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stainedclass2112
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:56 pm 
 

A little bit ago, I found myself digging into Black Sabbath's post-Dio work (barring Dehumanizer, which has always been a favorite of mine, I listen to it enough already, haha) and really enjoying some of of the albums featuring Tony Martin on vocals. Specifically, The Eternal Idol ended up being the soundtrack to my college commutes for a solid two weeks straight. I've tried out Headless Cross and Tyr a bit since, but need to let them sink in some more. I also haven't even tried Forbidden or Cross Purposes, and I've heard that the latter is actually pretty cool. One thing for sure though, I'm fascinated by the atmosphere and songwriting on this stuff so far, and it's sitting with me really quite well. What would be some of y'all's opinions of this work in particular? Favorite tracks and why? I thought it would be interesting to see some thoughts and opinions regarding these albums, as I have only heard bits and pieces from a few people. How do these albums hold up compared to Black Sabbath's other albums? Would anyone consider the Tony Martin stuff to be the best? Why? Perhaps Tony or someone else can hook us up with a poll on which one of these is the best, too.
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mike40k
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:06 pm 
 

Tyr has become one of my favourite Sabbath albums since I discovered it a year or two ago. Been meaning to delve more into the other Martin era albums. Now, if only they'd reissue them on vinyl!
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DoomMetalAlchemist
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:20 pm 
 

The Tony Martin era has some good stuff, Cross Purposes definitely being my favorite non-Ozzy/non-Dio Sabbath album. Headless Cross took forever for me to get into, and I don't think Forbidden is nearly as bad as people say it is (I don't think its great or anything though). Definitely not my favorite era of Sabbath, but still worth exploring if you're not one of those "no Ozzy, no Sabbath" kind of people.
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droneriot
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:31 pm 
 

Really boring music. I can't even elaborate much on it, the riffs are cool, the vocals are cool, the songs are cool and everything, but it fails to really keep my attention and I quickly end up doing something other than listening. Maybe it's just because it's solid stuff from a band I expect to be spectacular.
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mjollnir
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:44 pm 
 

Absolutely my favorite era of Sabbath with Cross Purposes being my favorite Sabbath album. I think the songs are better and Tony Martin has such a great voice. I grew up on classic Sabbath and Rio era Sabbath and I love those eras but there is something about the Tony Martin era that just grabs me.
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MrMcThrasher II
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:51 pm 
 

Tony Martin era Sabbath plays like boring Dio era Sabbath.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:03 pm 
 

It isn't as good or groundbreaking as the Ozzy years or as tight as the Dio years, but Tony Martin Sabbath still rules... not being as good as pioneering works in the genre doesn't mark against it if it's as good as Headless Cross and Tyr are. Love Martin's voice and the uniquely thick, pulpy atmosphere of horror and fantasy pervading those albums. I like that Iommi wasn't afraid to modernize a bit but also didn't lose the songwriting quality. The production is very vintage sounding, but I kinda like it - the guitars and everything sound like they're covered in a thick fog of sorts, very mystical.
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kalervon
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:37 pm 
 

For some reason it's got some magic to it. One could think it's nostalgia, but, back at the beginning of the 90s I was a huge fan of Tyr and Headless Cross, yet they both sounded relatively dated already, and only by a few years.

I think Eternal Idol and Cross Purposes are not as epic, and Forbidden I didn't even listen to back in the day, only some 10 years after it came out. In retrospect, I think Cross Purposes sounds a bit too sterile and flat. Eternal Idol is over produced -- but so many songs are irresistible on it.

Headless Cross and Tyr are more raw, perhaps more clumsy, and not as polished, and it makes them better albums, in my opinion.

I'll still listen to them over and over; as well as Seventh Star.

To me, Sabbath with Ozzy is a completely different band than Sabbath with Dio, and both "bands" are completely different than Sabbath with Gillan. But Sabbath with Hughes and Martin (and possibly Gillen); to me they are one band.
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Subrick
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:44 pm 
 

Headless Cross is one of my absolute favorite albums of all time, and my favorite Sabbath album as well. Pretty much everything else from the Martin era ranges from great to fucking incredible, although I've still not given Forbidden a full listen after all these years. I'd put those albums on that same level with the Ozzy and Dio albums in terms of songwriting, listener immersion, and talent on display.
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Warty_basaloid
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:12 pm 
 

I like Headless Cross, the others need refreshing. I remember trying to get into Tyr, just cause of the title, but couldn't at the time.

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TheExodusAttack
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:24 pm 
 

I only have Eternal Idol and Headless Cross, but both of them are really good. Martin was a great choice to further explore the power metal sound they spearheaded with Dio. "Glory Ride" has one of Tony's best riffs of the 80s for sure. I probably prefer Eternal Idol a bit more than Headless Cross, even though it varies a bit more from power metal to hard rock than HC does.

People are speaking highly of Cross Purposes, will have to check that out next.
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gabber
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:03 pm 
 

Headless Cross is a fantastically, delightfully underrated gem which is up there with some of the best albums in metal from that era.
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Napalm_Satan
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:13 pm 
 

I only have Cross Purposes. It rules. Everything about it is just great, it's one of their stronger albums for sure.
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KrigareTjovane
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:15 pm 
 

Strangely, Tyr was one of my first Sabbath albums (I distinctly remember having that one and Paranoid first) so I've always considered the Martin era to be just as important, if not more so than albums with his predecessors on vocals. That album had such an impact on me growing up and it still sounds as good today as it did when I was a kid. Later I discovered Headless Cross and The Eternal Idol and although they didn't have the same "impact" on me, I love them as well. I feel Tony Martin is truly the only Sabbath singer who can compare to Dio, talent-wise.

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squidrick9042
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:43 pm 
 

I only have an actual copy of Tyr but I have definitely listened to most of the Tony Martin era Sabbath and for the most part I really enjoy it. I would definitely say it has its own feel and sometimes borders on a power metal sound but not in a bad way whatsoever (I'm very picky about power metal and I'm not that big on it overall). I try not to compare anything post-Ozzy to the early stuff with Ozzy as it is almost two completely different bands and for example comparing Children of the Grave to Anno Mundi just doesn't quite seem right in my mind as they are almost a world apart while still both being top notch in their own ways.

All in all I don't feel that Tony Martin era Sabbath gets the recognition it deserves and is often swept under the rug when discussing Black Sabbath. When it does come up it is always as if it takes a back seat to Ozzy and Dio stuff which I guess I understand since Tony Martin isn't exactly a household name like Ozzy and Dio are and he doesn't carry the same legacy as his predecessors; both of whom had very popular solo projects to back their claims to fame.
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TrooperEd
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:07 pm 
 

Everyone from Martin Popoff to Ultraboris raved on how great Eternal Idol was and it did absolutely nothing for me. Too 80s metal for me. And Sabbath doing that just felt so wrong.

Headless Cross on the other hand has three amazing songs: Kill In The Spirit World, When Death Calls, and the title track.
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Morn Of Solace
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:36 am 
 

Empyreal wrote:
It isn't as good or groundbreaking as the Ozzy years or as tight as the Dio years, but Tony Martin Sabbath still rules... not being as good as pioneering works in the genre doesn't mark against it if it's as good as Headless Cross and Tyr are. Love Martin's voice and the uniquely thick, pulpy atmosphere of horror and fantasy pervading those albums. I like that Iommi wasn't afraid to modernize a bit but also didn't lose the songwriting quality. The production is very vintage sounding, but I kinda like it - the guitars and everything sound like they're covered in a thick fog of sorts, very mystical.


Well said, it's exactly what i think!
The foggy guitar production for me is both a strenght and a flaw: it contributes to the mystical atmosphere but sometimes blurs too much the good riffs beneath.

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Lord_Jotun
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:53 am 
 

Headless Cross and Tyr I'm very, very fond of. Martin's performance is superb. Really need to give Cross Purposes another listen one of these days.
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OpsiusCato
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:11 pm 
 

Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath is an absolute favourite of mine. Every single album from that era is strong and solid as a god-damned rock. Highly underrated era that deserves way, way, way more recognition. Headless Cross is my favourite of the lot.

Tony Martin is a fucking God. Best Black Sabbath era.
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Cosmic_Equilibrium
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:27 pm 
 

With the exception of Cross Purposes [because it has Geezer on it - basically as long as Iommi and Butler are involved, it counts as Sabbath for me], all the Martin era records are Iommi solo albums in all but name. Tony was persuaded to keep using the Sabbath name for the Seventh Star album with Hughes, which was a mistake because he then just kept on using it - he should have just put stuff out as solo projects until some form of Sabbath could have been put back together at a later date. Most of the Martin records don't really sound like Sabbath.

I do wonder if Iommi was depressed and demotivated during this period - he just seems to be playing and writing on autopilot for much of it.

The Martin albums aren't bad per se, but on a song writing level I just find them very average. There will be a really good song every now and then, but generally it's not particularly thrilling stuff. My main issue though is with Martin - put simply, he's not very good. He can technically hit the right notes in the studio, but TBH his 80s singing is third-rate Dio, there's just very little charisma or personality to it. His 90s style is somewhat more grungey [for want of a better word] and does seem to suit him better, but it's still not brilliant.

It's in the live arena that I have the biggest problems with him though - put simply, he was an abysmal live performer, or at least nearly all the evidence I've seen and heard suggests that. No stage presence, unable to come within a million miles of the right notes on the older material [he just can't do the Ozzy stuff at all] - he's basically a pub rock singer. There is a truly bizarre live video of Sabbath playing a South American show in 1994 on the Cross Purposes tour where Ward briefly rejoined the band, so you have a line up of Iommi, Butler, Ward.... and Martin singing. It's like one of the roadies got drunk and wandered onto the stage to have a go with the mic.

I will, though, say that I like the cover art and concept of Tyr - if they'd tried that with Dio it might have worked quite well - and Forbidden, despite a ghastly production job, isn't as bad as everyone says it is.

I have no clue why the Martin albums are rated so highly on the main MA site. They seem to be each averaging scores well above 75%, which in my book is crazy. There's no way I'd rate any of them above 55% or so. Bizarre.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:38 pm 
 

Yeah, crazy how people have different tastes from you...

Honestly, though, it is just because that style of 80s heavy/power is very popular here. And they are quality albums. Doesn't matter if Martin was bad live (I don't know myself as I've never seen him live or even on video live) - he sounds awesome on the albums. I think the exact opposite of you, he has tons of charisma and personality. Oozes them even.
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OpsiusCato
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:43 pm 
 

Cosmic_Equilibrium wrote:
My main issue though is with Martin - put simply, he's not very good.

Hell no, man. He actually is the best singer Black Sabbath had, technique-wise. And had the widest vocal range, with the possible exception of Gillan.
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Cosmic_Equilibrium
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:52 pm 
 

Each to their own - I just can't really see what's so great about those albums. I might think more highly of them if they'd been released under the Iommi solo project name.

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fourrobert13
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:57 pm 
 

I enjoy the Martin era of Sabbath. I don't listen to any any of Sabbath that often anymore, but I really liked The Eternal Idol, Cross Purposes, and TYR the most. The others weren't bad either.

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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:59 pm 
 

OpsiusCato wrote:
Best Black Sabbath era.

Objectively wrong!
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mjollnir
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:03 pm 
 

Metantoine wrote:
OpsiusCato wrote:
Best Black Sabbath era.

Absolutely correct!

Fixed it for you. ;)
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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:06 pm 
 

I do like the Martin albums, especially The Eternal Idol but anyone who thinks they're better than the 6 first albums with Ozzy need to see a doctor!
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colin040
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:23 pm 
 

I like the Tony Martin stuff but I'll admit that at times it does sound rather ''dated'' for a lack of better term. Songs such as ''Hard Life to Live'' and ''Feels Good to Me'' to name a few, sound pretty silly. Still, I can't deny the absolute brilliant tunes that came out during this era. ''Anno Mundi'' might be my favorite track Tony Martin sang on - an entire album in that epic vein would have been more than welcome, but the inconsistency was pretty notable on his stuff if you ask me.

Funny that someone here said he's a pub rock singer. He actually started like that. The next step he took was being a singer for Black Sabbath from what I've heard. Perhaps some more years of experience would have done him well, but then again I've read he'd at times had to deal with two gigs a day which I'm sure was a huge challenge for someone as inexperienced as him.

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NTT
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:08 pm 
 

Nothing beats Tony Martin's "Ah uh! Ah uh!" in 'Born to Lose' - surely one of the finest Sabbath moments.

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Bloody Nine
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:19 pm 
 

The song "When Death Calls" always frustrates me, because I feel like it's got almost all the elements to be one of Sabbath's best songs ever, but the lyrics just come off as clumsy. It sounds like something a 6th grader would write when trying to come up with "heavy metal lyrics."

That said, Martin's delivery is strong enough to make it enjoyable.

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stainedclass2112
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:03 pm 
 

NTT wrote:
Nothing beats Tony Martin's "Ah uh! Ah uh!" in 'Born to Lose' - surely one of the finest Sabbath moments.


I love that moment too, haha. "ah uh! Ah uh! It won't be too long!!". Mmmmm oh ya bud

After reading what peeps have to say, heck, I really must try out Cross Purposes sometime soon. That sounds killer. I also owe Tyr and Headless Cross a revisit.

My favorite song from this era so far is Glory Ride. I love those verses, and that part in the middle "Hear them caaaaaallin'!" is one of my favorite Sabbath moments for sure. I'll say that I think Tony's vocals are absolutely awesome, and I'm torn on whether I like his delivery more than Ozzy's from SBS and Sabotage. Dio wins though, but he's Dio.
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MercyfulKing
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:27 pm 
 

In the beginning of discovering Sabbath. Dio era was enough for me, as far as going beyond the Ozzy records, because seeing the "No Stranger to Love" video at a young age left a sour taste in my mouth, thinking the late 80s era sounded like that and passed it off as "meh". Until a while back i finally gave the Tony Martin era a chance, i listened to Headless Cross and WHOA! what a song! I was blown away from Tony's powerful voice, and the song was very epic. I will eventually venture into the other Martin-era records soon, right now i am digging the Headless Cross record.
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DoomMetalAlchemist
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:20 pm 
 

Bloody Nine wrote:
The song "When Death Calls" always frustrates me, because I feel like it's got almost all the elements to be one of Sabbath's best songs ever, but the lyrics just come off as clumsy. It sounds like something a 6th grader would write when trying to come up with "heavy metal lyrics."

That said, Martin's delivery is strong enough to make it enjoyable.


For me, by FAR the worst thing about When Death Calls (and maybe the Tony Martin era in its entirety) are the opening cheesey 80s-as-fuck ballad keys.
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Thiestru
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:30 pm 
 

With the exception of 'Forbidden', Martin-era Sabbath rules, with 'TYR' taking the crown. I've yet to hear 'Cross Purposes', but it gets a lot of praise, so I'll assume it's a big improvement over 'Forbidden'. My favorite song from this period, hands down, is 'Anno Mundi'. Holy shit, THAT'S how you write a song - and that chorus is just amazing. And am I the only person who actually likes 'Feels Good to Me'? Yeah, it might have been a stab for radio-play, but it's the good kind.
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TrooperEd
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:54 pm 
 

Metantoine wrote:
I do like the Martin albums, especially The Eternal Idol but anyone who thinks they're better than the 6 first albums with Ozzy need to see a doctor!


A Rock & Roll Doctor.

Bloody Nine wrote:
The song "When Death Calls" always frustrates me, because I feel like it's got almost all the elements to be one of Sabbath's best songs ever, but the lyrics just come off as clumsy. It sounds like something a 6th grader would write when trying to come up with "heavy metal lyrics."

That said, Martin's delivery is strong enough to make it enjoyable.


Couldn't you say that about all of Martin's lyrics?
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kalervon
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:17 pm 
 

TrooperEd wrote:
Metantoine wrote:
I do like the Martin albums, especially The Eternal Idol but anyone who thinks they're better than the 6 first albums with Ozzy need to see a doctor!
A Rock & Roll Doctor.
:)

Bloody Nine wrote:
The song "When Death Calls" always frustrates me, because I feel like it's got almost all the elements to be one of Sabbath's best songs ever, but the lyrics just come off as clumsy. It sounds like something a 6th grader would write when trying to come up with "heavy metal lyrics."
Lyrically, it has its moments.
"He saw the world, dim with the glow of the vertical sun" ; I find this quite evocative. It can be interpreted in many ways.
But the fast part is indeed where it gets cheesy: "Can't die, 'til Satan says you die - The Devil takes your soul, with all his wrath he calls.... The Reaper !" ... alright.
When I first heard 'Bible Black', I thought of 'When Death Calls' (lyrically; musically some licks reminded me of 'Odin's Court').

I don't know what's the thing about 'Eternal Idol', but all songs are catchy as hell. They may not be great songs, everything combined, but they are extremely catchy. I find 'Headless Cross' and 'Tyr' have more depth.

NTT wrote:
Nothing beats Tony Martin's "Ah uh! Ah uh!" in 'Born to Lose' - surely one of the finest Sabbath moments
Not to take credit away from Martin, but Ray Gillen came up with it (you can hear it on a deluxe edition). Martin perhaps does it slightly better, all things considered.
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I try not to compare anything post-Ozzy to the early stuff with Ozzy as it is almost two completely different bands and for example comparing Children of the Grave to Anno Mundi just doesn't quite seem right in my mind as they are almost a world apart while still both being top notch in their own ways
I'm with you, they don't compare; but still, there is a relation that can easily be heard. The acoustic 'Anno Mundi' picking intro is very similar to 'Children of the Sea'; 'Heaven in Black' has a riff similar to 'Children of the Grave' (and so did 'Devil & Daughter'); yet, despite this, to me they are compltely different sonic universes.

The 80ness is part of the best Martin albums' charm ('Tyr' sounds a bit more organic, less 80s). I wouldn't want it to sound less 80s by any means. Just like Bill Ward's 'Ward One', it's the sonic oddness which makes it so great. Nothing else sounds like that. It's deep and dark, in a misty but flashy late-80s way.
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kalervon
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:54 pm 
 

I must say too, I got 'Headless Cross' from a friend who was dying from un uncurable disease and wanted to get rid of some of his cassettes, so he could buy other things he could enjoy more. He died 3 years later.

Earlier on, I got Ozzy's 'Speak of the Devil' cassette from a friend who got it from a friend of his who had died in a car crash.

So whenever I heard Black Sabbath lyrics talking about death, I guess I didn't take it lightly, subconsciously, I thought the lyrics were somehow deep. Yet the music didn't make me feel depressed.

In retrospect, I should have been buying my own damn music.
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Metallic Shock
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:13 am 
 

DoomMetalAlchemist wrote:
Bloody Nine wrote:
The song "When Death Calls" always frustrates me, because I feel like it's got almost all the elements to be one of Sabbath's best songs ever, but the lyrics just come off as clumsy. It sounds like something a 6th grader would write when trying to come up with "heavy metal lyrics."

That said, Martin's delivery is strong enough to make it enjoyable.


For me, by FAR the worst thing about When Death Calls (and maybe the Tony Martin era in its entirety) are the opening cheesey 80s-as-fuck ballad keys.


The live version of it that I saw from 1989 has Neil Murray playing it as bass harmonics and it doesn't sound too different, perhaps that's what it is on the studio version too?

Martin's my favorite Sabbath singer. Yeah he sounds reminiscent of Dio at times but I think people really overstate that similarity overall. It's hard to explain why but his timbre just sits at that perfect spot where it's not too bright or too dark for the style he's singing, kinda like Russell Allen but in an 80s metal singer. Nightwing in particular is a vocal performance that always blows me away.

Having said that I wouldn't call that era better than the Ozzy era musically. Headless Cross is a pretty great album even with some of the production cheese that's on it, but admittedly the others haven't stuck with me as strongly. Tyr is generally high quality too but I've yet to hear it all in one sitting and that sometimes affects my perspective. I do wish people wouldn't write it off just because the names aren't as well known though, songs like Cross of Thorns and When Death Calls are highlights of their career imo.

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Subrick
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:19 am 
 

The closest Martin ever came to actually replicating Dio's voice was the song Devil & Daughter from Headless Cross. Other than that, the Dio comparisons don't hold that much weight outside of "epic voiced singer fronting Black Sabbath". Dio's voice is more chesty, while Martin's is mostly head voice.
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droneriot
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:57 am 
 

Metantoine wrote:
I do like the Martin albums, especially The Eternal Idol but anyone who thinks they're better than the 6 first albums with Ozzy need to see a doctor!

I could argue that they're both at 75% for me. Tony Martin era because they're consistently at 75%, first six albums because they're so inconsistent they zig-zag between 100% and 50% songs all the time.
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