The unrecognized Mr. Tony Martin - Wishevoke

The unrecognized Mr. Tony Martin

A permanent column that is not permanent, well, not even a column, but rather a brief record of some of the author’s thoughts and opinions on current (and perhaps even past) musical events. Sometimes with a good dose of humor, sometimes completely serious, the core of the article lies in the idea that the so-called “long hours” between beers and friends are more food for thought and a field for the exchange of opinions than anything else. With a name borrowed from Diamond Head’s song of the same name, “In The Heat Of The Night” is exactly that: what is said in the heat of a night.

I generally don’t like anniversaries that much, but they are great opportunities to talk about favorite bands and favorite listeners, even with a slight – or longer – delay. But why mention the anniversary of an album that isn’t even the best, let alone the most popular, in a major band’s catalog, while at the same time referencing a period that was neither the smoothest nor the most successful ever? this band? ; Especially when the release is usually overshadowed by the anniversary of a legendary album that is just a day away and usually grabs everyone’s attention?

When the conversation is about them Black Sabbath And “Headless Cross” album, the reasons seem more than obvious – at least to those who reflect on his period Tony Martin in his legendary band Tony Iommi has produced some monumental records that have been unfairly overlooked in the minds of the general public. And if “Heaven And Hell,” released on April 25, is considered by many to be Black Sabbath’s top album, “Headless Cross” looks like its little brother. A record that brought many of his mannerisms (as well as “Mob Rules”) back to the fore and presented them again, with behind the microphone a performer with a voice as great but with significantly less presence than almost all of the predecessors of .

So this week’s column will take a quick stab at it Flashback At the time, it focused on Black Sabbath’s fourteenth album, paying homage to such an overlooked record and its equally reviled singer.

I experience changes – ή otherwise, The hardly the late 80s

History suggests that Black Sabbath went through significant difficulties in the second half of the ’80s, with the band being somewhat a personal project of Tony Iommi and the other members who came and went. The problem lies not so much with “Seventh Star”, which is Iommi’s first personal record in all but name, but with what followed and concerned the sequel to Black Sabbath. “Eternal Idol” would prove to be one of their most difficult albums to release, as along with the other touring musicians, their original singer, the late Ray Gillen, decided to leave the band shortly before the record was due to hit record shelves.

The reason; There are many versions that have been heard from time to time. One of them states that Gillen was kicked out due to problematic behavior and various infractions related to his various addictions. On the other hand, in the eyes of the ambitious singer, the supergroup Blue Murder appeared to be a more promising form than Sabbath at the time. Not without good reason, because the band’s popularity had declined sharply, even if the musical quality of the records Iommi released was undisputed. Somewhere here comes Antony Philip Harford, a British singer who would become known as Tony Martin, who takes over the band’s vocal duties without having any previous experience in a similar field.

Tony’s real beginning Martin time of Black Sabbath

After being asked to recite Ray Gillen’s vocal lines for “Eternal Idol” almost verbatim and admittedly making a very good first impression despite the limited time he had (and his own minimal creative input), Tony became Martin tested and performed in conditions and markets (see Greece, South Africa) that were unprecedented for the band name. The venture would be successful, but the format failed commercially and Iommi reshaped the lineup again.

In the midst of all this, record labels Warner and Vertigo would no longer support what they saw as a decadent band, with IRS Records seen as a retreat, but Iommi and Cozy Powell, the core – along with Geoff Nicholls – would free up the new Sabbat. As for Tony Martin, Powell’s intervention to keep him changed history for the better for the writer and several others…

Because “Headless Cross” would be an album that the British singer would seal with his performances and finally show the full range of his skills. With a confident and epic voice, not far from that of Ronnie James Dio or David Coverdale (the two singers Iommi wanted in the band at that time), he managed to increase his acting stature and had on End success to become Black Sabbath’s longest-serving lead singer.

The occult Texts, his hunt Blow and his aura Heaven And Hell defines the record

In fact, his immature but imaginative pen was evident in adopting the album’s lyrical content, as his “misunderstanding” that Black Sabbath meant something “dark” and “evil” resulted in some of the most occult and aesthetic “80s lyrics of the era.” Tape. But certainly best suited for the musical accompaniment to the compositions by Iommi (and Powell), which ideally brought the epicness and power of “Heaven And Hell” to the end of the 80s.

However, the opening title track (featuring Powell’s signature drums) would only be the beginning, as it is considered the album’s most well-known song. The real highlights, however, were “When Death Calls” (with Brian May as solo singer) and “Nightwing”, two songs that were much more atmospheric and special, and whose style perfectly suited the group’s style of interpretation and the skills of the impressive Tony Martin. But with a quiver full of up-tempo moments, it would be unfair not to mention “Devil And Daughter” (an otherwise clear attempt at a hit of the era), “Call Of The Wild” and “Kill In The Spirit World”. , compositions that are unique flashes of creativity in their own right.

In addition to Iommi’s signature guitars, Sabbath’s Tony Martin period is characterized primarily by its atmosphere – thanks to Geoff Nicholls’ keyboards – and secondarily by Cozy Powell’s distinctive drums. The elements that the two musicians added to Tony Iommi’s compositional vision resulted in a multi-layered material in which Tony Martin’s voice seemed best suited to express what it was hiding. Laurence Cottle also deserves a special mention, as the jazz bassist performed his parts directly and received much less credit for them (see “When Death Calls” intro), due to Neil Murray’s subsequent presence and the fact that he was essentially one was a meeting member. However, America ignored this new beginning, leaving the band without an American tour for years, and the prospect of the European – and Russian – market raised hopes of something better.

Ultimately, history has shown that this creative marriage of the two Tonys was never fully accepted by a large portion of their audience, but rather gained a loyal following. Since I belong to the latter category, I consider albums like this or “Tyr” to be criminally overlooked, as they are in no way inferior to the classic albums of the scene or the band themselves. However, the facts do not change. As “Headless Cross” completes 32 years since its release and is waiting for the future reissues of the Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath catalogThe best thing we can do is play this iconic album for the umpteenth time or for the first time.

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