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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Iommi

Iommi

Review by Gary Hill

This solo release by Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has quite a bit in common with last year’s Supernatural release by Santana. In both cases you have a guitar legend, who is an almost undisputed originator of his musical genre. In both cases the guitarist has chosen various musicians to accompany him on the various tracks, many of them newer artists who have a fairly high visibility. Granted, the Santana disc’s chosen genre was Latin rock while Iommi’s disc is in his field of heavy metal. We can certainly hope, however, that Iommi has even a small part of the success that Supernatural gave Carlos Santana.

Among the guests on the disc are Henry Rollins, Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Brian May (Queen), Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) and Ace and Skin (Skunk Anansie). One track even features Iommi’s Sab band mates Ozzy and Bill Ward. The music on the CD is in many places quite Sabbathesque, and understandably so. However, there are also many other styles and tendencies here that have a much more modern sound. Overall, this is a very strong album with some of the material more powerful than others, but still nothing is exceptionally weak.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Laughing Man in the Devil Mask
Hard edged and modern sounding, this one features the vocal talents of Henry Rollins. Although some of the material on the cut is rather Sabbathish, there is a bridge here that really feels a lot like modern King Crimson.
Meat
This one showcases the talents of Ace and Skin of Skunk Anansie. Starting with sedate and spooky tones, this cut begins building on those themes. There is a distinct Sab sound in some places, particularly the chorus. Skin’s vocals are, as usual, absolutely awe-inspiring. After a time, the number shifts gear into a different hard rocking break with a definite Black Sab flavor. This is a very strong cut on an incredible CD.to the mix.
Goodbye Lament
This cut features Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) and Brian May (Queen). It begins low with a technoish mood. The verse is in an almost balladic modern rock style, but the bridge features a riff that is SO Black Sabbath.
Time Is Mine
With a musical structure that feels as if it could have been torn from one of the Dio era Sab albums, Philip Anselmo’s (Pantera) vocals give this song a more hard edged modern death metal oriented tone. This is one of the hardest rockers on the disc.
Patterns
Featuring Serj Tankian (System of A Down), this is another of the harder rocking pieces on the CD, although it also has a rap oriented texture at times. This is no Limp Bizkit, though, and is definitely created by the fertile mind of Sabbath’s guitar meister. The lyrics here are quite strong and empowering.
Black Oblivion
With a definite skull-crunching Sab oriented sound on the verse, the choruses to this one have a creepy off kilter sound in an Alice Cooperish mode. The cut feature’s Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan. The guitar solo on this one is a sheer work of art. The cut gets very creepy at times and jumps into an awesome bluesy and more sedate segment after a time that ends the piece. At nearly 8 1./2 minutes, this is one of the longer cuts on the CD.
Flame On
With a great chunky groove to start the number, this one drops to a more moody verse, then jumps back up in spurts. It features the vocals of Ian Astbury (The Cult), lending a distinctly Cultish sound to it. Brain May also plays on this piece. It drops to a rather odd ambient mode after a time.
Just Say No To Love
This cut has vocals by Peter Steele (Type O Negative). It alternates between a moody mode with deep vocals and a hard rocking segment with more high toned singing. The vocals and lyrics on this one really make the cut. That is not to say that the music is lacking, though. In fact, the arrangement on this one is quite strong.
Who's Fooling Who
This is the most Sabbathesque cut on the disc, but with Bill Ward behind the drum kit and Ozzy on vocals, how could it not be? The song has the slow but powerful and creepy Sabbath style with a chorus that has a more modern texture. At times this one calls to mind “War Pigs”, “Black Sabbath” and other Sab classics. It jumps into a killer fast paced jam with trademark Iommi jamming. This one really makes me wish that the reunited Black Sabbath had done the full studio album about which we all heard rumors..
Into The Night
Featuring the vocals of Billy Idol, this one starts in a sedate sort of moody mode, almost Pink Floydish, and it begins building from there. As the chorus starts, the cut gets much heavier and very Sabbath oriented. The lyrics to this one are spooky, dark and just a little funny, but not for all listeners. The best segment of the number is a fast paced rocking jam late in the cut that almost feels like Billy Idol’s take on the Doors. The cut reverts to the mellow mode that started it, this time to end.
 
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