I didn't grow up with Sabbath, so I don't have the 1970-78 prejudice a lot of their lifelong fans do. However, I do love me a bit of Sabbath and while this album does indeed have a ludicrous recording history the bottom line is regardless of what fans, rivals and the music press made of the circumstances surrounding this album the finished product is an absolute blinder. One of my all time favourites actually.
If you're just a fan of good heavy music in general you will love this. It has solid vocals, inspired riffage and an overall solid sound typical of a late 80's heavy record release. This record is a real triumph, particularly for a band 13 albums in to their career and for all the crap they had to get by to get it finished.
I guess it boils down to a simple divide. If you're the sort of fan who won't hear any praise for a Sabbath album that doesn't have Ozzie or Dio in it then you won't like this. Equally, if you're say a Metallica fan who insists Load and Re-Load are 'not' Metallica albums, then you probably won't like this.
Don't fear the difference. This isn't typical Sabbath maybe. But it's bloody brilliant all the same and would probably have done a hell of a lot better if it hadn't the Black Sabbath on it at the time. Taken on its own merits with, no presuppositions etc of what a Black Sabbath is/was/should be, this is a cracking album and I highly recommend it.