Since founding member Ozzy Osbourne left Black Sabbath, the group has had numerous distinguished vocalists. Among them, Tony Martin may be the least known, and one of the more under appreciated. "The Eternal Idol" his first effort with the group, contains some of his finest work with Sabbath.
The man can definitely sing, and the range of his voice is well suited to the music and the lyrical material. Martin shows great feeling on slower numbers like the title track or "Nightmare", and also rocks out on songs like "Born To Lose" or "Lost Forever".
Over the years, Tony Iommi has really grown as a guitarist, long removed from the "Iron Man" days, evolving into a true master at heavy guitar riffs. Playing fast or slow, in your face or understated, the man can do it all. From the chattering riffing of "Lost Forever" to the evil, hauntingly heavy tones of "The Eternal Idol", nobody does it quite like Tony Iommi. After all this time, his playing still keeps you guessing.
Known more for his riffs and rhythm playing, Iommi's solos, have at times lacked character. Too much distortion and too many notes streamed together. Taking time to put a little space between his notes, he delivers solos with a bit more substance. The solo on "Born To Lose" is particularly memorable, and those on "Lost Forever", "Ancient Warrior", "Glory Ride" are not bad. Though the tonality is still on the "thin" side.
The album is solid, with only the instrumental "Scarlet Pimpernel" breaking up the metal assault. The lyrics also deserve mention. More than mere lines that rhyme, they attempt to tell a story and create imagery. Though not specifically credited to Tony Martin, his influence on this and subsequent albums is apparent. This recording heralded the coming of the Sabbath of the late 80's and 90's and is the best of Sabbath's recordings with Tony Martin.