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HAPPY 20th CROSS PURPOSES!

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  • HAPPY 20th CROSS PURPOSES!

    Okay it was yesterday but I didn't remember it untill late in the evening and didn't have time to write anything about it...

    But now I did.

    So here's my 20th Anniversary review thingy.

    I Witness the 20th Anniversary of Cross Purposes!

    On January 31st 1994 one of Black Sabbath's finest albums Cross Purposes was released.

    It was a triumphant return of the second longest serving vocalist the great Tony Martin to the band. Founding member Geezer Butler stayed in the band as well after the (first) reunion with the late mighty Ronnie James Dio. One can clearly hear Geezer's input on both music and lyrics as this album continued the heavier theme of Dehumanizer with songs like Psychophobia, Back To Eden, Evil Eye and the masterful Virtual Death. I can easily imagine Tony getting a lot of inspiration for the incredible lyrics on the album from Geezer.

    This album also introduced a new member, mr. Bobby Rondinelli from Rainbow (making him already the second drumming genius from that band to join Sabbath) and Quiet Riot on drums. Bobby's drumming style is actually very close to Bill Ward's at times and yet he can also muster the heavier style of Vinny Appice flawlessly. He is very close to Cozy Powell actually with his versatility even if not quite as fast. In live setting Bobby could play stuff from all the past main Sabbath drummers with ease, which truly showcased his talent...and why it was a real shame that he did not carry on with the band.

    The album kicks in with a true monster of a track. The double layered riff of I Witness is without a doubt one of Iommi's finest and Tony's lyrics and vocals here are nothing short of suberb. Tony even invented a whole new word for this song which has stuck in the head of every true Sabbath fan for all eternity. With this song Sabbath returned to the fold with a fast album opening track, the previous one being from over 10 years before in the form of Trashed. I would be tempted to even say that this might very well be one of their best opening tracks ever...only Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Neon Knights would take the lead.


    Cross Of Thorns quiets things down after the furious opener and it starts with a soft acoustic intro with some calm keyboard work from Geoff Nicholls in the background that almost sounds like a choir chanting. The song itself is about the tough and problematic situation in Northern Ireland at the time. A very touching song with great tempo changes. One of the most unique songs in Sabbath whole history.

    Psychophobia really kicks it up a notch or ten with a super fast and furious riff. The title means Fear Of The Mind and is about the Waco siege that took place the year before...told in the point of view of a member of Koresh's cult.
    Some have actually thought this song would have had some connection with Ronnie James Dio, with the mentioning of a rainbow, but that is certainly not the case. It is about Koresh promising his followers even the rainbows from the sky. One of Sabbath best up tempo songs, right up there with the likes of Turn Up The Night, TV Crimes, Hole In The Sky and Killing Yourself To Live.

    Virtual Death is the clear brainchild of Geezer Butler and is in the vain of Dehumanizer. Ultra heavy and doomy track with a suberb bass intro from Geezer. Brilliant heavy riff from Tony that really lifts the hairs in the back of your neck up everytime you hear it. Without a doubt the best track of the album and a true Black Sabbath classic.

    Immaculate Deception is the only bit more commercial sounding track and is actually bit out of place on the album. Lyrically this is great, but musically it leaves something to be desired. I would say this is the only weak track on the album and one that I could do without.

    Dying For Love is a bit doomy ballad about the war in the old Yugoslavia. Another showcase of Tony's masterful lyrics and the power of emotion in his voice. Sabbath's ballads have always been their weakest link, part from Planet Caravan, Solitude and Too Late, but this song rises above them all. This really proves that Sabbath had it in them to make a fantastic ballad...it just took them 24 years.

    Back To Eden picks up the tempo again with a brilliant groovy riff from Iommi. But it wouldn't be Sabbath if there wouldn't be a bit of a tempo change in the song again and during the chorus the song actually slows down, which truly isn't too common, but that's Sabbath for you right there...nothing common about them. Tony's vocals and especially his vocal melody are top notch here, but still the biggest treat is Iommi's solos which have enough soul for atleast three songs.

    The Hand That Rocks The Cradle slows things down again with a very soft guitar intro and very soft vocals from Tony. This almost has a certain Children Of the Sea feel to it...untill the fast and again quite groovy riff kicks in. One of Iommi's finest riffs again...which seem to be plenty on this album. The song ends with a fantastic outro solo.

    Cardinal Sin is another very unique song in Sabbath's catalogue, the intro guitar, and Tony's vocal melody both stand out as something very different. Some absolutely amazing vocals from Tony again. He really showcases his different styles on this one...This is one of those songs that you instantly recognize as Black Sabbath but it still sounds like no other Black Sabbath song ever...which I think is something very few other bands could ever achieve.

    The closing track features again one of Tony Iommi's absolutely suberb riffs. Evil Eye is without a doubt my second favourite song on the album after Virtual Death. This riff might very well be one of Tony's finest ever. There is an interesting fact about this song, the solo that layers the intro riff is played by Eddie Van Halen....who also co wrote the song but was never credited on the album part from the "Thank you" section in the back of the booklet! This was only the second time that a "guest star" had appeared on a Sabbath album. (The previous being Brian May on When Death Calls from Headless Cross)
    There is a lot of great solo work here again from Tony and a very nice bass version of main riff on the middle section. Tony and Geezer clearly fuel off of eachother on this one. A fantastic closer to a fantastic album.

    What's The Use was the Japanese Edition bonus track and one hell of a song it is...the rest of the world really missed out here. Fast and furious and galloping riffing again with some of Tony's fastest ever vocal melodies...which he actually varies in different parts of the song. A suberb up tempo song with great lyrics and a fantastic solo from Iommi.

    This is again one of those albums that has truly stood the test of time. 20 years later and it still sounds fresh, exciting and most of all Black Sabbath. This is without a doubt the best of Tony Martin era albums and this ranks right up there with the classics like Master Of Reality, Heaven And Hell and Paranoid. If only Immaculate Deception would have been swapped out with What's The Use there wouldn't have been a single weak song on the whole album!

    Cross Purposes was a great follow up to the masterful Dehumanizer and proved once and for all (if someone still had doubts) that Tony Martin is not only a brilliant singer but a fantastic lyricist as well. One can only imagine how much magic this line up could have created had it lasted beyond this album and tour.

    But atleast we got a testament of this line up in the form of a true Black Sabbath classic that keeps on rockin' just as much after 20 years as it did when it came out!



    * * * *

  • #2
    Great review , Charger !
    I love the whole album , Immmaculate Deception included :
    I love the musical dual structure: the first between Tony / Geezer / Bobby and the other with Tony / Geoff and finally joined for the chorus.
    during the verses, you can almost hear 2 sides with 2 different rhythms .
    very unusual , Awesome .
    and yes , What's the Use is killer .

    5/5

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    • #3
      I tried so hard at the time to love the album. I've now tried again and I still can't get into it.

      I Witness, Psychophobia and Virtual Death I have on my iPod right now and they're the tracks I do enjoy, I even played I Witness in a band I was in back in the mid 90s. I think after the edgy and heavy Dehumanizer, Cross Purposes was just too smooth for me, Martin just isn't as exciting to my ears as Dio.
      But in saying that Martin's croaky voice on the tour was excellent, I was there on the night where they shot the video (front row in front of Geezer, I look so young in it...) and it was a great night, the best setlist since Ray Gillen's in '86 and Martin was really trying, finally coming into his own after the Dio thing left him feeling burned maybe?

      The album deserved respect and success whatever I think of it and it's good to see folk here being positive about it.

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      • #4
        What a steamy pile of dog poo this album is. EDIT: i don't actually think that. Just trying to show how annoying comments like that are.
        Last edited by OZZYIRONMAN; 02-01-2014, 01:47 PM.

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        • #5
          Maybe it was the cover that did it?

          The Scorpions used this in '91.

          [IMG][/IMG]

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          • #6
            Originally posted by OZZYIRONMAN View Post
            What a steamy pile of dog poo this album is. EDIT: i don't actually think that. Just trying to show how annoying comments like that are.
            Way to try stirr up shit again...you really are a master at that...

            Again if you have nothing worth saying why not just remain quiet and move on instead of poisoning a thread?

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            • #7
              Fantastic review brother!! ...hands down a true masterpiece of a release , song for song , pound for pound excellent!!

              Thank you for the great read!!


              God bless buddy

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Charger View Post
                Way to try stirr up shit again...you really are a master at that...

                Again if you have nothing worth saying why not just remain quiet and move on instead of poisoning a thread?
                I think that goes for other threads as well like the "Sabbath says they're down for making a new album" thread where people just launched in with "Ozzmosis is a piece of shit" without backing it up with any real substance, I don't even know what Ozzmosis has to do with the possibility of Sabbath doing a new album anyway? It seems only the want to antagonise is their main motivation.

                Anyhow good review Charger, I like a lot of the TM era but I don't love it. Cross Purposes for me along with HC was the best album of that era. It's certainly the heaviest and doomiest and most resembles the more classic Sabbath sound out of all the Martin albums, and as you say still holds up well today. Hard to believe its been 20 years!!
                Last edited by Jack the Stripper; 02-01-2014, 07:27 PM.

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                • #9
                  Great posts so far (apart from the obvious attention seeker) thanks for starting this thread, hard to believe that 20 years have passed so quickly!
                  I have very vague distant memories of the album coming out in 1994, I would have bought the import and paid a decent price for it.

                  The album, well has some killer riffs and songs.
                  It has some of my fave songs from the TM era, but it also has the weirdest one too.
                  Virtual Death, to my ears sounds like Ozzy could be or should be singing it.
                  TM voice is multi tracked and sounds very different to his usual vocal.
                  Dying For Love is so beautiful, the drums could almost be Cozy and such an emotive guitar solo from Iommi.

                  Played the album the other day in my car, it still sounds fresh, killer production.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for taking the time to read my little piece and thanks for the comments.

                    Glad to see others value this album as well. It certainly deserves it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Charger View Post
                      Thanks for taking the time to read my little piece and thanks for the comments.

                      Glad to see others value this album as well. It certainly deserves it.
                      Sorry I'm late in posting in this thread, I will give Cross Purposes a spin today, the mood is right today for some Tony Martin Sabbath.
                      "Without Black Sabbath there never would have been an Ozzy, and without Ozzy there never would have been a Black Sabbath"
                      "If there ever was a band whose voice is so significant and distinct, that band is Black Sabbath and the voice is Ozzy Osbourne"
                      ________Sabbath Forever, Forever Sabbath!______OzzyIsDio_ (YoY)

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                      • #12
                        Great review!

                        I love this album.
                        Last edited by svullo; 02-03-2014, 03:16 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Kick ass album, definitely my favourite from the ones fronted by Tony Martin.

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                          • #14
                            Cross Purposes is a simply fantastic album. Geezer's presence is a big plus, and Bobby Rondinelli is, in my humble and flawed opinion, the first Sabbath drummer since Bill who's actually interesting to listen to. It's certainly not Eternal Idol-tier, and as with most of the Martin era, it's a lot more dated than the rest of the Sabbath catalogue, but that doesn't take away much from its quality. It's certainly my favourite Martin album, though not my favourite Martin performance - honestly I found his singing rather weak on this one, especially compared to the previous three. But as a whole, it's a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

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                            • #15
                              I listened to the Cross Purposes album yesterday and really enjoyed it, Virtual Death is classic.
                              "Without Black Sabbath there never would have been an Ozzy, and without Ozzy there never would have been a Black Sabbath"
                              "If there ever was a band whose voice is so significant and distinct, that band is Black Sabbath and the voice is Ozzy Osbourne"
                              ________Sabbath Forever, Forever Sabbath!______OzzyIsDio_ (YoY)

                              Comment

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