Thirteen Equals One
Mr. Richard D. Coreno | Berea, Ohio USA | 05/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some major drama concerning personnel did not deter the band from cranking out one of its best studio albums ever.
Tony Martin replaced Ray Gillen on lead vocals, with the lineup - no matter what the credits - being Tony Iommi (g), Bob Daisley (b), Eric Singer (d) and Geoff Nichols (k). The Shining is one of the best songs ever recorded by the band and the interplay between Martin and Iommi throughout the album is incredible. Hard Life to Love, Born to Lose and Glory Ride battle The Shining for top laurels. Nichols takes center stage on the title track and Ancient Warrior.
The album peaked at #168 on the Billboard 200 chart. The band disregarded a powerful storm of turmoil and delivered a thirteenth studio album that is in the mix to being number one in the impressive, vast discography."
A Monumentally Underrated Sabbath Monolith
Oliverio Casas | Montevideo, Uruguay | 06/03/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As much as Sharon Osbourne has made her life quest to convince the world that post-Ozzy Sabbath was completely worthless and irrelevant, we real metalheads know better than to listen to that disgusting old hag's rants.
So, after putting out two absolute classics with Dio (Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules) and a great, but somewhat flawed album with Gillan (Born Again), the band's Butler-Iommi composing team disintegrated, leaving Black Sabbath as little more than a Tony Iommi solo showcase in 1986's Seventh Star. After this ill-fated album, the once mighty Sabbath's fate up to 1992's Dehumanizer would be a struggle between commercial obscurity and artistic irrelevancy, despite crafting a masterpiece with The Eternal Idol and two decent follow ups.
Of the five ill-fated Tony Martin albums, this is undoubtedly the best. After the softer, hard rock oriented Seventh Star, the band feels rejuvenated and hell bent on recapturing their long lost heavy metal thunder.
Despite a hodgepodge of backing musicians and personel problems during the album's production, Tony Iommi's monumentally heavy riffing, coupled with Tony Martin's Dio-esque vocals on tracks like Hard Life to Love, Glory Ride, and Born to Lose manage to keep the music focused, hard and heavy. Geoff Nicholls, Sabbath's perpetually invisible fifth member, does an excellent job throghout with his eery, atmospheric keyboards, especially on The Eternal Idol and Ancient Warrior. That said, the absolute masterpiece on this album is The Shining, a monumental Sabbath stomper that deserves a place in the band's greatest songs pantheon.
Make no mistake. Tony Iommi is, was and will always be Black Sabbath's dark soul regardless on who's handling the vocals, and despite this being the band's most underrated opus, it still stands as an all-time heavy metal masterpiece and a monument to the left-handed riffmaster's musical vision."