Ginger Nuts of Horror
Whenever I think of ‘Cross Purposes’, I recall the drum kick off, immediate bass thud and Iommi riff that open the record with I WITNESS. Another from the Tony Martin era of Sabbath, returning after Ronnie Dio’s one off with DEHUMANIZER, CROSS PURPOSES also has Geezer Butler, hanging around to give the work flavor. Vinny Appice left with Ronnie and was replaced by former Rainbow drummer Bobby Rondinelli, who I think did a fair enough job on the skins.
Oddly enough, CP isn’t my fave of the Tony Martin era, (that would be HEADLESS CROSS), but it has its moments. I WITNESS is a good track, fast paced and shifting. CROSS OF THORNS is a tad synthetic, a weak stab at the darker side. Yes, the doom looms, but the tone is a bit more smooth than other works.
My personal favorite track is PSYCHOPHOBIA. The rainfall of words and verses, breaks and stomping riffs, are right up there. Is the line “It’s time to kiss the rainbow GOODBYE” a swipe at Dio? We will never know, but one usually has to eat such words in time. If one ever wants to see this song put to disturbing use, go on you tube and see a fan made vid…edited in with the planes crashing into the twin towers at all angles…over and over. I recall my buddies & I rocking to this tune when we went to see Ace Frehley in a tiny club. We all got drunk and pondered how great it would be if Sabbath and KISS reunited with their orginal line ups…but THAT sure would NEVER happen…
I always thought the next track VIRTUAL DEATH was a track that they were saving for Ozzy. Geezer drops a bass intro and the plodding way with the tune would fit. It’s an “okay” song, as are most on here. IMMACULATE DECEPTION changes stride a lot but isn’t as cool as the title suggests. DYING FOR LOVE is the power ballad of it all and typical of metal in early 90s. Again, it’s all right, but nada to write home about. BACK TO EDEN and HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE have good riffs, (hey it IS Tony after all), yet seem to struggle to rise to any level of kick ass. Not bad tracks, just sort of throw aways, typical of many bands at the time…which is sad. CARDINAL SIN as well, and EVIL EYE, while holding a solo by Eddie Van Halen, really misses the mark in my opinion.
I really had higher hopes from such a line-up. It was bad fortunes for Sabbath in the 90s at times. Geezer would depart before the next record. Many thought Sabbath in a holding pattern as a rumored reunion with the original line ups flared. Martin is a great singer, despite the “Dio Lite” labels and Leif Masses production was fine, if muddy in spots.
So, a truly hit & miss affair, CP is worth a listen or two, and ok for hardcore fans.