Great Metal Albums of 1986: Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi- Seventh Star

220px-Black-Sabbath-seventh-star

The common reaction from many a metalhead back in 1986 when they heard that there was now a band called Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi was, “What the hell?” Note: some used stronger words. A lot of people shunned their album, “Seventh Star” on the grounds that it wasn’t ‘true Black Sabbath.’ After all, there was no Geezer Butler on bass and many of the younger metalheads did not know who Glen Hughes was and wished that Ozzy, Dio or even Ian Gillan was on the vocals. So, the question I ask as I re-familiarize myself with the album is, “Did it deserve to be so ignored?”

The first three tracks on the album point to the fact that Tony never strayed far from his Black Sabbath roots. The opener, “In For the Kill,” sounds a little Judas Priest like and that is not a bad thing. It’s a good way to open the album. Next comes a rather good power ballad in the form of “No Stranger to Love.” This could rank up there with the other great power ballads but it’s here where the one flaw on the entire album comes through. Missing is Tony’s power chords which someone who has much experience of Black Sabbath had come to love about the band. It seemed that the guitar was turned down too much and that keeps the really good songs on the album from being great. Even on the third track. “Turn to Stone,” the loudness of the guitar just isn’t there and while it’s a good song, it could have been that much better.

Where things are done right in regards to the guitar is on the title track. True, the guitars could still be louder but they come through well enough. This song sounds the most like the gloom metal that Black Sabbath was famous for and it does house Tony’s second best guitar solo. “Danger Zone” is a straight-forward metal jam and it proved that Sabbath still had the goods to play. “Heart Like a Wheel” is a trademark bluesy Sabbath song but again, I wish the guitar had been turned up one more setting. That would have made it mind blowing. Hughes’s voice does strain a little on the high parts but Tony delivers his best guitar solo for the album. In fact, it just won my vote for hidden gem. “Angry Heart” starts off like the KISS classic, “Lick It Up.” It’s decent but once again, it could have been so much better if the guitar was louder. A bluesy sounding power ballad, “In Memory” does a very good job in closing the album. It has that eerie sound which I have always loved about Black Sabbath. I think Glenn’s vocals are the best on this one and this song alone would have made me buy another album, if the band had been around to put out another one.

Due to the fact that it wasn’t the regular members of Black Sabbath, I feel I must come in here and praise the efforts of the band here. Glenn Hughes’ vocals are right for the songs on it. He does do a good job here. When it was said that keyboardist Geoff Nicholls was made a full member of Black Sabbath, my response was, “It’s about time.” Geezer might have been gone, but the rhythm section of Dave Spitz and Eric Singer prove to be a formidable one to say the least. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that Singer would eventually go on to play in KISS.

Track Listing:

  1. In For the Kill
  2. No Stranger to Love
  3. Turn to Stone
  4. Sphinx (The Guardian)
  5. Seventh Star
  6. Danger Zone
  7. Heart Like a Wheel
  8. Angry Heart
  9. In Memory

bsfti

Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi- guitar

Glenn Hughes- vocals

Geoff Nicholls- keyboards

Dave Spitz- bass

Eric Singer- drums

Note: Six songs into the tour, Glenn Hughes was fired after a confrontation with the production manager and was replaced by Ray Gillen for the tour.

In spite of my praise for “Seventh Star,” things didn’t go well for Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi. I saw them on this tour and they played before a half empty Philadelphia Spectrum. Even WASP as support band couldn’t save it and I have to say, “Ray Gillen nailed the Dio era songs. I thought that was tragic but that doesn’t stop this album from being good and possibly very underrated.

This wasn’t the only thing to go wrong for Tony Iommi in 1986. The year would also be the end of his engagement to Lita Ford.

Next post: Queen- A Kind of Magic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1986: Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi- Seventh Star”

  1. Always meant to pick this up. Embarassingly my Sabbath collection begins and ends with Ozzy and Dio.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I only heard this album once. I never felt the urge to go back… until now.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t really know Black Sabbath past the mid-1970s – didn’t know they had so many lead singers.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thats a cool track you posted.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Probably should not have been a Sabbath album. But you know what That thing they say about money talking….

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Was originally slated to be an Iomni solo LP, but record company persuaded him to issue it as Sabbath.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I fucking love this album! Everything about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this album! I agree it could have used more (or louder) guitar but I guess that’s just what Sabbath were trying to avoid in 86 maybe.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Harrison Says:

    My favourite Sabbath album, though Mob Rules does challenge it a bit sometimes

    Liked by 1 person

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