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Black Sabbath - Tyr CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


Prog Related

3.23 | 201 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Another Sabbath Stone

Here we have the third consecutive record featuring the great Tony Martin on vocals and the second to feature drum god Cozy Powell and it is indeed another excellent Black Sabbath album, not quite as good as Headless Cross, but definitely a nice part of the Martin-era. We have here also Neil Murray on bass, Geoff Nicholls on keyboards and, of course, Mr. Black Sabbath himself Tony Iommi. This makes up what I consider to be the definitive post-Ozzy line up of the band! It is sad that this version of Black Sabbath is not better remembered. They ought to be!

TYR is the first and only explicitly conceptual album by Black Sabbath and is also the most progressive album by the band since Sabotage from 1975. The progressive tendencies in Black Sabbath's music had been there all along, but in the early 80's they were almost extinct. The progressive side of the band again began to swell from Seventh Star onwards and it culminated with this album. The concept is inspired by Scandinavian mythology and I initially had serious worries about this before I listened to the album. I was scarred that it would turn out to be a Spinal Tap kind of thing, embarrassing the history of the band that I loved. Fortunately, the concept doesn't take over the music. TYR is only loosely based around its concept. Personally I think that the concept enhances the music without controlling it. The music controls the concept and not the other way around which is a common mistake with concept albums.

There are many great riffs on this album with Anno Mundi (The Vision), Jerusalem and The Lawmaker being as good as, or better than, anything from the Headless Cross album. The style here is similar to those of The Eternal Idol and Headless Cross albums, but here it works even better. The Sabbath Stones has a symphonic sound with quieter passages with acoustic guitar alternating with some heavy passages. Excellent music!

Three of the album's tracks are connected to form a kind of suite starting with the short, strongly symphonic instrumental The Battle Of Tyr, this then leading into the haunting ballad Odin's Court, which in turn leads into the rousing Valhalla. I wouldn't call this a Prog epic, but it is very effective. Feels Good To Me is a typical AOR power ballad that doesn't really fit into the theme of the album. However, it does not distract too much and it's not horrible at all. Indeed, it lends a bit of diversity to the album and represents a type of song that was very rarely made by the band.

If you want to discover post-Ozzy Black Sabbath, the much underrated Tony Martin-era is an excellent place to start. And in terms of Prog, TYR is the richest of these albums. Sadly this album would be the end of this interesting period of the band's history. The next album would again feature Ronnie James Dio and a much more contemporary and 'trashy' sound in a very misguided attempt to achieve greater commercial success again.

Highly recommended for any fan of the heavier side of Prog Related music!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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