Heaven & Hell -- aka Black Sabbath Mk. 2, with Ronnie James Dio out front -- has started work on a new album, the group's first since "Dehumanizer" in 1992.

Heaven & Hell -- aka Black Sabbath Mk. 2, with Ronnie James Dio out front -- has started work on a new album, the group's first since "Dehumanizer" in 1992.

In the wake of a new box set of Black Sabbath's Dio years, "The Rules of Hell," guitarist Tony Iommi tells Billboard.com that he, Dio and bassist Geezer Butler have already convened in Los Angeles to begin writing material for the project.

"We've got about six or seven new songs," Iommi reports, "and then we stopped to do this (The Metal Masters) tour. When we finish that, we'll take a couple of weeks off, then carry on writing."

The guitarist adds that he's "really pleased" with what the group has come up with so far, describing the material as "really good, pretty powerful." Heaven & Hell, which also includes drummer Vinnie Appice, has signed a deal with Rhino and hopes to have the album out "as soon as we can," according to Iommi, most likely in 2009.

"The Rules of Hell" features the three Dio-era studio albums -- 1980's "Heaven and Hell," 1981's "The Mob Rules" and "Dehumanizer" -- as well as 1983's "Live Evil" concert album. (Appice plays on the latter three.) There's no rare or previously unreleased material, which Iommi says was a conscious decision.

"There's bits that I've got somewhere at home," he explains, "but we go onward and upward. I've got tapes and stuff of many years ago of jams and things we've done in the studio, but it's not (suitable) for release. Instead of going backwards in time, we're going forward and coming up with new stuff."

And even though the boxed set would seem to give the group license to work again as Black Sabbath, it will continue to operate as Heaven & Hell.

"It does get confusing that way," Iommi acknowledges. "It really is Black Sabbath, whatever we do. We just choose to go out as Heaven & 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."