Black Sabbath – Tyr (1999, EMI/IRS Records – UK Import)
Original Release: 1990, IRS Records
1. “Anno Mundi” … 6:12
2. “The Law Maker” … 3:53
3. “Jerusalem” … 3:59
4. “The Sabbath Stones” … 6:46
5. “The Battle of Tyr” … 1:08
6. “Odin’s Court” … 2:41
7. “Valhalla” … 4:42
8. “Feels Good to Me” … 5:44
9. “Heaven in Black” … 4:05
Tony Martin – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Neil Murray – Bass
Cozy Powell – Drums
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards
Producer: Tony Iommi & Cozy Powell
Finally I own a copy of this album. I actually thought I did own it for a bit thinking that Headless Cross was the only Tony Martin album I was missing, but then I discovered my mistake and quickly tracked down a used copy online for $15. Pretty good deal in my opinion because the album usually goes for $20-30. I knew this album had a few different reissues but when I ordered my copy, it didn’t list which version I’d be getting. I assumed it was the original release but it turned out to be the 1999 reissue from EMI that was a part of the “Classic Rock Series”. “Classic Rock” meaning the England-based music magazine. The magazine gives away freebies with every issue but I never knew they actually had put their name on reissues at one point. Of course I would have preferred the 1990 edition but I’ll take what I can get. There’s some nice liner notes about the making of this album anyway. The album cover is slightly altered with a white border going around the album’s original green border.
Tyr is a bit of a step down from the two previous Sabbath albums, but it features another great band line-up. Between the first Dio era and the second Ozzy era it was a game of musical chairs, but Iommi always kept top notch musicans in the band. Here, we get bassist Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Gary Moore) joining. Neil and drummer Cozy Powell had previously worked together in Whitesnake and Neil also played on Powell’s three solo albums from the early ’80s.
If the Gillan era is referred to as “Purple Sabbath”, what is this line-up? White Sabbath? Blacksnake? Maybe Black Powell (c’mon, you know that’s funny)?
I’m not sure what was going on with this album. It’s good, I do like it, but it doesn’t hold a candle to The Eternal Idol or Headless Cross. Those two albums rode the line between hard rock and AOR quite well, but this album seems to lean more towards the melodic side of rock and is heavy on the keyboards. I guess that’s not surprising though because the half & half concept of Norse mythology and Christianity behind Tyr was something Martin was pushing for and Martin’s background is melodic rock and not heavy metal.
I’ve read comments from Iommi where he didn’t really seemed to be too impressed with the album’s themes, but I guess you can’t really complain when you refuse to help write the lyrics.
“Feels Good to Me” was the band’s unapologetic attempt at getting a hit single. It doesn’t really fit the rest of the album, but I still like it.
Tony Martin would re-record “Jerusalem”, giving it an even more AOR sound, on his 1992 solo album Back Where I Belong.
Highlights: “Anno Mundi”, “The Law Maker”, “Jerusalem”, “Valhalla”, “Feels Good to Me”