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Being a big fan of Black Sabbath from its conception into the early 80s, it took me awhile to give later eras of Black Sabbath a chance. But one that I never gave much attention to was Seventh Star, featuring Glenn Hughes from Deep Purple doing vocals. I was just thrown for a loop because the singing was so much more soulful than what I had heard in metal before, and I put the album aside, until recently I had still only warmed up to about half of the album.
So when I bought this album, I was rather skeptical of how good it was going to be. But on the first listen, it was clear to me that Tony Iommi and Glenn Hughes are one of the most perfect pairings in heavy metal. After being slightly disappointed by Iommi’s self-titled solo release, not from a guitar standpoint but from a vocalist standpoint, I got the 1996 DEP Session and decided that maybe Glenn Hughes really wasn’t too bad of a vocalist. But Fused has opened up the doors for me to enjoy all the work Tony Iommi has done with Glenn Hughes.
One of the things most striking about this album is this perfect mesh of true heavy metal. The doom riffs coupled with blues solos and soulful singing… Its almost as if something completely unheard of before in metal came out, something that had started to surface during Seventh Star and Eight Star (or The 1996 DEP Sessions).
The album opens with Dopamine, which begins with you only able to hear this very distant sounding guitar riff. And then you get a punch in of drums, and the guitar cranks up and launches you head first into this song. And when you expect some sort of crazy screaming or growling vocalist, you get a very fitting soulful singing of Glenn Hughes. Not to mention a great Tony Iommi solo in this song, with a very bluesy feel. A great selection for the first song on the album, not to mention also my favorite track.
This is followed by Wasted Again, which features this great doom riff intro that just helps keep the album flowing. After that is even more doom style songs with great singing. But then you get to What You’re Living For, which is like a sped up type of doom, that is almost like Candlemass. That song is very interesting, for it contains a very Black Sabbath (band and song) tempo change towards the last half of the song.
Then you get even more high quality doom songs, until you get to the very last track on the album. The song I refer to is I Go Insane, and it starts with a very bluesy guitar solo and this very epic sound. The singing is lower and smoother, and fits oh so well. This is brilliant, showcasing the fact that this band doesn’t have to play doom type music all the time. Though you can still tell that it has the familiar riffs that only Tony Iommi could write, its just a masterpiece in and of itself. And a long one too, at over 9 minutes long – a great way to close out the album!
Basically, if you’re looking for a place to start with Iommi’s solo albums, do yourself a favor and pick up Fused. Heck, if you’re a Black Sabbath fan and you want to expand your horizons on branches off from the band like Dio and Ozzy in their solo careers, then you should definitely think about picking up this album too. It stands up very well on its own, and opens up strongly and finishes just as strongly as it started… which is something few bands manage to pull off.