“Black Sabbath? Again?” That’s what I imagine my seven readers are saying. And yes, Black Sabbath again.
As I explained before I’ve never been much of a Sabbath fan (Sabbath is how their fans refer to them, right) aside from the first Ozzy album and the three Dio albums, which I think are their best albums by far. Recently I enjoyed the hell out of that Ian Gillan album Born Again from my last Sabbath review, and now thanks to my buddy Ben, I’m setting my sights on the Headless Cross.
This is the second album from the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath. Tony would go on to serve as the singer for the remainder of Sabbath’s career before that last album with Ozzy, 13, and had the second longest streak with the band aside from Ozzy. He’s also serving up the bass on this album, with Iommi on guitars, naturally, and Cozy Powell on drums. Not quite the Sabbath line up that gets the kids hearts all a flutter.
This album is pretty fucking good. Separate all that crap about it not being Ozzy or Dio. From my perspective, this is a solid, traditional metal album. Iommi’s riffs are fucking on point, the songs are of course riff and solo heavy, with a slight darker vibe (the side of Sabbath I wished they played up more) with some doom elements and Martin’s voice is fucking excellent. It could be because I’ve been jamming a lot of Dio Sabbath recently but he does have that lower register Dio snarl but he’s also go that soaring, epic type voice when called for. I’d say he’s somewhere in between Dio and Gillan but fits the music perfectly.
The album itself is very Sabbath like and expected though. There’s the far reaching, soaring, riff heavy crushers, the slower, ballad like songs and the mid paced, heavier treks. I wouldn’t expect much difference there.
I’m starting to think there’s more to the later era Sabbath phase than people give it credit for. This is the second non Ozzy or Dio album I’ve heard that is fucking killer. I can’t speak to the rest of the Martin era but for me, right now, this one is awesome.