehumanizer" definitely lived up to the aforementioned expectations. The first thing that's immediately brought to the listeners attention is the return of Tony Iommi's seemingly powerful, yet groovy guitar riffing. It was more or less lacking after Dio left the band in 1981, but the chemistry is far more prevalent here than it was during the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath. It all comes together as it did before. The tone is raw, with some wide mood and tempo swings. "After All The Dead" is slow number, the opening notes of which just drip evil, setting up a heavy groove. "TV Crimes" is played at an upbeat tempo favored by Ronnie in his solo work. The song rocks, and has a killer Iommi solo. "I" is a powerful heavy duty number featuring major wah wah usage. "Master Of Insanity" has an "electric" edge, and a pounding groove that suits Dio's storytelling vocal style. Geezer Butler's bass is not particularly prominent in the mix. And Vinny Appice's drumming is serviceable rather than flashy. So Ronnie Dio and Tony Iommi really do dominate the sound. What can be said is that this particular short-lived reunion produced one of the heaviest and best Sabbath recordings ever, and I am much appreciative.
Lyrics — 9
Growing up with progressive rock, I have always been a huge fan of the concept album. One thing that Dio always outshined Ozzy with was creating great conceptual lyrics and Dehumanizer is a testament to that. The lyrics written on this album are deeply fascinating, as this record warns all of us of the evils of modern technology. "TV Crimes" was a good one to read along to. The lyrics are obviously a stab at corrupt televangelists who enslave the minds of their viewers and embezzle money. Subjects also covered include: a brilliant attack on organized religion, narcissism, and the deterioration of happiness in modern society. The theme of the album basically infers that technology as we know it is contributing to the obsoletion of humans, thus "dehumanizing" them. Dio had everything right here.
Overall Impression — 9
I am so glad this album exists. It was definitely a breath of fresh air following the albums from 1983, onward. If you're a fan of Black Sabbath (particularly during the Dio era), this album is a must-have for you. It is a tragedy that this is the last work he'll ever do with Sabbath, so that's probably why I am so attached to it. This album also put Sabbath ahead of their metal counterparts Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. In the 90s, their works significantly softened. It is important to understand that Dehumanizer proves that Sabbath still represents metal, and Ronnie James Dio took the metal all the way to his grave.