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Black Sabbath The Wizard 1994 (Tony Martin)

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Uploaded on May 31, 2011

Black Sabbath began work on new material in October 1986 at Air Studios in Montserrat with producer Jeff Glixman. The recording was wrought with problems from the beginning, as Glixman left after the initial sessions, and was replaced by producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven. Bassist Dave Spitz quit over "personal issues", and ex-Rainbow bassist Bob Daisley was brought in. Daisley re-recorded all of the bass tracks, and wrote the album's lyrics, but before the album was complete, he left to join Gary Moore's backing band, taking drummer Eric Singer with him. After problems with second producer Coppersmith-Heaven, the band returned to Morgan Studios in England in January 1987 to work with new producer Chris Tsangarides. While working in the UK, new vocalist Ray Gillen abruptly left Black Sabbath to form Blue Murder with John Sykes. The band enlisted ex-Alliance vocalist TONY MARTIN to re-record Gillen's tracks, and former drummer Bev Bevan to complete a few percussion overdubs. Before the release of the new album, Black Sabbath accepted an offer to play six shows at Sun City, South Africa during the apartheid era. The band drew criticism from activists and artists involved with Artists United Against Apartheid, who had been boycotting South Africa since 1985. Drummer Bev Bevan refused to play the shows, and was replaced by Terry Chimes, formerly of The Clash.

After nearly a year in production, The Eternal Idol was released on 8 December 1987 and ignored by contemporary reviewers. On-line internet era reviews were mixed. Allmusic said that "Martin's powerful voice added new fire" to the band, and the album contained "some of Iommi's heaviest riffs in years." Blender gave the album two stars, claiming the album was "Black Sabbath in name only". The album would stall at #66 in the UK, while peaking at 168 in the US. The band toured in support of Eternal Idol in Germany, Italy and for the first time, Greece. Unfortunately, in part because of a backlash from promoters over the South Africa incident, other European shows were cancelled. Bassist Dave Spitz left the band shortly before the tour, and was replaced by Jo Burt, formerly of Virginia Wolf.

Following the poor commercial performance of Eternal Idol, Black Sabbath were dropped by Vertigo Records and Warner Bros. Records, and signed with I.R.S. Records. The band took time off in 1988, returning in August to begin work on their next album. As a result of the recording troubles with Eternal Idol, Tony Iommi opted to produce the band's next album himself. "It was a completely new start", Iommi said. "I had to rethink the whole thing, and decided that we needed to build up some credibility again". Iommi enlisted ex-Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell, long-time keyboardist Nicholls and session bassist Laurence Cottle, and rented a "very cheap studio in England".

Black Sabbath released Headless Cross in April 1989, and again ignored by contemporary reviewers. Eventually, Allmusic would give the album four stars, calling Headless Cross "the finest non-Ozzy or Dio Black Sabbath album". Anchored by the number 62 charting single "Headless Cross", the album reached number 31 on the UK charts, and number 115 in the US.Queen guitarist Brian May, a good friend of Iommi's, played a guest solo on the song "When Death Calls". Following the album's release, the band added touring bassist Neil Murray, formerly of Whitesnake and Gary Moore's backing band.

The ill-fated Headless Cross US tour began in May 1989 with openers Kingdom Come and Silent Rage, but because of poor ticket sales, the tour was cancelled after just eight shows.The European leg of the tour began in September, where the band were enjoying chart success. After a string of Japanese shows, the band embarked on a 23 date Russian tour with Girlschool. Black Sabbath was one of the first bands to tour Russia, after Mikhail Gorbachev opened the country to western acts for the first time in 1989.

The band returned to the studio in February 1990 to record TYR, the follow-up to Headless Cross. While not technically a concept album, some of the album's lyrical themes are loosely based on Norse mythology.Tyr was released on 6 August 1990, and reached number 24 on the UK albums chart, but was the first Black Sabbath release not to break the Billboard 200 in the US. The album again would receive mixed internet-era reviews, with Allmusic noting that the band "mix myth with metal in a crushing display of musical synthesis", while Blender gave the album just one star, claiming that "Iommi continues to besmirch the Sabbath name with this unremarkable collection". The band toured in support of TYR with Circus of Power in Europe, but the final seven UK dates were cancelled because of poor ticket sales. For the first time in their career, the band's touring cycle did not include US

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