The Eternal Idol
Double CD, Extra Tracks, Remastered, Digipack
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The Eternal Idol (2009 Remastered Version)
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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 30 Mar 2009
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In th mid-1980s, Black Sabbath seemed to be suffering from an acute case of lead singer-itis, as Glenn Hughes became yet another (and the second Deep Purple) vocalist to swiftly depart the ranks. Hughes’ health was by this time suffering badly brought on by his years of cocaine addiction which was also having a devastating effect on his vocal performance.
Hughes’ replacement came in the shape of unknown American singer, Ray Gillen who was quickly air lifted in to fulfil the band's live commitments. Such was Gillen’s abilities that he was whisked into the studio to begin recording a new Black Sabbath album already titled, The Eternal Idol. The ensuing gestation of the new album was one mired in problems, however, as not one but three producers passed through the studio, resulting in band personnel changes that saw two bassists', two drummers' and the eventual departure of Ray Gillen who was in turn replaced by yet another unknown in vocalist Tony Martin. Martin’s style was not that dissimilar to Ronnie James Dio and he would re-record all of Gillen’s vocal takes for the final album release.
Issued on 1st November 1987, The Eternal Idol (Black Sabbath’s thirteenth studio album) was an altogether harder sounding record and brought back an ‘edge’ that had been missing from Seventh Star. Whilst there was much for the Sabbath fan to celebrate with tracks such as, "The Shining" (also released as a single), "Ancient Warrior", "Born To Lose’"and the title track, the album wasn’t as well received and settled at number 66 in the UK and a disappointing 168 in the US.
Over the years however, fans of Black Sabbath and hard rock in general have been re-discovering all that The Eternal Idol has to offer and this re-mastered Deluxe Expanded Edition adds two single b-sides from "The Shining": "Black Moon" and "Some Kind Of Woman", whilst the second disc brings to CD for the very first time the complete album session originally recorded by the late Ray Gillen.
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at this price a very good groove indeed - listened straight through
satisfactory grumbles from the locals ... this is drum and bass from the steel yards
Buy it and enjoy
however no sleeve notes or info at all so not really deluxe apart from from 2 singers on different cds
The Eternal Idol has obvious roots in the Ronnie James Dio era of Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules (both awesome albums in their own right) and the sound bares little resemblance to the blues / jazz influences evident in Sabbath's very early works. This album is pure metal, recorded to a very high standard, and exhibits the technical abilities of the band members at that time. Tony Martin's vocal style is heavily remeniscent of Ronnie James Dio (though in my personal opinion not quite as suited to the late 80s Sabbath style) and perfectly suits the heavy riffage of Tony Iommi who'se as good as ever here.
This really is an under-appreciated gem of an album. Any fan of Dio-era Sabbath really needs to have a look at this and I would heartily recommend it to fans of power / doom / heavy metal in general. As an added bonus the delux edition features pretty much the entire album with vocals by the great, unfortunately late, Ray Gillen. Gillen's skill and power is incredibly and really does the music justice. His vocal range and expression rivals such legendary vocalists as Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford. Having Gillen's original version AND the re-recordings by the simmilarly skilled Tony Martin is a real treat.
Ignore the fact that by this point in time Sabbath were considered to be a pale spectre of their former greatness - buy this album & thoroughly enjoy a fantastic Heavy Metal masterpiece.