Review Summary: Sabbath make an unexpected second good album with Tony Martin, although it would also be their last acceptable record.
Ever since the late 80's, it was dead clear that Black Sabbath were missing more than they hit. Records such as Headless Cross
, both recorded with their second-longest-lasting vocalist Tony Martin, were close to being abominations, and the band had strayed far from their amazing compositions in the 70's with Ozzy Osbourne and early 80's with the late Ronnie James Dio. The Eternal Idol
, the first album Sabbath did with Martin, however, proved to be quite enjoyable, and 1994's Cross Purposes
is really the only Martin-led album that can stand on a similar level.
That said, Cross Purposes
is still pretty hit-and-miss. The return of Geezer Butler with the group's preceding album Dehumanizer
certainly helps, as the man is one of the most easily distinguishable and influential heavy metal bassists of all time. He provides highlights such as Imacculate Deception
with the basis that Sabbath so gravely missed, and similarly to their previous album, Sabbath sound positively heavy again. They sound like Black Sabbath again.
Though Butler's return was more than welcome, and seasoned Sabbath fan knows the group lives or dies by Tony Iommi's abilities on the guitar. The man has lost the originality factor of the early 70's, but he still handles things they should be handled on this album. Truth be told, some of the riffs are nothing noteworthy, but it's an huge relief to hear how badass I Witness
But you'll be asking yourselves: does this make Cross Purposes
a worthy get? No, not really. The Sabbath fans on the more hardcore side of the fence will like this quite a bit, and it's also the last decent album Iommi and company managed to put out, but any critical music lover will come back to the same conclusion again and again: Sabbath burnt out right after Mob Rules
, and that was it. You'll find some material of enjoyable quality in the Martin-era, but you certainly will never be amazed.
Cross Purposes' Black Sabbath was:
- Frank Anthony ‘Tony’ Iommi ~ Lead Guitar
- Terrence Michael Joseph ‘Geezer’ Butler ~ Bass Guitar
- Anthony Martin Harford ~ Vocals
- Robert 'Bobby' Rondinelli ~ Drums
- Geoff Nicholls ~ Keyboards
TO BE CONTINUED...