Let’s give this another chance: Black Sabbath’s “Forbidden.”

In 1995, Black Sabbath released “Forbidden” and it wasn’t particularly well-received. I’d been into Sabbath for three or four years at that point, having discovered them via this tape:

I had several of the Ozzy albums, as well as the Dio ones. I got Cross Purposes with Tony Martin on vocals and liked it well enough, but I was mainly about Ozzy and Dio.

Anyway, when Forbidden came out, it immediately went to the cutout bin. I’m not even sure I was aware it had come out until I saw it there, and I was at the record store all the time.

I got it, listened once or twice and was like “Huh?” I haven’t bothered to revisit it since the late ’90s, so today I’m giving it another chance, just to see if I missed something salvageable the first time around.

1)Illusion of Power

I guess this is a passable track. Ice-T does some kind of spoken word thing about the collapse of civilization or something. Riffs are meh.

2) Get a Grip

Generic but fairly catchy with some nice Iommi soloing.

3) cant get close enough

Solid riffing, unpleasant, tinny guitar tone. It’s alright.

4) shaking off the chains

These songs just don’t flow. They’re kind of disjointed and forgettable. Nothing really standing out to me. Weakest one yet. Second half picks up a little.

5) I won’t cry for you

I’m kind of liking this one. The collective talent present in this lineup is undeniable, and it shines through the rushed, dysfunctional atmosphere surrounding the recording of this album like sunbeams through the shrunken boards of an old, abandoned barn. This is a decent track. Good Iommi solo, good vocal performance from Tony Martin.

6) Guilty As hell

Not bad. Digging it.

7) Sick and Tired

Mid-paced blues rock filler. Competent. Iommi gets down on the solo.

8) Rusty Angels

There’s something I like about this, and a lot of things I don’t, but I can’t put my finger on any of those things.

9) Kiss of Death

Definitely a lot more in line with previous Martin-fronted Sabbath. I like this one. Dark, plodding, music and vocals get a little space to breathe. Standout track for sure. Still, it makes me want to go listen to better Black Sabbath albums.

10) Loser gets it all

Man, they’re really sticking to that glossy, keyboard-laden late ’80s keyboard sound in the age of stripped-down, post-grunge mope rock. Cool track.

Conclusion:

Okay, so it’s not as bad as I remember it being, and I understand how things like this happen. It’s a cool curiosity of an album to dig out now and again, I suppose. It’s very much dated, but not in a “product of its time” way. It’s not a product of 1995, it’s a product of 1987. The production, courtesy of Ernie C of Body Count, is awful. He’s stated that he wanted to “dry up” the sound, and if that means “sound like crap,” he certainly succeeded. But, whatever. Ernie C is still cool in my book, I just didn’t like this album much. Geezer Butler’s absence never helps matters, either.

All in all, not great, but worth a listen.

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