3) “Computer God”https://youtu.be/sYPRttFTHQw
Among Dio-era Sabbath fans, this song is not slept-on. “Computer God” is the opening salvo from Dehumanizer, the 1992 comeback album that saw Iommi break with the Tony Martin-fronted version of the band following the Tyr album in order to effectively reassemble the Mob Rules lineup. This is one of my favorite Dio-led Sabbath numbers. The music is sweeping and grandiose, Dio’s lyrical concept is as strong as ever, and it’s one of the most infectious songs on the album. It’s included here because it was often omitted from the live show (most likely due to its length), and it hasn’t been included on any best-of compilations with which I’m familiar. If you’re just discovering Black Sabbath with Dio, I’d almost recommend starting with Dehumanizer. It’s so raw and forceful that it makes Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules feel more refined in comparison. So, so awesome.
4) “The Next Time”
This’ll easily be the hardest track on this list to run down. Before the band entered production for Dehumanizer, they spent some time putting together new ideas. Some made the official album cut, while, as usual, others didn’t. I don’t know the exact reason “The Next Time” wasn’t chosen for refinement and inclusion on Dehumanizer. Its swaggering intro and bouncy verses are just as memorable as the record’s weaker tracks, to say the least, and with more fine-tuning, I’m certain it would’ve made a fulfilling addition to the album’s final sequence. You can hear all the stuff from The Dehumanizer Rehearsals on YouTube. Or, if you’re in the mood to drop some coin, copies of the three-disc, unofficial Japanese edition run for around $80 or more when you can find one on eBay or Discogs. Happy hunting.
5) “N.I.B. [LIVE W/ DIO]”
In spite of a number of unofficial and semi-official live recordings that took place during Ozzy’s initial spot on the Black Sabbath throne, the band’s first officially-sanctioned live release didn’t surface until Dio came into the picture. Live Evil documents the band touring The Mob Rules, and it’s an excellent representation of what made Dio such a formidable frontman. I chose “N.I.B.” because it’s so memorable as an Ozzy song, and hearing Dio’s rendition is a treat… the dude really puts his stamp on it. I saw the group perform as Heaven and Hell in 2007 while they supported The Dio Years, but by then, Dio’s Sabbath output had become so legendary that they were essentially a different band than the one that delivered Black Sabbath’s eponymous first album back in the day. Hearing him put his twist on Ozzy-era songs is solid entertainment, even if only for the differences in stress and inflection he puts on certain words and phrases.