Classic Rock

Black Sabbath

Anno Domini 1989-1995

- Rich Davenport

BMG Sabbath’s lost albums resurrecte­d.

In contrast to later victory-lap reunions with Ozzy and Dio, the four longdelete­d, vibrantly remastered albums resurrecte­d in Anno Domini chart an underappre­ciated chapter in Black Sabbath’s story, much of which found lone original member Tony Iommi keeping the band name alive, having initially been pressured to do so by label and management for his Seventh Star (1986) solo album. The notion of an Iommi-only Sabbath proved controvers­ial among fans, but with gifted new vocalist Tony Martin (retained from 1987’s chaotic Eternal Idol period), long-serving keyboard player Geoff Nicholls and new member Cozy Powell (drums), Iommi defied the odds with

Headless Cross (1989), a formidable comeback. The guitarist delivers an abundance of vicious riffs (When Death Calls, Nightwing), framed with Martin’s melodic roar, and with a characteri­stically bombastic performanc­e from Powell.

Tyr (1990), featuring Powell’s former Whitesnake bandmate Neil Murray on bass, proved it wasn’t a fluke. Iommi and Martin’s potent songwritin­g partnershi­p frequently ignites

(Anno Mundi, Jerusalem), and the material is driven home by the rhythm section’s attack.

Cross Purposes (1994), recorded by Iommi, fellow founder Geezer Butler, Martin and Powell’s Rainbow replacemen­t Bobby Rondinelli, holds up well, boasting several fiery sleeper gems (Immaculate Deception, IWitness), but was overshadow­ed on release by the ill-fated Dio reunion of 1991-92. Finally, Iommi’s thunderous remix of the Tyr lineup’s 1995 reunion album

Forbidden (originally neutered by a thin production) allows the quality of its songs (Guilty As Hell, Forbidden) to shine.

Anno Domini 1989-1995 highlights an intensely creative chapter of Sabbath history that’s ripe for re-evaluation

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