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Black Sabbath Forbidden album cover
1.95 | 221 ratings | 9 reviews | 4% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Illusion Of Power (4:51)
2. Get A Grip (3:58)
3. Can't Get Close Enough (4:27)
4. Shaking Off The Chains (4:02)
5. I Won't Cry For You (4:47)
6. Guilty As Hell (3:27)
7. Sick And Tired (3:29)
8. Rusty Angels (5:00)
9. Forbidden (3:47)
10. Kiss Of Death (6:06)

Total time 43:54

Bonus track on 1995 Japanese edition:
11. Loser Gets It All (2:55)

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony Martin / vocals
- Tony Iommi / guitars
- Geoff Nicholls / keyboards
- Neil Murray / bass
- Cozy Powell / drums

- Ice-T / vocals (1)

Releases information

Artwork: Paul Sample

CD I.R.S. Records ‎- EIRCD 1072 (1995, Europe)
CD I.R.S. Records ‎- TOCP-8586 (1995, Japan) With a bonus track

Thanks to the icon of sin for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BLACK SABBATH Forbidden ratings distribution

(221 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(4%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(7%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (32%)
Poor. Only for completionists (31%)

BLACK SABBATH Forbidden reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars Their latest studio release "Cross Purposes" was one of their best albums since ages, so it is almost normal to have some (even moderate) expectations about this "Forbidden" album.

And actually, it is a MAJOR disappointment. Plain hard-rock, at times heavy. But never catchy nor interesting. It is hard to find a track that stands out on this release (the last "Sabbath" studio album to date - and probably for ever). if it weren't released under the "Sabbath" banner, there is no doubt that this album would never have been looked at.

No need for a track by track analysis. Just poor music from start to finish. At least this album is well-balanced. No surprise at all. Well, maybe "Kiss Of A Death" can be considered as good. But this is not really much for an album. It is a bit a pity to end up on such a poor note. They would have been more inspired to call it quit before this release. This album ranges with "Headless Cross" and "Dehumanizer".

Same verdict : one little star.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Rusty angels

Cross Purposes was a return to form after the awful Dehumanizer. Forbidden is almost as awful as that album and constitutes a sad ending to Black Sabbath's recording career. The line up here is exactly the same as it was on TYR that was released five years earlier. Even if I have the greatest respect and admiration for all of the people involved here, I must say that this is a very weak final statement by one of my favourite line ups of one of my favourite bands. It is particularly sad to note that this album was to be one of Cozy Powell's last efforts ever. As on the horrible Born Again album from the early 80's the weaknesses lie both in the uninspired song writing and some misguided musical ideas. It is fair to say that the band were a bit 'rusty' at this time. However, there are a few decent moments here and I actually rate this higher than both Born Again and Dehumanizer.

Illusion Of Power features a quite ill-advised guest spot by Ice T that (depending on your definition) might perhaps be characterized as a Rap. Or is it just a spoken word passage? Regardless of what you call it, it is rather out of place here. Forbidden is not the first Black Sabbath album to feature a guest artist. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath featured Rick Wakeman on keyboards on one track and Headless Cross featured a guitar solo by Brian May on one track. The nature and pedigree of each of these guests pretty much represents the nature and Prog credentials of the respective album they participated in. From Rick Wakeman to Brian May to Ice T! This captures pretty well how far the band had sunk at this time.

Shaking Off The Chains, Get A Grip and Illusion Of Power are half decent Hard Rock songs. The band sounds a bit sick and tired, which incidentally is the title of another one of the album's songs. Can't Get Close Enough is slower and has more memorable verses; this is probably the album's best song. Another good song is I Won't Cry For You, but nothing out of the ordinary really. It is with Guilty As Hell, Sick And Tired and the title track that the album truly sinks into the mediocre. These songs are quite dull and wholly generic Hard Rock songs without any redeeming features.

Rusty Angels picks things up slightly with a half decent chorus, but the lyrics are rather cheesy and there is nothing really memorable about the song. Kiss Of Death once again slows things down and it is listenable but, again, not very memorable.

This album is truly for fans and collectors only, but some of these might enjoy some moments of this album to some degree at least. Only a couple of decent moments stand between this album and the lowest possible rating, but I decided to go for two stars (and not out of sympathy!)

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars "Forbidden" is the 18th full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Black Sabbath. The album was released through I.R.S. Records in June 1995. After the short reunion with Dio and the subsequent release of "Dehumanizer (1992)", Black Sabbath reunited with the man Dio had replaced. Namely Tony Martin who was ready for another stint with the band. The first release was "Cross Purposes (1994)" which showed a more contemporary side of Black Sabbath and "Forbidden" is the successor to that album.

The music on "Forbidden" is heavy rock/metal as on any album by Black Sabbath but while I found the music on "Cross Purposes (1994)" of decent quality yet a bit mediocre, the music on "Forbidden" is downright bland and uninspired. The 7th track on the album, which has a bluesy feel to it, is called "Sick and Tired" and that actually says it all. This is most definitely a tired and trivial affair. Not only is the instrumental side of the compositions weak and filled with clichés but what´s even worse is that the vocals by Tony Martin are almost unacceptable at times. He sounds tired and hoarse. I expect much more from a vocalist of his caliber. I´m very disappointed about his performance here. But the vocal lines does have to take some of the blame here too. Again bland and uninspired. The inclusion of guest vocals by Ice T (Ice T, Body Count) on "The Illusion of Power" also comes off as rather embarrassing and what could have been a creative input just ends up in a song length of cringe worthy material. The sound production isn´t that well sounding either. It lacks punch and the sound on the vocals is odd.

I´d like to say something positive here but this is simply one of the worst albums recorded by Black Sabbath and while I was initially going to give it a 2 star (40%) rating I´ve thought it over and my rating has crawled down to a 1 star (20%) rating. Artists that can´t help it who release bad albums can be forgiven but established artists like Black Sabbath who release an album like "Forbidden" should not be let off the hook. "Forbidden" easily ranks along side "Seventh Star (1986)" as the worst album in Black Sabbath´s discography.

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Like most of BLACK SABBATH studio albums, their latest release presents nothing more than straight heavy metal based on Tony Iommi's guitar riff inspirations. For some peculiar reason the band seems to take a path to 'modernisation' with the inclusion of rap vocals on the opening track and groovier riffs at various tracks in the album.

Although I can still enjoy some moments after more than 10 years having heard the album for the first time, the overall feeling someone could get after a few listens is that Forbidden is probably the worst studio album made in the history of the band. Iommi once again adds his slow/creeping heavy riffs and the sound resembles to recent efforts like Tyr and Headless Cross. The band line-up is quite promising and the successful 'recipe' with Tony Martin on the vocals seems as it might work again...

Despite that, there are not any really inspiring moments throughout the record and the few glimpses of hope appear in the slower/ballad-like songs and in occasional riffs spread here and there. Namely, I won't cry for you and Kiss of death, while not great, reminded me of some good compositions in previous Martin-era albums and stand quite above the rest with some great vocal melodies. The title track is based on a mid-tempo classic Sabbath riff, sounds quite pleasant and can be regarded as a decent composition...

...beyond that there is almost chaos! Occasional good guitar riffs on Can't get close enough and Shaking off the chains can not hide the big disadvantage of this album: inspiration. The band seems to struggle to create interesting pieces of heavy music and depends on repeated and previously-used riffs. There are even insulting or embarrassing moments that could have been avoided (opening track, Rusty angels).

Concluding, it is not worth spending too much time on this release, although I would pick out a few decent tracks from time to time. In my opinion, even fans of SABBATH including myself would struggle to enjoy this album and prog fans would probably discard it eagerly...

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Well this was a disappointment. The Martin-formula was completely depleted by then. Sabbath even sounded directionless and rather pathetic in their attempt to win some street credibility back by bringing in Ice-T and by applying production values that were probably meant to sound rough and contemporary but that come off flat and dry. Or is that due to the uninspired performance here? Hard to say what is to blame most.

This still has a few sparse moments that are listenable: Can't get close enough, I won't cry for you (damn those cheesy titles alone...) and Kiss of Death. So I will keep the one star verdict in the closet as that is reserved for albums that can't get one single note in the right place. Still it's rather 2 black holes then 2 stars.

(EDIT 10 dec 2009: After doing an entire Sabbath catalogue walk-true I'll need to bring it down to 1 star.)

Review by GruvanDahlman
1 stars I've been a huge fan of Sabbath for the last 25 years and I claim, until my dying day, that the never made one single album without some quality. I like "Technical ecstacy", "Born again" and "Tyr". They all possess certain qualities and charms, if you listen to the albums without too many pre-conceptions. I even (kind of) like "Cross purposes", the album preceeding "Forbidden".

Black Sabbath made a spectacular album releasing "Headless cross". It's simply great. (4 out 5 stars, in my book.) after that it all went kind of downhill. No, not "kond of". It did go downhill and fast. "Tyr" was enjoyable in it's own right (3 out of 5) but "Cross purposes" (2 out of 5) was poor but not lacking some charm, like the track "Cross of thorns". And then they unleash the beast, the foulest creature of their (and one of metal's worst ever) career: "Forbidden".

I do not know what the members were thinking. The album is such a deranged, confused mess that nothing good can be said about it. Everything from the cover to the last song on the album is simply disastrous. And to make things worse they record a song with Ice-T! I'm sorry, my dear Sabs, but this album would be better off cast down a volcano or sent into outer space. Atleast the world would be better off.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars This album is considered the worst of the worst by many critics and fans as far as Black Sabbath goes. This one was ill- fated from the beginning though as the line-up was quite shaky. Released in 1995, it would be the last album the band would release for quite some time, but this was because there were already rumors of the classic Black Sabbath line-up reuniting. However, this album was kind of a reunion album in and of itself. When everything was finally ironed out, the line-up would be the same as it was for the album "Tyr" with the return of Cozy Powell on drums and Neil Murray on bass, who replaced GeezerButler, Sabbath's original bassist. Returning from the previous album, "Cross Purposes", is long-timer vocalist Tony Martin, who was by now a familiar face in the Black Sabbath "modern" line-up since he was only beat out by Ozzy as the most faithful vocalist in the band's history. Also Tony Iommi on guitar was back, or course, and so was Geoff Nicholls on keys.

This album can blame it's poor reception on songs that seem to be less inspired than ever. The band just didn't have any spark whatsoever. Martin claims he knew nothing about the rumors of a reunion of the classic band or of the plans to bring back Dio for the "Heaven and Hell" band. Also, busy schedules and record company restrictions kept the band from rehearsing or writing songs as a team. Only Iommi, Martin and Nicholls were available to jam together and put the songs together. The album only took 10 days to record because of time constraints, so many things were not possible to work out. The album turns out to be one of the most non-cohesive albums of the band's history, but there are plenty of reasons for that. What you end up with is mostly what sounds like half-hearted attempts. Martin claims that the songs actually sounded great in practice, but everything got lost in production. Honestly, I can hear something in the songs that sound like they might have been decent if they had been worked on and developed better.

In the end, there are some okay moments here, so it's not a complete loss, and personally I would rate this album a tad higher than the awful "Technical Ecstasy" or "Never Say Die", but not enough to earn it another star. Again, the songs sound like they might not have been bad if the band was allowed the same conditions to work out the problems. However, the best tracks like "Can't Get Close Enough" and "Shake off the Chains" are ruined by quick fade outs and a feeling of insecurity in their sound. Of course, the next studio album under the name of Black Sabbath would be the one that would redeem the name of the band as it would be the one to unite the classic line-up again in a very successful way, so the band would at least end on a positive note with the album "13" released in 2013. But it would be done at the expense of the loyal Tony Martin and Geoff Nicholls, but that is what we all really wanted, wasn't it? "Forbidden" could have been a decent swan song for this line up, but instead, it turns out being a sad ending for them. 2 stars. Too weak and underdeveloped, most of the time it can't even be considered heavy or even hard rock. It sounds like an amateur attempt instead of a group of talented veterans.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Give this album a second glance. Start to listen to it with the bootleg "Forbiden. Rough Mixes" with instrumental versions of the songs before producer Ernie C changed the sound having in his mind "Cop Killer" by Body Count as a model of sound. It could be great Sabbath album. Ernie C blurred gu ... (read more)

Report this review (#1527092) | Posted by Sergey Slenkoff | Tuesday, February 9, 2016 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Wow! Tony Martin is still here. Hold on - what is this? Has someone slipped the wrong album into the cover? Nope - Oh dear! What happened to the voice Tony you sound kind of like you've just returned from the dentist or you've had a bit too much Jack mate. Cozy, you've never sounded that tinny ... (read more)

Report this review (#940050) | Posted by sukmytoe | Saturday, April 6, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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