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Heeeere's Tony!! - 89%

Sweetie, October 11th, 2021

Want to talk about finding what was obviously being searched for for at least half a decade now? No matter how much I think the previous couple albums fared, there was an obvious lack of clarity for the future of Black Sabbath. While Seventh Star definitely aimed towards the right mark, the potential was realized with The Eternal Idol. By now, most know that this portion of Tony Martin’s saga was what truly follows the Dio era in stylistics, but this is where I think the glammier touches reach peak fruition thanks to being blended enough to not irritate the general metal dork fanbase.

By that, I mean it’s not as blatantly obvious as it was with the prior effort. Because of it taking the back seat, Iommi and Martin now have the opportunity to spread their wings in a more traditional metal backing without ditching the spoopiness of synth and warmer glazings. Moreover, the songwriting takes a (mild) step away from the accessibility that came before and works its way back into something a bit more conceptual in lyrics and sequential in musical passages. Naturally, we have a consistent disc with a pleasant makeup, loaded with hooky chops that vary greatly and clean vocals that couldn’t fit better if they tried.

What’s amazing is that there’s still so much to take away from. Even the doomy history of the band shines so wonderfully. The obvious monster in this case is the closing title track, which almost throws back to the earliest of the band’s days under an ‘80s umbrella. “Ancient Warrior” has the booming rhythm energy and hard drum pounds with the perfect touch of crawling leads, all topped off with some of the neatest melodies this band has had since Heaven And Hell. You can get this with a blusier angle in “Nightmare,” feeling less threatening but equally stompy.

On the flip side, The Eternal Idol has an even balance of faster paced bangers as well as more hook-laced gems. “Hard Life To Love” takes a harder stance with its powerful leads and galloping bridge, while opener “The Shining” brings forth that same accessibility on an easier note. Some get a bit more to-the-point, and shine the vocals in a brighter way meant to capture a chorus driven number like the poppy “Born To Lose.” “Lost Forever” is an anomaly in its ability to come so close to a thrash metal tune while still fitting in so well, and that’s just incredible.

Although I think there’s one record that tops this one in regards to the Martin era, the sweet concoction that came in 1987 is one that deserves the more recent praise it gets. It’s another example of something being unfairly overlooked for so long, only for people my age to dig it up thanks to the internet and worship what rightfully is deserving. Stellar songwriting everywhere, wonderful consistency, and the mechanics of every musician is top notch.