I never thought I'd see the day that I'd say a Black Sabbath album completely failed, but this one does. Miserably! It goes back towards the light-metal vein of "Eternal Idol", yet can't really find its place.
From the first song you can tell that Tony Iommi is a little baffled by what to do this time. 'Illusion of Power' contains some great, dark riffs, but then Ice-T of all people comes in and raps in the middle. HUH? Where was the quality control here?
This is unacceptable.
From there it's just a downward spiral of mediocre riffs and "heard it before" lyrics. The production is pedestrian, spearheaded by a member of the rap community and not someone who has an ear for heavy music.
Even if this wasn't Black Sabbath the album would still be bad. I'm not judging it on the band's illustrious pedigree, but simply as a heavy metal album. For further evidence, take careful note of this album's sales, clearance price, and the majority of fans' comments before making your decision to spend your hard-earned (or even unearned) money here.