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Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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3.10 | 306 ratings

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Symphonic Team
1 stars 'What do they do with your soul, Is it just lying there busted, When did you lose all control, Is there someone to be trusted?'

The much underrated Tony Martin-era was in my opinion musically very successful. However, they were not very commercially successful. Tony Iommi wanted to gain more mainstream recognition so he decided to make radical changes in both the line up and the musical direction of the band. Vocalist Tony Martin was thrown out of the band as were all of the progressive tendencies of the Tony Martin-era. The passage quoted above from After All (The Dead) describes this album quite well, I think; what did they do with the band's soul? It indeed seems to be 'lying there busted'! This passage probably also reflects how Tony Martin must have felt when he was kicked out of the band. We find here a rather 'dehumanized' band.

The line up involved here is the same as that responsible for Mob Rules which means a return of Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice as well as original member Geezer Butler. Keyboard player Geoff Nicholls is - apart from Mr. Black Sabbath himself, Tony Iommi - the only survivor from the previous line up(s). Even if Nicholls never was recognized as a full member of the band (despite participating on every studio album from Heaven And Hell onwards as well as following the band on tour), he played an important part of the sound of the band's 80's albums. On Dehumanizer, however, his role is reduced considerably with the album hardly having any keyboards at all.

Despite having the same line up as Mob Rules Dehumanizer does not sound like that early 80's album, however. Rather, they created here a much more contemporary and 'trashy' sound in a very misguided attempt to achieve greater commercial success again. While Dio is usually a great singer, I do not like his vocals on this release. He is trying to sing in a more aggressive and contemporary style compared to how he sounded on previous Black Sabbath albums like Heaven And Hell and also on Rainbow's early albums. I recognize some quality here, but this music is just not my cup of tea. Geezer Butler's heavy bass lines are indeed enjoyable on songs like Time Machine, one of the better songs. But this is certainly not a return to the Geezer's days in the band.

Another problem I have with this album is its complete lack of diversity and variation. There are some decent riffs, but everything sounds basically the same. The acoustic side of the band is almost wholly absent as are the symphonic influences from the previous album. This is an entirely different beast. There is one exception though, Too Late, which seems to be based the formula of earlier songs like Children Of The Sea and The Sign Of The Southern Cross. It falls very far behind those songs in quality, however. The progressive leanings of Dehumanizer are down to zero and the lyrics are often poor.

Too conclude, sacking Tony Martin and reuniting an earlier line up was a big mistake and the resulting album is very, very disappointing. Tony and Geezer probably came to realize this and they brought Martin back into the band for the much better Cross Purposes album. I can recommend this only to hard core fans and collectors of the band, but even for us (at least for me) this album has very little appeal!

SouthSideoftheSky | 1/5 |


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