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Who's the best?
Poll ended at Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:50 pm
1) Ozzy 45%  45%  [ 89 ]
2) Dio 42%  42%  [ 82 ]
3) Tony Martin 10%  10%  [ 20 ]
4) Ian Gillan (on Born Again) 2%  2%  [ 4 ]
5) Glenn Hughes (on Seventh Star) 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 196
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LegendMaker
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:03 pm 
 

Both "camps" are half-right (and half-wrong) regarding the Tony Martin era. To each their own, sure, but beyond that there are things neither should be able to deny.

On the one hand, of course it's over-the-top enthusiastic to pretend that such albums as 'The Eternal Idol', 'Headless Cross' and 'Tyr' are exactly in the same league (let alone in the same vein) as 'Heaven and Hell'; those who take this stance typically have only the fantastic tracks out of those albums in mind, most of which happen to be the most metal (but not just). Quality wise, there *are* fillers aplenty from that era, more so than from the Dio era (about in the same proportion as for the entire Ozzy era, although that will soon change). Style wise, first, look me in the eyes and say out loud "Martin era Sabbath has no glam/AOR influences at all". Go on. Rrrright. It's not prominent in every track, but yes, there are sleazy Bon Jovisms in some of Martin's vocal lines (particularly some additional lyrics), and the production values and arrangements have a decidedly "radio-friendly hard rock" orientation overall; some of the songs themselves, and even some riffs, too. Love them or hate them, they're here; only a fool would deny their existence.

On the other hand, calling the Martin era as a whole "cock rock", or pretending it sounds nothing like Sabbath, is just taking the piss. Not just because it's derogatory, although that it is, but simply because those albums, probably best qualified as melodic hard/heavy overall, also do have plenty of metal as fuck songs (not glam/cock/[insert bullshit here]), almost all of which sound unmistakably Sabbath (closer to Dio era Sabbath than original line-up Sabbath, sure, but so what?!). First, the Martin era albums contain some of the most accomplished Sabbath songs and instrumentals built around Iommi eerie arpeggios, in direct continuation of what he was doing circa "Children of the Sea", or "Sleeping Village" for that matter (yes, on the first album). Also, while tracks like "The Shining", "Ancient Warrior", "Nightwing", "When Death Calls", "The Law Maker" and "The Battle Of Tyr / Odin's Court / Valhalla " may not be the crushing doom songs the former group praise them as, they're still nothing short of pretty fucking epic heavy metal songs. Love them or hate them, they're here; only a fool would deny their existence. If those are glam, then welcome to the Glam Archives, muthafuckas! :lol:


By the way, the poll closed over two weeks ago. I suppose it's cool to extend the thread's life as a discussion, but if some assume they can still vote... too bad, sorry (hi, Varth).
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Riffs
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:48 am
Posts: 920
Location: Montréal, Québec
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:59 pm 
 

LegendMaker wrote:
Both "camps" are half-right (and half-wrong) regarding the Tony Martin era. To each their own, sure, but beyond that there are things neither should be able to deny.

On the one hand, of course it's over-the-top enthusiastic to pretend that such albums as 'The Eternal Idol', 'Headless Cross' and 'Tyr' are exactly in the same league (let alone in the same vein) as 'Heaven and Hell'; those who take this stance typically have only the fantastic tracks out of those albums in mind, most of which happen to be the most metal (but not just). Quality wise, there *are* fillers aplenty from that era, more so than from the Dio era (about in the same proportion as for the entire Ozzy era, although that will soon change). Style wise, first, look me in the eyes and say out loud "Martin era Sabbath has no glam/AOR influences at all". Go on. Rrrright. It's not prominent in every track, but yes, there are sleazy Bon Jovisms in some of Martin's vocal lines (particularly some additional lyrics), and the production values and arrangements have a decidedly "radio-friendly hard rock" orientation overall; some of the songs themselves, and even some riffs, too. Love them or hate them, they're here; only a fool would deny their existence.

On the other hand, calling the Martin era as a whole "cock rock", or pretending it sounds nothing like Sabbath, is just taking the piss. Not just because it's derogatory, although that it is, but simply because those albums, probably best qualified as melodic hard/heavy overall, also do have plenty of metal as fuck songs (not glam/cock/[insert bullshit here]), almost all of which sound unmistakably Sabbath (closer to Dio era Sabbath than original line-up Sabbath, sure, but so what?!). First, the Martin era albums contain some of the most accomplished Sabbath songs and instrumentals built around Iommi eerie arpeggios, in direct continuation of what he was doing circa "Children of the Sea", or "Sleeping Village" for that matter (yes, on the first album). Also, while tracks like "The Shining", "Ancient Warrior", "Nightwing", "When Death Calls", "The Law Maker" and "The Battle Of Tyr / Odin's Court / Valhalla " may not be the crushing doom songs the former group praise them as, they're still nothing short of pretty fucking epic heavy metal songs. Love them or hate them, they're here; only a fool would deny their existence. If those are glam, then welcome to the Glam Archives, muthafuckas! :lol:


Honestly, this is a great post and good stab at taking a balanced point of view. I still disagree with a lot of it. Tony Martin-era albums have a lot of songs that sound unmistakably Sabbath? That's highly debatable for me, for a truckload of fans, a great number of accomplished musicians that were influenced by Sabbath and even for many Black Sabbath members themselves. This is a highly subjective subject matter it seems but I've bought every Sabbath record ever released, I listened to each of them as they came out and they don't sound like Sabbath to me. If they were unmistakably Sabbath, that would make a shitload of bands out there unmistakably Sabbath. Three quarter of the original lineup gone. Different song structures, different voice, completely different style of melody lines done by a guy who was heavily into funk and reggae more than metal (that's a fact related by Martin in interviews, not an insult) different guitar tone, different approach to riffing, jazz-influenced eclectic drumming replaced by radio-friendly hard rock straight skin pounding drowned in gut-puking reverb, the feeling of wildly experimenting gone... the list could go on!

Tony Iommi is a legend. We might call him the Michael Jordan of dark, ugly heavy as fuck metal. However, just because Jordan was a great athlete doesn't mean it will translate particularly well when he tries to play baseball. Likewise, just because Iommi is a master guitarist doesn't mean his game is radio-friendly hard rocking. Are there hints of his great talent on those records? Yes. But even when he tries to wink at the genuine Sabbath sound with that band, the result is about as convincing to me as if Jordan had brought a bunch of his baseball pals on the basketball court to face the Lakers.

Which brings me to the cock rock comment. I realize how controversial that sounded and how clear cut and extreme. This is mostly for effect. Just like when I say Justin Bieber is shit, I don't literally mean he is human excrement, complete with color, shape and smell. But yeah, there's expectations that come with carrying a band name. There's a legacy behind that name. These albums were destined for critical and commercial failure but honestly, I think it was Iommi's right to do the kind of music he felt like doing, even though I think the particular approach (hiring a bunch of hired guns and aiming for mass appeal) is terribly misguided. Using the Sabbath name for that was IMO profoundly dishonest. Iommi himself seems like he has struggled with the question of what is Black Sabbath several times. There's interviews all over the place that point to Iommi succumbing to record label pressure and labeling solo records as "Black Sabbath".

IMO, that has tarnished not only the legacy of one of the greatest bands of all time but also hurt several of these later projects, which cannot entirely be taken for what they are but have to suffer through comparisons they cannot live up to. At least, when you buy a FUSED, you take it for what it is.


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metroplex
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Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:28 am
Posts: 438
Location: Peru
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:03 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
Eeeeeeh..... Nah. If anything, the biggest comparison I can draw is that those repeated choral lines during the beginning of the song heavily remind me of the way Freddie Mercury and company used to work with vocal harmonies. Arch is notably more nasal than Martin, and his vocal melodies are much, much weirder.


I said just the high notes, when he 'screams'.

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Xlxlx
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:16 pm
Posts: 5622
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:07 pm 
 

I know, and I still stand by what I said.
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LegendMaker
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:51 pm 
 

@Riffs:
You idealize Ozzy-era Sabbath way too much, man; to be precise, just about as much as some here idealize Martin-era Sabbath. Just as they defend "their" era as if all of it was along the lines of, say, "Headless Cross" (the song), you present "yours" as though any random track off off it was a "Killing Yourself to Live"! That's basically seeing them with rose-tinted glasses or with the "eyes of love" (not entirely sure this is an actual saying in English, but should be self-explanatory anyways). "My girlfriend has only qualities, and so does my favorite Sabbath era. Look at that bitch over there, with all her flaws, pfff! just like my least favorite Sabbath era" is what it is.

The Ozzy era is full of flaws, too. Sure, throngs of enthusiastic metalheads like to think of it as just "Symptoms of the Universe", "Children of the Grave" or especially "Black Sabbath" but, love them or hate them, the jazzy/bluesy/I'm-so-stoned,-let's-rock-it,-baby halves (corresponding, more often than not, with the just-decent-to-outright-mediocre parts) of the debut, 'Volume IV', 'Sabotage' and 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' are here, and so is the entirety of 'Technical Ecstasy' and 'Never say die'. Granted, 'Paranoid' and 'Master of Reality' are almost exclusively made of golden heavy metal, and there are plenty of tracks on par with them to be found on the other four Ozzy-era albums that are not near-complete failures. But considering the entire Ozzy run, that's about one third godly metal, another third sucky whatever and the last third good-to-meh miscellaneous. It's most definitely not "ugly heavy as fuck metal" through and through. Now compare that to Tony Martin's first run, and he's doing A-okay.

In any event, I'd say Dio's runs are the most consistent of the lot, both style and quality wise, by a long margin.

On a side note, Cozy Powell was a truly great drummer, with a style pretty different and much more metal than Bill Ward's (who did great things on many tracks, but also hindered the potential of some songs, especially the heaviest like "Children of the Grave", with his inadequate approach). I can see where you're coming from about the drumming for 'Eternal Idol', but both Powell albums have him rule the kit throughout, and it's far more subtle than mere metronome-like skin pounding, even if the drum sound is far from ideal, that I agree on. Headless Cross' title track is entirely built around the drum patterns, and it would have sucked with an actual AC/DC-like drummer (as it is, I'd call it a mini-"Heaven & Hell", the title track).


@Xlxlx vs metroplex: I stand by it too, Martin is closer to a slightly higher-pitched, slightly less wholesome Dio than any other singer. Even when he hits the high notes, I don't hear much resemblance with Arch either.
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Xlxlx
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:16 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:01 pm 
 

LegendMaker wrote:
@Xlxlx vs metroplex: I stand by it too, Martin is closer to a slightly higher-pitched, slightly less wholesome Dio than any other singer. Even when he hits the high notes, I don't hear much resemblance with Arch either.

THANK YOU! :thumbsup:

Now, about the "no Sabbath era is ideal save for Dio's" thing, I'd say that I agree, and also that I don't idealize the Martin albums. I just honestly like them a lot, but know that not every Martin song is gold. However, I was just trying to refute that "cock rock" label that Riffs slapped on the Martin records, something which has already been done (and I'm on good terms with Riffs now), so I don't see a need to keep discussing the subject at hand. I can't repeat enough how right you are about the whole thing though, even if I'm not nearly as critical of Ozzy era Sabbath as you, Legend.
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LegendMaker
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:35 pm 
 

@Xlxlx: Thanks, and just discussing some points, no worries. I'm cool with Riffs too, even if we partially disagree. :D
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Metalhead1995
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Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:34 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:31 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
Eeeeeeh..... Nah. If anything, the biggest comparison I can draw is that those repeated choral lines during the beginning of the song heavily remind me of the way Freddie Mercury and company used to work with vocal harmonies. Arch is notably more nasal than Martin, and his vocal melodies are much, much weirder.


Actually, Tony Martin always sounded a bit like Don Dokken (obviously with a bit more edge in his voice) to me. I can imagine Tony Martin wailing through a song like "Dream Warriors", or Dokken singing a song like "Devil and Daughter".

Maybe it's just me, and I can see a slight similarity with John Arch.
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