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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 3 October 2015
Bought the download and now bought the Album, I had not heard this album before never knew how good it was, even in the 80's when it was released, I could not stop playing it even though its not Ozzy, but its Black Sabbath and really speaking anything that comes my way I will love it, I have not found one track that I really do not like in all these years, shame it will all come to an end next year. Buy it and enjoy.
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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 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 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 14 September 2010
Tony Martin Era of Black Sabbath First off the bonus tracks & main reason for buying this is : 'Some Kind Of Women' & 'Blackmoon' Blackmoon was at first gonna be a instrumental because noone could finish the lyrics. Until the very end when Tony Martin and Nicholls were albe to do it. It's original working title was 'Gypsy Warning'. Also the song was the only one where Nicholls played bass on a Sabbath record. Biggest diiference between this version and what was used on 'Headless Cross' is the guitar is heavier and the keyboards are very low. 'Some Kind Of Women' bass parts are from Dave Spitz. It was left out because it didnt fit in with everything else. Tony Martin wrote and recorded the lyrics so the song could be included on the 12in LP record single of the 'The Shining'. 2nd Bonus disc is the Ray Gillen tracks he recorded but left the band soon after.
Track Listings cd 1:
The Shining
Ancient Warrior
Hard Life to Love
Glory Ride
Born to Lose
Nightmare
Scarlet Pimpernel
Lost Forever
Eternal Idol
Extra Tracks:
Some Kind of Woman
Black Moon
Track Listings cd 2
Glory Ride
Born To Lose
Lost Forever
Eternal Idol
The Shining
Hard Life To Love
Nightmare
Ancient Warrior

Tony Iommi - Guitar
Tony Martin - Vocals
Dave Spitz and Bob Daisley - Bass
The album list both but only Bob Daisley played on the album.
Dave Spitz was signed on to play live with the band.
So he was given credit to connect him to the band live and the album for continuity sake.
Eric Singer - Drums
Eric plays all the drums for the most part.
Bev Bevan - Percussion
Bev just did some extra work on the album. Nothing really major.
Geoff Nicholls - Keyboards
Produced by Jeff Glixman, Vic Coppersmith-Heaven, & Chris Tsangerides
Recorded at Air Studios, Montserrat & Battery Studios, London
Mixed by Chris Tsangerides.
Singles/Music Videos - The Shining
Best Chart Postition - No.67 on the US charts
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on 6 July 2009
The making of The Eternal Idol (1987) was fraught with well documented disruptions and personnel changes. Therefore, it's against all the odds that the album is a huge triumph. Featuring Tony Martin's first outing as Sabbath front man, Idol boasts a spectacular array of pounding good music. From the epic and dramatic likes of The Shining and Ancient Warrior, to adrenalin-rush-inducing stompers like Hard Life To Love and Nightmare, right through to the closing monumental title track, there's not a dull moment in evidence. Every single song has that special `sing-along/nod-your-head' quality (aside from the majestic acoustic instrumental Scarlet Pimpernel, obviously). This record proves that there is indeed life after Ozzy/Dio and affirms Tony Iommi's status as heavy metal's very own resurrection man and heavy metal idol! Regardless of the never-ending debates about what constitutes `real' Black Sabbath, this is a magnificent, hard rocking record that deserves a listen, at the very least!
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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 11 May 2011
The mid-to-late 1980's is an often overlooked era in Black Sabbath's long and chequered career, and in addition to 1989's Headless Cross, 1987's The Eternal Idol is probably the band's most underrated album.

Die-hards will disagree, of course, but once you get past the impression that no line-up without Ozzy Osbourne should be called Black Sabbath, you will soon discover that there was some pretty good stuff released under the Sabbath name even when Tony Iommi remained the sole original member of the group. Songs such as "The Shining," "Ancient Warrior" and "Eternal Idol" easily beat anything from the dismal Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die albums, and, frankly, most of the stuff on Sabotage.

Long-time Sabbath aficionados already know that prior to the release of The Eternal Idol, vocalist Ray Gillen abruptly left the group, having already nearly completed the album. This led to the hiring of Tony Martin, who re-did all the vocals with very short notice. Up until now, the original Ray Gillen versions have only existed in various bootleg formats, but now finally get an official release on this 2-disc deluxe edition, which features both versions of the album.

This release offers some solid evidence of both Gillen's and Martin's undeniable vocal abilities. Comparing the two singers' renditions of the same songs and listening to them back-to-back is great fun. Although the vocal melodies on the different versions of the songs are often very close to one another, both singers have their own style and bring their own flavour to the Sabbath sound.

In a way it's a shame that things didn't work out with Ray Gillen, but then again, Tony Martin did a great job and deserves to be on the album. With this re-release, everyone wins.
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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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