Black Sabbath reunited with Ronnie James Dio in 1990 and, after a string of mishaps and internal struggles, managed to release Dehumanizer in 1992. This is of course one year after grunge broke (lookin' at you, Nevermind) onto the mainstream and metal wasn't exactly the most popular genre. In an interview with MetalSucks, then-Black Sabbath drummer Vinnie Appice said the time couldn't have been worse.
Appice points out that while Black Sabbath was trying to reclaim their '80s glory, the world had moved on and the reception wasn't exactly the best.
"I think it was a lot of things," he said. "There are all these stories about infighting and issues with Ronnie and not getting along with the Sabbath guys. And yeah, there was some of that going on, and in some ways, I think it was part of the dynamic—sort of the yin and yang. But what screwed Dehumanizer was that it was released right in the middle of when grunge was rising to the forefront.
"And here we are in Black Sabbath, trying to reclaim the sound of the early '80s, and even though we made this monster of a record, we came off looking like dinosaurs."
Appice later continued, saying Black Sabbath was playing a small-but-dedicated fanbase at the time. Ultimately a spat between Dio and the band over Ozzy's retirement party caused a split, and ushering in Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford to front Black Sabbath for two shows.
"So, we released the record in the grunge era, and things were already getting weird in the band. And the result of all that was we had to play smaller places once we got out on tour. But the thing is, we got out there, and at first, it was going well. Everything was fine, and the crowds were small, but the people who did turn out really liked the album.
"It was a situation where we felt like if we could see it through, eventually, it would turn around because the quality of the music would win. But things started to go bad again, and we ended up breaking up like the first time.
"I think what broke us up was Tony and Geezer wanted to play Ozzy's retirement show out in L.A., and Ronnie didn't want them to do it. Ronnie was deadest on not having anything to do with it, and he didn't want any of us to do it either. But Tony and Geezer disagreed, and Ronnie ended up having a blowout with those guys, and he walked out on the whole thing. But we had a tour to finish and wanted to do these last shows, so we got Rob Halford to sing with us."