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Black Sabbath - 'The Eternal Idol' (Deluxe) http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/59/36/66/975_blacksabbatheternalidol_1297197247.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 08, 2011    
 
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Perhaps you'll find it's much better than you remembered!

With Ray Gillen on board for vocals, Tony Iommi completed the Seventh Star tour and began work on a new album to be issued once again under the Black Sabbath moniker. He chose to bring back Eric Singer for drum parts and hired bass player/songwriter Bob Daisley to assist with the songwriting (despite the original versions of this album making no mention of this). Once again, Sabbath's ability to lose singers like Spinal Tap lose drummers reared it's head and Gillen quit the band. In came another relative unknown, Tony Martin. And guess what? Despite all this, once again, 'The Eternal Idol' is excellent!

The songs on this record are terrific - those who found 'Seventh Star' too much of a departure from what Sabbath were about (well, it WAS a solo album after all) found there was some comfort to be found on 'The Eternal Idol'. While not exactly back to the glory days of Ozzy or Dio, it was a big step back in the right direction. Opening track 'The Shining' remains one of my favourite Sabbath songs, with a terrific riff and superb vocal from Martin. 'Ancient Warrior' keeps the bar high before the turbo charged rocker 'Hard Life To Love' blazes out of the speakers. 'Born To Lose', 'Nightmare', 'Lost Forever', it's packed to the rafters with searing riffs and soaring vocals from Martin.

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Martin was brought in to put his vocals down in place of the departed Gillen and he does a tremendous job. He sounds full of confidence and stamps his mark all over the album - no mean feat when you consider the calibre of his predecessors. As fate would have it, he would be integral to the rebuilding of the Sabbath name, serving as vocalist for almost a decade, the bands second longest lasting singer since Ozzy himself. I'd seen lots of comparisons between Martin and the great Dio, which I never really got. In actual fact, when I heard Ray Gillen, I thought he sounded like Tony Martin. This deluxe edition affords a fan the opportunity to hear the Gillen demos and basically Martin duplicates the performances note for note. While interesting to hear, the similarities between the two singers means you don't really question where things would have gone with Gillen, because Martin made the role his own anyway - and was probably the more skilled lyricist of the two. Many Sabbath fans think 'Headless Cross' is a better Martin fronted album, but for me 'The Eternal Idol' is my pick all day long. A superb example of great hard rock songwriting, topped by a fabulous vocal performance. It's great to see it reissued because I think this Sabbath album often gets completely overlooked - and it's way too good for that. Now it's been reissued, check it out if you aren't already a fan of it like I am. Perhaps you'll find it's much better than you remembered!

James Gaden

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