When the most influential heavy metal band ever to have roamed the earth teams up with Body Count's Ernie C to try and inject new life into their sound, it should have been the signal to give up the ghost. But poor Black Sabbath named an album Never Say Die because they meant it, and this sad album is a reminder of how dim even the brightest lights can get. Where their last album was an uneven but pleasant return to form, this is just the band going through the motions. "Get a Grip" takes its riff from Iommi's own "Zero the Hero" and totally wrecks it; "Can't Get Close Enough" is an awful power metal ballad; and "Shaking Off the Chains" might be the worst Tony Martin-fronted Sabbath song. And that is a bold claim considering how awful Tyr was. "Illusion of Power" is the weirdest song, with Martin dueting with Ice T on a song that sounds much more like Body Count than anything Sabbath-related. "Sick and Tired" is the only standout track; with its bluesy tempo and decent vocals, it sounds like Helloween performing a Cream song. But considering the vast legacy behind the band, it is truly a sad state of affairs when their best material sounds like a mid-level power metal band. It is hard to pinpoint the worst Sabbath album, but this could be it. With boring songs, awful production (from Ernie C), and uninspired performances, this is easily avoidable for all but the most enthusiastic fan. As a side note, the reception to this album was so poor that Iommi cleared out the lineup, gave in, and finally reconciled with Ozzy Osbourne for their spectacular reunion tour.
by Bradley Torreano