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kalervon
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:43 pm
Posts: 978
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2022 11:06 pm 
 

Type VIIC wrote:
kalervon wrote:
My theory is that both guitarists stepped up and polished their sound after they were swept up by Eddie Van Halen.
Except that EVH is pointless gearhead noodling and the other shit is actual heavy metal songwriting. Van Halen (as a band) is famous for one off goofball party songs. They were quickly usurped by a whole generation of hair metal. Even solo DLR couldn't keep up. They were rich kids from Pasadena. Naturally talented? Of course. But they had nothing to talk about outside of a recycled Beach Boys rhetoric on audio steroids. It was a fad.

Bands like Deep Purple or Sabbath, even throught the deadest years, still wrote songs. By the 90s EVH couldn't write his way out of a paper bag. That bag of course containing lots of delicious drugs.

I saw the trainwreck 2004 reunion tour with Sammy Hagar. I also saw Deep Purple around the same time. Guess who was better.
I'm not a VH fan - and I don't think Iommi or Blackmore ended up sounding anything like EVH. But I think they felt like they had to level up. I think Blackmore was on the lookout for new sounds. The first time he met Matthias Jabs he asked him to show him the harmonics in No One Like You. I guess whenever Ritchie heard something successful in the realm of commercial hard rock he tried to see whether he could infuse that in Rainbow. Yet Rainbow never sounded like Scorpions or Van Halen.. if anything they sounded like Foreigner for a while. I'm sure it was on purpose.

EVH influenced the L.A. metal scene obviously and according to Skolnick, some Bay area thrash metal bands felt like they also needed their own virtuoso to stand out; to show those L.A. metal bands had nothing on them. Though maybe he was just speaking for himself and Testament.

Back to Sabbath, the composition, playing and producing on Never Say Die! are so distant from Heaven & Hell.. I don't think such drastic sound change has been seen in such a short time with only one band member changing. With Purple's transition from MK I/II at least they had changed two members.

This said, though he never sounded like EVH, Iommi did recycle the Running with the Devil riff in Headless Cross, but successfully built an entirely diffrent song from it.
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LegendMaker
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:24 am
Posts: 1862
Location: France
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2022 7:43 am 
 

I love Tony Martin's first run in Sabbath even more these days than I used to. 'The Eternal Idol' and 'Headless Cross' were always great Sabbath classics to my ears, but 'Tyr' used to be an album I only liked a couple of songs from for a long time. I've revisited the shit out of it over the past couple of years and I like it a lot now. "The Sabbath Stones" and "Law Maker" are still my favorites, but I enjoy the whole album.

Having said that, over the past few years I've also read and watched a lot of things on Sabbath's history and just evoking all this makes me a bit sad or annoyed now, to be honest. The very short version would be that, as amazing as he's always been as a composer, musician, band leader and artistic driving force, Tony Iommi seems to be so bad at making common sense decisions when it comes to business and even just people it's baffling.

Ozzy is the biggest cunt of them all and after resisting him for almost two decades, Tony eventually sold him the soul and, eventually, half the rights to the band. Dio was quite the diva and self-centered douchebag too, for all the talent he had, and he made many mistakes that had a big negative impact on the band and his own career too.

But beyond that, just in general as people and in terms of artistic integrity and not screwing people over or getting screwed over and over by the same handful of mafia-related assholes, they all come across as shockingly dumb and heartless. The "main" players I mean, as in Iommi, Geezer, Ozzy and Dio. Even Bill Ward got fucked pretty hard compared to these. But nowhere near as hard or as repetively as most other band members who played a big role at some point or another like Geoff Nicholls, Vinny Appice, Cozy Powell, Bob Daisley, and above all Tony Martin. And also quite a few people not even anywhere near the band got ripped off without a shred of remorse or compensation to show for it (like the guy who wrote and composed "Master of Insanity" off of 'Dehumanizer', for instance, only to get it stolen and credited to "Dio, Iommi, Butler").

Things like not giving proper songwriting credits or band member status to people who obviously deserved them, and giving those things to people who obviously did not deserve them. Or using a fake name for the last album with Dio and not even having the balls to admit it was because Ozzy and Sharon already owned half of Tony Iommi and the band's ass by then, despite literally doing nothing but business, marketing and legal fuckery to earn it, and deliberately sabotaging the band in favor of Ozzy's "solo" career for two decades and even after the official disbanding (with stuff like reissues and whatnot, especially for the Marin era)... It's beyond disgraceful.

And Martin had the short end of the stick not once, not twice, but at least three distinct times. Four if you count the recent "yeah, I wanted to do Sabbath stuff with you again too, but Ozzy and Sharon told me no" answer from Iommi around the time they finally discussed the long overdue Martin era reissues.

Basically, even though it's a really good Dio Sabbath album in and of itself, 'Dehumanizer' screwed the band's future something fierce. The second Tony Martin run after that was really mediocre and 'Forbidden' was deliberately rushed and arguably even deliberately ruined so that Ozzy and Sharon could use it as an argument in court to fuck Tony Iommi and the band's legacy and future a few years later, after stalling the shit out of that piece of garbage '13' and then just cockblocking the band to death.

It's a bit hard for me not get pissed off when I think about what Sabbath could have accomplished had Tony Iommi had a few more brain cells and/or decency to not destroy what they had been building up from 1987 to 1990. And I often end up thinking about it when I revisit the Martin era. Or Sabbath in general. Separate the artist from the man and all that, but when the man fucks the artist over, it's a fine line.
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The Bard with Bright Eyes
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2021 8:48 am
Posts: 94
Location: Bosnia and Herzegovina
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2022 8:10 am 
 

I remember watching a documentary regarding the recording and release of Sabotage, and hearing that they were managed by a literal mafia boss (Don Arden), got absurdly ripped off by another manager (Patrick Meehan) to the point of losing their cars, houses and even their music, as well as as other feats of total (most likely drug-induced) stupidity (I swear, if I ever form a band, me and my boys will fund and take care of everything, managers and record labels be damned). But fucking hell, I had no idea it was that bad.
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kalervon
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Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:43 pm
Posts: 978
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2022 11:35 pm 
 

LegendMaker wrote:
It's a bit hard for me not get pissed off when I think about what Sabbath could have accomplished had Tony Iommi had a few more brain cells and/or decency to not destroy what they had been building up from 1987 to 1990. And I often end up thinking about it when I revisit the Martin era. Or Sabbath in general.

A few more albums like Cross Purposes, tours with nu metal bands opening for them, lukewarm response, accusations of destroying the Sabbath legacy by the so-called purists and further descent in poverty.
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markhebb
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Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2021 5:32 am
Posts: 231
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2022 1:43 am 
 

Agree with 99% of this - not really fussed about the Heaven & Hell album though - sort of glad they didn't do it under the Sabbath banner. But yeah - a lot of poor behaviour from everyone involved over the years with this band....


LegendMaker wrote:
I love Tony Martin's first run in Sabbath even more these days than I used to. 'The Eternal Idol' and 'Headless Cross' were always great Sabbath classics to my ears, but 'Tyr' used to be an album I only liked a couple of songs from for a long time. I've revisited the shit out of it over the past couple of years and I like it a lot now. "The Sabbath Stones" and "Law Maker" are still my favorites, but I enjoy the whole album.

Having said that, over the past few years I've also read and watched a lot of things on Sabbath's history and just evoking all this makes me a bit sad or annoyed now, to be honest. The very short version would be that, as amazing as he's always been as a composer, musician, band leader and artistic driving force, Tony Iommi seems to be so bad at making common sense decisions when it comes to business and even just people it's baffling.

Ozzy is the biggest cunt of them all and after resisting him for almost two decades, Tony eventually sold him the soul and, eventually, half the rights to the band. Dio was quite the diva and self-centered douchebag too, for all the talent he had, and he made many mistakes that had a big negative impact on the band and his own career too.

But beyond that, just in general as people and in terms of artistic integrity and not screwing people over or getting screwed over and over by the same handful of mafia-related assholes, they all come across as shockingly dumb and heartless. The "main" players I mean, as in Iommi, Geezer, Ozzy and Dio. Even Bill Ward got fucked pretty hard compared to these. But nowhere near as hard or as repetively as most other band members who played a big role at some point or another like Geoff Nicholls, Vinny Appice, Cozy Powell, Bob Daisley, and above all Tony Martin. And also quite a few people not even anywhere near the band got ripped off without a shred of remorse or compensation to show for it (like the guy who wrote and composed "Master of Insanity" off of 'Dehumanizer', for instance, only to get it stolen and credited to "Dio, Iommi, Butler").

Things like not giving proper songwriting credits or band member status to people who obviously deserved them, and giving those things to people who obviously did not deserve them. Or using a fake name for the last album with Dio and not even having the balls to admit it was because Ozzy and Sharon already owned half of Tony Iommi and the band's ass by then, despite literally doing nothing but business, marketing and legal fuckery to earn it, and deliberately sabotaging the band in favor of Ozzy's "solo" career for two decades and even after the official disbanding (with stuff like reissues and whatnot, especially for the Marin era)... It's beyond disgraceful.

And Martin had the short end of the stick not once, not twice, but at least three distinct times. Four if you count the recent "yeah, I wanted to do Sabbath stuff with you again too, but Ozzy and Sharon told me no" answer from Iommi around the time they finally discussed the long overdue Martin era reissues.

Basically, even though it's a really good Dio Sabbath album in and of itself, 'Dehumanizer' screwed the band's future something fierce. The second Tony Martin run after that was really mediocre and 'Forbidden' was deliberately rushed and arguably even deliberately ruined so that Ozzy and Sharon could use it as an argument in court to fuck Tony Iommi and the band's legacy and future a few years later, after stalling the shit out of that piece of garbage '13' and then just cockblocking the band to death.

It's a bit hard for me not get pissed off when I think about what Sabbath could have accomplished had Tony Iommi had a few more brain cells and/or decency to not destroy what they had been building up from 1987 to 1990. And I often end up thinking about it when I revisit the Martin era. Or Sabbath in general. Separate the artist from the man and all that, but when the man fucks the artist over, it's a fine line.

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LegendMaker
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:24 am
Posts: 1862
Location: France
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2022 9:43 am 
 

kalervon wrote:
LegendMaker wrote:
It's a bit hard for me not get pissed off when I think about what Sabbath could have accomplished had Tony Iommi had a few more brain cells and/or decency to not destroy what they had been building up from 1987 to 1990. And I often end up thinking about it when I revisit the Martin era. Or Sabbath in general.

A few more albums like Cross Purposes, tours with nu metal bands opening for them, lukewarm response, accusations of destroying the Sabbath legacy by the so-called purists and further descent in poverty.


Yeah? You think an immediate follow-up to 'Tyr' done by the same line-up who had been together since the 'Headless Cross' tour and had great chemistry and artistic momentum at that point (and was killing it live) would have been somehow as half-assed and mediocre as 'Cross Purposes'? I highly doubt that.

The second Martin run sucked for more than one reason, but they all come from what Iommi, along with Geezer and Dio (and indirectly Ozzy/Sharon) did to the band after 'Tyr' and before 'Cross Purposes'. Had Iommi not shown his complete lack of respect and appreciation for everything Martin brought to the band, for the second time at that point, by "soft firing" him while keeping him as a backup option in case His Majesty Dio decided to dump him... Or fired Neil Murray on the spot the minute Geezer suddenly accepted to come back (and didn't change his mind at the last second to become Ozzy's bitch for a time instead of returning to the real band)... Or destroyed the partnership he had built with Cozy Powell since before 'Headless Cross' and shown him (and us) just how little his word or apparent commitment were worth... When Tony begged RJD to come back for the second time since 'Eternal Idol' (this time successfully, because yes, 'Lock up the Wolves' was rock bottom for the band Dio at that point, so Ronnie was oddly more inclined to accept than fresh off of 'Dream Evil'), even though Powell and Dio hated each other's guts by then and Cozy had been very clear to Tony about that....

... Well, maybe (just maybe) the level of trust, confidence and inspiration would have been a tidbit superior in the studio with a Tony Martin about to start his fourth consecutive album with the band, with a Cozy Powell reinforced as full-time partner and a Neil Murray eager to prove himself on his second consecutive studio effort with them. With none of the other band members having grounds to doubt of Iommi's sincerity, fresh off of their second tour as a tight unit.

Instead of, you know, the group of people who actually went in the studio to record 'Cross Purposes' with Iommi. A Tony Martin very aware of how much of a disposable placeholder he still was in Iommi's eyes, and also a bit wiser on the other Tony's total lack of problems with backstabbing band members while keeping appearances for as long as he needed them (not yet as disillusioned as he would become a few years later when he found out 'Forbidden' was done to get rid of their contract so Iommi could fire him again and go suck up to Ozzy). A Geezer Butler uninspired, unsure of what he was even doing there, and of course no longer concerned whatsoever with stealing riffs and songs from people he had previously groomed to become members of his new band that never materialized. And a Bobby Rondinelli who was just a freshly hired gun with no reason to invest more than the bare minimum in that temp job.

Granted, Cozy's horseback accident might still have happened in that alternate reality. And there's no doubt that Tony Iommi wouldn't have waited for him to heal in that timeline either. But in our reality, the timing was such that Cozy would likely have been fired or quit had his injury not decided for them. And he would likely have been in a very different mindset in the imaginary feel-good setting I described earlier on, working with real bandmates he got along great with both personally and musically, rather than having to drum for his RJD he had a decade-long feud with, and Geezer he hardly knew at all, on those early demos for what became 'Dehumanizer'... So I don't know, at that point it doesn't seem that much (more) of a stretch to imagine he would not have ended up breaking his hip while he was letting off steam and avoiding the rest of the band as much as possible in between takes.

Obviously this is all daydreaming and pure speculation "what if?" style. Iommi could very well have done something else stupid and hurtful enough to screw things up for them, like re-hiring Meehan again or staying a pawn for the father/daughter petty feud between Don Arden and Sharon/Ozzy for many years instead of cutting ties with all those shady hacks and seeking professional legal advice and proper management...

And all along, in either reality, Geoff Nicholls remained Iommi's own personal bitch for all those years. Playing guitar and keyboards, composing and writing lyrics for a dozen albums but never ever getting officially credited for his contributions, listed as an actual band member or, at various points, even allowed on stage during shows, told to play from behind the curtains like the phantom of the opera he had become. Basically like Bob Daisley had been used by Ozzy... oh and by Iommi as well, that one time Bob wrote all the lyrics for 'The Eternal Idol' (among other things) but "All songs - Tony Iommi" still ended up getting printed on the booklet somehow.

Oh well. I guess it's really fortunate we still got so much great stuff from that band despite all the wasted potential and opportunities throughout the years.
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DoomMetalAlchemist
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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:10 am
Posts: 2401
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2022 10:21 am 
 

LegendMaker wrote:
And he would likely have been in a very different mindset in the imaginary feel-good setting I described earlier on, working with real bandmates he got along great with both personally and musically, rather than having to drum for his RJD he had a decade-long feud with, and Geezer he hardly knew at all,



This may be the hottest take on Sabbath I have ever read. Neil Murray, who he made one album with Iommi was a "real bandmate" while Geezer, who was there from the beginning and made the first 11 albums with Tony, no less than 7 of those 11 considered stone cold classics not only of the band but also of hard rock and heavy metal, is somehow not a "real bandmate" and he hardly knew him? And then so much criticism for sucking up to past bandmates, but then for some reason, who's this new guy Bobby Rondinelli? Fuck him. :lol:

The hatred you seem to have towards Dio is a new level of Tony Martin fanboyism I didn't even know existed. Other than you the only people I've seen be so harsh on Dio Sabbath are the Ozzy only crowd.

And even if Iommi and Dio had a long press feud with each other, they both have long considered Heaven an Hell to be among the best albums they ever made. I'm pretty sure I've read Dio say Heaven and Hell was the very best album he ever hade, I'm not as sure if Iommi said it was the very he's ever made but I definitely know it is among his personal favorites of all of his works. Even if Iommi and Dio didn't get along as people, the musical chemistry was undeniable. And Dehumanizer turned out even better than even a few of those "classic first six".

I will agree with you about Geoff Nichols though. Wasted a lot of potential for so long when he could have been kicking ass with Quartz for decades. Instead we get two good-great Quartz albums with Geoff as a writer-performer and one more where he's a writer but not performer due to his untimely death.

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Benedict Donald
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Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2021 10:36 am
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2022 11:00 am 
 

LegendMaker wrote:
as half-assed and mediocre as 'Cross Purposes'?


CP is an outstanding album, IMO.

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LegendMaker
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:24 am
Posts: 1862
Location: France
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2022 3:40 pm 
 

DoomMetalAlchemist wrote:
(a whole lot of weak and uncalled for strawman bashing


Dude, seriously. It's cute that you want to practice your strawman building abilities, but you should start on something smaller. At the very least, actually READ the fucking post you decide to build a cascade of strawmen out of, they'll be a bit more credible. Perhaps read the username next to the post when choosing your target, too? I'm LegendMaker, bro. You'll be hard-pressed not to look like a complete moron misreading my posts that grossly and then trying to make fun out of me because the complete fabrications you end up reacting to make no sense.

A Martin fanboy? A hatred for Dio Sabbath? A gross ignorance of the band's history to the point that I wouldn't be aware Geezer Butler was the bassist for most of their career? You pulled all of that straight from your ass. There isn't any of that in my post, or in my mind.

Sigh. V_v

Seriously, read my post again, this time at normal speed, and without skipping every other line to replace it with laughably ignorant bullshit that clashes so hard with what I'm talking about, and how well I know what I'm talking about.

Start with the partial paragraph you decided to quote to make fun out of, and this time read it properly. Notice I was talking about COZY POWELL, and obviously not TONY IOMMI, and realize how stupid your "hot take" on my perfectly documented post sounds.

Move on from there and notice that you mixed so many things up that what you think you've read hardly even resembles what I wrote, and perhaps you'll want to adjust your hasty judgment (and hold back on trying to "teach me" basics about Sabbath).

Sad to see a regular from way back when I was more active on the forum seems to have fallen this low.
-----------------

Edit: You almost certainly didn't read my previous post in the thread either, and misinterpreted "what they did after Tyr and before Cross Purposes" as meaning the album 'Dehumanizer', assuming I don't like it (whereas I consider it the last great Sabbath album). I was strictly talking about the personal interactions between members, backstabbing and ripping people off, mostly. You should read that post as well for context on my so-called "hot take" you imagined.

It also seems fairly likely you're not aware that Iommi didn't disband the 'Tyr' lineup to make a 'Mob Rules' lineup reunion in one clean move. It was a long and mostly shitty process, in terms of behavior. Most of 'Dehumanizer' was done with Cozy Powell still on drums, up to the demo stage (which can easily be found online), which show what the initial drum intro he had composed for "Computer God" sounded like (it was a bit reminiscent of the one he made for "Headless Cross" but still distinct enough as to be a nod, whereas the album version was simplified to the point of sounding like a dumbed down repeat of that older intro). Cozy had a horseback accident before the recording sessions and then Dio was pushing for them to recruit Simon Wright, the shitty drummer from 'Fly on the Wall' and 'Lock up the Wolves'. Butler and Iommi refused and insisted on calling back Vinny Appice instead, despite Dio's reluctance. And that's how we almost accidentally ended up with the "reunion" line-up that made 'Dehumanizer' before quickly disbanding again.

Ozzy faked his first farewell tour (almost 30 years ago, and he's still active to this day, the slimy little shit), Dio pretended to have principles, which Iommi and Butler swiped their asses with to suck up to Ozzy anyway, and gone. Tony Martin would soon thereafter be called back, although shockingly not for the show as the opening act for Ozzy's fake farewell (Rob Halford did it, at least that bit must ring a bell). Funny enough, since Iommi had Martin on such a short leash and Dio in such high esteem that he invited Martin to their shows near the end of the tour to take over in case Dio quit or failed to show up...
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DoomMetalAlchemist
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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:10 am
Posts: 2401
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 12:01 pm 
 

Firstly, I apologize for indeed misreading your posts, I was trying to get my morning, "Internet rituals" in before I had to go to bed and read hastily, and re-reading more carefully now I can see I misread a lot. However, I take a huge issue with you accusing me of just wanting to practice stawmen, that comment in of itself is a nice strawman (:lol:) and you would've come off a lot better just leaving it at "re-read the post jackass, that's not what I said." and that's wouldn't been a complete own. Secondly, I know you're LegendMaker, and I don't give two fucks who you are, just like you don't give two fucks who I am, which is the way it should be. We're all just faceless fake names on a screen, let's not take our e-peens too seriously. I do sincerely apologize for needlessly and wrongfully attacking you though, that's my bad.

Lastly, I agree with Benedict that Cross Purposes is amazing. And I am not sure, but I may be the only one who vociferously holds that opinion that DOESN'T just explain it away with the presence of Geezer. Cross Purposes has a hell of a lot more focus on riffs, unlike all the other Martin Sabbath albums before it, and if there's one thing and one thing only that I want out of Sabbath (it's not, but it is definitely the top priority) it is a focus on RIFFS. Tony Iommi doesn't have the reputation as the all time riff god for nothing. Maybe Geezer's influence had something to due with more focus on the riffs, but I have a feeling it was more a product of the complete Mob Rules lineup making the last album that Iommi was riding on where he wanted Sabbath to be more riff-focused again, because Dehuamnizer was incredibly riff-oriented. For me one of the most frustrating things with the TM fan crowd is the maligning of Cross Purposes. I don't understand it. You love Sabbath. You love Tony Martin. You love Sabbath with Tony Martin. What in god's name is not to like about this album???? I just don't get it, and you're not even close to the first one to bewilder me in this exact manner.

Anyway I'm rambling now.

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LegendMaker
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:24 am
Posts: 1862
Location: France
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 4:31 pm 
 

DoomMetalAlchemist wrote:
Firstly, I apologize for indeed misreading your posts, I was trying to get my morning, "Internet rituals" in before I had to go to bed and read hastily, and re-reading more carefully now I can see I misread a lot. However, I take a huge issue with you accusing me of just wanting to practice stawmen, that comment in of itself is a nice strawman (:lol:) and you would've come off a lot better just leaving it at "re-read the post jackass, that's not what I said." and that's wouldn't been a complete own. Secondly, I know you're LegendMaker, and I don't give two fucks who you are, just like you don't give two fucks who I am, which is the way it should be. We're all just faceless fake names on a screen, let's not take our e-peens too seriously. I do sincerely apologize for needlessly and wrongfully attacking you though, that's my bad.

I'm honestly just as pleasantly surprised by the above as I was unpleasantly surprised by your previous one. You sound sincere, reasonable and focused, the way I remembered you. Thank you for that! You're right that my rebuttal included unnecessary and even unfair jabs, since I already had a feeling you must have been in a hurry to misread and bash my previous post(s) that hard (which doesn't fit with deliberately trying to troll me at all, in retrospect). Very sorry about that, I guess I was more butthurt than I realized when I typed that.

About referring to who I am: looking back, it does read a lot like bragging about my e-penis, the way I phrased it, so I understand your reaction to that part, and I apologize for giving you that vibe. That's not the real message I meant to convey, though (with that part and the part where I said I was sad to see you attack me like that, because I remembered you from way back). I do care about who you are in terms of the many posts of yours I've read and the interactions we had as forum regulars, and I imagine there must be something similar for most of us with people we had regular discussions with on this forum at some point (as long as we remember them).

Anyways, I'm glad this was essentially a misunderstanding and that we settled it intelligently. Now we can resume interesting discussions. ^^

DoomMetalAlchemist wrote:
Lastly, I agree with Benedict that Cross Purposes is amazing. And I am not sure, but I may be the only one who vociferously holds that opinion that DOESN'T just explain it away with the presence of Geezer.

You guys got me curious so I dusted the album off and had a fresh listen to it for the first time in many years. I'm also taking mental notes of specific opinions on it you mention and that are honestly new to me (I never had the opportunity or need to discuss or read much about it until now). There was someone earlier on in the thread who made some kind of delirious statement along the lines of "Cross Purposes is the only legit Martin album because it has Geezer", and that seems to be part of some kind of consensus among people who like that album, attributing most of its perceived greatness to Geezer's involvement, if I understood correctly? And your opinion that this is ridiculous is apparently in the minority? Well, that's already a lot to take in for me.

Regardless of one's opinion on 'Cross Purposes', I not only agree that Geezer's role on that album was nowhere near important enough to make or break it, it seems like a fairly obvious FACT to me. And I think it's well established enough from everything concrete we know of how the album was made that it shouldn't even be debatable. He was mostly the bassist, and co-composer in the old Sabbath sense of "someone Iommi can bounce his ideas off of, and can help improving some of them through jamming or arrangements". He didn't even have his former extra duties writing lyrics and vocal melodies (he only really did that for Ozzy, anyway), since Tony Martin had that more than covered. On top of that, as I mentioned earlier on, most of his musical contributions to 'Dehumanizer' were stolen riffs and even a full-blown stolen song from the guitarist of what was supposed to become "The Geezer Butler Band" which he had been working on at some point during his 9 years out of Sabbath.

Not coincidentally, in various interviews and books, but perhaps best in Iommi's autobiography, the legend goes that, after never really composing music at all up to that point (except a few extended bass lines like the intro to 'NIB', obviously)... Geezer Butler suddendly found musical inspiration for 'Dehumanizer', and Tony Iommi made a point of saying how much and how good of a surprise it was for him that Geezer finally contributed full riffs and musical ideas for the first time. They even have a convenient "Geezer was too shy or not confident enough of his own compositions to even play them to Tony I before that" bit to this narrative.

Rrright. I'm sure through all those years they spent doing coke and jamming together all of the time, Geezer secretly had great riffs up his sleeve, he just never dared mentioning them. Not even during those rare instances where Tony Iommi had writer's block and reportedly asked the rest of the band if they had any ideas of their own to contribute, like in the months before 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath'; prompting him to aptly summarize the band's main writing process throughout its history: "if I don't come up with something, nobody else does" (applies to production too, and recruitment, and sadly the countless terrible mistakes some of which I mentioned earlier on in the thread). It's also pretty famously Geoff Nicholls who composed the iconic bass line for the "Heaven and Hell" title track (even though RJD was also playing bass in some of those rehearsals since Geezer was very absent at the time). Among other things.

So yeah, I don't buy the "Geezer effect" for a second (except for the bias his presence might cause to some "purists" maybe, making them more accepting of 'Cross Purposes' than other, better Martin albums). Geezer played on 'Technical Ecstasy', 'Born Again' or '13' just as well as he played on 'Master of Reality', 'Sabotage' or 'Mob Rules', after all. He possibly contributed a few riffs for 'Cross Purposes', possibly also stolen from or at least inspired by his former bandmates if he had not used all of their ideas on 'Dehumanizer' already, but beyond that, it's just his trademark overly busy and chaotic bass lines and the great chemistry they have with Iommi's riffs. Which isn't negligible, but not that decisive either.

To top it all of, Geezer himself made no secret that he was not really into it while they were making the album, and he even later claimed that he had somehow managed to assume they were doing a "different project" and that it wouldn't be released as a Black Sabbath album...

That's another really baffling yet recurring thing with those guys. You know they even swear they wanted to release 'Born Again' under another name already? And they were shocked the label released it as such... Even though they were in contract with that label as the band Black Sabbath, and it had all the original line-up of that band except for the singer (which on top of that wasn't a first since they had done the first two albums with RJD just before that)... And then of course there's Tony Iommi featuring Black Sabbath's 'Seventh Star' (the only understandable one out of these claims). Even 'The Eternal Idol' Tony Iommi said he initially wanted to release as a solo album.... And a decade later, Geezer is recording an album with Tony Iommi and Tony Martin, that sounds quite a lot like Black Sabbath, as a follow-up to the previous Black Sabbath album, but he was dense enough not to understand this was also going to be a Black Sabbath album? Sigh. V_v

DoomMetalAlchemist wrote:
Cross Purposes has a hell of a lot more focus on riffs, unlike all the other Martin Sabbath albums before it, and if there's one thing and one thing only that I want out of Sabbath (it's not, but it is definitely the top priority) it is a focus on RIFFS. Tony Iommi doesn't have the reputation as the all time riff god for nothing. Maybe Geezer's influence had something to due with more focus on the riffs, but I have a feeling it was more a product of the complete Mob Rules lineup making the last album that Iommi was riding on where he wanted Sabbath to be more riff-focused again, because Dehuamnizer was incredibly riff-oriented.

This is... really puzzling for me. The first thing that struck me when I listened to 'Cross Purposes' again yesterday was the LACK of riffs in general, and of great ones in particular, and especially in contrast to the FOUR albums that came before it. Sure, there are plenty of great riffs on 'Dehumanizer' and they're not shy about giving those riffs center stage production wise. But have you listened to 'The Eternal Idol' in recent years? If that's not a riff fest, nothing is. 'Headless Cross' and, to a lesser extent, 'Tyr' have a less abrasive production and the riffs aren't as prominently pushed front and center, but it doesn't there aren't there. Sure, there are songs that are much more reliant on Tony Martin's commanding and beautiful vocal lines, with a sparser and more subtle instrumentation, like "Nightwing" or "Anno Mundi" (which are awesome songs regardless, and not a departure for Sabbath or Iommi either; there were plenty of "Who Are You?" or "Changes" even back in the original era). But most of these songs are chock full of good to great riffs, and they go somewhere with them. Sure, they're not all "Ancient Warrior", "The Sabbath Stones" or "When Death Calls". But they hardly lack riffs.

In contrast, the riffs on 'Cross Purposes' seem pretty close to a 1 or 2 per song ratio. And they're much more barebones and less exciting than many of those Iommi crafted on dozens of better songs across all three main eras of the band (including the previous three albums with Tony M). Which leads me to...

DoomMetalAlchemist wrote:
For me one of the most frustrating things with the TM fan crowd is the maligning of Cross Purposes. I don't understand it. You love Sabbath. You love Tony Martin. You love Sabbath with Tony Martin. What in god's name is not to like about this album???? I just don't get it, and you're not even close to the first one to bewilder me in this exact manner.

Well, I'll tell you. First, I'll admit that the sound and production really work, and the performances from everybody are GREAT, I'll certainly give you that. Even Rondinelli who basically didn't get to be much more than a session musician here is basically on par with and pretty similar to Vinny Appice in style and energy.

Unfortunately, and this goes hand in hand with the "not enough (great) riffs" problem for me: these songs are too fucking long and diluted. I mean even the best ones like "I Witness", "Immaculate Deception", "Cross of Thorns" or "Virtual Death" overstay their welcome with that few variations to justify their length. Slow and heavy doesn't have to mean unfinished and repetitive. That's what I described earlier on as half-hearted and mediocre. It's the songwriting (well the music and instrumentation parts of it, that is). Lyrics are pretty good overall and vocal melodies as well as quite a bit of harmonies at times are actually superb. Tony Martin is on fire, despite the grim situation (or perhaps as a "fuck you" to Iommi for not believing in him, maybe subconsciously even). The band sounds great. But there's not enough to work with and this would have been much better with shorter, more intense songs.

There are a few songs that are outright bad to my ears, especially "Psychophobia" with its annoying as fuck main riff. But mostly, there was the potential for a really good album overall. There are a few great moments (some of which remind me of the 'Heaven and Hell' album at times, in a good way), but I'm not sure there are great full songs. That's my issue with it, mostly. However, it's miles away from 'Forbidden' bad. It's even pretty good, honestly.

But it was one no-nonsense producer/arranger away from being great. Just someone to tell them "you're serious? you're going to repeat those 4 notes reaaaal slow for an entire minute as the intro?" or "you want to repeat the entire verse and chorus twice more than needed, here, why? no!".

I'll give it another listen in the next few days. Maybe I'm too harsh on it, maybe it needs more time to show its nuances, as most of 'Tyr' did for me. We'll see. I'll let you know.
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DoomMetalAlchemist
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 5:11 pm 
 

Very interesting..... I wonder if you share similar views with Luuvers that Master of Reality is (one of) the worst Sabbath album(s). Her reasons that I can recall are that the album is too plodding and repetitive, with songs only featuring a small number of riffs being repeated too many times. What your view of MOR is a I have no idea, but her views on MOR seem to mirror your views on Cross Purposes. And your reasons for Cross Purposes being mediocre, are not at all an issue to me. If Iommi writes a fucking kick ass riff, I want to hear it again and again. Seriously, I am not making this up, the first time I heard Into the Void, I was down right pissed off the intro riff didn't come back later because holy fuck what a riff. I still remember the exact moment I listened to MOR the first time after I bought it and the Into Void intro riff came on and bludgeoned me to death in the best possible way. I don't ever recall listening to any of the songs on Cross Purposes and thinking they outstayed their welcome. The amount of riffs in of itself doesn't matter if they don't wear out their welcome and I guess for you they do, but for me that's not the case on this album, though there are couple Ozzy era songs I can think of that do this: Megalomania, when the song changes gears and the faster riff comes in, that part is amazing, but then they end up repeating that section WAY too many times without breaking it up and I start to lose interest. Similarly, A National Acrobat, when the main riff changes to the second incarnation with a lot of wah, that is literally the one and only riff played the entire way through until the outro comes where the tempo shifts. It's a great riff, but goddman mix it up! I don't encounter this problem anywhere on Cross Purposes.

As for Eternal Idol, Hard Life to Love has a fantastic riff, The title track is nice and doomy, but overall the album doesn't really do it for me.... However, it took a LONG fucking time for me to appreciate Headless Cross aside from the first two tracks and it eventually did click with me, and the same happened with Technical Ecstasy as well, which I also used to hate.... So as Ozzy always liked to say about new Sabbath albums, "never say never." :lol:

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Cosmic_Equilibrium
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 6:37 pm 
 

LegendMaker wrote:
There was someone earlier on in the thread who made some kind of delirious statement along the lines of "Cross Purposes is the only legit Martin album because it has Geezer", and that seems to be part of some kind of consensus among people who like that album, attributing most of its perceived greatness to Geezer's involvement, if I understood correctly? And your opinion that this is ridiculous is apparently in the minority? Well, that's already a lot to take in for me.

Regardless of one's opinion on 'Cross Purposes', I not only agree that Geezer's role on that album was nowhere near important enough to make or break it, it seems like a fairly obvious FACT to me. And I think it's well established enough from everything concrete we know of how the album was made that it shouldn't even be debatable. He was mostly the bassist, and co-composer in the old Sabbath sense of "someone Iommi can bounce his ideas off of, and can help improving some of them through jamming or arrangements". He didn't even have his former extra duties writing lyrics and vocal melodies (he only really did that for Ozzy, anyway), since Tony Martin had that more than covered. On top of that, as I mentioned earlier on, most of his musical contributions to 'Dehumanizer' were stolen riffs and even a full-blown stolen song from the guitarist of what was supposed to become "The Geezer Butler Band" which he had been working on at some point during his 9 years out of Sabbath.

Not coincidentally, in various interviews and books, but perhaps best in Iommi's autobiography, the legend goes that, after never really composing music at all up to that point (except a few extended bass lines like the intro to 'NIB', obviously)... Geezer Butler suddendly found musical inspiration for 'Dehumanizer', and Tony Iommi made a point of saying how much and how good of a surprise it was for him that Geezer finally contributed full riffs and musical ideas for the first time. They even have a convenient "Geezer was too shy or not confident enough of his own compositions to even play them to Tony I before that" bit to this narrative.

Rrright. I'm sure through all those years they spent doing coke and jamming together all of the time, Geezer secretly had great riffs up his sleeve, he just never dared mentioning them. Not even during those rare instances where Tony Iommi had writer's block and reportedly asked the rest of the band if they had any ideas of their own to contribute, like in the months before 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath'; prompting him to aptly summarize the band's main writing process throughout its history: "if I don't come up with something, nobody else does" (applies to production too, and recruitment, and sadly the countless terrible mistakes some of which I mentioned earlier on in the thread). It's also pretty famously Geoff Nicholls who composed the iconic bass line for the "Heaven and Hell" title track (even though RJD was also playing bass in some of those rehearsals since Geezer was very absent at the time). Among other things.

So yeah, I don't buy the "Geezer effect" for a second (except for the bias his presence might cause to some "purists" maybe, making them more accepting of 'Cross Purposes' than other, better Martin albums). Geezer played on 'Technical Ecstasy', 'Born Again' or '13' just as well as he played on 'Master of Reality', 'Sabotage' or 'Mob Rules', after all. He possibly contributed a few riffs for 'Cross Purposes', possibly also stolen from or at least inspired by his former bandmates if he had not used all of their ideas on 'Dehumanizer' already, but beyond that, it's just his trademark overly busy and chaotic bass lines and the great chemistry they have with Iommi's riffs. Which isn't negligible, but not that decisive either.


I've quoted this bit but especially with reference to the last sentence or so.

Regardless of one's opinions on Cross Purposes as an album, I very much do consider it the only Martin era record that is a "proper" Sabbath album and not just an Iommi solo venture under a different name, primarily because Geezer is on it. OK, it's not a particularly inspired record, and Butler (as you mention) apparently thought it wasn't going to come out under the Sabbath name, but it still has the Iommi/Butler interplay which is the main thing.

I'm not really taking issue with Cross Purposes or your opinion of it, but more that you state that the Iommi/Butler interplay is not decisive in Sabbath's sound. I very much think that it is the absolute root of the entire band and always has been. There is a noticeable difference when Iommi plays with any other bassist to when he plays with Geezer. It's not really possible to describe it adequately. I suppose the nearest one could get is that it energetically reaches right through into oneself when listening to any record those two play together on, in a way no other guitar/bass pairing does. It's a bit like how the key to Pink Floyd is the ethereal Gilmour/Wright interplay that just hits the magic spot as only they alone can do.

IMO the Iommi/Butler engine room is the absolute centre of Sabbath, something that is so identifiable that it almost doesn't seem to matter who is accompanying them. That is why ultimately I consider any record both Tony and Geezer play on to be a Sabbath album. But without Butler, it's essentially Iommi solo.

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markhebb
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 6:54 pm 
 

Just chiming in to say I’ve always felt that the Japanese only track What’s The Use is actually better than most of side two of Cross Purposes


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Luvers
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 7:09 pm 
 

kalervon wrote:
Luvers wrote:
Anyone claiming the band should not be called Sabbath is just foolish.
Anyone claiming that Ozzy should not have called his band Ozzy Osbourne but Blizzard of Oz instead is just foolish. Strangely enough though, no one made that claim.
Someone here did so but I cannot find the post where this was suggested, however, here is an example:
Cosmic_Equilibrium wrote:
Regardless of one's opinions on Cross Purposes as an album, I very much do consider it the only Martin era record that is a "proper" Sabbath album and not just an Iommi solo venture under a different name...
But no one made that claim :roll:
kalervon wrote:
Luvers wrote:
If an album features Tony Iommi that he chooses to call Black Sabbath, then it is Black Sabbath.
So what about Seventh Star then?
It would be a Black Sabbath album, besides... the opener In for the Kill is just like the all previous albums openers from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath forward. Seventh Star is a vintage doom riff the album boasts and there is little Iommi can create that is not going to scream Sabbath. Iommi is Sabbath and Sabbath is Iommi. It all lives and dies by way of his guitarwork. Good try at arguing for the sake of it...


As far as this talk of Cross Purposes, not sure what everyone is on about it. There are some stinkers for sure(Immaculate Deception & Dying For Love) but it is much more exciting and vibrant than Tyr, which has the immortal Battle Of Tyr/Odin's Court/Valhalla but little else; whereas Cross Purposes has I Witness, Virtual Death, Evil Eye, What's The Use? and one of Sabbath's most underrated songs in Cross Of Thorns.

Also, the suggestion that Cross Purposes is inferior to the first set of Martin's albums because it lacks in songwriting is just absurd. It is the second most expansive record of the five Martin recorded, behind only Headless Cross. April of 2013 the internet was still completely void of any transcriptions for Cross Purposes so I transcribed the entire album and I can attest that some of the compositions are really challenging and sophisticated. Like Psychophobia's demented opening riff and how it only works when fluctuating between 3/4 & 3/8 time.
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DoomMetalAlchemist
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 7:53 pm 
 

Luvers wrote:

As far as this talk of Cross Purposes, not sure what everyone is on about it. There are some stinkers for sure(Immaculate Deception & Dying For Love) but it is much more exciting and vibrant than Tyr, which has the immortal Battle Of Tyr/Odin's Court/Valhalla but little else; whereas Cross Purposes has I Witness, Virtual Death, Evil Eye, What's The Use? and one of Sabbath's most underrated songs in Cross Of Thorns.



This is an interesting opinion. I love Immaculate Deception, definitely one of Cross Purposes highlights for me. Tyr I think is the 2nd best of the Martin albums following CP, and yes that triology is great, but no love for The Lawmaker? The Law Maker juuuuuuuuuust might be my fav non-Cross Purposes Tony Martin era Sabbath track.

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Luvers
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 8:19 pm 
 

DoomMetalAlchemist wrote:
Luvers wrote:
As far as this talk of Cross Purposes, not sure what everyone is on about it. There are some stinkers for sure(Immaculate Deception & Dying For Love) but it is much more exciting and vibrant than Tyr, which has the immortal Battle Of Tyr/Odin's Court/Valhalla but little else; whereas Cross Purposes has I Witness, Virtual Death, Evil Eye, What's The Use? and one of Sabbath's most underrated songs in Cross Of Thorns.
This is an interesting opinion. I love Immaculate Deception, definitely one of Cross Purposes highlights for me. Tyr I think is the 2nd best of the Martin albums following CP, and yes that triology is great, but no love for The Lawmaker? The Law Maker juuuuuuuuuust might be my fav non-Cross Purposes Tony Martin era Sabbath track.
In calling them stinkers is only relative to the rest of the songs. The Martin era has been my favorite since Headless Cross dropped so I do not truly dislike any of the material, even Forbidden which I think is definitely the weakest but has a few great tracks.

Law Maker is okay. I really like Heaven And Black though. The problem with Tyr for me is rather ironic. I think each of the songs are extremely well crafted and none of them suck but only the trilogy truly stands out. Anno Mundi is great for the first 3 minutes and then drags. Sabbath Stones takes too long to get going though it has its moments. Feels Good to Me is a very competent ballad for what it is trying to be but is still the weakest song.


Headless Cross dropped just shy of six months after Ozzy's No Rest For the Wicked and while I obviously cannot speak for anyone else, I sure would have paid top dollar in 1989 to see a co-headlining tour package of Headless Cross lineup Sabbath and Ozzy's No Rest... lineup, perhaps with a small set of Ozzy era songs as the final package. I doubt any person who was a fan of either camp would have given anything to see that show, I know I felt this way back then.
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kalervon
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 9:50 pm 
 

Luvers wrote:
kalervon wrote:
Luvers wrote:
Anyone claiming the band should not be called Sabbath is just foolish.
Anyone claiming that Ozzy should not have called his band Ozzy Osbourne but Blizzard of Oz instead is just foolish. Strangely enough though, no one made that claim.
Someone here did so but I cannot find the post where this was suggested, however, here is an example:
Cosmic_Equilibrium wrote:
Regardless of one's opinions on Cross Purposes as an album, I very much do consider it the only Martin era record that is a "proper" Sabbath album and not just an Iommi solo venture under a different name...
But no one made that claim :roll:
Exactly, poor example at least. What he implied is that only Black Sabbath albums with at least 2 original members should be called Black Sabbath. That implies: all albums with Dio on it, Born Again AND of course Cross Purposes. And possibly Ozzmosis.

Luvers wrote:
kalervon wrote:
Luvers wrote:
If an album features Tony Iommi that he chooses to call Black Sabbath, then it is Black Sabbath.
So what about Seventh Star then?
It would be a Black Sabbath album, besides... the opener In for the Kill is just like the all previous albums openers from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath forward. Seventh Star is a vintage doom riff the album boasts and there is little Iommi can create that is not going to scream Sabbath. Iommi is Sabbath and Sabbath is Iommi. It all lives and dies by way of his guitarwork. Good try at arguing for the sake of it...
You wrote if Iommi chose to release an album as Black Sabbath then it is without question Sabbath; in other words, that it was a sufficient condition. I asked about Seventh Star because it's the only album Iommi not only didn't originally choose to release as Black Sabbath, but resisted doing so to the point of naming it "Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi". However, you also wrote that Seventh Star sounds like Black Sabbath, so it doesn't matter what it was released as; Iommi, Black Sabbath or "...featuring...". So if Iommi choosing to release an album as Black Sabbath has ever been the determining condition, for which album was it ? In other words, what album doesn't sound like Black Sabbath but is Black Sabbath because Iommi said so ?
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kalervon
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 10:38 pm 
 

LegendMaker wrote:
kalervon wrote:
LegendMaker wrote:
It's a bit hard for me not get pissed off when I think about what Sabbath could have accomplished had Tony Iommi had a few more brain cells and/or decency to not destroy what they had been building up from 1987 to 1990. And I often end up thinking about it when I revisit the Martin era. Or Sabbath in general.

A few more albums like Cross Purposes, tours with nu metal bands opening for them, lukewarm response, accusations of destroying the Sabbath legacy by the so-called purists and further descent in poverty.


Yeah? You think an immediate follow-up to 'Tyr' done by the same line-up who had been together since the 'Headless Cross' tour and had great chemistry and artistic momentum at that point (and was killing it live) would have been somehow as half-assed and mediocre as 'Cross Purposes'? I highly doubt that.
I don't think Powell/Murray contributed anything in terms of songwriting. No one can pinpoint a "Slide it In" sound or groove in "Tyr" or "Forbidden"; or vice-versa. For sure most people would be able to spot the difference between a song recorded with Cozy on drums vs. Vinny Appice; but the bass/drum combination isn't all that noticeable and critical to those albums. Headless Cross had Laurence Cottle and if anyone told me it is Neil Murray I would believe it.

The question is, what if Butler and Dio never came back; what would a 1992 album with Martin in lieu of Dehumanizer have sounded like ? For sure, all the song ideas lifted from Butler's band would be off the table. Iommi would have written all songs with Martin and perhaps Nichols. But after the lukewarm reception of Tyr and the meagre success of the Tyr shows/tour; wouldn't Iommi once again been pressured (externally or internally) to try something different ? To once again look around at what was big at the time and try it out ?

For what my observations and memories are worth, the Martin stuff in the early 90s felt like it was in a no-man's land. It wasn't thrash, it wasn't power metal, it wasn't prog metal, it wasn't funky, it didn't break grounds like say Faith No More, it didn't attempt to sound like Pantera. I didn't know anyone else who was enjoying the band back then; in person, and this was the feeling I got from magazines as well (reviews, letters, interviews with other bands..).

I don't think that Iommi particularly loved the style he was doing on Headless Cross/Tyr enough to just continue in that direction. I think he was just out to make a good living out of his trade and to be as successful as possible, which is why he ripped off all those people over time. He's a musician at heart, but after 25 some years of struggling, he had to turn into a business man as well.

I don't know what a 1992 Martin/Powell/Murray album would have sounded like. But Dehumanizer, even though it had a tortuous history, is something I'm glad we had, and I can't imagine this album with Martin on vocals because Dio's over the top angry vocals are necessary to most songs. Dehumanizer could afford to be outside trends because it was a return to a previous line up which was old enough for people to feel nostalgic for; also benefitting from the Dio (the band) fans who didn't exist back in 1982. It would sell a certain number of units no matter what and attract crowds. This took the creative pressure off.
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Cosmic_Equilibrium
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 7:33 am 
 

kalervon wrote:
Exactly, poor example at least. What he implied is that only Black Sabbath albums with at least 2 original members should be called Black Sabbath. That implies: all albums with Dio on it, Born Again AND of course Cross Purposes. And possibly Ozzmosis.


That isn't exactly what I implied or indeed said. If you read my post you will see that I clearly state that as long as Iommi and Butler are on the same record, then IMO it's Sabbath in some form. This only applies to that specific pairing. Geezer does, for example, turn up on Ozzmosis, but since Iommi isn't there, it doesn't qualify as Sabbath. Ozzy and Bill feature on a track on Iommi's first solo record, but again there's no Butler, so that doesn't qualify as Sabbath either.

I will reiterate that the Iommi/Butler pairing - and that pairing alone - is the engine room of Sabbath and thereby the key to the band and therefore any record they both play on qualifies as being a Sabbath album of some form IMO.

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Benedict Donald
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 8:37 am 
 

markhebb wrote:
Just chiming in to say I’ve always felt that the Japanese only track What’s The Use is actually better than most of side two of Cross Purposes



This is a fantastic song....thanks for sharing. The hook when the chorus arrives is infectious.

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LegendMaker
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 8:41 am 
 

Lots of interesting points, counterpoints and opinions since my last post. It feels particularly good to me (no reference to the song ^^) to be able to discuss all this with fellow fans, thank you all for that.

I would have a lot of things to add and replies to specific comments to make, but I'm a bit pressed for time. So I'll just contribute a couple of major points that transpire throughout all the smaller points I would have made.

1/ A Matter of Taste
Obviously, to each their own and all that. There are plenty of things we can argue about, information we can share and crosscheck together, and we can of course state and, to a point (but only up to a point), explain our respective preferences to one another. But at the end of the day, many things will still boil down to "I love this, whereas you don't care for it" and vice versa. A lot of that is unsurprisingly apparent in plenty of posts, and there's no right or wrong. Whatever floats your boat, or mine, or someone else's.

2/ Of Composition, Inspiration, Songwriting, Quality, and again Taste
I'm a composer myself and I've always been primarily interested in the meat and bones of songs, the composition, development and arrangements, in anything I listen to. It typically comes first for me, above musicianship, performance, production and so on. Now it doesn't mean a great composition played like shit with a shitty sound will satisfy me (although I will spot its wasted potential and not discard it as harshly as others who focus primarily on other aspects might). It does however mean that a bad or even just okay composition performed and produced to perfection won't be of any particular interest to me (and conversely, I will spot its lack of substance contrary to those primarily focused on more surface qualities who might still enjoy it).

It's also crucial to me to clarify that this has NOTHING to do with music theory, with technical difficulty, with level of complexity or any of the stuff that interests musicologists, incompetent composers who made a career on YouTube "explaining" others' compositions, people classically or jazzically trained or otherwise formatted to think and perceive music through a lens that has far too many graduations for its own good. I do NOT give a shit whether something is a couple of power chords or a long and intricate progression of 6-string chords that requires invoking the circle of 5ths and making two hours of mental gymnastics between augmented this and the relative minor third of that to "understand" (or anything in between, obviously). It's good or it's not good. It makes me FEEL something, it tells me a story, even, or it's just a bunch of sounds that go okay together but leave me cold. That's ALL that matters to me as a musician, composer and music listener.

3/ Back to the Sabbath Discussion Proper
So. My criticism of 'Cross Purposes' isn't to be taken at face value either, especially the part about the songs being too diluted, repetitive, and not having enough riffs. These are all approximations of how the album feels lacking to me. It's not a mathematical formula or problem that can be "solved" or transposed to a different album either.

For instance, 'Master of Reality' is a fucking masterpiece that keeps me at the edge of my seat to this day from start to finish. Okay, I'll sometimes skip "Solitude" and I'll often just go for a few specific songs to scratch that itch, it's not a religious experience either and I don't have to listen to the whole thing every time, far from it. But I can and do sometimes. And it definitely has more riffs and a greater number of tempo shifts and subtle variations than 'Cross Purposes', but that's far besides the point. Yeah, the central riff of "Into the Void" would be hard-pressed to get me bored even if it does get repeated dozens upon dozens of times throughout the song (with many, many variations and breaks in between, though). Because it's a fucking god-tier riff that completely overtakes me and makes me feel its vibe through my entire body and soul, not just my ears and brain. No riff on 'Cross Purposes' comes close enough to that to even see it appear on the horizon, unfortunately (actually, there are a few, but none of the ones they repeat, sadly). So I'm far less forgiving of the repetition, because it's not a pleasure that's prolonged in that case, it's a chore.

There are so many songs off of the first three Geezer-less Martin-led albums that completely fascinate and transcend me, in contrast. "The Sabbath Stones" takes to long to get going? Well, hard to disagree more when I'm excited as fuck by the call/response riffs/vocal lines intro alone, and it only gets better, deeper, wider, more exciting and satisfying as it goes. Every second of it is a blast. It's one of the best Sabbath songs all eras combined to my ears. The "trilogy" on 'Tyr' doesn't excite me as much, as in I like the first two parts well enough when I listen to the entire album, but "Valhalla" is such a fucking monster on its own, I most often can't wait and just go straight to it.

Cozy Powell contributed A LOT to the songwriting process, actually. He was more or less Iommi's Lars Ulrich at that point in that regard. He had a lot of input on song structure, pacing, riff selection, and more. For the most part, 'Headless Cross' started out as Iommi and Powell spending a lot of time together going through some of the huge bags of recorded riffs and ideas Tony had on hand, because of course, and bouncing ideas off of each other. Then they started fleshing out a bunch of riffs they had selected and jamming together, with new riffs and a whole lot of rhythmic and narrative ideas taking shape that way. Then of course Geoff Nicholls was brought in and also contributed.

And once the music for most of the songs was pretty set, albeit with only a vague idea of where and how to incorporate vocal parts (except for a few that Geoff had already made a first draft for) that went back to Tony Martin who proceeded to write all of the lyrics and vocal melodies on his own while listening to the initial demos and future backing tracks, and then they jammed some more and finalized the songs. Laurence Cottle was brought in later on mostly to play Geoff Nicholls' bass lines in a professional bassist manner for the record. I don't think Neil Murray had much more involvement in the process for 'Tyr', although he certainly contributed to the jamming sessions earlier than the previous album guest/session bassist had.

Neil Murray did sound very very at ease with Geezer's and Nicholls' bass lines live, and he certainly played extremely well and much more than just your average bassist would have on 'Tyr'. He was no Geezer, sure, but he still definitely had chemistry with Iommi and Powell.

Buy yeah, no Cozy, no 'Headless Cross' or 'Tyr' at least as we know them. And again his contributions to "Computer God" and a few other songs they had already pretty much finished by the time he had to step down due to his broken hip are pretty important too. Obviously not worthy of a songwriting credit, just like Vinny Appice for some reason never deserved proper royalties or credit for his own contributions in Sabbath (although he did in DIO, strangely enough), so the whole thing just got the "Butler/Iommi/Dio" treatment. But in terms of who actually did what, it was a whole lot more than those three.

Lastly, I'd like to say that I understand and acknowledge the unique chemistry of Iommi and Geezer (as I already mentioned) and, in terms of musicianship and performance, for sure that's at the very core of Sabbath in general. However, I think mistaking this for mandatory and essential for Sabbath to exist is short-sighted or strongly biased. There are shitty Sabbath albums with Geezer and fantastic Sabbath albums without Geezer. That's what I was trying to say when I mentioned a few albums I don't care for with him on it. I fully agree the only two absolutely indispensable elements needed to make a Sabbath album are Tony Iommi and the Sabbath spirit and style on Tony Iommi (as a composer first and foremost, and then as a guitarist and band leader).

That's why I completely understand and agree with him that 'Seventh Star' doesn't makes sense as a Sabbath album (even though yes, it's a good hard rock album with more than a bit of Sabbath-isms on it, and at least the title track completely sounds like a damn good Sabbath song to me). But I completely disagree with anyone, Black Sabbath members included, claiming 'Born Again', 'The Eternal Idol', 'Cross Purposes' and 'The Devil You Know' should have anything other than BLACK SABBATH as the artist's name. And I obviously feel the same about 'Headless Cross' and 'Tyr'. 'Forbidden', sadly, is still technically a Black Sabbath album, no matter how hard it was set up for failure and how terrible it predictably turned out to be. Just like I can't deny '13' is a Black Sabbath album, even though I wish it had never been made for more than one reason (because it's a shitty parody but more importantly because it's the pinnacle of Ozzy killing the band with Iommi's complicity and submission).
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Benedict Donald
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 10:23 am 
 

Re-listening to "Cross Purposes" right now. Yep, a killer album!!
"Tyr" is still my fav from this era, but this is not far behind it.

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Ace_Rimmer
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 10:31 am 
 

I still need to track down a copy of Cross Purposes. I'm hoping "CD guy" at the upcoming fest has it as he is always loaded with classic stuff like that.

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Metallic Shock
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 6:14 pm 
 

Big fan of the Martin era. My favorite is probably Tyr these days though aside from Forbidden I hold them all in good to great regard. I really wish they'd release a version of Tyr with boosted bass though, because Neil Murray's a tremendously underrated player (see his work with National Health and the first few Whitesnake albums in particular) but he's sadly buried on much of that album. There are a few bits where he does pop out if you're listening for him (the bridge in Valhalla and the two melodic bass lead sections in The Sabbath Stones come to mind) and I feel like with a remix there would likely be more in that vein to dig my bass nerd teeth into lol.

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markhebb
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 10:31 pm 
 

Quick question about credits on TYR. Music is attributed to Black Sabbath- now I know sometimes this can be misleading- for example we know Geezer didn’t write everything he is credited to have written in Heaven and He’ll. But surely this credit on TYR suggests that Neil Murray was a part of the writing process?

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LegendMaker
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 3:42 am 
 

Metallic Shock wrote:
Neil Murray's a tremendously underrated player (see his work with National Health and the first few Whitesnake albums in particular) but he's sadly buried on much of that album. There are a few bits where he does pop out if you're listening for him (the bridge in Valhalla and the two melodic bass lead sections in The Sabbath Stones come to mind) and I feel like with a remix there would likely be more in that vein to dig my bass nerd teeth into lol.

I definitely see which parts you're referring to, and I also had these and a few more in mind when I said he did a great job as the bassist on 'Tyr'. I despise remixes and remasters with a fierce passion, so it would be a hard pass for me, but I can understand and partially share your curiosity. Isolated tracks would be a good enough solution for that purpose, though.

markhebb wrote:
Quick question about credits on TYR. Music is attributed to Black Sabbath- now I know sometimes this can be misleading- for example we know Geezer didn’t write everything he is credited to have written in Heaven and He’ll. But surely this credit on TYR suggests that Neil Murray was a part of the writing process?

I'll have to do some digging and revisit some of the various books and interviews to make sure, as I haven't focused on the process for making 'Tyr' as much as the surrounding albums so far. But it's in part because I know the line-up was stable for the first time in forever at that point, and it must have been a fairly smooth and organic process compared to the previous two or the next two. As far as I know, the "All music by BLACK SABBATH" thing was first and foremost a not subtle way of affirming "yeah, that lineup is Black Sabbath, and it's a real full band again", and also a relatively nice gesture from Iommi (and Powell) compared to most of the other post-Ozzy albums that denied credits to several members (and/or most of the band's albums in general that credited members like Ozzy who contributed zilch to the power of nada).

Hmm, okay, actually it's a bit more subtle than that. While most of the available sources just have the broad "by Black Sabbath" credit (along with "all lyrics by Tony Martin"), there are several places on different versions of the original release where they've been somewhat more precise. "All tracks by Iommi/Martin/Nicholls/Powell/Murray, except track 5 by Iommi/Nicholls/Powell/Murray". Track 5 being the short instrumental "The Battle of Tyr", so Martin is removed from the credits for that one due to the absence of lyrics and vocal melodies (although it's pretty clear he came up with the title, but yeah). There's no "Black Sabbath is:" in any version before listing the line-up, but every instance of personnel listing on any version lists Iommi, Powell, Martin, Murray in that order, and then Nicholls in a twice smaller font. So at least he wasn't explicitly listed as a "guest" or "additional" musician this time, but he was still implicitly made to look like less than a full band member (which makes the "music and arrangements by Black Sabbath" mention ambiguous as to whether that's meant to include Geoff Nicholls or not).

Ironically, where they listed the songwriters individually by name and by order of importance instead, Nicholls is second to only Iommi for the music, even placed before Powell (Martin arguably contributed to the music in the sense that he came up with all the vocal melodies as usual, although not everyone who does that needs to overcompensate as much as RJD by specifying it every time). And in this particular case, since the loose concept for the album's theme (even though it's not a concept album) comes entirely from Martin, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the songs actually started from his lyrics and melodies instead of him adding them as the final touch after the other members composed the bulk of the music (especially songs like "Anno Mundi" or "Jerusalem" that are very much driven by the vocal lines more than anything else).

So... Basically, my best educated guess from what I know of the process and habits of the band before and after that and from all the slightly contradictory credits available, is that Iommi composed most of the music primarily with Nicholls and Powell, except for some tracks that were initiated by Martin instead and for which Iommi, Nicholls and Powell fleshed out the song structure and instrumentation around his lyrics and vocal lines. And then, Neil Murray composed the bass lines (except some that were likely already established by Nicholls earlier on in the process as was often the case) and possibly contributed to some of the finer arrangements in the final rounds of jamming sessions and rehearsals with the whole band.

Can I drag and drop images directly in here now? (I don't really feel like uploading them on a third-party site right now). Hmmpf. No, it seems that the IMG function is just to copy paste a link instead. Oh well. You'll have to take my word for it for now. ^^
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I would like to hear some recommendations of black metal bands/albums that sound depressive, yet sad and melancholic at the same time.

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markhebb
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 5:37 am 
 

Thanks for that- I only have the crappy ‘classic rock’ reissue version of TYR which doesn’t have much in the way of credits….

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Metallic Shock
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 5:27 pm 
 

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/musi ... t-1211886/
This is a pretty informative interview with Neil that goes over his whole career really but there are some interesting Sabbath observations in particular. He talks a bit about the recording session for Tyr here:

Neil Murray wrote:
By that point, it was very much Cozy and Tony’s band. I didn’t feel like an equal part, though perhaps it was a little different onstage. In the studio, it was kind of like, for me, “Come on, Neil. Play the bass parts.” “Well, I haven’t got any vocals to play to.” “That doesn’t matter. Just play what the bass part should be.”

That’s not really how I like to do things. I play off everything that’s going on on the record. It wasn’t as satisfying as I would have liked, but it was an enjoyable band to be part of. You could tell that the lack of success, in America particularly, was really frustrating for Tony Iommi. I think the fact that we couldn’t even go back there to promote Tyr persuaded him to go, “OK, let’s get Ronnie back in, and Geezer.” It certainly worked, for a short time anyway.

Doesn't really confirm anything about what he wrote or not but I thought it was an interesting interview (and there's more than that in there about the Sabbath experience also). In general I think the Tyr lineup is the best Sabbath lineup in terms of cumulative talent aside from perhaps Heaven & Hell, so it's a bummer that the swansong of that combination was Forbidden. There are some strong standouts on that album and the bass is more present which I like but it really reflects the inner turmoil and perhaps even disinterest that plagued them at that point sadly.

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markhebb
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 6:54 pm 
 

I remember reading that Headless Cross was a really big success in certain markets- I know it was the highest charting album Sabbath had in Germany (top twenty) and it reached around number 30 on the British charts. Here in Australia You could get the Headless Cross tour t-shirt pretty widely- so clearly something positive was happening for the band and they toured widely on the back of the record. It seems that the lack of US success for the record was the real killer and when TYR failed to get them to the next level they panicked….

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LegendMaker
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2022 7:22 am 
 

Thanks for the interview, I hadn't read that one. Pretty much confirms their usual process, for the most part (and that Neil Murray joined it near the end and only for bass lines). I still think some of the songs on 'Tyr' definitely started from Martin's lyrics and vocal lines, so his specific mention of not having any recorded vocals to play to is probably an anecdote for other songs. It's also pretty weird a bassist would expect the lead vocals to have been recorded before the bass parts; that's rarely if ever how it works anywhere for anyone. Interesting nonetheless.
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I would like to hear some recommendations of black metal bands/albums that sound depressive, yet sad and melancholic at the same time.

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Metallic Shock
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2022 2:30 am 
 

No problem, it's fun to delve into the behind-the-scenes rabbit hole like this. It does maybe sound odd on paper that a bassist would want the vocals to be there, but in a way it makes sense. The bass traditionally supports the rest of the members both rhythmically and melodically, so knowing for sure what the vocals are doing harmonically can help a bassist know if a certain selection of notes in that register will negatively impact the vocal line or not. It does read a bit perfectionist-y though yeah, I wonder if his other bands like Whitesnake or Empire afforded him that luxury because on paper I wouldn't THINK they would at least.

Somewhat related, but fans of Martin-era Sabbath would do well to check out Rondinelli's second solo album called Our Cross - Our Sins. It's got Bobby on drum, his brother Teddy Rondinelli on guitar, and then Martin and Murray on vocals and bass. It's not a complete success but it does have a similar appeal to some of the Martin Sabbath stuff and everyone plays/sings really well on it.

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