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CROSS PURPOSES

Black Sabbath

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Black Sabbath Cross Purposes album cover
3.19 | 185 ratings | 9 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Witness (4:59)
2. Cross Of Thorns (4:34)
3. Psychophobia (3:15)
4. Virtual Death (5:49)
5. Immaculate Deception (4:15)
6. Dying For Love (5:54)
7. Back To Eden (3:57)
8. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (4:30)
9. Cardinal Sin (4:21)
10. Evil Eye (6:00)

Total time 47:34

Bonus track on 1994 Japanese CD:
11. What's the Use? (3:03)

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony Martin / vocals
- Tony Iommi / guitars
- Geoff Nicholls / keyboards
- Geezer Butler / bass
- Bobby Rondinelli / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Matt Curtis

CD I.R.S. Records ‎- 0777 7 13222 2 8 (1994, Europe)
CD I.R.S. Records ‎- 72435-30413-2-8 (1994, US)
CD Toshiba-EMI TOCP-8128 (1994, 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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EMI Import 1994
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BLACK SABBATH Cross Purposes ratings distribution


3.19
(185 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(9%)
9%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(30%)
30%
Good, but non-essential (38%)
38%
Collectors/fans only (18%)
18%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

BLACK SABBATH Cross Purposes reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Dehumanizer" (their previous album) with Dio back on the vocals was more of a catastrophy than anything else. This album welcomes Tony Martin who already have been the lead vocalist on three "Sabbath" albums : " The Eternal Idol", "Headless Cross" (their poorest one so far IMO), and "Tyr". None of these belonging to the good "Sabbath" repertoire.

In this album, I have to say that he is not doing too bad a job. There are no real highlight on this album but "Virtual Death" seems to come out from the seventies. The heavy Iommi riff is very efficient and instantly recognizable. It reminds the track "Black Sabbath" from their debut album. Slow-paced but devastating. A good song which brings some nostalgia to the old fans like me.

The opening number ("I Witness") is a typical hard-rock song. Aggressive and catchy beat. Several songs will be of that caliber here. "Immaculate Deception" is probably my fave of this album. Melodic vocals, super fast during the instrumental parts and with the best Iommi solo on this album. Very pleasant and to be honest, this album is probably the best one of "Sabbath" since "Sabotage" (1975).

One of their best rock ballads ever written (but they haven't written that much right ?) is also featured : "Dying For Love". Some similarities with Glenn Hughes's vocal style in this one. A bit melancholic but real strong.

"The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" combines almost acoustic parts with the most heavy ones. It is the most "sophisticated" of this album. Only for this mix; so don't expect too complex stuff there either. This album does hold any weak song. It must have been ages that it didn't happened ! No brilliant track either but a solid and well balanced album. "Cardinal Sin" is another pleasant moment.

This album is, to a certain extent, a return to some of their heavy roots ("Virtual Death", "Back To Eden", "Evil Eye") and Iommi, as usual, will raise the level of some songs to the upper side. He is the cement of "Sabbath".

Three stars.

Review by 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.

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album from 1994 named Cross purposes is by far my fav Sabbath album with Tony Martin on vocals after the excellent Headless cross from 1989. This is more heavy metal than prog but very enjoyble if you like this side of the band. I have this album since it was release in 1994, and i was blown away (in a good sense), i even bought a t-short with this album. After Duhumanizer from 1992 and another Dio participation on band's career (third studio album with him) Cross purposses brings a fresh air In Sabbath sound. The album has some very fine and strong guitar riffs and solos specialy on opening track I witness, The hand that rocks the cradla and Cardinal Sin, the rest is above many pieces Sabbath done in the past. I like very much the atmosphere this album has as a whole, very doomy and heavy sometimes, that is a good thing no doubt (we talking about one of the best heavy metal bands ever) and sometimes very smooth and melacholic. Tony Martin's voice on this album is outstanding, very powerful, excellent vocalist he fits like a glove on this kind of music, just check out I witness, Cross of Thorns,Immaculate Deception, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Cardinal sin, excellent pieces, maybe the best Black Sabbath tunes since Mob rules. Also Iommi gather on this album top notch musicians, as always, the old mate on bass Butler, Nichols on keys (he is a curent member since Heaven and hell ) and on drums another outstanding musician Bobby Rondinelli, so is clear that the music is super well done. Something to mention is that the sound is crystall clear, every instrument sounds absolute amazing. Definetly one of my fav Black Sabbath albums ever, along with Headless cross, Heaven and hell, and couple of early albums with Ozzy. 4 stars for sure, very strong album, recommended if you are also on heavy metal side.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Cross Purposes is the seventeenth full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Black Sabbath. After Dioīs second departure from Black Sabbath just before finishing the tour supporting their sixteenth full-length studio album Dehumanizer (1992), the band reunited with Tony Martin who had been the lead singer in Black Sabbath on the albums The Eternal Idol (1987), Headless Cross (1989) and Tyr (1990). A great singer who had brought much to those albums.

The music on Cross Purposes is a bit heavier and not as epic as the music generally was on the three albums mentioned above. There are also some contemporary influences in the music and Iīm thinking about Alice in Chains and Soundgarden more than one time during the playing time. A band like Extreme also came to mind because of the hard rock/ funky elements in the music. These are only influences though and above all the music on Cross Purposes is still unmistakably Black Sabbath. Heavy guitar riff based songs with strong vocals by Tony Martin. The production and the musicianship are professional and strong as ever.

Cross Purposes surprised me a bit if I have to be honest. The contemporary influences were not something I had expected but they donīt sound forced or out of place and Iīm actually glad that Black Sabbath didnīt make Dehumanizer part 2 with Tony Martin on vocals. That said I still think Dehumanizer is a stronger album than Cross Purposes. Nothing beats Dioīs intense and passionate vocal delivery IMO. Cross Purposes is a good album though and it deserves a 3 star rating.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars On this Cross album (even after 15 years I still can't tell the titles apart when referring to the Sabbath-with-Martin albums), the sound has been stripped of most of its overblown 80's resonating production values. Unfortunately Sabbath was again stripped of Dio as well, after that much maligned but still excellent Dehumanizer comeback album with him.

But I always liked the Tony Martin period. That is to say I like many songs from it. If you read my review of the other Cross album, I'm sure you figured out that subtle distinction yourself.

Cross#2 is another offering that has plenty of classic moments but is too uneven and inconsistent again to be called excellent. Let me just list the songs that really work for me and that I'm sure they will not deviate much from what everybody else has: I Witness, Cross of Thorns, Virtual Death, Dying for Your Love and the beautiful verses of Immaculate Deception (not so much the awkward tempo change).

That's about half of the album so 3 stars will have to do. Not essential or excellent, even though I believe every serious Sabbath fan should have at least one Martin album in his Sabbath section. This Cross is a decent candidate for that.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After short Dio return to Black Sabbath team, he left again. So previous vocalist Tony Martin was recruited. But this album isn't just a "Headless Cross "Vol.2.

If Headless Cross was heavy metal wave ,very energetic and enough fast, where everyone could hear many Dio-like moments (not only in vocal), "Cross Purposes" is more attack on Ozzy's legacy.

Ex-Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell is replaced by another ex-Rainbow drummer Bob Rondinelli. Music became much slower, now it is more acoustic extra heavy doom with BS from 70-s shadows. Tony Martin even being much more Dio- like vocalist, tried to sing songs more in Ozzy key.

The result is mixed - some songs are very near to Ozzy era, but many of them are somewhere in between. No one style or structure, album sounds more as collection of songs from different years. More melodic moments, more acoustic solos, more difference. But too raw album to be really good. And not enough innovative.

I think this work should be placed somewhere between better albums from after-Dio period, but no way at the level of Black Sabbath best works.

Review by TCat
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Team
2 stars Somehow, Black Sabbath just kept hanging on. After the departure of Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio, they just kept hanging on. Yes, the continued line-up changes kept coming and going and it was getting hard for people to keep up with who was who during this time, but, as far as the albums go, from "The Eternal Idol" in 1987, to "Forbidden" in 1995, one thing remained constant: Tony Martin was the lead singer for Black Sabbath, except for one album, "Dehumanizer" (which saw the return of Dio), making Martin the most consistent vocalist next to Osbourne. He sang on 5 of Sabbath's studio albums. Yet it is funny how no one seems to remember his name. During this time of upheaval in the band, hardly anyone kept track of that. Martin just didn't have that unique vocal quality of Osbourne, Dio or Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), who only sang on one of Sabbath's albums, "Born Again". Basically, he could have been anyone. But at least he helped make things consistent during this time.

Such is the case is the 17th Black Sabbath album, "Cross Purposes". Released in January of 1994, this album had the hard job of trying to re-re-form the band after Dio and Vinnie Appice (drums) left after the "Dehumanizer" tour. Strangely enough, Bobby Rondinelli, former drummer for Rainbow, who, as most know, Dio was the original vocalist for, came in to replace Appice on drums, but would only remain for this album. So, for "Cross Purposes" we see the return of Martin as vocalist, of course Tony Iommi (the one constant Sabbath member) on guitars, original band member Geezer Butler was along for this album also on bass, previously mentioned "one-timer" Bobby Rondinelli on drums, and the invisible, yet faithful member Geoff Nicholls on keyboards. Nicholls has at least grown to full band status, and not just a session musicians whenever Osbourne was involved, but he is another one that was unheard of, but who was almost always there, even in the early days.

So, the question is, how does this album stack up to the rest of their discography? Well, pretty much the same as all of the others that were produced during this period. Iommi tries his best to create memorable riffs, and actually seems to hit the mark better than he has for a while. Unfortunately, his power metal style that he was using during this time in the Sabbath history just doesn't seem to fit well with Martin's more soulful vocals. That eerie evil sound that seems to exist when Osbourne or Dio are singing just isn't there, and, even the opening track "I Witness", which is supposed to grab your attention, just ends up sounding like it is coming off of a Whitesnake album. Also missing is the changing meters and melodies that really made Sabbath stand out in the Osbourne years, in other words, the one thing that hinted at progressive sound is not even there anymore.

"Cross of Thorns" goes for a slower sound, and Nicholl's keyboards tend to help Martin's vocals fit in a bit better, and you even hear Martin reach for Dio's thicker voice, and it actually works, except that, now there are no memorable guitar riffs and unfortunately, you end up with another mostly mediocre track. "Psychophobia" simple just returns to the same Whitesnake- style power metal of before. The big surprise of the album is held out for the next track "Virtual Death". Iommi and Butler come together like they haven't done since the "Sabotage" album. A nice slow-crawl of deep dark metal starts off the track and even Martin, with a completely different style, sound like he actually belongs here with this classic sound. The harmonic resonance almost sounds like "Alice in Chains" on this song, and that is a compliment of the highest order. It's an excellent track, and things are looking up now. The wailing guitar solo is perfect, exactly what you would expect from a band with a lot of talent, if only the album were full of tracks like this, especially with the feeling that Iommi knows what to do with Martin's vocals. Excellent. One of the brightest stars in Sabbath's discography from this era, by far.

So, "Immaculate Deception" starts off again with another great riff, but then Nicholls comes in and waters the whole thing down. Rondinelli attempts to save the track with sudden fast and heavy drumming for the choruses, but can't quite pull it off because now the track is inconsistent and soon slips into obscurity with many of the other Sabbath tracks from this era. "Dying for Love" is just another hard rock ballad that could have been done by any of the commercial hair metal bands from the 80s. "Back to Eden" has nothing going for it at all that you haven't heard a million times already. "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle" is more Whitesnake schleppery. Iommi has a cool riff, but it's too repetitive and Martin's vocals just don't do anything to help, but then neither does the lackluster melody and textbook lyrics. A real snore-fest.

"Cardinal Sin" (originally known as "Sin, Cardinal Sin" but renamed because of a printing error) is a track where Nicholls steals a symphonic style riff from Deep Purple's "Perfect Stranger" to try to bring some flavor to another tasteless tune. It doesn't help. The track does speed up in the middle section, but even that doesn't help bring any interest to the track. "Evil Eye" finishes off the album with a track that was co-written by Eddie Van Halen, but was uncredited due to record label restrictions. Guess what? You can hear some riffs that sound like they were inspired by him, and in the end, it's just another track, and by this time you might be wondering, what's the use? Speaking of that, "What's the Use?" is the name of the Japanese edition's bonus track. And, no, you are not any better off knowing that. It's only another throw away track with Martin trying to sound like Dio again, coming full circle to the first track.

So, put this one in the stack of mediocre Black Sabbath albums. With only one excellent track on here, "Virtual Death", its just not worth your time, unless you want to hear just how great this album could have been if they used Martin's vocals the way they did on that track. But, since there is only one non-throw away track on this album, it's just not good enough. This one is only for straightforward metal lovers with very few expectations. Download "Virtual Death" and forget the rest.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Dang it all - new line up again - at least Tony Martin's back. I love the track "Cross of Thorns" and I immediately forgive Tony for the confusion of what may come next on future albums - I'm thinking maybe Robert Plant hahaha. Is it me or is Martin just really going through the motions here ... (read more)

Report this review (#940048) | Posted by sukmytoe | Saturday, April 6, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Perhaps the most solid Sabbath effort featuring vocalist Tony Martin, and perhaps their best album of the decade. Cross Purposes offers a wide range of compositions, from the speedy intro 'I Witness' to the doom that is 'Virtual Death' through to the ballads such as 'Dying for Love'. The retur ... (read more)

Report this review (#247172) | Posted by dalekvilla | Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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