Seventh Star Featuring Tony Iommi Original recording reissued
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An often misunderstood and underrated album, 1986's Seventh Star was never intended to be a Black Sabbath release, as the band had effectively broken up following its disastrous 1984 tour in support of career low point Born Again. Instead, Seventh Star was conceived as guitarist Tony Iommi's first solo project, and it was only record company pressure that forced him to resurrect his longtime band's moniker at the last minute. With this in mind, one can better appreciate both the record's more blues-based, often un-Sabbath-like songwriting and the contributions made by journeyman singer Glenn Hughes (ex-Trapeze, Deep Purple, etc.), whose incredibly emotive and soulful vocal style was completely at odds with the deadpan delivery of Sabbath's most recognizable singer, Ozzy Osbourne (a discrepancy that would spell his quick exit when the necessary classics were wheeled out for the ensuing world tour). Still, within the unique circumstances of Seventh Star's creation, Hughes' fiery tunefulness made aggressive hard rockers like "In for the Kill," "Turn to Stone," and "Danger Zone" uncommonly catchy, and gorgeous ballads such as "Angry Heart/In Memory..." and "No Stranger to Love" all the more heart-rending. Tellingly, his efforts fell resoundingly flat on the bluesy aimlessness of "Heart Like a Wheel" and the gothic menace of the title track, making it possible for keener observers to foresee the troubles ahead. Yet, in light of the even more traumatic difficulties that preceded it, Seventh Star -- for all its uncharacteristic sonic qualities -- actually represents the turning of a corner for Black Sabbath's lengthy career, which steadily regained momentum in the years that followed.