Review Summary: A new installment of Black Sabbath delivers an excellent album that boldly stands on its own against other classics of previous Black Sabbath eras.
In Norse mythology Tyr
was the god of war and patron god of justice until Odin came along. He was also regarded as being the boldest of the gods which is something he and Black Sabbath’s fifteenth studio release have in common. Tyr
was released in the United Kingdom and United States in late August of 1990. This album is filled with many hits and few misses as well as more references to Norse mythology, Latin lyrics, and yet another new band lineup.
Who the Heaven & Hell is still in Black Sabbath?
Well fortunately for us lead guitarist and sole surviving Black Sabbath member Tony Iommi has remained with the band from day one. Also returning on Tyr
from the Headless Cross
album are Cozy Powell on drums, vocalist Tony Martin and Geoff Nicholls on keyboards. Laurence Cottle however did not return to play on Tyr
and was replaced with former Whitesnake bassist Neil Murray.
starts off on a rather poor note in Anno Mundi
. It is one of the longer tracks on the album at 6 minutes and 13 seconds and is extremely boring. At the time I bet it seemed like a good idea, but I found the chanting of "Spiritus Sanctus Anno Anno Mundi"
to be very cheesy and not in a good way. Throughout the song it seemed like things were slowly building up to a big climax, but that moment never came and the track just dragged until the end. I also noticed that the guitar intro for this song sounded extremely reminiscent of the intro to Children of the Sea
off the Heaven & Hell
album only stripped of all its beauty. Don’t stop listening yet though because this album is about to get a much needed kick start from The Law Maker
. Immediately we are bombarded with thundering drums from Cozy Powell and one hell of a vicious riff from Tony Iommi. This fast paced song is sure to wake you up if you happened to fall asleep during Anno Mundi
. Finally in this song we get the first orgasmic Tony Iommi guitar solo and it was worth the wait.
Next is one of the best tracks on the album, Jerusalem
. Tony Martin really shows off his range here especially when singing the chorus line “Jerusalem.”
With consistent drumming, nice guitar and vocal work all around, and a dark yet somehow hopeful atmosphere created by Geoff Nicholls on his keyboards make this by far the catchiest song on Tyr
. The Sabbath Stones
starts off with brooding lyrics and a vision of doom created by the rest of the band. You can tell right away this is building up to be something good and the Black Sabbath does not disappoint. This in my opinion is the best song on the album lyrically.
“Fire and water, wind and rain
wings that carry hell in every vein
World possessions, endless tears
truth and knowledge stolen all their years”
Now usually I’m a fan of “filler”, but to me the instrumental track “The Battle of Tyr”
was just a pointless waste of time. At 1 minute and 9 seconds it did not really add to the album and takes away from the overall flow and momentum of Tyr
. I think this might have possibly worked a little better if it was the first track or just not be on the album at all. Next Geoff Nicholls creates a much mellower atmosphere on Odin’s Court
than on the previous ones while Tony Iommi lightly plucks away at his guitar in this beautifully composed song.
The last three tracks include more top notch material from this installment of Black Sabbath. Valhalla
is another in your face track right from the beginning and is a good way to pick up the pace again after Odin’s Court
has finished. Feels Good To Me
is the single off Tyr
and is the closest thing to a power ballad you will find on this release. You can also find a music video for it if you look hard enough. Now we finally come to Heaven in Black
. This was the perfect song to end the album and could have easily been released as the first single to help promote the album as it is very catchy and fun song to rock out to.
Overall this is a very enjoyable album to listen to. Cozy Powell, Tony Iommi, Tony Martin and Geoff Nicholls really did an outstanding job taking the next step up from Headless Cross
. One complaint though is that Neil Murray seemed to be drowned out on the majority of the songs. At times when some of the songs start to get heavier he seems almost nonexistent. I would recommend this album to any Black Sabbath fan, but I have a feeling Die hard Ozzy Osbourne or Dio fans might not enjoy this.
*Fun Fact* When translated to English Anno Mundi means “Year of the World.”
While “Spiritus Sanctus”
means Holy Spirit.