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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 December 2016
The two of us at Demonszone are of the type that do not dismiss Black Sabbath after the popular Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie J Dio years. We have found time and again that if we're in need of a good time and don't want to hear the same old songs that we can rely on the Tony Martin era albums for their consistency.

The Eternal Idol album is the first of five Tony Martin era Black Sabbath albums. The record plays out as a natural successor to the criminally underrated Seventh Star and deserves a lot more respect for its stripped down sound and reliance on good solid heavy riff driven songs. Alongside Iommi and Martin is Black Sabbath's long time keyboard player Geoff Nicholls, veteran rock bassist Bob Daisley and Eric Singer, now of KISS. That right there is a line up of great musicians if you ask me.

The music they created or simply played on is of quite a high standard. It is my opinion (and one that I strongly defend) that this album, much like Headless Cross, TYR and Cross Purposes have some of the most memorable Black Sabbath moments, out with the trendy Ozzy/Dio years that is. Each song hits the mark in terms of song writing and gives the listener a nice blend of classic '70s riffs and almost Heaven & Hell style heavy metal. It is a great blend between the two formats, something that Ronnie nor Ozzy could pull off.

The Eternal Idol has aged a little in terms of production. You can tell from a mile away that the record was recorded in the '80s as it boasts the usual high reverb and so on. But in terms of actual song writing, this album (and the two that followed) could easily match that of Mob Rules. The music is heavy and consistent, just the way us metal fans like it.

Published by Steven Lornie of Demonszone
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on 3 December 2010
The first of the Tony Martin era Sabbath marked a new direction, fuelled by the Dio years and not really touching the previous 2 albums that both veered significantly in tone and content. It sounded like they had found their niche again. It wasn't groundbreaking and not anywhere near as 'classic' as their earlier material or Heaven & Hell, but it was a very good, consistent collection of well made songs.

It all starts well with a great, almost epic song, 'The Shining'. The sound, tone and creativity are all introduced here and the template didn't change much over this and the 2 following albums. Soaring chorus and a powerful opening. 'Ancient Warrior' continues the trend with another very good track. Understated chorus but another, mid-paced driving song. 'Hard Life to Love' is more upbeat and has some great riffs. It's more akin to Seventh Star material but it's a good effort. 'Glory Ride' returns to the previous tone with another catchy closer to side 1. There are no instant classics here but no real duds either.

'Born To Lose' is much the same as 'Hard Life...' and these are probably the weakest tracks as they are more rocky, although they do fit with the overall feel. 'Nightmare' is a lumpen, dark song but it is rather good and has a time change near the end which helps. 'Scarlet Pimpernel' is a beautiful instrumental that is only a few minutes long. 'Lost Forever' is yet another very good, catchy, heavy song with great vocals from the underrated Tony Martin. And the title track completes the work perfectly. It is a very slow, almost plodding closer but nevertheless a good track.

Overall it is not outstanding but it holds up to many repeated listens. The 3 Tony Martin era albums before they brought Dio back were, in my opinion, some of the consistently best albums Sabbath had produced. And The Eternal Idol is where it all began.
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on 29 November 2014
much much better than I remembered - solid Iommi works despite the fragmented band membership and occasional soggy drumming but in general its a very solid workmanlike heavy record with excellent music and vocals from bot singers
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
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on 18 December 2010
Fans of Dio-era Black Sabbath should have been excited to hear The Eternal Idol upon it's initial release. Instead, there was a general feeling of, "So what?" The rotating line-up certainly didn't help the impression that Sabbath was a sinking ship at that point. The fact that Tony Iommi was the only remaining original member also didn't help credibility much. And the Deep Sabbath sound of Seventh Star (in reality an Iommi solo album, but forced to put the Sabbath name on the cover by the record company) had turned some core Sabbath fans off.

But for those who actually bought The Eternal Idol and listened to it something surprising came out of the speakers - a great album.

Going back to the style that had resurrected Sabbath's career in 1980/81 Tony Iommi came up with some phenomenal riffs, and (then) singer Ray Gillen and legendary bass player/songwriter Bob Daisley came up with some strong vocal melodies and hooks to complete the package. While Gillen left the band prior to the album's completion, Iommi recruited yet another top notch singer in the form of Tony Martin, whose Dio meets Coverdale voice was a perfect fit for the album. Martin further polished up the vocal melodies and helped create an album that is, in fact, one of the highlights of the Sabbath catalog.

From the powerful opening cut of, "The Shining," to the dark, moody closer, "Eternal Idol," this album is a classic bit of Dio-esque Sabbath. "Hard Life to Love," has a somewhat similar riff to, "Mob Rules," while, "Born to Lose," features an aggressive bit of riffing from Iommi that wouldn't have been at all out of place on the Mob Rules album. "Lost Forever," is another standout track with it's great vocal melodies and, "Turn Up the Night," or, "Neon Knights," type riff. There isn't a weak track on the album, despite the turmoil and near chaos surrounding the band during the album's production.

This Deluxe Edition is something of a holy grail for fans of the album, though, not just because of the quality of the album, but because it also features the entire album with Ray Gillen's vocals on the 2nd disc. It's fascinating to contrast and compare the two versions and hear the differences in the vocal performances. Gillen's note choices are often interesting and even puzzling on occasion. Some of the notes he goes for sound like they should be a harmony note rather than the root note. Tony Martin would streamline these vocal parts and hit the root notes for vocals that blend with the songs a little better. Both singers, however, give great performances, and I would imagine that had Gillen stuck around that his vocals would have been cleaned up and ended up a little closer to what Martin did.

It's also interesting to hear some of drummer Eric Singer's playing restored on these rough mixes. Several fills were deleted altogether from the final mix, and one song, "Lost Forever," even features double-bass drumming that was buried so much in the final mix that it's hard to hear the kick drums (and they may have even removed a beat or two from each bar in the final mix so that it was no longer a double-bass drum part - it's damned hard to hear with the kick drums so low in that final mix). This stuff is just fascinating to listen to as it gives great insight into the progress of the album and how it developed.

Bottom line? The Eternal Idol is easily the most underrated album in the Sabbath catalog, and many fans feel it's one of their best. And with good reason.
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on 10 October 2014
The real star here is Ray Gillan...fantastic singer!!!! If only it had lasted and been the original release, it blows that away!!!
Real power and excitement...please play cd2 first....you'll love it!!!!
Iommi is fantastic as always!!!
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on 24 March 2014
This cd was already great in the regular version, you imagine double!?
I love this phase of Black Sabbath (the best time), so if do you do not have?
Buy it now!
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on 12 January 2013
After the disruption of the lineups Sabbath was all over the place until the second longest Singer of Sabbath joined the band, Tony Martin! This is his first album with the band and he proves he got what it takes to be in Black Sabbath, this album is an absolute gem and you won't be dissapointed
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on 23 November 2010
As I do own the original release on CD, I felt it was worth while to get this set and anticipated an improved sound. I was right. This is an amazing release, and the song writing and performances are very strong. The remastering job was well done and it's been cleaned up nicely. In truth, I really bought this for the bonus disc that sees Ray Gillen handling lead vocals. I have to say that I prefer this version, as Ray's vocal style is well suited to the demands of the songs. I would not even question buying this edition, even if you already own a copy of the original. The beautiful sound of the original release and the treat of having a different performance in the bonus disc, makes this an essential purchase. I hope you enjoy as much as I have.
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on 27 March 2011
CD1 is the Tony Martin's official version of this really underrated and great record. It has also 2 bonus tracks: one is a demo version of "Black Moon" (later appeared on the following Headless Cross), the other,"Some Kind Of Woman",is a rock song with a strange Van Halen mood. The CD2 is the thing that IT'S NOT POSSIBLE TO MISS! Simply because finally it's the only way to listen the divine voice of Ray Gillen(Badlands) flying on Tony Iommi's riffs. This Eternal Idol version gives off a passion that the official one can't have. Try it!!
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on 30 May 2011
It's sad in a way that every vocalist who came after Ozzy Ozbourne had and exhibited far greater skill. Were it not for the Black Sabbath title across the top of this album I've no doubt that it would have become a true classic of the late 80's metal scene. Unfortunately difficulties with recording staff and the never-ending revolving door of band members largely consigned this gem of an album to relative obscurity.

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.
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