Black Sabbath seeing some success with their previous release “Eternal Idol”, released “Headless Cross” in 1989. The band would be moving back into a darker musical style that they have always been known for. Aside from the Ozzy and Dio years, this is one of my favorite Tony Martin vocalist years. To me, this is the “Heaven or Hell” version of Martin’s vocalist career with Black Sabbath. This record is exactly what the band needed in order to move forward into the 1990’s. A strong modern sound that skirted the darkness.
This record featured guitarist Tony Iommi, vocalist Tony Martin, bassist Neil Murray, drummer Cozy Powell, and keyboardist Geoff Nicholls. The musicianship is very tight. The entire band sounds great from the first introduction song to the last song on the record. Iommi is still putting out some very strong riffs of his career. Martin is tearing up the vocals and leaving a favorable mark upon Black Sabbath fans. He has a lot of range when it comes to his pipes. He’s more polished than Ronnie James Dio, but is so much better than Ian Gillan or Glenn Hughes. One can tell, a lot of investment with regards to song writing and time has gone into this record. The end result is a record that is very powerful and has plenty of energy. Tony Martin has a good bit to do with that and his clean vocal style. The rest of of the musicians are just as good behind their instruments. Bassist Neil Murray’s bass lines are not as complex as that of Geezer Butler, but he still does a decent job for stepping in during the recording.
Song structures, this album is very dark. The guitar parts are more complex. Lot’s of good backing vocals. It has plenty of great melodies. It seems as if this new version of Black Sabbath has gotten back to it’s roots, with a modern sound. Bottom line, this is a very good Black Sabbath record. It’s the record that got the band moving into new direction of modern music. Because of that, Black Sabbath was able to survive the 1900’s.
1. “The Gates of Hell” 1:06
2. “Headless Cross” 6:29
3. “Devil & Daughter” 4:44
4. “When Death Calls” 6:55
5. “Kill in the Spirit World” 5:11
6. “Call of the Wild” 5:18
7. “Black Moon” 4:06
8. “Nightwing” 6:35