Black Sabbath – Forbidden (1995)

Black Sabbath - Forbidden

Black Sabbath – Forbidden (1995, I.R.S.)

  1. The Illusion Of Power
  2. Get A Grip
  3. Can’t Get Close Enough
  4. Shaking Off The Chains
  5. I Won’t Cry For You
  6. Guilty As Hell
  7. Sick And Tired
  8. Rusty Angels
  9. Forbidden
  10. Kiss Of Death

Band Lineup:
Tony Iommi – Guitars
Tony Martin – Vocals
Neil Murray – Bass
Cozy Powell – Drums
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards

Guest Musicians:
Ice-T – guest vocal on ‘The Illusion Of Power’

Total Time – 44:15

Black-Sabbath.com
Iommi.com

The most consistent lineup in the since the Ozzy and Dio days reforms again to create FORBIDDEN. The same band that toured for HEADLESS CROSS and created TYR are  shadow of their former glories, hindered by management and producer alike. The ultimate question is: Who’s idea was it to bring in people from the Rap community to guest star and produce the album?

Let’s set the stage:

  • Tony Iommi is in total control, Cozy Powell reduced to a less active role in band affairs.
  • FORBIDDEN is the last studio album on contract to I.R.S.
  • Band management wants to capitalize on “current” trends in the Metal community (Rap-Rock) so they bring in Body Count members Ice-T and Ernie C. (producer).
  • The seeds of a reunion with Ozzy Osbourne and the original Sabbath are in the planning stages.

Black Sabbath, the founding fathers of Heavy Metal, aligned with Rap? Say it ain’t so! Opening song ‘The Illusion Of Power’ has a mid-song rap by Ice-T. The song sounds weak: Martin’s vocals are stripped down, no backing vocals and the formidable rhythm section is put to the background. What you initially hear is a precursor to the rest of the album.

Every song on the album sounds like a demo, almost like a bad bootleg. The production is just horrible compared to previous efforts. Obviously, Ernie C. does not know how to produce a Heavy Metal record with world class musicians. All this guy had to do was add some ideas and steer the proceedings, not ruin them. He was handed some of the best musicians of their craft and he relegated them to annoying background noise. I’ve read that Ernie C. was looking for “a more organic, more stripped down feel”. There is a difference between a back to basics approach and a dismantling of a band’s sound.

As with the opener, the rest of the album is subject to a distant, “tinny” drum sound, not Cozy’s hard-hitting style. Same with the bass, Neil Murray being a top notch bass player but relegated to being pushed way back in the mix. After four studio albums where the vocals are superb, Tony Martin is put in a bad light due to the lack of background. Does Martin need background vocals to get by, to mask an inability? No, the actual song needs the backing tracks to bring that lush Sabbath sound found on the previous albums. Every song has some very good guitar by Mr. Iommi, there are some very good basic ideas, but they sound unfinished.

Bottom Line:
An awful album. This is not true Black Sabbath, this is a butchering of a legendary band. The blame lies at the feet of Tony Iommi. He had final say in everything, it’s his band. Obviously a rush job of an album to get out of the current contract and move to more lucrative ($$$) pastures with Ozzy and Sharon.

I never reach for this album. For this review, I actually had to listen for a couple of weeks to get familiar with it again. Thankfully I don’t have to reach for it anytime soon. Favorite songs: ‘Get A Grip’, ‘Rusty Angels’, and ‘Forbidden’. If there was ever an album that ever needed a remaster to fix the production, it’s this one. Many Sabbath fans point to 1983’s BORN AGAIN (with Ian Gillan on vocals) as the most poorly produced Black Sabbath album due to it’s “muddy” mix. Those fans can now turn to FORBIDDEN for that title.

It’s official, Jeff Scott Soto is the new Journey singer

UPDATE 6/13/07 –  Jeff Scott Soto out of Journey!
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From Melodicrock.com:

JOURNEY NAMES JEFF SCOTT SOTO OFFICIAL NEW LEAD SINGER

December 19, 2006 — Jeff Scott Soto has been officially named the new lead singer of Journey. He had been filling in for Steve Augeri, who had to leave the U.S. tour with Def Leppard shortly after it began on June 23 due to illness.

“We are so grateful to Steve for all the years he dedicated to Journey,” says Journey in a joint statement. “We thank Steve for all his hard work and we wish him only the best in his future endeavors. Over the past few months, we’ve come to realize that Jeff has proven himself above and beyond that he can sing the hell out of our songs and we’re happy to officially welcome him as part of the family. We’re excited to start a new chapter with Jeff and we’re excited about what the future may bring.”

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After witnessing the Soto-led Journey in concert this past Summer, I can personally say that this was a move in the right direction. Jeff Scott Soto has been one of the most acclaimed singers in the industry but a virtual unknown to the public. Fronting Journey will no doubt boost interest into his previous work (solo, Talisman, Humanimal, etc.) while raising the bar for the band. Former Journey frontman, Steve Augeri, had to battle the constant comparisons to Steve Perry as they sound similar. JSS brings his own style and energy to the Journey camp. Great move by Journey to retain JSS, an obvious move but still great.