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.