Black Sabbath - Forbidden
I.R.S. Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (42:00)
Release year: 1995
Black Sabbath
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

Now here's a Black Sabbath album that no one really ever talks about. 1995's Forbidden wasn't exactly the bands best album. Or third best. Or...tenth best. The album was panned for the most part by music reviewers at the time who saw it as the band, or rather Tony Iommi, selling out. In a sense they may be right. This album has few similarities to classic Sabbath albums such as Master Of Reality and Paranoid, with Iommi being the only founding member on the album. However, I have to say this album does have its moments. Vocalist Tony Martin is a decent heavy metal singer for the most part, but the song writing in general is where this album suffers. Instead of going for the usual doomy atmosphere, it appears the band decided to go in a bit more of a mainstream direction as the songs have a more upbeat feel than much of the band's early work.

The album starts off with Illusion Of Power which sounds plenty dark and doomy except for the guest vocals by...Ice T? Really? Ok I suppose I can overlook that. Unfortunately the vocals consist mostly of the line "illusion of power" being repeated over and over and after almost 5 minutes it is monotonous at best. The track may have been better if it was cut down to 3 minutes or less to serve as more of the intro it sounds like. Get A Grip comes in next and starts out with a faster, catchier riff that gets things going. Overall it's a good song with some political overtones in the lyrics. Iommi's playing style here and for the rest of the album is quite a bit happier than he's generally known for. The riffs he uses are also pretty simple for the most part although he throws in his usual short guitar solo runs and licks, but never really impresses me. The fourth track, Shaking Off The Chains, actually sounds like it could have been on an older Sabbath album, but I don't feel a lot of sincerity from it, which is probably why I disregarded it when I listened to this album a lot. Personally I think it could have been a lot better with Ozzy on vocals as it sounds like a song he would write. I've also noticed that the vocals on this album are a bit too loud in the mix for me. I would much rather the emphasis been put on Iommi's guitar work as I do really like his playing on this song.

I may be somewhat biased towards this album as I bought it when I was but a wee youngin and listened to it many times and learned to somewhat enjoy it as it was one of the few CDs I could afford at the time. However, even then it was not something I could really get into. It had a few songs I enjoyed, but in the end it was a mediocre album that I felt just did not live up to the Black Sabbath name and I ultimately put it aside to find better things. Sabbath was and still is one of my favorite bands and this album simply can't stand up to the band's earlier releases, my favorites being their self-titled debut and Heaven And Hell, which I listened to almost constantly back then. So today after revisiting this album, I have to say that my assessment in those days was correct. This album is not terrible, it has some decent enough songs on it, but in the end it is still below average, especially for this cornerstone band.

Killing Songs :
Get A Grip, Rusty Angels, Forbidden
Khelek quoted 65 / 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 - Mob Rules reviewed by Khelek and quoted CLASSIC
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath reviewed by Adam and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 22 reviews click here
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