Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “The Devil Cried” — Black Sabbath (2007)

One fine day in Hell
The master told a story
Someone lied so well
He sent him back to Glory…

You know what, I could do an entire Halloween playlist featuring nothing but Ronnie James Dio songs, and it would obliterate the cosmos with its iron-forged metal majesty. Even sinners must dream.

Alas Babylon… well even though we value infinite diversity in our Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs, we can’t let a year go by without some RJD representation. And while The Devil Cried is fully representative of Dio’s time with Black Sabbath — and the crushing riffage is pure Tony Iommi, by any textbook example — the lyrics and subject matter are totally Ronnie.

(As an aside, the Dio-fronted Black Sabbath would eventually be rechristened as “Heaven & Hell”, after the song and album of the same name. Which made a ton of sense, but back in 1980 Sabbath was still one hell of a powerful metal brand. Probably THE most potent in existence, at the time. If Van Hagar ever reformed, they should really go by “5150”, but that’s a clown for another rodeo…)

The Devil Cried delves deep into the only bit of hope that holds any value for the damned in Hell — the chance to leave eternal torment and be admitted to Heaven. The only way to do it, see, is to find a way, ANY way, to tell a tale that could bring tears to Satan’s eyes. Easier said than done, I’m sure. Every soul has one and only once chance; there are “whispers between the screams” that this game is real, and that someone had actually succeeded in this quest before.

The resolution of this one shot at redemption isn’t all that surprising, but it’s not so much the story as the telling, and nobody tells it better than Sabbath, Dio, and Iommi. And let’s be real, once you begin a song with “One fine day in Hell”, you’re kind of hooked.

At last my time has come
I must not give him pleasure
I can be the one
One chance or burn forever…

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