It was with some trepidation that I put this CD in the stereo. Too many legends have been releasing sub standard albums lately, and Mr Iommis Sabbath colleague Geezer Butler was the latest to disappoint. TO be fair, having the golden tonsilled Glenn Hughes back on board was a plus sig. After all, Shug has been releasing a string of top quality albums for a few years now, but still, I was worried.
And my worries were justified. Opening track ‘Dopamine’ is dull, modern metal by numbers, which fails to deliver. I felt crushed. Until the second track, ‘Wasted Again’ kicked in. There it is! The riff! And the Riffmeister General! And The Voice Of Rock! Thank you so much. For this is the best thing Tony Iommi has done since ‘Seventh Star’, the cruelly underrated masterpiece he put together with Glenn Hughes in 1986, following a tortuous period of Black Sabbath history that saw Ron Keel, David Donato and possibly Jeff Fenholt passing through the door marked vocalist in sharp succession.
But this is the album I’ve been waiting 20 years for. Granted, we had the abortive ‘DEP Session’, which lay around unreleased for years. But this is a true successor to ‘Seventh Star’. After the storming ‘Wasted Again’, they hit a powerful and mellow groove over the next 4 tracks which picks up where ‘Seventh Star’ left off, with a 21st century edge courtesy of an excellent Bob Marlette production. ‘Saviour Of The Rear’, ‘Resolution Song’ and ‘Grace’ are exemplary songs, showing just how heavy you can be, while still remaining melodic. The bluesy ‘Deep Inside A Shell’ takes a different tack, but without sacrificing any power.
Then it’s pedal firmly back on the metal with the driving ‘What You’re Living For’. I suspect this is the track that long standing Sabbath fans will take to their heart. The heaviest song either man has been associated with in a long, long time, with a classic Sabbath mid section. ‘Face Your Fear’ sounds like a live anthem in waiting, with pounding bass riff (nice Geezer impersonation) and sing-a-long-a-Sabbath chorus. A quick tip of the hat to Kenny Aronoff who belies his Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Bob Seger background with an excellent heavy and warm drum sound, and earned his Sabbath spurs on the last Iommi solo album track, ‘Black Oblivion’.
‘The Spell’ is the one track that harks back to the days when a certain Mr Osbourne used to sing with with Mr Iommi, with a doom metal riff that shows the pretenders to the throne where to get off. But in finest tradition, the best is saved for last, with the nine minute epic, ‘I Go Insane’, part prog rock, part acoustic ballad with an incredible instrumental section and a crashing metallic finale. The best track you will hear this year, and one of the finest these two legends have put their name to.
This is an incredibly good album and makes you wonder what could have been if Glenn Hughes had managed to hold it together all those years ago. With plans to tour as a power trio it has the promise to be the live event of the year. And Tony/Glenn, please don’t leave it another 20 years before you get back in the studio.
on 23 July 2005
Well, I was simply shocked how good this album is. Before i heard it, i was expecting just a little side project... an appetiser to the Black Sabbath/Deep Purple main course. I was very wrong. The riffs and general instrumentation on this album match anything Sabbath has ever done, including the legendary early ozzy era.
Glenn Hughes is still an incredable singer. His vocal style is similar to Chris Cornell on early sound garden albums (many would say Chris is a Glenn rip off, I like both), so any fans of Cornell might want to check this out.
Most surprisingly of all, is that the lyrics on this album are actually very good. Usually with older rock stars the first thing that goes is the ability to write coherent lyrics and catchy choruses, but these guys are back to their very best.
Highlights are Resolution song and Grace, but the whole album is consistantly strong. This will be a good contender for hard rock/heavy metal album of the year.
on 13 July 2005
My name is Joe Siegler; I run the website black-sabbath.com. I wrote a longer review of this album, but had to cut it down to fit within Amazon's 1,000 word limit. Please visit my site for the full review.
Tony Iommi, the driving force behind Black Sabbath for so many years has a new album out. It's brilliant - but that should be no surprise to anyone who is a fan of his. This is the third collaboration between Tony & former Deep Purple and Sabbath singer Glenn Hughes. Let's get to it...
1. Dopamine - The opening of a new album of Tony Iommi riffs. It's like the needle going into the vein (not that I know what that means, I'm just using a metaphor). Interesting that the subject of the lyrics is a "drug" produced by one's own body. Anyway, it very much sounds like a traditional Tony Iommi riff and song. Good way to open the album, even if it's not my favorite track on the album.
2. Wasted Again - Hmm.. Based solely on the titles, this is an interesting one to follow "Dopamine". This is a slower song, although not "slow" - slower in comparison to Dopamine. It does feature some good "screaming vocals" by Glenn Hughes. It's one of those tracks I like, but I can't give you a concrete reason as to why. Just liked it.
3. Saviour of the Real - This is one of the few songs on the album that doesn't stick out to me. It's not bad, but there's no killer riff, no killer vocal hook on this one. Sometimes with songs that don't stick out to me, I want to skip them, but I keep this in here because it is decent, it's just not great.
4. Resolution Song - This one starts out slow like some of the good moodier Sabbath tracks from the past. There's a interesting vocal hook in this one. Not sure how to describe it except it comes in at about 1:44 for the first time, and sounds like "Ah-yee-ah". It's one of those good Iommi tracks that's mostly mellow, has a big powerful guitar sound behind the chorus.
5. Grace - The first few times I listened to this album, I felt Grace was just ore of Resolution Song. The starting riff of this song sounds a lot like the end of the last song. Grace is one of the best songs on the album. Great lyrics, great riffs, great vocals. About halfway through the song there's a guitar bit (starting around 2:51, runs for about 15 seconds)) that sounds a whole lot like a classic Sabbath riff from the Dio era (Southern Cross?). Anyway, after that, the big fast meaty part of the song really kicks in, and it's just awesome till the end of the song. One of the album's highlights.
6. Deep Inside a Shell - This is the other one that doesn't really leap out to me. As with Saviour, there's nothing wrong with the song. It's good. But it doesn't just have that killer hook for me. The guitar solo midway through the song isn't a standard Iommi power solo. From that aspect it's something different - but this doesn't leap out as a real highlight.
7. What You're Living For - This one is another of my favorites. It's to me is a classic Iommi song, as it leads off with nothing but a cool riff, and just keeps going. It's fast, it's catchy, and is a great song. When I first started listening to the album, this was one of my favorites because it's immediately accessible. I love the solo in this one, it's one of those "Dual solos" where Tony's playing more than one riff at a time. Really nice sound to this one.
8. Face Your Fears - A nice crunchy Tony riff is at the heart of this song. This one seems more geared towards Glenn's vocals than Tony's playing. Nothing wrong with that, but it isn't the "busiest" song in terms of Tony's playing.
9. The Spell - Nice heavy doom sounding riff to start off this song, like some of the classic early Sabbath stuff. The slowest song on the album.
10. I Go Insane - I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy! This is by far and away the best thing on the album. A 9 minute and 30 second spectacular piece of music. The vocals, the... aw hell. This is the best song on the album. It's so good, I can't think of any good words to describe it. The best song Tony's recorded in ages. In terms of "feel" it reminds me of the track "Kiss of Death" off of Sabbath's last studio album from 1995, Forbidden. Both of these tracks have a sweeping majestic feel to them that outclass anything else on the disc they appear on.
If you're a fan of Sabbath, the number one complaint fans have is that they haven't put out a new album in the last 10 years. The last Sabbath album was released June 8, 1995. In all that time and all the albums released by the various members, this one is the one that has that feel of carrying the Sabbath banner best. "Fused" flies the legacy of Black Sabbath and the mastery that Tony Iommi has over the fretboard magnificently. There's little weakness on this album, it's strong from start to finish.
If you have ever considered yourself a Sabbath fan, you owe it to yourself to buy this album. Buy two, and give one to a friend. This album deserves all the attention it can get.
on 30 April 2006
I heard the opening track before i purchased this album and was disappointed, it sounded too modern, like they were trying too hard to fit into todays market, but when wandering around my local music shop i came across the album and have to admit only bought it because it was half price, but boy am i glad i did! its incredible from start to finish. The guitars, the vocals, what can i say?? theyre magnificent. The songs - my personal faves being wasted again, what youre living for , the spell and the tremendous I Go Insane - cant be faulted, you need this album, buy it, you certainly wont regret it!!
"Fused" is a collaboration between Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and former Deep Purple vocalist Glenn Hughes that, although released in 2005, I only bought last year, tempted by some very positive reviews on Amazon. Those reviewers didn't steer me wrong, as I liked it straight away, right from the very first time I played the album and it reminded me a little of Soundgarden or Audioslave in places, with lots of heavy but melodic tracks and some spectacular performances on both guitar and vocals. The bass and drums don't exactly drag the album down, either. There is a rather pleasing dramatic, classy feel to this work and, although it isn't quite one of the greatest albums ever made, it is difficult to imagine that any Black Sabbath or general metal fan wouldn't enjoy it. It's brilliantly produced by bass and keyboard player Bob Marlette and the well-travelled Kenny Aronoff on drums completes the band.
The opening salvo, "Dopamine" is nothing special, but the album really gets started when "Wasted Again" kicks in with a storming riff, astonishingly powerful vocals and an excellent solo. "Resolution Song" is my next pick from "Fused", a slow, dark, mighty piece with a churning riff that would underpin a Metallica classic. Taken in isolation, "Grace" would also be a very good song, but it sounds very similar to "Resolution Song" and better sequencing would have served that track a little better. "What You're Living For" is also an excellent song, especially for Iommi's guitar. My penultimate pick is "The Spell", a more seventies sounding composition which harks back to Black Sabbath days, but "I Go Insane", the last track on the album, is arguably the best song on offer here. It's a nine minute epic piece that shows off the very finest facets of Iommi and Hughes' talents. Starting gently, with some beautiful guitar-work, it delves into prog-rock territory with changes of pace and a (keyboard) string section embellishing the most dramatic sections.
I can't say that this is one of my favourite albums, but it's one that I enjoy a lot every time I listen to it. There are no bad tracks on "Fused", merely a few average ones amongst some really excellent ones, and the worst thing about it is that some of the tracks sound a little "samey", but that's hardly a terrible crime. The musicianship on display here is fantastic, especially Iommi and Hughes, and this album stands alongside some of their best work quite comfortably. If you are a fan of Black Sabbath or Iommi, this album is a definite purchase, but I'd also recommend it to fans of the incredible Chris Cornell, because it appears that he owes a lot to Glenn Hughes' style of vocals and there are some tracks that just make you near-gasp in awe of his talent. If you're not a fan of heavy rock or metal then "Fused" won't be for you, but if you are, well, this is a real treat and you really should check it out.
on 13 July 2005
This could be Iommi's best album he has ever done. Of course that will depend on you to make up your own mind but the material on this CD is worthy of being considered some of his best ever, if not his very best. We know what to expect from Tony by now, but as the DEP Sessions showed us he can do some different stuff as well and this CD has a few pleasant surprises as well.
Fused has everything you would expect from Tony Iommi. All the massive doomy melodic riffs are there and they form the backbone to most if not all the songs. In fact the riffs on this album are the best Tony has come up with in ages. He has more energy than most new bands these days and has the bonus of 35-ish years of experience to back up that enthusiasm.
Glenn Hughes plays bass and does vocals on "Fused" and he proves to be a worthy equal to Tony, being a rock legend in his own right and he isn't called "The Voice of Rock" for no reason. The vocals on this album are fantastic and the lyrics are not your clichéd metal lyrics. They are mature and some of the best I've heard from Glenn. And we can't forget session drummer extraordinaire Kenny Aronoff who puts in a really fine performance and his reputation as a great drummer is well deserved. His drumming is energetic and works perfectly with Glenn's bass playing as the rhythm support for Tony's riffs.
There are no weak tracks on this album, every single one incredibly strong which shows just how good the song writing between Tony and Glenn is. Also of note is the fact that none of the songs "fade out." Every single track has a proper ending to it and this really does let you see how good these two work together. Almost every other CD out there has fade out songs which often sound incomplete or unfinished. None of that here. Most of the tracks are not up tempo in the way Iron Maiden etc. so if you're looking for fast songs then there is probably only one here that will deliver for you. But then again if you're an Iommi/Sabbath fan you then a lack of fast songs won't bother you, I mean, how many fast songs did Paranoid have and it's their biggest selling album? The tracks are not slow, but neither are they fast, although there are several points during most of the songs where they do speed up.
For me the only track that ISN'T a highlight is "Dopamine". I still think it an excellent track but it is slightly more generic than some of the other songs. In terms of performance, song writing etc. the highlight of the album has to be "I Go Insane", the 9min 13 sec epic that closes the disc. Another interesting moment is the breakdown in "Grace" which always puts a smile on my face and "The Spell" is how Doom Metal should be done. "Resolution Song" has a great vocal hook and "What You're Living For" has some cool time changes and a killer solo. I could go into great detail about each track but I'll stop there or we'll be here all day.
In short this album has everything you could want from the musicians involved. Every track has something unique to offer and they are all equally strong (Dopamine is my least favourite, that isn't the same as worst! I'm sure it will be other people's favourite) Buy this album if you like Black Sabbath or hard rock performed with skill, maturity and class.
on 8 January 2006
The Voice of Rock if god wanted made anyone sing better than Glenn Hughes on this or any other album please tell me who it is and name the album because this is fantastic Hughes & Iommi together not only ROCK. But SCREAM WE ARE ROCK.
This has to be the best rock album of the last Twenty years.
on 18 January 2012
Having come late to Glenn Hughes era Purple, and having a soft spot for Dio era Black Sabbath / Heaven & Hell, this seemed like a no brainer. Once the shock of not hearing RJD has passed, this is a very good rock album with just a hint of "the dark side"."I Go Insane" is an immense song, and the other tracks aren't that far behind. Mention should be made of the excellent drumming of Kenny Aronoff, not a name that I would have associated with classic heavy rock, and Bob Marlette who plays some keyboards and bass, produced, engineered, and mixed the album. Glenn Hughes voice is well suited to this without getting screechy or stretched. A good album from everyone involved, though it is unlikely that they'll play together again in a group.
on 23 September 2006
This is possibly the best album Tony has done since Born Again. The only reason I've not given 5 stars is that I have not had it long and it needs to stand the test of time, if you know what i mean. It's great to hear Glenn Hughes working with Tony again too. This album is better than Seventh Star, although missing a soulful type song like 'No Stranger to Love'. Plenty of great riffs, melodies and licks though, and some very good singing by Glenn.
on 3 December 2011
This is an incredible heavy rock album, which is not surprising when you bring together two amazing rock talents such as Tony Iommi and Glenn Hughes, combined with a superb drummer in the shape of Kenny Arnoff. From the opening track right through to "going insane" there is not a weak track! If this was a Deep Purple or Black Sabbath release it would be hailed as immense and sell by the barrow load. My advice to you is buy this disc; if you like top quality hard rock you will not be disappointed. Am I going over the top? Absolutely not! This is an "undiscovered" gem of rock.