Ex-Queensrÿche Singer Shares Honest Opinion on Black Sabbath’s First Album With Dio, Recalls How He Reacted to Ozzy’s Firing

The whole Queensrÿche drama and legal battle felt pretty weird to all of the band’s fans. The band officially continued with Tod La Torre but the classic Geoff Tate material is still monumental in terms of its impact on metal music. After all, they’re the ones who inspired Dream Theater and the whole progressive metal movement.

Eyes Of A Stranger (Remastered 2003)

But among those who inspired Queensrÿche is Black Sabbath. In particular, it’s Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio that made a huge impact on them, especially the “Heaven and Hell” album.

As the band’s original singer Geoff Tate recalls in a recent interview with Classic Rock, the five original members of the band were mesmerized by the band’s change of direction. He said:

“I’m a huge fan of the three studio albums that Black Sabbath made with Ronnie James Dio on vocals. I suppose I like ‘Heaven and Hell’ the best of the three because it was the trilogy’s first. I still remember buying my original copy on vinyl.”

Black Sabbath - Die Young (Official Music Video)

“The five members of what became Queensrÿche sat around and listened to that album, talked about it and really digested it. It was a great springboard to push our own creativity.

“As a well-respected guy who’d been working with bands like Iron Maiden, Martin Birch did a great job with the production. He really helped to bring the songs to life.”

Reflecting on Black Sabbath’s decision to fire Ozzy Osbourne and continue on without him, Tate said:

“One thing that’s sometimes forgotten is that Black Sabbath were on a downward curve until ‘Heaven and Hell.’ After sacking Ozzy Osbourne they were written off by just about everybody. It was almost expected that they would fade out.”

Black Sabbath - Heaven And Hell (Live)

“But together with Ronnie they made an extraordinary album, and of course, the opposite thing happened. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it could have been longer. Eight songs aren’t enough. But that’s how records were made in those days.”

“For me, ‘Heaven And Hell‘ was where it all began. It had so much musicality. Sabbath took their songs into areas I’d never experienced before. Maybe the best compliment I could pay is that it was elegant yet very brutal.”

Photo: Klaus Hellmerich (Geoff Tate Klaus Hellmerich 001), Photobra|Adam Bielawski (Ronnie-James-Dio Heaven-N-Hell 2009-06-11 Chicago Photoby Adam-Bielawski), Ted Van Pelt (Ozzy Osbourne 1982)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.