Black Sabbath - Seventh Star
Warner Music
Heavy Metal
9 songs (34:46)
Release year: 1986
Black Sabbath, Warner Music
Reviewed by Charles
Archive review
When is a Black Sabbath album not a Black Sabbath album? When it’s this nonsense.

As most probably know, Seventh Star was intended to be Tony Iommi’s solo album but, commercialism, art’s most poisonous desecrator, interfered, in admittedly one of its more minor intrusions, forcing a more familiar brand name onto the cover.

That explains a few things. First, the transformed lineup, featuring Glenn Hughes on vocals; second, the bizarre addition of “feat. Tony Iommi” to the band name; and thirdly, why it is devoid of almost all of the good things we associate with Black Sabbath. It is, almost literally, a completely different band. Even if you were to detect a move in this particular musical direction on the more recognizable (and effing cool) Born Again, the energy and soul that made that album work has largely been sucked out here.

Every time I listen to this album I wonder if I am too harsh on it. Sometimes, I am convinced that I am. My overall impression is of an institution that has sunk into playing hackneyed 1980s soft-rock cheese; its eyes glazing over as it embraces soulless rock production and hair metal sleaze. But even at Black Sabbath’s nadir, there is a seam of real class. Heart Like a Wheel works extremely nicely as a thudding and ominous blues tune, even if Hughes gives it an unnecessary sense of melodrama. In for the Kill charges along with catchy aplomb. This doesn’t excuse nor make up for the fist-eating horror of the power ballads, No Stranger to Love and In Memory…, both suffocated under a mountain of sugar, nor the plodding theatrics of Angry Heart.

Rockers like Turn to Stone make a worthy fist of kicking some life in, as does the classy title track, but here’s the problem. This is so dated. Sure, if you didn’t already know, you could probably put an approximate release year to most of Sabbath’s albums, as you could with many bands in popular music. But this sounds hopelessly caged in a musical era that nobody actually wants to go back to. Funnily enough, it was actually released in 1986, a true vintage year for the more extreme end of metal, but listening to this you’d be more inclined to go along with the mainstream musical opinion that the mid-80s were a best-forgotten nightmare.

Killing Songs :
In for the Kill, Seventh Star, Heart like a Wheel
Charles quoted 58 / 100
Other albums by Black Sabbath that we have reviewed:
Black Sabbath - 13 reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Black Sabbath - Classic Albums - Paranoid (DVD) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Black Sabbath - Headless Cross reviewed by Adam and quoted 81 / 100
Black Sabbath - Forbidden reviewed by Khelek and quoted 65 / 100
Black Sabbath - Mob Rules reviewed by Khelek and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 22 reviews click here
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