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"I think Headless Cross, the later album we did with Tony Martin, was a good one. It did well in Germany but as far as promotion in America, the record company didn't get it in the shops or anything."
Tony Iommi isn't alone. A fair few Sabbath fans regard the much-maligned Tony Martin era as underappreciated. Others, but evidently not the Germans, can't bear to think of it as Sabbath at all.
Nevertheless, with Ozzy enjoying solo success in the late 1980s, Iommi soldiered on with the Sabbath name (without either Ward or Butler) for five albums with Martin. He fronted Sabbath for two spells, interrupted by a second reunion with Dio in 1990.
While Iommi notes Headless Cross as the strongest Martin-era Sabbath album, he has no doubt about the worst. "There's a couple I don't like, Forbidden being the main one. The way we brought in Ernie C to do it was another idea from the record company at the time."
Indeed, the decision to recruit the guitarist from Ice T's Bodycount as producer was folly, and a possible attempt to appear 'current' in 1995. Ice T even features on the opening track The Illusion Of Power. We can only be thankful that Iommi make sure this wasn't the last 'Sabbath' studio album when he put things right in 2009.