Black Sabbath - 1986 The Seventh Star

edited August 2 in year-1986

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ARTIST: Black Sabbath
ALBUM: Seventh Star
LABEL: Vertigo
SERIAL: 826 704-1
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1996, Essential, ESM CD 335

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image image

LINEUP: Tony Iommi - guitars * Glenn Hughes - vocals * Dave 'The Beast' Spitz - bass * Eric Singer - drums * Geoff Nicholls - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 In For The Kill * 02 No Stranger To Love * 03 Turn To Stone * 04 Sphinx (The Guardian) * 05 Seventh Star * 06 Danger Zone * 07 Heart Like A Wheel * 08 Angry Heart * 09 In Memory

WEBLINK: Site Link

Background

This is of course the album never intended to be a Black Sabbath release. Due to record company pressure, Tony Iommi caved in and it came out under the nonsensical title 'Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi'.

Iommi had wanted to disband Sabbath after the aborted reunion with Ozzy Osbourne following 'Live Aid 85'. After that fell through he went about assembling talent for his supposed debut solo album. That talent was undeniable.

Glenn Hughes became the second ex Deep Purple vocalist to sing for Sabbath (after Ian Gillan), while session men Dave Spitz and Eric Singer rounded things out.

The slick melodic rock (near AOR) approach appalled many die-hard fans. But it was Sabbath's most melodic album to date. By no means had Iommi toned down the heaviness either.

The Songs

'In For The Kill' starts things off on a true metal note. Iommi's trademark riffs are everywhere, the standard galloping gonads approach favoured. Hughes easily reverts back to the heavier side of music, his pipes getting a good work out.

'No Stranger To Love' shocked many, an Americanised AOR track of genuine quality. Tons of keyboards from Nicholls and Iommi easily adapts to the more melodic style of rock. Unexpected, but brilliant.

'Turn To Stone' is Sabbath at their heaviest, a right kicker with pace and riffs galore. Singer thrashes his drum kit into oblivion, with the added treat of the cowbell. Total metal. 'Seventh Star' is heavy handed and doomy, more along regular Sabbath lines.

'Danger Zone' crosses the thin line between AOR and metal, for my money the best Sabbath cut of the decade. The tension in the chorus and guitar work is masterful, never a wasted moment. As good as messrs Dio, Gillan and Martin were, nothing is comparable to this.

'Heart Like A Wheel' slows things down, heavily blues influenced. At six and a half minutes Iommi gets to unleash his wizardry with a lengthy solo.

'Angry Heart' builds up in aggression with chunky riffing before an eventual AOR chorus, moody stuff. 'In Memory', barely over two minutes is another heavy ballad, closing things out.

In Summary

Hughes only lasted a few dates on the tour, drug problems forcing him out.

Ray Gillen (Badlands) replaced him until Tony Martin stepped in for almost a decade.

Nothing he recorded reached the levels of 'Seventh Star', which showed another side to Iommi, the ability to create commercial melodic rock.

Sadly this direction was not explored further. Had this been released solo, the reviews would have been better.

Even as a Sabbath album it still rates as one of the best. It's still metal, but with superior melodies and a class vocalist.

It remains more enriching than the Ozzy era, if only to these ears. 'Danger Zone' is worth the price alone (and you would say that.. lol! ..Ed).


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