There’s a place just south of Witches’ Valley
Where they say the wind won’t blow
And they only speak in whispers of her name
There’s a lady they say who feeds the darkness
It eats right from her hand
With a crying shout she’ll search you out
And freeze you where you stand…
Holy freakin’ moley, I almost made it to the middle of October before introducing a Black Sabbath track to this year’s Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs, and that may be a record. But what do I know? I’m just a caveman…
To be fair, this is from the Ronnie James Dio era of Sabbath (which later incarnated into Heaven & Hell for branding purposes), an era of which I’m awfully fond. The first two Dio-era albums Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are held up with equal regard as the first six Ozzy albums, and rightfully so: they’re freakin’ fantastic. Even the 90s reunion album Dehumanizer and 2009’s The Devil You Know hold up as great records in their own right.
But never mind all that, we’re here to talk about Lady Evil, the third track on 1980’s Heaven and Hell, a song that couldn’t be more Ronnie James Dio, even if sported bat wings, screamed “Look out!”, and battled dragons in 4/4 time.
This song has it all: the titular subject, a freakishly seductive witch (I mean, she literally lives just south of “Witches’ Valley”), feared by the locals, an enchantress who will twist your perceptions and ensnare you with her wily machinations, like Becky Sharp weaving and knitting like a spider casting her web.
Look we paid a lot of money for that Literature degree, I’m going to drop a Becky Sharp reference. My blog, my rules.
Anyway, Lady Evil is a prime slice of 1980s heavy metal, all crunch and riffage and melody from Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi, with the inimitable RJD so perfectly in his storytelling element. The song cooks, so crank it up. Your Lady awaits…
So if you ever get to Witches’ Valley
Don’t dream or close your eyes
And never trust your shadow in the dark
‘Cause there’s a lady I know who takes your vision
And it turns all around
The things you see are what to be, lost and never found…