Saturday, September 13, 2014

Black Sabbath - The Eternal Idol (1987)

After all the confusion that "Seventh Star" brought, the next Black Sabbath had to be clear and straight for the band to gain back their reputation. And that is exactly what the band did in "The Eternal Idol", but they did it in a more unexpected way than I imagined.

"The Eternal Idol" is actually very much alike its predecessor "Seventh Star". The music is oozing of classic 80's rock that might work better on acts like Whitesnake and Deep Purple. However, this time the music actually feels like something Black Sabbath could do, and not something from a side project. But saying that "The Eternal Idol" is Sabbath to the core would be a lie, it does not have any of the darkness that personalized the early albums and the Iommi riffs are more in a normal fashion, although they are still interesting and nice.

A new singer named Tony Martin Harford started his Black Sabbath career in "The Eternal Idol" and he is so far the second longest running vocalist in the band (after Ozzy). His voice fits this type of music well, and he does an overall good job as the lead vocalist. Other wise, there are no new additions to the band in this album, but a couple of drop offs from their last efforts, including Ray Gillen, Geoff Nicholls and Dave Spitz (Dave is credited in the album but does not actually appear in it).

What I like most about "The Eternal Idol" is that it has more bite to it. The songs are tougher and feels more like hard rock, something "Seventh Star" never did. It kind of reminds me of the Dio era of Sabbath, only without the fantasy lyrics. But it also have some of the classic Sabbath vibe in it, especially in the ending track "Eternal Idol" where we hear some of the darkest riffs Iommi has made after the Ozzy era. A stunningly awesome piece that ends the album in a remarkable way.

There are a good amount of good picks from this album. "Lost Forever" does not only impress with its drive and heavy attitude, but also a fantastic guitar solo and a strong and epic ending where Harford shows his range. The opener "The Shining" does also have a good drive, but it also shows some sensitivity with its slower parts. A good diverse track that is also catchy. Finally, we have the more groove oriented "Hard Life To Love", a song that catches my attention thanks to its interesting song structure and infectious main riff.

However, if there is one thing I am missing from "The Eternal Idol", it is the fact that the overall song quality is just okay. No horrible song, but no real killer either. The record is filled with fine songs that does a good job in entertaining the listener, but it is highly unlikely that some one would chose any of the songs from "The Eternal Idol" as some of Black Sabbath's best works because either the band has done similar songs that are better, or the  song just does not have that attraction to it. In other words, together the songs in "The Eternal Idol" creates a good album, but they would not be strong enough to be able to stand alone.

"The Eternal Idol" is definitely one of those Black Sabbath albums that does not get the recognition it truly deserves. It does a pretty good job mixing the band's entire career, from the early days and the Dio era to the more recent outputs. It is a album that feels good, fresh, and most importantly, it feels like it belongs in the Sabbath discography. Nothing is truly eternal, but "The Eternal Idol" is a album that has a long enough life span to entertain several generations of metal fans.

Songs worthy of recognition: Eternal Idol, The Shining, Hard Life To Love

Rating: 7,5/10 Glory Rides

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