Sound — 10
In my opinion, the sound on this album by far surpasses any previous Sabbath album. It's the first album that came after Ozzy left, and Ronnie James Dio stepped in. This album is cleaner & heavier than all of the early works and the vocals sound better than ever (on account that Ronnie James Dio can sing at least ten times better than Ozzy ever could). Tony Iommi did some great guitar work on it too: just as classic-sounding as ever. I first heard this album a few years back when my dad played it on vinyl and I was totally blown away by the tunes. I'm not critical of music just because of who's in the band or what the band is. If it's good, it's good-nuff said. And this album's great. If you love music for the sake of listening to music or play guitar, this is an excellent album to get into.
Lyrics — 9
This is the single greatest album in terms of vocal performances and lyric-writing as far as Sabbath goes. Ronnie James Dio has an extremely powerful voice, and always delivers on any album or show (even today as he's nearing the age of 70)! The lyrics on this album are great too. They're very symbolic in the sense that they're meant to sound evil or dark, but really aren't carrying any such message. They're actually just reflections of how life doesn't always work out how you like it or, there how there are a lot of people who'll stand in your way and take you down if you don't stand up and believe in yourself (very much like the title track). However, Sabbath isn't much without some dark material like "Children Of The Sea", which is a highlight of the album.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a very classic album in my opinion, which makes it such a shame that it's not very well known. It's definitely better than the earlier Sabbath albums, and really has a classic metal sound. My favourite tunes are "Children Of The Sea", "Heaven & Hell", "Neon Knights" and "Lonely Is The Word". But in general, they're all great. One thing that I really love about this album is the overall mature and fresh sound that makes all of the previous albums that Sabbath released look like crap by comparison. "Heaven & Hell" is proof that the chemistry of the band members really doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the music. One problem I have though, is the fact that this line up was short-lived, only 4 Black Sabbath albums were made with Dio. One's live, and another's not worth anyone's time. Losing this album is not an issue for me, and one reason for that is it's rarity. So if you do find a copy (you'll probably have to order it), be sure to take good care of it!