HEAVEN AND HELL — the band featuring BLACK SABBATH members Ronnie James Dio (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Vinny Appice (drums) — has finished laying down the basic tracks for its new CD for an early 2009 release via Rhino Records. "It has been a pleasurable experience writing and recording with Ronnie, Tony and Vinny," Butler writes on his web site. "We hope to have the album finished, mixed and ready to go in the next couple of months."
The group's first LP since SABBATH's "Dehumanizer" (1992) is being recorded at Rockfield studios in Wales, England (where "Dehumanizer" was also tracked). According to Butler, he is going to be filming some sort of "making-of" documentary, although it is unclear if that footage will appear on the disc, or as a DVD extra.
Two years ago, Dio, Iommi, Butler and Appice reunited to record a trio of new songs for Rhino's "Black Sabbath: The Dio Years" before launching a highly anticipated and greatly acclaimed world tour under their new moniker HEAVEN AND HELL. Revitalized by the reunion, the lineup is back in the studio now recording the first-ever full-length studio album from HEAVEN AND HELL. To whet the fans' appetites for the new album, HEAVEN AND HELL returned to the road this past summer for a short stint on the Metal Masters Tour, a month-long North American trek with JUDAS PRIEST, MOTÖRHEAD, and TESTAMENT.
Regarding the band's decision to continue to operate as HEAVEN AND HELL rather than BLACK SABBATH, Iommi told Billboard.com earlier this year, "It really is BLACK SABBATH, whatever we do. We just choose to go out as HEAVEN AND HELL so everyone knows what they're getting [and] so people won't expect to hear 'Iron Man' and all those songs. We've done them for so many years, it's nice to do just all the stuff with did with Ronnie again."
HEAVEN AND HELL will hit the road in early 2009 in support of the new album. So far the following shows have been announced:
June 3-6 - Sölvesborg, Sweden - Sweden Rock
June 13 - Burgum, The Netherlands - Waldrock
June 19-21 - Clisson, France - Hellfest
BLACK SABBATH's "The Rules Of Hell" box set — which features all three of SABBATH's Dio-era studio releases ("Heaven And Hell", "Mob Rules", "Dehumanizer") and its double live collection ("Live Evil"), each remastered for the first time — sold around 2,650 copies in the United States in its first week of release back in July 2008, according to Nielsen SoundScan."The Rules Of Hell" comes packaged in a deluxe slipcase with extensive liner notes featuring all new interviews with the band.