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  1. #1
    Sabbathman's Avatar
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    Default HEADLESS CROSS: 1989 XXX 2019 (a retrospective)

    One of Black Sabbath's truly finest hours, the mighty HEADLESS CROSS just reached 30 years, only few days ago. This album is not only criminally underrated among the general public of Black Sabbath fans, some people hate it and the whole Tony Martin era even more than that of Dio, some even try to deny its very existence or at least decry its worth in the chronicles of Black Sabbath. This album is also very much appreciated among those of us who know better.

    When I think of my all-time favourite albums, the ones that changed so much in my musical world back in the days when I was younger, the ones that will always have a very deep and special place in my heart, this great album HEADLESS CROSS comes to my mind so swiftly. It's really a milestone of heavy metal in my life. I do consider myself a mere squire or an apprentice compared to many fans who have listened to Black Sabbath much longer than I have, I'm just a late bloomer among the many more seasoned fans of this band. Regardless of this, I'm still a very ardent fan and once I started to love this band, I've never let go or distanced myself from this band. I could have chosen my forum name myself, but I didn't: someone else did it for me, knowing my passion. OK, why not - I like it so let's stick to it. One of the prime examples of why my heart burns brightly for this band is this wonderful album HEADLESS CROSS.

    To think that this album too is now 30 years old is pretty awesome. Even I, as an apprentice that I am, have listened to this album for the last 20 years! I remember how in early 1999 my good friend (I love him dearly, God bless him) took me way deeper than ever before into all things Black Sabbath, especially everything post-Ozzy Osbourne, this album being one of the foremost items back then. At first, I couldn't believe how there could even be anyone else singing with Black Sabbath other than Ozzy. It didn't take too long to get forever snared by the power of these superior vocalists and the awesome song material found on these albums. HEADLESS CROSS was the very first Tony Martin-era album that I got to hear and it was true love from the very beginning. This album is a solid piece of metallic magic and mythology, a perfect blend of crushing riffs, bombastic rhythms, mind-blowing guitar solos and the all-round epicness of Martin's vocal work. And this was just the structural integrity - the soul of the songs themselves has lasted through the decades, capturing my heart time and again. No album is worth anything with just great playing, powerful sound and whatnot. The songs themselves have to speak directly to the listener's core. HEADLESS CROSS takes care of business on all grounds from start to finish, presenting an octagon of songs made of steel and thunder, with a roaring fire in the middle.

    Initially, it was very difficult to find this album on original I.R.S. CD, a tale known to many. Through the years, a total of 3 copies have found their way into my collection, just to make sure...While I have enough copies for the rest of my days and even if I do consider the soundscape of this album to be very well balanced and forceful (it's all about the volume knob on this one, not pre-loudness), I would hungrily buy a remastered edition as well, just for the sake of being a fan of this album and supporting Tony and co.

    HEADLESS CROSS, one of the albums of my life that truly has lasted through time and still keeps driving me crazy. 10/10 from Sabbathman

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSDJYyp4NdM
    Last edited by Sabbathman; 04-29-2019 at 11:19 AM.
    "He is the King of all kings, the keeper of light...He holds eternity's wings"

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    OzzyIsDio (05-12-2019)

  3. #2

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    Yeeeah!!! Ditto. I'm Not saying it's the best album ever. But I never enjoyed an album more than I enjoyed Headless Cross upon it's release.

  4. #3

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    Thanks for the retrospective Sabbathman, and for your thoughts too Headless Idol. Definitely a great album, one that captivated me on first listen. Even if my first listen was long after its release.

  5. #4
    Requiem's Avatar
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    Excellent post and review.

    I was a very late convert to the Tony Martin era material after first getting into Black Sabbath in the mid 90s as a teenager. It really wasn't until fifteen years later, or even more, that I started to actually give the Martin era a chance, which is pretty ridiculous of me. And when I did, 'Headless Cross' was the first example. I'd just been exposed to so much negativity around it from the media that I just thought it must have been garbage, but once I actually opened my mind a bit to what Black Sabbath could be I found that I really started to love it.

    I too would love to see a re-release, but there just doesn't seem to be any rumblings on that front. I guess we've all said it before, but the Tony Martin albums need a proper re-release in deluxe packaging etc. Iommi is working on 'Forbidden', so why not the others? 'Headless Cross' is 30 this year so why isn't it being celebrated? I wish Iommi was more proud of this era. It's not that the albums were bad, it's just that they weren't accepted by the mainstream at the time of release - and that means nothing in the glorious world of metal.

    The status of Tony Martin era Sabbath is still pretty up in the air. It has been written out of history so completely that even with a tentative 'Forbidden' re-release it's still very much under the radar. I guess all we can do is celebrate these great albums in our own way, like great posts like the one that started the thread.

  6. #5

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    I'm guessing that any potential work on HC and/or other Martin-era albums will start when 'Forbidden' is ready, if not released.

  7. #6
    Ala's Avatar
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    In my opinion "Headless Cross" is the best album of the Martin-era. Great, great album through and through. Love it.

  8. #7
    OzzyIsDio's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great review Sabbathman, I have 5 copies of this album, one on vinyl, three on CD a fifth on cassette.

    When this album came out, I remember really liking the title song, thought it was the best thing since The Shining and Ancient Warrior, the only two songs I liked from Martin/Sabbath at the time.

    Since the album came out thirty years ago, I've grown to like it a lot more then when it came out, that goes for the entire Martin/Sabbath catalog, this album is very dark, gloomy and plodding, the way a Sabbath album should be.
    Last edited by OzzyIsDio; 05-12-2019 at 08:02 AM. Reason: Typo
    "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"
    ________________________________________OzzyIsDio_ (YoY)

  9. #8
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    I still like, and play, HC, frequently.

    I am fortunate enough to have got it on CD.

    Cozy's drumming really makes the album more powerful.

    Of course, here in the USA it was panned simply because it didn't have Ozzy.
    He is not here. He has risen!

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