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By 1990, Black Sabbath had already went through some of the most legendary heavy metal singers of all time and a load of other musicians. Regardless of who came in and out of the band, Sabbath was still able to be a powerhouse in the metal scene. Tony Iommi's recruitment of an unfamiliar singer by the name of Tony Martin on "Eternal Idol" caused the vocalist to go from an unknown musician to one of metal's most captivating elites. Tony Martin's era in Sabbath continued through the 1980's with the masterful "Headless Cross," which quickly became a cult classic within the band's fan base, but their impressive run didn't end there. The band's fifteenth album,"Tyr," is the valorous continuation of Sabbath's legacy in the form of other Tony Martin albums with epic music, soaring vocals and spell binding lyrics.
The semi-power metal approach Sabbath began using when Tony Martin entered the band remains intact here along with a few touches of doom metal and atmosphere. "Anno Mundi" and "The Sabbath Stones" are the most atmospheric songs on "Tyr" because they have slow, yet heavy riffs with agile keyboard overtones and slothful drum patterns. Some of the album's faster tracks, like "The Lawmaker" and "Heaven In Black," utilize quicker riffs and drum patterns than most of the other songs.
Regardless of what style is being played, Iommi is able to play splendid riffs and otherworldly solos. The majority of the riffs he plays are rather fast, yet some are slow and forceful. The doom influence on "Anno Mundi" drives the song with epic and powerful riffs that are just as catchy as they are brilliant. Iommi's solo performance is on par with his fantastic riffs as he rapidly nails several notes in just a couple of seconds to make some wonderful leads. Iommi's guitar show on "Tyr" is incredibly good and is one of his best Sabbath performances to date.
By the time "Tyr" was recorded, Tony Martin had found his niche in Black Sabbath and was hailed as one of the band's most exciting members. Martin's ability to match Sabbath's metal attack on "Tyr" shows a great display of talent and greatness in his voice. The high notes Martin is able to hit on "Anno Mundi" and "Valhalla" makes the music seem epic and powerful. His note holding skill also makes some of the song's choruses seem brighter and more energetic. "The Lawmaker" applies to this the most when Martin is singing the chorus and he holds the final line with a powerful vocal tone.
Cozy Powell's drum performance on "Tyr" is substantially more technical and skillful than the percussion on his Black Sabbath debut, "Headless Cross." Unlike his prior album, Powell is occupied with great drum fills and solid patterns. "The Lawmaker" and "Heaven In Black" each begin with complex drum fills that are stylish and talented. During the solo on "The Lawmaker," Cozy accommodates his double bass pedals with Iommi's solo to make the song seem faster and beautifully animated. "Tyr" is definitely Cozy Powell's stand out performance during his short stay in Black Sabbath.
"Tyr" is one of the most unique albums in the Black Sabbath catalog due to the fact its the band's sole concept album. The main center point of the lyrics here is the concept and story of Norse mythology. Such songs like "Odin's Court" and "Valhalla" give strong reference to mythological gods like Odin and Thor while maintaining a stable story line about Norse beliefs.
"Tyr" is without a doubt one of the best Black Sabbath records ever made. If you have the slightest interest in Black Sabbath's phase with Tony Martin, you need to get this album. If you aren't familiar with Tony Martin or his time in Sabbath, this is a great place to start.
This review was written for: http://www.Thrashpit.com