With ‘Anno Domini 1989–1995,’ Black Sabbath Finally Releases Its Long-Lost Music

Anno Domini 1989–1995

Black Sabbath may be a legendary band with songs like “Iron Man” and “Paranoid” to their credit, but they had their share of hard times. “Anno Domini 1989–1995,” a new box set containing the music of four albums, focuses on an extremely challenging moment in the band’s career. Not to mention, it finally gives albums that have been out of print for 30 years or more back to Sabbath fans.

Tony Iommi at the New Haven Coliseum
Carl Lender/ Flickr

The best-known era of Black Sabbath was in the 1970s, when they were led by singer Ozzy Osbourne. After his departure, the band gradually lost the services of all the original members, with the exception of guitarist Tony Iommi, who led the band through multiple lineups and incarnations. With the arrival of legendary drummer Cozy Powell and lead singer Tony Martin, the band’s lineup stabilized and they signed to the I.R.S. record label, with whom they made four albums between 1989 and 1995.

Those albums sold poorly in the United States, and as a result they’ve been out of print for decades. "Anno Domini 1989–1995" contains all four albums in their entirety, along with bonus tracks. Of all the eras of the band, this is their most unsung and underrated, and it was nothing less than criminal that a band of this stature should have any of its music out of print, much less for decades at a time.

The four albums included in the package are 1989’s “Headless Cross,” 1990’s Viking-influenced “Tyr,” 1994’s “Cross Purposes,” and 1995’s “Forbidden.” The band had never been happy with the sound on that last album, so Iommi went back and remixed it in 2019, both to bring the guitar sound more up to snuff and more importantly, to restore Cozy Powell’s drum sound to its former glory. This new version of the album appears for the first time in this set.

"I never liked the final mix and sound of it — none of the band did actually,” Iommi said. He also said part of the intention of the remix was to bring the sound more in line with what Powell would have wanted. The drummer, who died in a car accident in 1998, is considered one of the greatest rock musicians of all time. This remix should see him smiling down from double-bass heaven as it corrects a three-decade injustice.

"I was never happy with the guitar sound and Cozy was definitely never happy with the drum sound,” Iommi said. “So I thought it would be nice to do it for him in a way."

While this era of the band is mainly popular with the most hardcore of Sabbath’s hardcore fans, people who have never heard this material before may find it to be revelatory. Singer Tony Martin has an excellent set of pipes and is a more than worthy successor to the singers who preceded him. His work on 1989’s “Headless Cross” is very strong, particularly the songs “When Death Calls” and “Nightwing.” 1990’s “Tyr” shows Tony Iommi as the ultimate riff master, with excellent performances on “Anno Mundi,” “Jerusalem,” and “The Sabbath Stones.”

1994’s “Cross Purposes” benefits from the return of original Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler. It’s interesting to hear them play material that’s clearly influenced by then-contemporary bands like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. 1995’s “Forbidden” was sadly very poorly received upon its release, but hopefully, the new remix will present it in the way the band (especially Cozy Powell) intended.

While the material on all four albums is a little spotty, the satisfaction is that these albums are back in print again. Hopefully, people who are only familiar with the Ozzy Osbourne years will listen to this music with an open mind and find it worthy of the Black Sabbath name. If you’re one of those fans and you’re curious about this unsung era, give this box set a spin — you have a real treat in store for you.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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Our Favorite Albums That Are Turning 30 This Year

Our Favorite Albums That Are Turning 30 This Year

<p>Time flies when you’re having fun, and while a lot of the music made in 1994 is the furthest thing on earth from fun, that year saw some genuinely classic albums released. These albums have held up well, and we go back to them over and over again, just as we did decades ago.</p><p> Although three decades have passed since these classic albums were released, they feel as vital and relevant as they did on the first listen, and people are ignoring their 1994 vintage entirely and going back for repeat listens to this day. Here are our choices for the ones we can’t believe have just turned 30.</p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> MediaFeed / Bing Image Creator </span>
<p><b>Release date: </b>March 8, 1994<br></p><p>Soundgarden had turned out reliably heavy alternative music since the late 1980s, but 1994’s “Superunknown” was their biggest hit and contains songs like the title track and “Black Hole Sun.” Lead singer Chris Cornell sadly passed away in 2017, but here you can hear him in all his full-throated glory when he was one of the best singers on earth.</p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date:</b> January 28, 1994<br></p><p>The album that brought punk rock to suburbia has been legally eligible to purchase alcohol in the United States for the past nine years, assuming albums could do such a thing. Sure, they’re just copying Stiff Little Fingers and other bands who did punk rock much better than this Bay Area trio, but songs like ‘Basket Case’ are hard to deny.</p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date: </b>March 8, 1994<br></p><p>Just as Green Day brought punk rock to suburbia, Nine Inch Nails brought industrial music to the same crowd. It had a significant effect on the rest of the music released in the following years – suddenly, every heavy metal band struggling to remain relevant filled their music with lots of abrupt mechanical noises. That trend passed, but man, it hung around for a long time. </p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date:</b> August 23, 1994<br></p><p>“Grace” is the only album Jeff Buckley completed in his lifetime, but if you could leave only one record behind when you slip this mortal coil, this would be a good one to go out on. It features his rendition of “Hallelujah,” and even though many different artists have sung that song countless times, his is arguably the definitive version.<br></p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date: </b>November 1, 1994<br></p><p>“MTV Unplugged in New York” was the first Nirvana album to be released after the passing of frontman Kurt Cobain. Considering the manner of his passing, it’s a pretty chilling performance, and when you listen to it now, it sounds very much like the last will and testament of a person who knows they won’t be with us much longer.</p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date: </b>November 15, 1994<br></p><p>Even if you didn’t like R&B music, it was hard not to like “Waterfalls,” the big hit song off TLC’s “CrazySexyCool” album. Thirty years later, it still hasn’t overstayed its welcome, and you can hear all the drunks shrieking it off-key every karaoke night, a sign of its enduring strength.</p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date: </b>October 3, 1994</p><p>The Cranberries had a pretty unique sound, characterized by hits like “Zombie,” which are admittedly still a little hard to categorize. Lead singer Dolores O'Riordan sadly passed away in 2018, and the band released the music she had left behind on 2019’s “In the End” before permanently disbanding.<br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date:</b> January 25, 1994<br></p><p>“Jar of Flies” was considered the “acoustic album” by metal-grunge heavyweights Alice in Chains, and yes, it’s a largely hushed affair. It also happens to be the best thing they ever released, and it resonates in your head long after it’s ended. The instrumental “Whale and Wasp” is especially engaging.</p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date:</b> May 10, 1994<br></p><p>If anyone can explain the mysteriously durable popularity of Weezer to us, we’re all ears. They burst onto the scene with “Weezer (The Blue Album)” and have attracted a maniacally devoted fan base ever since people who want to hear “Buddy Holly” loud and often. Those fans have been that way for 30 years and show no signs of losing interest even now as they crowd 60.</p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date:</b> September 27, 1994<br></p><p>“Monster” rocked a little harder than previous R.E.M. albums, leading many longtime fans to accuse them of committing the heinous act of “selling out.” They were already packing stadiums at that point, so it’s hard to see a higher level of selling out that they could have embraced. In reality, this band got popular through relentless touring and making albums that people really enjoyed, even if that bummed out their earliest fans, whom we advise to go home and listen to “Driver 8” like none of this ever happened.<br></p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date: </b>November 1, 1994</p><p>“Wildflowers” is Tom Petty’s greatest album, and he’s a guy whose career is full of great albums. While every one of his records has at least two or three songs that make them keepers, this one consists of nothing but classic song after classic song, as typified by “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and “Crawling Back to You.” In the compact disc era, this was one CD that never left the player, because why bother? You were only going to listen to “Wildflowers” over and over again.<br></p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date:</b> April 12, 1994<br></p><p>Sometimes, horrible timing works in your favor. In the case of Courtney Love’s band Hole, her husband, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, died by suicide on April 5, 1994, and Hole’s major-label debut, “Live Through This,” came out one week later while Nirvana fans were still reeling. We don’t want to suggest that “Live Through This” exploited that tragedy for robust album sales, as that would be untoward and unseemly. Having said that, something made it sell<a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20150925221743/http:/www.billboard.com/articles/news/958756/courtney-love-fixing-a-hole?page=0%2C2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:1.6 million copies;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> 1.6 million copies</a> in the United States.<br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date: </b>April 26, 1994<br></p><p>When Johnny Cash made “American Recordings,” a sparse collection of songs made with producer Rick Rubin, he had already been written off years earlier as a has-been and a relic of decades past. It turned out that leaning into his grizzled, elder-statesman persona as hard as possible was precisely the right move, and the album – which sounds like a bunch of demos – completely reinvigorated his career. He made several similar albums with Rubin until his death in 2003, and they all sound utterly timeless today. They will also inspire you to explore Cash’s back catalog, which is one the finest in the history of recorded music. <br></p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
<p><b>Release date:</b>August 22, 1994<br></p><p>Trip-hop, a genre that combines hip-hop with slow tempos and lots of breathy atmospheres, was pioneered in the 1990s by artists like Massive Attack, Tricky, and Portishead, whose 1994 debut album “Dummy” is still very compelling and remains utterly unique, even within the trip-hop genre. It’s a good thing that album holds up as well as it does since Portishead has made three studio albums in 30 years, so there’s not much of a marathon you can do with their catalog. You can, however, just play “Dummy” repeatedly, as people did 30 years ago and continue to do today.<br></p><p><i>This article was produced and syndicated by <a href="https://mediafeed.org/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:MediaFeed.;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">MediaFeed.</a></i></p><p><br></p><span class="copyright"> Amazon.com </span>
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