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Cross Purposes

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Average Rating
★★★★☆
(44 Reviews)

Black Sabbath Biography - Black Sabbath Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands

Description

1994 Irs Label Release. The Tony Iommi Led Ozzy-less Version of the Sabbs.

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  • There was a time, ten years ago, when this record was everything in my musical world. I just listend to it over and over again, astouned by the virtuosity of the playing and creativity of the songwriting. Yes, it is the good and old Black Sabbath formula, with its dark atmosphere, but then with a clever and healthy flavor of the ’90’s sound.
    The album has the classic presence of Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, plus Bobby Rondinelli, of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow fame, in top form on the drum kit and Tony Martin, not at his best but compensating the range with a soulful performance, at the microphone.
    Sometimes the album goes a little bit over the border in its trying to follow the music fashion – Phychophobia is the most remarkable example -, but tracks like I Witness and Immaculate Deception show what BS heavy metal its all about without nostalgia or self indulgence.
    Other excellent tracks are Cross of Thorns, with its passionate feeling, and Cardinal Sin, which is the Sabbath version to Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir.
    Virtual Death goes in the same vein as After All or Master of Insanity, of Dehumanizer album, allowing Geezer Butler to come to the spotlight.
    Evil Eye, which was co-written by former Never Say Die tour mate Eddie Van Halen, is no Sabbath at all, but just a groove where Tony Iommi and Tony Martin have the chance to swing and shine.
    Back to Eden has a tight riff and Dying for Love is a slow blues that grows on you, despite some excesses from Tony Martin. The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, on the other hand, is definitely the weakest song on the album.
    In retrospect, Cross Purposes is a very good album, worth its price but not the perfect choce for the beginner in BS music. Try Master of Reality, Heaven and Hell or Headless Cross first.

    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • In 1994, Ozzy, Dio, Terry Gillam were all past tense. Tony Martin was at the helm of Black Sabbath along with original bandmates Iommi and Geezer Butler… sharing the credits in writing. 10 total tracks clocking in at approximately 47 minutes (liner notes complete with lyrics). Newcomer Bob Rondinelli is downright amazing on the drums. This is a slick and polished hard rock album. It definitely has a majestic/gothic feel to it with the storied lyrics and keyboards in the background. The 2 opening songs “I Witness” and “Cross Of Thorns” are diamonds in the rough as far as hidden metal gems. “Cross Purposes” sounds in the same vein as “Headless Cross”, “Eternol Idol”, and “TYR”… but it’s a stronger album song for song. Tony Martin resembles two of my all-time favorite singers… John Sykes (lead vocals/guitars with Blue Murder), and the dwarf Ronnie James Dio. Even better, you can probably find this on the bargain rack with the other Tony Martin Sabbath albums mentioned above. Fans of Sabbath, Dio and Blue Murder rejoice. Truly an underrated hard rock gem (5 stars).

    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This album is definitely a lot better than the previous Sabbath albums with Tony Martin. The addition of Geezer Butler on bass seems to light a fire under Iommi’s ass, because each track on the album has something to offer. The riffing is quite memorable, especially on “I Witness”, “Psychophobia”, “Virtual Death” and “Cardinal Sin.” Geezer and Tony have a chemistry that occurs when they play together, and it is very evident on this album.

    Gone is the keyboard-dominated epic 80s metal of “Headless Cross” and “Tyr”. This album focuses much more on Iommi’s guitar and the way it interacts with Geezer’s bass, with Geoff Nichols’ keyboards added as support. Tony Martin sounds great and seems to have finally found his own voice in Sabbath. His singing is very emotive and shines on numbers like “Dying For Love” and “Cross of Thorns”. He seems to have found control of his range and sings in a way that brings to mind Ray Alder of Fates Warning.

    Overall the songwriting is very strong on this album. It is one of my favorite post-Ozzy Black Sabbath discs. The only drawback I can think of is that the production could use some more oomph to it, the guitar and bass tone sound thinner than they should be.

    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Another Sabbath album with Tony Martin at the helm and in my opinion another good one. “Cross Purposes” was the album that came after the ill fated reunion with Ronnie James Dio and its subsequent release “Dehuminizer”. Although I am a huge Dio fan was really disappointed with the reunion effort and think that “Cross Purposes” blows “Dehumanizer” away. The music on this album sounds the most like classic Sabbath of any of the Tony Martin era recordings as the team of Butler / Iommi combine once again to produce some really strong material. Bobby Rondineli (Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult, And Quiet Riot) is also on hand n the drum kit and delivers a fine performance. Although he seems to get slammed by many die hard Sabbath fans I maintain that Tony Martin is an incredible vocalist and this album produces some of his best work to date. Highlights include the opening track “I Witness”, the heavy handed “Virtual Death” that has Geezer’s signature bottom end written all over it, the ballad “Dying For Love”, and the catchy rocker “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle”. Tony Iommi has some really tasty guitar solos on this album and shows that he was still a very capable guitarist in the mid-90’s. The album peters out for me a bit with the last two tracks “Cardinal Sin” and “Evil Eye” which are ok, but nothing spectacular. Overall I would rate this right behind “Tyr” as one of the best Sabbath albums of the 80’s or 90’s.

    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • After the short lived 1992 Dio reunion which resulted in the excellent album Dehumanizer, Sabbath returns with vocalist Tony Martin like the Dio reunion gig never happened after the album TYR.

    Sabbath also drops the ultra heavy doomy sound from Dehumanizer and returns to more of the tradition sound that was found on the Martin albums of the past. Still Cross Purposes sounds a tad different from those albums as it doesn’t have the full blown keyboard effect. Even though it doesn’t quit sound the same I still feel that this would have been the natural progression of the band even if Dehumanizer never happened. It was the early 90’s and Sabbath modernized their sound nicely for that era with Cross Purposes

    It seems a lot of people were upset when Dio left the group again and that Tony Martin came back. I in fact was very happy as I find Tony Martin to be one of the finest vocalists to grace the genre of metal so I accepted Cross Purposes with open arms.

    The album opens with I Witness, a more up beat track and a perfect way to open the album. The second song Cross of Thorns is a slower track with fantastic emotional lyrics. I’ve always found Tony Martin to write great lyrics and his voice just brings them to life. This track is perhaps the best on the album. The album picks up the beat again with Psychophobia with a monstrous riff by Iommi. What’s interesting is Martin sounds almost like Dio sometimes on this song. Virtual Death is a much slower doomier song with an odd distortion on Martin’s vocals. I wasn’t too hot on this track and it’s usually a skipper. Immaculate Deception is a decent heavier track right before the nice Sabbath ballad Dying for Love. I’m not sure what it is but with Iommi’s guitar talents and Martin’s vocals….ballads just seem to work. Good song. The last four songs are nice solid hard rockers.

    Overall I didn’t find it to be a bad album at all. I however didn’t like Cross Purposes near as much as Martin’s three previous Sabbath outings The Eternal Idol, Headless Cross, and TYR. I just found those be terrific outings and Cross Purposes doesn’t quit live up to the standards on those release. It just lacks the catchiness and overall greatness found on those (and plus I really dig the 80’s feel of those albums). Even with its very few disappointments, Cross Purposes is still very much worth checking out for fans of the underrated Martin-era Sabbath albums.

    I just find it a shame that Sabbath’s next album Forbidden didn’t turn as good or better than this. That album is eternally terrible (check out my review on it and you’ll see how much I despise it) and in my opinion this officially ends the great Tony Martin era of Sabbath.

    Posted on January 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now