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The black moon blues. - 86%

hells_unicorn, May 18th, 2009

“Headless Cross” is arguably the greatest album put together by Black Sabbath during the Tony Martin years, but what is often missed about the history of this album was how many trials and tribulations led to its creation. If the b-sides of the last album’s solitary single “The Shinning” are any indication, Tony Iommi was fed up with experimenting and wanted to get back to his roots in some way, and that is seen through the two songs that are contained on this single. Both the a-side and the b-side are built within the template of an 80s production not all that dissimilar from “The Eternal Idol”, but reach back in many respects to the era of the band that preceded the 1980s.

“Black Moon” is the more obvious hearkening back to the jam-like nature of early 70s Sabbath, built off of a driving yet bluesy riff that has some similarities to the ones heard on “The Wizard” and “Wicked World”. The vocal delivery is much smoother and has an operatic quality to it and the organ behind it definitely gives it a darkened tone that shares more commonality with early Candlesmass than with the Ozzy years of the band, but it still maintains a heavily rocking quality. The accompanying “Cloak And Dagger” never made it onto the “Headless Cross” album, likely due to the fact that its heavily bluesy feel was in contrast with the epic nature of the bulk of the album, but it’s quite a treat for the ears nonetheless. As best I can describe it, it’s a song that would have been more at home on “Seventh Star”, even though it has Tony Martin’s vocals driving it along.

There are few places where the b-side on here can be found except floating around on the internet in mp3 form, but it’s a worthy listen if you’re looking to hear something a bit different from what Sabbath is known for. This was a heavily eclectic band, perhaps a bit too much so for their label and fans to handle given the large number of songs that got tucked away in now out of print singles. Perhaps some day Iommi will consent to some sort of rarities compilation that will contain all of these long lost experiments, but until then just remember, the internet is your friend.