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This is the most well known and well renowned song of the “Forbidden” album, owing in part to a really trippy cartoon music video, but mostly because it is among the most formulaic and derivative of the band’s past. The principle riff is very similar to the one that appeared on “Zero The Hero”, a riff which also influenced the famous G&R song “Paradise City”. It’s one of those deep sounding chromatic lines that has a little bit of a doom sound, but is played at a tempo and to an arrangement that goes a bit more in a rock/heavy metal direction. It gets a good deal faster than most of the stuff done on “Born Again”, even getting fast enough to outpace “Trashed” during the ending section. Basically it’s a familiar song, despite the fact that it takes its familiarity from more than one place in Sabbath’s history.
The one area where this song and the whole “Forbidden” album differs with every other one put out with Tony Martin at the helm is the rawness and dryness of the arrangement. Although in many ways this limit’s the band’s possibilities, particularly in the vocal department as all of the vocal harmonies that made their previous albums so epic sounding, they carry it fairly well and serve up a decent offering of metal with a bit of rock on the site. The only downside to it is that the production has made Cozy Powell’s kit sound flat and have a bit of a popping character to it, particularly the snare sound, which masks an otherwise solid performance out of him as well.
Opinions vary on whether or not “Forbidden” is a worthwhile album, but I personally think so, and this song is one of the many positive elements to be found on it. There are naturally other songs that are better and flirt a bit with an epic sound within the context of a stripped down approach such as “I Won’t Cry For You”, “Kiss Of Death” and the title song. Don’t expect anything up to the caliber of “Headless Cross” or “Tyr”, but definitely expect something that is worthy of the Sabbath name.