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Classic Review: Black Sabbath - Tyr
Black Sabbath

Label: IRS Metal
Year released: 1990
Duration: 39:19
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: August 5, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 4.54/5 (90.82%) (61 Votes)

This is another album that does not get the respect it deserves in the Black Sabbath lexicon. Old-school Sabbath devotees decry any post-Ozzy recordings, but in fact this is better than any of them. Besides being one of the trio of excellent albums BS recorded with singer Tony Martin ("The Eternal Idol", "Headless Cross", and "Tyr") this is the one and only Sabbath album that could be deemed a Viking Metal album.

Whatever kind of metal fan you are, if you like good traditional Heavy Metal in the slightest then this CD has some tunes you just can't argue with. "Anno Mundi" starts things off in fine style with an epic riff and some choral effects on the vocals. "Lawmaker" is a fast stomper with a catchy chorus and some cool lyrics. "Jerusalem" is one of the album's best tracks, with its killer riff and fist-pumping chorus. "The Sabbath Stones" is a doomy epic, like a cross between "When Death Calls" and "Nightwing" off "Headless Cross".

All bow down before the centerpiece of this album – the huge triad of "The Battle Of Tyr/ Odin's Court/ Valhalla" that are really one long song. "Battle" is just an atmospheric intro, and "Odin's Court" is an all-acoustic lead-in to the ultimate Viking-hammer riffs of "Valhalla". When Martin sings "Raise your eyes and Odin will lead us on!" you'll be ready to march into Hel yourself.

The only reason this album ranks below "Headless Cross" is because of the next two songs, which are pretty dull. "Feels Good To Me" is a radio-friendly ballad that was released as a single. It's not terrible, but it's lyrics do not fit in with the rest of the album at all. I don't want to hear love songs on this album. "Heaven In Black" is better, but it just never gets good. Too bad such a killer album had to end on two filler tracks.

The CD case deserves special attention, as for once IRS got it right. "Tyr" has one of the most beautiful album covers in my collection, with marvelous and subtle use of color. Tony Martin's lyrics are in top form here, and are always worth reading.

This is so much better than the overrated "Dehumanizer" it isn't even funny. Fortunately this has become a sort of 'cult' album revered by a small but dedicated set of fans. I simply do not think Sabbath ever created a song to match "Valhalla", and for that reason alone, this album deserves a place of honor on your shelf.

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