Black Sabbath
The Eternal Idol


3.0
good

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
June 9th, 2010 | 41 replies | 13,216 views


Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's hardly a real comeback, it's not very original, the lyrics are cheesy. Sabbath is still suffering from 80's-disease. But then, there's Tony Iommi finding the best possible cure: good old-fashioned heavy riffing.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Since Mob Rules, heavy metal veterans Black Sabbath had been hitting a few major bumps in the road, being the abomination called Born Again featuring Deep Purple's Ian Gillan on vocals, and the poor should-have-been-Iommi-solo-album Seventh Star featuring an entirely different 'Sabbath' line-up besides the guitarist himself. In 1986, it would have been perfectly safe to say that Black Sabbath was over, nothing more than a shade of what they once were.

Still, Black Sabbath did not come to a stop. Luckily the silly 'Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi'-name was dropped entirely, and some new hustle and bustle regarding the formation was going on. Though keyboardist Geoff Nichols (who was a guest on Sabbath's earlier work and stayed on board for a long time during the post-Ozzy records) and drummer Eric Singer continued their contributions to a new album, bassist Dave Spitz was replaced by Bob Daisley (Rainbow). Glenn Hughes was replaced by ex-Badlands vocalist Ray Gillen, who left just before completion of Sabbath's next album, The Eternal Idol. Finally, the choice of a new vocalist became ex-Alliance singer Tony Martin, joining to redo Gillen's vocal parts. In the end, Martin became Sabbath's longest-standing vocalist after Ozzy Osbourne, appearing on 5 of the group's albums.

This thirteenth studio album hasn't got anything on most of the group's first ten records, and isn't innovative in any sense (something which can be hardly expected of a band at this point in their career), but at least it's a definite improvement from the past two albums. First off, Martin does a better job at vocals than his predecessors. While he hasn't got the most distinctive or unique voice (something both Osbourne and Dio shared), it is powerful and determinded enough to carry a sound, and equally importantly: it fits Sabbath far more than Gillan's bluesy style or Hughes' overdramatic performance. The strength of The Eternal Idol is that it sounds like an actual Black Sabbath album again, even though the lyrics are very, very typical of 80's metal (in other words: cheesy). Nicholls shouldn't go by unmentioned either, as he does a great job on keyboards.

Iommi is back, too. As can be heard almost straight from the start with The Shining, these are some of his best riffs since Mob Rules, and we're glad to hear them. From the slower, sludgy work in Ancient Warrior to the in-your-face punches of Hard Life to Live and the dowright heavy ones on Lost Forever, he once again delivers. Truth be told, the guitar doesn't sound as distinctively Iommi as it did before, but the closer title track offers a most pleasant surprise, offering Paranoid-era doom that we have so missed. YES, Iommi still knows his stuff. Once again, he proves that he is the Robert Fripp of King Crimson, the Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, the Steve Harris of Iron Maiden: the one piece that holds everything together and continues to define the sound of the group.

While it can hardly be called a comeback, The Eternal Idol is a pleasant, if not particularly unique heavy metal record. Everything about it is still distinctly 80's, but Tony Iommi reminds us why he and he alone is Black Sabbath, tilting this to a very acceptable level. It still doesn't change anything for the average Black Sabbath fan, of course. The Ozzy- and Dio-led eras are still untouchable, and only those verging on diehard fan status will really want to have this. Just drop the belief that Sabbath didn't do anything worthwile without Ozzy or Dio.

The Eternal Idol's Black Sabbath was:

- Frank Anthony 'Tony' Iommi ~ Lead Guitar
- Anthony Martin Harford ~ Vocals
- Robert John Daisley ~ Bass Guitar
- Geoff Nichols ~ Keyboards
- Eric Doyle Mesinger ~ Drums


Recommended tracks:

The Shining
Born to Lose
Lost Forever
The Eternal Idol


TO BE CONTINUED…



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user ratings (288)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
June 9th 2010



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is surprisingly good, nearly a 3.5.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
June 9th 2010



8327 Comments


nice one again Nag, pos

Nagrarok
June 9th 2010



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks as always Magnus.

LepreCon
June 9th 2010



3884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yay, a new Nagrarok Black Sabbath review, insta pos
Now to read it.

EDIT: Read it, deserved the pos

Digging: Overkill - White Devil Armory

Nagrarok
June 9th 2010



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well now Conor, please give me a pos only when I deserve it...

EDIT: oh wait, ok thanks. I'll have Headless Cross up tomorrow and hopefully Tyr the day after.

LepreCon
June 9th 2010



3884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ lol yeah I know that's what I should do but you have yet to post a review not worthy of a pos so I gave you the benefit of the doubt.

Cool, Headless Cross I listened to again yesterday and it was okay but Tyr is dreadful IMO, looking forward to those reviews

Nagrarok
June 9th 2010



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I found Headless Cross rather terrible, Tyr I have yet to give a listen.

LepreCon
June 9th 2010



3884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can see why but you know the way I am, I find something good in many bad (by other people's estimations) albums

Nagrarok
June 9th 2010



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, I know all too well. It's certainly not as bad as Born Again, but it gets pretty close. I hear Forbidden should be another bad one.

LepreCon
June 9th 2010



3884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Forbidden is rotten to the core bad, has about one, maybe two good riffs, that's about it =/

Ponton
Emeritus
June 9th 2010



5790 Comments


nice nag, I'm not familar with the new review name

Also btw, im still working on court of the crimson king. I know its taking a while but im always swamped with stuff

Nagrarok
June 9th 2010



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Forbidden is rotten to the core bad, has about one, maybe two good riffs, that's about it =/


Hehe, I look forward to bashing it into the ground.

I'm not familar with the new review name


I finally decided to put my real name up instead of all the joke ones. It looks more professional, after all.

Also btw, im still working on court of the crimson king. I know its taking a while but im always swamped with stuff


I can imagine, glad it's still on your list. I'll be hearing about it later then.

LepreCon
June 9th 2010



3884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If you'll ever do a 0.5 review, Forbidden may probably be it =/

Jethro42
June 9th 2010



12391 Comments


Never heard their more recent works. I jumped out the Sabbath wagon long before.
You get my vote, buddy.

Parallels
June 9th 2010



6641 Comments


Sonicspeeds random fact #5371: bev bevan from electric light orchestra helped with percussion on this album.

Nagrarok
June 9th 2010



8184 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wow that is... amazing. It makes my life much fuller knowing it.

No but really, his influence isn't exactly noticable.

Parallels
June 9th 2010



6641 Comments


yeah not even at all. i know. lol
but he almost left elo to join black sabbath

BigHans
June 9th 2010



26455 Comments


Good job as always Nag.

EVedder27
June 9th 2010



6088 Comments


Great work Nag. I'll have to get through some more of the Sabbath discog, although not right now as my to get list is ridiculous.

CleanUpBeforeSheComes
December 15th 2011



6 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Good review. Not a great album to be released under the Black Sabbath name.



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