From the brutal to the sludgy to the experimental to the symphonic, we raise our horns in welcome and warning to the coming week: we are here to ROCK.
Come 1990, Tony Iommi’s Sabbath Rainbow Snake were in full stride. Following the listless period of Born Again and Seventh Star, the band had solidified around the vocals and lyrics of one Tony Martin—who, by the way, made it to 3 Black Sabbath albums before Dio—and the propulsive crash-bang-boom of Cozy Powell. Their new album was never going to unseat the affections of long-time fans who pined for Ozzy, but if you wanted to hear a killer hard rock album as the excesses of the 80’s awkwardly stumbled toward the sea changes of the 90’s, you couldn’t do much better than Tyr.
For better or worse, the production falls right in line with the sensibilities of contemporaneous works by the likes of Bon Jovi or Whitesnake, but the music sounds like a natural fit for an older Sabbath not yet ready to resign themselves to legacy status. Having established Tyr’s approach in the first half, the band open Side II with a nod to their past as the instrumental “The Battle of Tyr” merges with the brief “Odin’s Court,” all in prelude to the anthemic “Valhalla” and together comprising an 8.5 minute continuous run on vinyl. If you’re not gonna write your umpteenth song about the devil, might as well do a suite about Thor & Odin instead, amirite? It’s a bit progressive, a bit classic, and a bit commercial—oh that every aging metal band lost in the 90’s could have done it so well.