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Black Sabbath - Cross Purposes CD (album) cover

CROSS PURPOSES

Black Sabbath

 

Prog Related

3.31 | 122 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Back to Eden? Well, not quite?

After three very musically (though not necessarily commercially) successful albums with Tony Martin on vocals (The Eternal Idol, Headless Cross and TYR), Tony Iommi decided to kick Martin as well as bassist Neal Murray and later also drummer Cozy Powell out of the band to make room for the reunion of the Mob Rules-line up with Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler and Vinnie Appice. This was, in my opinion, a very bad move that gave rise to the disastrous Dehumanizer album. After this one-off reunion with Ronnie Dio, however, Black Sabbath once again found themselves without a singer and Martin was asked to rejoin the band which he agreed to. Dio took drummer Vinnie Appice with him, so there was also a need for a new drummer. I don't know if Cozy Powell was asked to return or not at this point, but if he was he must have declined since Bobby Rondinelli was brought in here to fill the drum slot. Powell did however return to the band for the next album, Forbidden. Original member Geezer Butler remained from the Dio-reunion and keyboards are as usual handled by Geoff Nichols.

This resulted in Cross Purposes. While this is a good album and a major improvement over Dehumanizer, they never managed to recapture the magic of earlier Tony Martin-fronted albums. About what would have happened had the Dio-reunion never materialized and Martin had been allowed to stay in the band, we can only speculate. But maybe it was the changing musical trends of the 90's rather than the rapid changes of vocalists that shaped the sound of Cross Purposes? You might describe it as a meeting half-way between the excellent Headless Cross and the disappointing Dehumanizer both in terms of quality and in terms of style. Like on Dehumanizer, they once again try to sound contemporary and adapt somewhat to the musical climate of the early 90's but on Cross Purposes they do this without leaving behind too much of their musical history. Given that this was in fact their goal this album is a success, but I can't help feel that some of the magic of the late 80's albums was lost here. Thus I do not see Cross Purposes as a return to the form of TYR and Headless Cross.

While there are no bad songs as such here, it is not always easy to identify the stand-out tracks. Cross Of Thorns is one of the highlights for sure, however, with its acoustic passages alternating with a melodic vocal over a heavy riff. Dying For Love is something of a power ballad very similar to Feels Good To Me from the TYR album but less good in my opinion. The rest of the songs are rather typical Black Sabbath songs based on rather paradigm Iommi guitar riffs. Had this been released by another band I might have been more impressed, but I require more of Sabbath.

This album is a recommended addition to any Black Sabbath collection that already holds the much better The Eternal Idol, Headless Cross and TYR albums.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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