"Seventh Star" is the Black Sabbath album that wasn't supposed to be a Black Sabbath album. Most of you probably know the story: after the album that was going to be Tony Iommi's first solo effort had been finished, the record company insisted that the Black Sabbath name should be used, leading into the compromise of "Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi." When considered against this background, the departure from the traditional Sabbath style, and songs like the radio-friendly power ballad "No Stranger To Love" and the lengthy blues jam of "Heart Like A Wheel" make more sense. Having said that, there are enough heavier moments on the album, the standout tracks being the catchy hard rocker "Danger Zone" and the brooding title track.
What really is the gem in this re-release is disc 2, a live CD featuring Ray Gillen on vocals, having taken over from Glenn Hughes after a couple of gigs. As far as I know, the songs were taken from a disc called "Ray Rules," a decent-enough sounding unofficial concert recording. The sound may not be the best possible one, but hey, let's face it: there aren't exactly that many live recordings from this brief period of Sabbath, are there?
Based on this evidence, Ray Gillen's vocal talents were undeniable. No disrespect to Glenn Hughes, but I actually prefer Ray's version of "Danger Zone" to the original. All the other songs are handled capably as well.
All in all, a worthy release, covering one of the obscurest eras of the band.