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Although there is no bigger fan boy of Black Sabbath’s “Headless Cross” than me, I have to launch a protest against this single. It features the most well known and frequently performed song to ever come out of the Tony Martin era, but in an unnecessarily abridged format. It’s not a huge loss from a lyrical standpoint as the verse that gets chopped out is recapped after the guitar solo, but the loss of bridge section and the overall shortening of the song really detracts from its sense of epic perfection. It inspires a similar though not quite as power in frustration for all who love the song “Heaven And Hell” every time Dio plays it live and finishes without doing the amazingly climactic, fast ending.
Nonetheless, although this isn’t the complete masterpiece, it is quite good, especially when observed in video form. The music video featured the famous scene of a monk acting as blacksmith and hammering out a peculiar shaped cross, hammering to the beat no less, unknowing that is handiwork is destined to be chopped in half by a bolt of lightning, spelling doom for all in the nearby village being devastated by the black plague. It probably didn’t have the same effect as the band’s early works did in their day on the sanctimonious bunch, but I’m sure there was at least a few brain dead modern evangelical leftovers from Reagan’s moral majority who misinterpreted the obvious historicism at work in this song.
This is not something worth selling your soul for, unless you happen to somehow be able to find this record yet not the “Black Moon” single, as this one also has the non-album bluesy throwback to “Seventh Star” “Cloak And Dagger” on it. It’s a bit annoying that the radio zombies and their dictatorial disc jockey masters can’t seem to handle 6 and a half minutes of great music but can somehow handle 5, but there have been worse editing jobs done on classic songs than this, and there have been far more pointless single releases than this one.