The "Black Sheep" of "Black Sabbath"!
On June 20, 1995, "Black Sabbath" released their 18th studio album "Forbidden".
The album is considered by many to be the worst album by "Black Sabbath". Music critic Bradley Toreano of the "Allmusic" website even gave the album 1.5 out of 5 stars and wrote that "with boring songs, awful production (from Ernie C), and uninspired performances, this is easily avoidable for all but the most enthusiastic fan". Another magazine called the album "embarrassing" and claimed it was "the band's worst album". Just to be clear, the album sold only 191,000 copies in the US from its release until 2013, for comparison the album "13" that came out after it sold almost the same amount in the US in just the first week of its release.
So you're probably asking yourself why we even mention this album?
1. Because without knowing the bad how do we know to appreciate the good?
2. Because even though this is a relatively weak "Black Sabbath" album, we think the reviews were too harsh with it.
This is the band's fifth and final album with singer Tony Martin, which also included legendary drummer Cozy Powell and bassist Neil Murray, who returned to the band after 5 years of absence (since the album "Tyr").
The album features a bizarre collaboration with ICE-T, who contributed his voice to the album's opening song "The Illusion of Power", and with Ernie C - the lead guitarist of "Body Count" produced the album.
The intention in connecting with Ernie C may have been good, to give "Sabbath" a more up-to-date and contemporary sound and make it accessible to a younger audience, but the result was not good enough.
With all due respect to the last two from the band "Body Count", the connection of rap-metal with the classic heavy metal, did not work this time. When one chooses to start the album with the collaboration with ICE-T, one should know that probably the devout listeners who expect to receive the classic Sabbath, will not even continue to the second track.
But if you were tough and managed to survive the first song barrier, some surprises await you along the way, songs like "Get A Grip" (whose riff is reminiscent of "Aerosmith's" "Love in an Elevator"), "Can't Get Close Enough" with the mesmerizing opening, the epic "Kiss of Death" with the awesome guitar intro, the theme song of course, as well as Iommi's solos in the songs "Loser Gets It All" and "Won't Cry for You", are beautiful moments on this album.
The band members didn't really like the album either. Tony Martin admitted that this album was a "filler" that knocked them out of the recording contract, fired the singer, and pushed the band to reunite. Cozy Powell did not like the sound and there were rumors that the band was even going to record a new version of the album. Tony Iommi admitted that this album was quite "terrible" and that he was not happy with it. He excused this by leaving Ernie C to do the production and that he was not really there to look after him. He also noted that Cozy and Neil were still bound by other contracts that did not allow them to actually contribute to the writing process, and that it was done mostly by him, by keyboardist Geoff Nicholls and singer Tony Martin without them having time to stop, ponder and re-examine the material they wrote.
Weak or not, it's still "Black Sabbath", it's the legendary Tony Iommi and he's accompanied by one of the great drummers in rock and one of the most powerful singers in metal. In conclusion, if the weakest album of "Black Sabbath" sounds like this, so were are more than satisfied.
By the way, this album is probably so "bad" that we did not find it on any streaming platform. So if you are still curious about what a "bad" album by a huge band sounds like, here is a link to a playlist we made for you on YouTube: Click Here.