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Out of every Sabbath studio release, ever, I think that this, 1986's Seventh Star is probably the least popular amongst fans. There are obviously quite a few reasons for this. I will admit that I LOVE Sabbath, in fact they are my all time favourite band but I think my review score for this album is fair even if I do like 90% of everything the band have recorded.
The first and most obvious reason this album doesn't quite get as much credit as most other releases is the fact that it is easily one of the least Sabbath sounding records Iommi has written. Ah yes, Tony Iommi- since this album, every Sabbath studio release bar Mob Rules before Seventh Star has featured Iommi on guitar, Geezer Butler on bass and Bill Ward on drums. Seventh Star on the other hand only features Iommi. Replacing Butler and Ward is Dave Spitz (bass) and Eric Singer (drums). And stepping on vocals is Glenn Hughes, who you'll know from his work as bass/vocals during Deep Purple's mark 3 line up. After this record, there were a few Sabbath releases with Iommi as the only founding member (Eternal Idol, Headless Cross etc).
The reason why this album isn't very Sabbath-y is that it wasn't meant to be a Sabbath record in the first place. It was, and technically is, an Iommi solo project. The only reason why it has 'BLACK SABBATH featuring Tony Iommi' on the cover is because the record company forced Iommi to put 'Black Sabbath' on there. Therefore this album can be forgiven for it's sound.
Being a bit of a Deep Purple fan myself, I think that Hughes does a decent vocal job on Seventh Star. Despite this view, he is, overall the weakest singer that Iommi has recruited and this is the only album he appears on. 'In For The Kill' is a typical great heavy metal opener. 'No Stranger To Love' is a more commerical ballad, but a very memorable number anyway. 'Turn To Stone' speeds things up again with a cool riff and lyrics. The title track is probably the best song on here with an extremely catchy riff and chorus.
Unfortunately, the rest of the album apart from 'Danger Zone' doesn't quite live up to the first half of the record. 'Heart Like A Wheel', 'Angry Heart' and 'In Memory' just never leave me wanting more. One of the strongest points however, is the guitar solos. In fact, Seventh Star may just be one of the best albums showcasing Iommi's skills when it comes to solos.
If you think of this album as an Iommi solo project, you'll enjoy it a whole lot more. The music is, overall, quality stuff. I wouldn't label this is as essential Sabbath unless you are a fan. And it certainly isn't as strong as a lot of the other post-Ozzy Sabbath albums. The following album, 1987's The Eternal Idol was, in my eyes, an excellent release and Born Again (Seventh Star's predecessor) featuring the legendary Ian Gillan is actually my favourite of the post-Ozzy Sabbath albums. Either way, Seventh Star is still a good heavy metal album regardless.