Black Sabbath - Cross Purposes
I.R.S.
Atmospheric Heavy Metal
10 songs (47'26")
Release year: 1994
Black Sabbath
Reviewed by Alex
Archive review

In one post-Sabbath interview Tony Martin said that he had no idea why Tony Iommi has not talked to him since they parted ways. “Perhaps, he is busy”, Mr. Martin conjectured. Well, the more sinister explanation may be in order, as Iommi felt no use for Martin anymore after Cross Purposes and later Forbidden, discarding the man like a twice-squeezed lemon. For someone who originally was reluctant to join Black Sabbath Tony Martin showed great deal of flexibility bordering on low self-esteem, after he allowed Iommi to reinstate himself with the Sabs after he was unceremoniously dumped for Dehumanizer. After all, once Dio got a whiff that the old Sabbath crew was trying to reunite with Ozzy he was gone in a jiffy.

Underlying personal reasons why Martin returned for Cross Purposes unknown to me, but here Black Sabbath was back, having just gone through another Dio moment, and also competing with Dio’s heavy and angry effort Strange Highways at the box-office. Even though Iommi managed to lure Geezer Butler to stay for another go-at-it moment, and songwriting varied more compared to Headless Cross and Tyr days, Cross Purposes does not grab the stars off the sky and loses to Strange Highways if the two are compared on a pure punch level.

There are several bona fide rockers here, the faster bouncy opener I Witness, heavy Cardinal Sin with a brooding bass and the closer Evil Eye composed in cooperation with Eddie Van Halen. I guess it could have been Butler’s presence, pushing Iommi, trying to refocus by hitting a reset button. The misses, however, were multiple and obvious. While Cross of Thorns blends atmospheric keyboards well, Dying for Love offers another Gary Moorish blues exercise and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is borderline ridiculous. Psychophobia feels like a Dehumanizer leftover and doomy Virtual Death pushes Martin again into Ozzy’s skin, the place where this man is uncomfortable, sounding stoned out and absolutely disinterested. In many respects Iommi still feels happy enough to compose simple rhythmic riffs, allowing drummer Bobby Rondinelli and keyboardist Geoff Nicholls to carry the flow, Back to Eden and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle selected for the album preceding single. At least Cross Purposes managed to avoid the thin sound of Tyr. My personal favorite amongst this collection is Immaculate Deception, the main riff perpetuating and reverberating constantly, the bridge in that song being the finest piece of singing Tony Martin delivered while in Black Sabbath. The song also ends with an excellent logical solo conclusion.

Just like Tyr, Cross Purposes is not at all bad, but years and years after I bought it, I still pick out songs while playing it. The total heresy which is Forbidden to come later, I get a feeling however why Geezer Butler has moved on to GZR trying to provide a counterpoint to what became Black Sabbath and castigating Iommi in Plastic Planet lyrics in the process.

Killing Songs :
I Witness, Cross of Thorns, Immaculate Deception
Alex quoted 72 / 100
Other albums by Black Sabbath that we have reviewed:
Black Sabbath - 13 reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Black Sabbath - Classic Albums - Paranoid (DVD) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Black Sabbath - Headless Cross reviewed by Adam and quoted 81 / 100
Black Sabbath - Forbidden reviewed by Khelek and quoted 65 / 100
Black Sabbath - Mob Rules reviewed by Khelek and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 22 reviews click here
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