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Great fucking HEAVY doom metal! - 80%

UltraBoris, January 6th, 2003

This is an album that sounds very different from its predecessors, both the Tony Martin era and the previous RJD albums. This harkens back to a certain time when Tony Iommi wrote the heaviest riffs on earth, by far. The whole album sounds as heavy as the 70s, while coming up with subtle bits that recall the best of the band's 80s output, pretty much combining the best of all eras.

Most of the stuff has been summarised here - there tend to be two major categories of songs here. There are a few uptempo numbers like TV Crimes and Time Machine (there are two versions of this song, they seem to be not fundamentally different). Of these "TV Crimes" is the utter speed metal song, while Time Machine is more a midpaced song.

Then, the rest of the album is made up of slow-to-midpaced CRUSHERS. Stuff that fits the style of the old masters (of reality!), stuff like "Buried Alive", and the epic "Too Late", which is just the finest doom metal has to offer. Each riff is like being hit on the head by one or two warehouses full of hammers. This is excellent stuff here. More great songs include "Computer God", which is a bit faster but no less heavy. Yes, this is what this album is - really fucking heavy! The riffs just completely pummel you, and force you to to obey or die.

Highlights... probably the opener, "Computer God", which creaks and lurches its way into prominence before culminating with a classic solo that is all Iommi - early 80s style, with those bizarre note sequences that easily identify him. Also, "TV Crimes" is a fun basher that sounds like a Mob Rules song with extra crunch, and the intro riff set of "Letters from Earth" recalls all that is good about the early 70s - from Into the Void to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, while the first fast riff is total Eternal Idol.

Essential Sabbath - THIS is really the return to the Ozzy era, even though it's got Ronnie on vocals. This is on par with the 70s stuff as far as pure riff bludgeonry goes.