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Accessible, or maybe not. - 84%

hells_unicorn, May 18th, 2009

The often derided and rarely understood solo effort of Tony Iommi “Seventh Star“, which was never meant for the Black Sabbath name, yielded a singular radio hit that manages to strike its own chord despite being well removed from anything ever attempted by the man who gave us “Iron Man” and “Symptom Of The Universe”. Say what one might about the rudimentary format of verses and choruses with keyboards a plenty and solos on the restrained side, this thing is just as catchy as they come. Nonetheless, aside from Iommi’s signature soloing style, which does shine through with its usual bluesy luster, anyone hearing this song for the first time will have a hard time admitting that this was under the Black Sabbath moniker.

The true charm of this release isn’t so much the song itself, but the alternate version that accompanied the famed music video featuring later “Star Trek - The Next Generation” actress Denise Crosby. Just like with cooking a fine delicacy, the slightest little addition of one or two spices can radically effect the taste of the final product, and here the simple addition of a soulful backing choir during the chorus section turns a somewhat plain, radio oriented rock song into something much more interesting. Naturally the song itself isn’t much if what your looking for is crushing riffs, but as far as the vocal performance goes, Glenn Hughes never sounded better. His hard hitting, rough edged, blues/rock inspired shouts are just the right touch to turn a set of 4 or 5 chords into something that won’t ever be forgotten by those who’ve heard it.

The b-side is a little bit less interesting from a vocal standpoint, but “Angry Heart” definitely is a good listen if you like the mellow, catchy yet riff oriented style heard out of the likes of Ratt, W.A.S.P. and a couple of other harder edged adherents to 80s rock/metal. It’s not the most complex thing that Iommi has ever put out by any stretch of the imagination, and is among the more formulaic offerings from the “Seventh Star” album, but it does its job accompanying the main attraction.

The problem with these songs is not that they lack anything in the fun or creativity department, but more that they are tailored for a different audience. I can see people who are big on bands like Skid Row and Motley Crue taking to this album, but most who know Sabbath for any or all of their others will likely have a hard time identifying with this. Eclectic minds may differ with the Ozzy and Dio crowd, but I would argue that with few exceptions, this is not something that fans of the band should spend a lot of money on. It is an acquired taste to say the least, and although I have acquired it, I can sort of see why others didn’t.