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SEVENTH STAR

Black Sabbath

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ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After the desastrous "Born Again", Iommi wanted to release a solo effort but pressures from the record company made it another way. It is funny that Glenn Hughes who has been bassist and vocalist of "Purple" Mark III & IV" follows Ian Gillan ("MarkII" and several other ones) on the vocals on this "Sabbath" album.

Their previous release was pure heavy metal while this one is much more rock-oriented (with strong blues tints of course). "No Stranger to love" for instance is a great rock ballad (better than any other "Sabbath" one). Hughes can demonstrate all his vocal skills (much superior to Ozzy's one - although Ozzy IS "Sabbath" 's voice).

Several straight-forward hard-rock songs (but not heavy) are filling (without being fillers) the album quite remarkably. The opener "In for the Kill" as well as "Turn To Stone" (especially the latter with its incredible beat) could have been easily featured on a "Purple" album with no problem (sorry about the comparison but it is inevitable here).

There is even a very short and spacey instrumental : "Sphinx". One of the very few prog related "Sabbath" song (but it last for just eighty seconds). Could have been included as an intro to "Seventh Star". A bluesy-heavy song (remember, Glenn is on the vocals). Very hard and deep drumming (almost like Bonham could do) and great guitar play. One of the highlight.

A similar attempt in this style is "Heart Like a Wheel". I'm not sure that the fact that Glenn came on board was the only reason for this deeper bluesy orientation. Iommi was strongly influenced by the genre in his pre-Sabbath's career. He will again perform a great guitar break. But this guy is very skilled.

"Angry Heart" is the third bluesy one in a row (maybe a bit too much for my ears). Less effective. And the album closes on the short and slow (but with very powerful vocals) "In Memory...".

This album is the most diversified "Sabbath" one. Probably because it was not intended to be a "Sabbath" record. It will be the only album in which Glenn appeared as vocalist (with this band, I mean). He hardly toured with "Sabbath" because of a fight with one of the managers. He was injured on his nose and throat and could hardly sing any longer. He was also seriously under heavy drugs in those days (a habbit in the Sabbath line-up) and was sacked.

It is a good come back and I will rate it with three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#144236)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Seventh Star is THE worst Sabbath album ever made. The music is even further away from classic sabbath, then it was on Born Again. This is, to me, nothing more that soul-less 80's metal with a touch of blues here and there. If another band would have made this one, fine (I wouldn't even bother listening to it). But Sabbath!? They can do so much better! There's only ONE song here that is SLIGHTLY GOOD, and that song is the title track. The rest, as explained earlier, is soul-less Metal with a bluesy touch now and then. Thank god that this Lineup didn't last for long, because after this album, Sabbath will get one of their best singers: Tony Martin. Tony martin is a much better singer than Gillan (in sabbath, he was great in Deep Purple), Gillen & Hughes (3 singers in 3 years). Me, even as a sabbath fanboy, can't give it more than 1/5.

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Send comments to Abstrakt (BETA) | Report this review (#144261)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
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Symphonic Team
3 stars Black Sabbath featuring only Tony Iommi

Seventh Star was originally intended to be Tony Iommi's first solo album rather than another Black Sabbath album. But pressure from the record company forced Iommi to release this under the name of 'Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi'. 'Black Sabbath featuring only Tony Iommi' would perhaps have been more appropriate since he was the only remaining member (not counting the very loyal keyboard player Geoff Nicholls who appeared on all Black Sabbath albums throughout the whole 80's and the early 90's). The line up here is thus completely different from all earlier (and all later) Black Sabbath albums.

The vocals here are handled by ex-Deep Purple singer Glenn Hughes which is ironic given the disastrous, previous album with Ian Gillan! But Seventh Star is very much better than Born Again; I really must stress how much better this music is compared with the abomination that was Born Again. However, the music here is more Hard Rock than Heavy Metal and due to the singer involved this is more bluesy and soulful than other Black Sabbath albums. But it still has some distinct Black Sabbath trademarks, Iommi's great guitar playing and his great riffs are still here. The most similar other albums are probably the from the Dio- and the (upcoming) Tony Martin-eras, but these references also do not do justice to this music. I am well aware that this might be an acquired taste, but I personally enjoy this music.

The songs are all well-written and memorable, with the title track standing out as particularly effective! Introduced by an atmospheric keyboard instrumental called Sphinx (The Guardian), Seventh Star has a strong riff and an Egyptian-sounding middle section that for me is the highlight of the album. This song features great guitar work and some interesting choirs and keyboards lines.

In terms of progressive rock, this album has little to offer apart perhaps from the previously mentioned, very good Sphinx (The Guardian)/Seventh Star, and even that is at best only slightly progressive. The rest is pretty straightforward, but high quality, sophisticated Hard Rock with several great Iommi guitar riffs and wonderful soulful vocals by Hughes and nice discrete keyboards by Nicholls.

I like this album and would recommend it to anyone who is a follower of either Iommi or Glenn Hughes. For everyone else it is just a good, but non-essential album.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#177959)
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Mid '80's cought Black Sabbath in crisis, the main man Tony Iommi is the single member of the band who remains motionless in the band, the rest were coming and going like pleoples in store. Big emprovement over previous one Born again - who was for me a desaster, but aswell more hard rock and even in places some AOR elements are to be shown here, but more mature and inventive than Born again. In places i can trace the doomy feeling of the early albums and from Dio era, on pieces like Turn to Stone, Seventh Star - the best piece from here and Heart Like a Wheel, the rst are only good to listen from time to time. Another album another vocalist, now the legent from Trapeze - Glenn Hughes, he done a good jobe here, i like his voice, fits most of the time very well in this kind of hard and hevy music, but i prefer Dio much more. Another album another drummer, now Eric Singer who came from Lita Ford fame and later in the early '90's will see him in another legendary band Kiss. All in all a good album in my opinion, well, far from early years and even from Dio and Tony Martin era, but enjoyble most of the time. Somthing that worth mentioning is that in 1986 Black Sabbath appear for the first time in original line-up after Ozzy left the band in Live Aid - Philadelphia. So a big 3 stars for Seventh star, good one and maybe at some point only for Sabbath fans, but if you listen to all previouses albums worth investigate this one too.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#183222)
Posted Monday, September 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars Gaynor E.H. Ritchwright III

The problem with this 1986 LP is that it lacks that naughty feeling, so quintessential to the Sabbath experience. Axeman Tony Iommi is the sole holdover from the original lineup, thus meaning the new lineup obviously didn't have much time to gel, and it shows itself in spades. My first impressions of this album were that Mr. Iommi was in a mid-life crisis of sorts, and feeling obsolescence rearing it's ugly head, must have felt the urge to modernize the Sabbath sound (not that Sabbath were terribly prehistoric with the Dio-era lineup, which was essentially '80s power metal with some trite fantasy lyrics thrown in for added camp), and in so doing has stripped the band of it's only remaining strength: the Blues. At least with Dio, love him or hate him, he brought an honest, down-to-earth Blues expression in his voice (along with a vocal range Ozzy could only dream to possess one-tenth of), heck, even with Gillen the band still retained humbleness even during the most over-the-top Gillen moments.

Thus 'Seventh Star' chugs on and on, seemingly with no end in sight, as singer Glenn Hughes (meant to sing guest vocals on a Tony Iommi solo LP the suits relabeled as Black Sabbath feat. Tony Iommi) screams and wails soullessly through one Journey knockoff after another. Iommi's guitar itself is relegated to near-session player levels of transparency, with his trademark solos being ushered in place of an increased keyboard presence and a party-hardy vibe in an ill-advised move to compete for Glam Metal recognition and/or acceptance. It is this concession to pop-culture, which once seemed an impossible option for the band ten, even fifteen years prior, that ultimately robs the LP of it's spooky, schlocky appeal. The LP didn't perform terribly well on the charts (no surprise), and in a poetic twist-of-fate, Sabbath were viewed as out-of-touch with teen America, and began a downward spiral that included many more lineup-changes and ultimately their status as Ozzy Osbourne's circus band, waiting around for when Sharon Osbourne might feel the need to employ their presence on the Ozzfest stage to bolster sales from teenagers starving for the live Sabbath experience. Sad indeed.

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Send comments to hasheten (BETA) | Report this review (#185409)
Posted Sunday, October 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars "Seventh Star" is the 12th full-length studio album by UK heavy rock/metal act Black Sabbath. The album was originally intended to be a Tony Iommi solo album but due to pressure from Warner Bros. Records, Iommi was forced to release the album as a Black Sabbath album or rather, Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi, as it says on the front cover of the album. The reason why Tony Iommi wanted "Seventh Star" to be a solo album is rather obvious when you look at the lineup who recorded the album. The only original member left in the band after "Born Again (1983)" is Tony himself. Both Bill Ward and Geezer Butler left the band after "Born Again (1983)" as well as Ian Gillan. New vocalist on "Seventh Star" is Glenn Hughes. Another ex-Deep Purple singer. Dave Spitz (Brother of Dan Spitz from Anthrax) plays the bass. Keyboard player Geoff Nicholls who had played with Black Sabbath since the Dio days was finally credited as a member of the lineup instead of the role as a session musician he had up until then. Eric Singer (KISS, Alice Cooper) is the new drummer on the album.

This is the first album by Black Sabbath where I´m not instantly reminded that I´m listening to an album by the band. The music on "Seventh Star" has a soft AOR feel to it and new singer Glenn Hughes bluesy vocal style gives the music a very different sound from what we´re used to from the band. Some of the riffs on the album of course sound like Black Sabbath. This is Tony Iommi after all. The riff meister. The riffs do sound a bit uninspired though and the excessive use of keyboards give the music an AOR heavy rock feel. This is generally not a very heavy album. Only a few of the tracks are partially acceptable. Most are way below standard and the worst example is without a doubt "No Stranger to Love".

The musicianship should be of high class with the musicians involved but everything seem weak and played without conviction. Just listen to those drums. Terribly simple and tame. Glenn Hughes inclusion in the lineup is a near catastrophy. His performance is uninspired and weak. He was fired a few shows into the tour supporting the album. Alledgedly because of his cocaine abuse and inability to sing proberly live. If that´s true it puts his performance on "Seventh Star" in perspective.

The sound production is pretty awful to my ears. That snare drum sound is an abomination. If you ever need an example of bad 80s production values you could easily use this album as an example. Lifeless and without punch.

I thought Black Sabbath had hit rock bottom with "Born Again (1983)" and I really didn´t think they could sink lower than that. "Seventh Star" is even worse though and a 1 star (20%) rating is fully warranted. I have absolutely nothing positive to say about this album. Enter at your own risk.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#216272)
Posted Sunday, May 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
1 stars Why do the worst possible albums keep claiming seven stars?

One wouldn't think it would be possible to create an album worse then Technical Ecstasy, but this album is proof of the contrary.

Tony Iommi isn't in too bad a shape though, his riffings and soloing on the opener In For The Kill isn't all that bad, but Hughes commercial FM-rock melodies turn the track into a horrible experience. The commercial soul blues of No Stranger to Love tells the same story. Cheap. Very, very cheap. Turn To Stone is not only tacky, it's also a shameless rip-off of fast Rainbow songs like Spotlight Kid, other songs like Seventh Star try to get the cheese from Led Zeppelin. No, there's really nothing here you would want to hear.

Quite surprisingly, Iommi and Hughes' 2005 corporation Fused worked out really well. So the reason for this rating is not that I am a Glenn Hughes-basher. It's the awful song writing and execution. The next album would continue some of the AOR tendencies that appear here but executed much better.

If Bryan Adams or Bon Jovi are your thing you might like this, but since those bands represent the deepest level that rock music can possibly dwell in for me, one star is still flattering really.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#255415)
Posted Thursday, December 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Whether Seventh Star should have come out under the Black Sabbath moniker, featuring only Tony Iommi from the classic line up, is open to debate. However it's not the total disaster many would have you believe. In fact I've always been impressed by the strong collection of songs and the contributions of the players involved. If you're looking for the classic Sabbath sound though you may be disappointed.

Seventh Star is a more radio friendly rock/metal album than early Sabbath with strong melodies carried by the excellent soulful tones of vocalist Glenn Hughes, one of the finest singers in rock. It's also notable for an early album appearance of superb solid as a rock drummer Eric Singer, now better known for his work with Alice Cooper and Kiss. Adding to the solidity of the rhythm section is bassist Dave Spitz, brother of Anthrax guitarist Dan Spitz. Keyboards, though not playing a prominent role are supplied by Geoff Nicholls. Iommi needs little introduction and contributes some fine riffs, admittedly not as heavy for the most part as the work he's more famous part. As already mentioned, this is a more commercial rock/metal album but there's still some driving and powerful metal, notably opener In For The Kill and Turn To Stone, both as good as anything Sabbath released in the eighties including the Dio led incarnation.

There's also plenty of other strong moments like the bluesy Heart Like A Wheel and the power ballad Stranger To Love and the melodic rock of the likes of Angry Heart. The slowly propulsive title track Seventh Star is another highlight with its Bonham-esque Kashmir style rhythm and powerful melody.

While Seventh Star may not be a classic Sabbath album it is nevertheless worthy of attention for its strong collection of songs. Anyone who enjoys this is also advised to check out the Iommi albums in a similar vein that also feature Hughes on vocals.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#280370)
Posted Monday, May 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'Seventh Star' - Black Sabbath (4/10)

Although guitarist Tony Iommi has always been the heart of Black Sabbath, an album with three quarters of the band missing doesn't quite qualify as a Sabbath album. Of course, the band had not suddenly split up. Rather, "Seventh Star" was supposed to be a solo album from Tony, not the latest disappointment from the masters that once brought us some of metal's best records. Even looking past this obvious oversight, "Seventh Star" is an undercooked piece of melodic hard rock. With weak production, generic riffs, and only a handful of decent songs, Black Sabbath have another bland album to their name.

This certainly isn't the first time I have found Black Sabbath short of quality, but "Seventh Star" feels even moreso out-of-place than other weaker albums like "Never Say Die!" or the more recent "Born Again". Of course, Iommi never intended for this to sound like his flagship band. Instead of their trademark doom or metal grit, this incarnation of 'Sabbath' emphasizes melody and bluesy soloing over anything. If I had to compare it to anything else in the band's discography, I might point the finger at the more streamlined sounds of "Technical Ecstasy", or perhaps even a de-clawed, anaesthetized "Mob Rules". After Ian Gillan's tenure with the band passed on as a failed experiment, we are introduced to Glenn Hughes, who- like Gillan- is better known for his work with Deep Purple. Compared to the vocalists who have contributed under the Sabbath banner before him, Hughes' voice feels like a vanilla, run-of-the-mill hard rock vocalist. His higher register is admirable, but he lacks both the distinctive charisma of Ozzy, and the acrobatic precision of Gillan and Dio.

As far as songwriting goes, the title track is quite good, enjoying soulful guitar leads and a memorable chorus. Uninspired composition is more of the rule here however; very rarely does it ever go beyond the call of duty. By-the-numbers song structures, flat melodies and average riffs are what define "Seventh Star". Even the rhythm section (performed here by bassist Dave Spitz and drummer Eric Singer) seem to do the acceptable minimum. Thankfully, Iommi has given himself some good room to work his guitar, and this is what saves "Seventh Star" from a final resting place as a coffee coaster in metalhead living rooms around the world. Of course, the 'riffs' themselves are bland and simple, but his lead work brings the feeling that the rest of the album seems to miss entirely. Unlike a regular Black Sabbath release, Iommi can ideally take all the time he wants to play leads, and though it still doesn't happen nearly enough on "Seventh Star", it makes me think that a pure Iommi guitar album would have been something great. As it stands, we have another chapter in Black Sabbath's history that is best left alone.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#765163)
Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 | Review Permalink
GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars "Seventh star" holds a mysterious grip on me. I do want to think it's a great album, made at a time of difficulties. Born out of all this (drugs, personel upheavals etc) came a great album, overcoming all those difficulties. But no... I'm afraid that's not the case.

I cannot count the times I've listened to this album. It has so much going for it. There's (obviously) Iommi, Glenn Hughes and great song titles. Yet it falls apart. Or rather stays in the shadows, only partially visible (or listenable). When listening to it I find myself nodding, saying "It's not that bad after all" and when it's all over I wonder what I listened to. Besides a few tracks nothing remains in clearmemory.

Apart from "In for the kill", "No stranger to love" and the epic and wonderful title track "Seventh star" there's little for the mind to remember. It's all very bland, I'm afraid. Though I wish I could say otherwise "Seventh star" remains a not totally uninspired but sadly bland piece of work. Better times were still to come though.

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Send comments to GruvanDahlman (BETA) | Report this review (#893886)
Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album, for me, was a releaf after the previous effort although it is questionable to me whether this was still Sabbath as the only member of the original line up of musicians was Iommi. The Iommi riffs though are instantly recognisable I enjoyed Hughes on vocals here as opposed to Gillan on the previous effort. A thought just occured to me - I wonder what Coverdale would have been like on vocal duties for Sabbath? I do percieve that this album is under-rated here although it isn't progressive - almost pure straight ahead and bluesy hard rock. It rests easy on my ears though and is not a throw away album by any means. Very much stronger imo than "Technical Ecstacy" or "Never say Die" and worlds stronger than "Born Again". To me the best track on the album is "Heart like a Wheel" - a kind of hard rock, bluesy number. Next is "No stranger to love" with it's strong emotive content driven by Hughes's very good vocals. This to me is a three and a half star album raised to four due to the vocals and due to the fact that I enjoy it. Don't expect progressive rock or metal here but go into it with the desire to sit back and listen to some damn good smokey blues hard rock with more than a metal touch.

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Send comments to sukmytoe (BETA) | Report this review (#940034)
Posted Saturday, April 06, 2013 | Review Permalink

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