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Black Sabbath - Headless Cross Review

by Matt Hensch

When people think of Black Sabbath, they typically think of Ozzy Osbourne or Ronnie James Dio doing vocals, not Tony Martin. They also think of straight-up heavy metal without anything strange, like keyboards. Well metalheads, there are keyboards and neither Ozzy or Dio is singing, and its still damn good! Headless Cross came out in 1989, when everyone thought Black Sabbath had already died, but they didn't. Not only is Headless Cross a masterpiece, it proved that Black Sabbath was still the band we all know and love. This album showed that they could fight to maintain a powerful position in the metal world.

To start things off, we have "The Gates Of Hell." "The Gates Of Hell" is a small, minute long intro of screaming souls and other "hellish" sounds. A nice intro nonetheless. Right after "The Gates Of Hell" ends, the drum intro to Headless Cross begins. After the drums comes a classic, Sabbath-y, Iommi riff. After a few seconds of riffing, Tony Martin's vocals soar past the rest of the doom. Martin's voice is also welcomed by Geoff Nicholls's gothic keyboards which add a very haunting element to the already grim sound. The chorus is filled with energy as Iommi's guitar rings a fine tune while Tony Martin's voice hits sky high notes. Cozy Powell's drumming is technical and contains perfect rhythm; his rhythm fits in perfectly with Laurence Cottle's fine bass work. Iommi has a golden solo as the title track falls into Tony Martin's majestic voice. "Headless Cross" is just as evil as it is good. "Devil And Daughter" explodes with up-tempo riffing and Nicholls's keyboard overtones. Tony Martin steals the spotlight here as his voice gives off a radiant beauty mixed with a hellish tone. The chorus is catchy and brilliant as Iommi's riffs crush your eardrums. Iommi's solo is also filled with a blast of power and excellence.

"Devil And Daughter" ends as one of the best songs on Headless Cross.

"When Death Calls" begins with a depressing riff and Tony Martin's sorrowful voice. As soon as Martin picks up his voice, Cozy Powell kicks off the chorus, which is addictive and intelligent. After the second time through the chorus, "When Death Calls" really gets going. Cozy's drumming is amazing as Iommi and Martin fly through the pandemonium. Brian May of Queen makes a spectacular guest solo as he glides into the insanity. "When Death Calls" ends with the fading chorus as you faintly hear Iommi's guitar echo. A fantastic song. As soon as "Kill In The Spirit World" begins, you know it's going to
rock. The music is fast-paced while Tony Martin's vocals give the song a very powerful feel to it. Once again, Iommi has more solid riffs with an amazing solo as "Kill In The Spirit World" falls into Tony Martin's electric vocals. Yet another solid song!

Black Sabbath can do no wrong, and "Call Of The Wild" is proof of this. "Call Of The Wild" has epic riffing while Cottle's bass thumps past Tony Martin's surging vocals. Can Iommi ever run out of good riffs? NEVER! Iommi's riffs are stunning and his solo is even better. "Call Of The Wild" really owns its special place here on this album.

"Black Moon" begins with the traditional doomy riffing and the keyboard overtones. The chorus has a very perky feel to it as Tony Martin's vocals fly above the music. Iommi once again comes up with a rabid solo. "Black Moon" is just like as good as every other song on this album. There isn't a better way to close an album like this then "Nightwing." Filled with everything that makes a masterpiece, "Nightwing" contains sludge riffs with marvelous vocals. The musicianship on "Nightwing" is diverse and different as the extreme use of keyboards and the acoustic guitars blend to make an atmospheric home-run. Iommi has another exceptional solo, and even a f*cking acoustic solo. Tony Martin is really the guru here. He has his tremendous moments, but nothing stands in his way as he howls "Nightwing flies again!." Ya just can't ask for a better closer on an already stellar album.

Headless Cross really is one of Sabbath's best albums. Tony Martin really takes the cake here because he outdoes everyone and proves he is just as good as Dio and Ozzy. Every moment on this album is amazing, from the spooky intro of "The Gates Of Hell," to the fading seconds of the mighty "Nightwing," Black Sabbath dishes out a masterpiece. If you're going to be an ass about who sings on this album, then you're an arrogant prick and you have no idea what you're missing. Headless Cross is without a doubt a classic.

1. The Gates Of Hell
2. Headless Cross
3. Devil And Daughter
4. When Death Calls
5. Kill In The Spirit World
6. Call Of The Wild
7. Black Moon
8. Nightwing

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Black Sabbath - Headless Cross


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