Iommi (Divine) 2000
Iommi is Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi's first official solo album, although it should have been his second. Iommi's collaboration with Glenn Hughes in 1986 was supposed to be his first, but Warner Bros. demanded that the album be released under the name Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi. On this CD, however, rather than choosing one vocalist, Iommi has a different singer on each song. There are a host of well known singers on this disc, including Black Flag and Rollins Band's Henry Rollins, Skunk Anansie's Skin, Nirvana and the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, Pantera's Philip Anselmo, System of a Down's Serj Tankian, the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan, the Cult's Ian Astbury, Type O Negative's Peter Steele, and Billy Idol. Guest musicians include Queen guitarist Brian May, John Mellencamp drummer Kenny Aronoff, White Zombie drummer John Tempesta, Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron, and '80s-era Black Sabbath bassist Laurence Cottle. "Who's Fooling Who" is three-fourths Black Sabbath since it includes vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and drummer Bill Ward. The rest of the platter, however, doesn't really have that classic Sabbath sound, but rather has a doomy, modern vibe. That is not to say that this album is garbage. There are times when Tony's guitar style is quite apparent, especially during the guitar solos. Unfortunately, this album seems more like a tribute album than a solid solo album, due to the different vocalists. Personally I would have prefered only one of two vocalists. Of those present here, Billy Idol actually was one of the more enjoyable vocalists. Other than "Who's Fooling Who", "Into the Night" is my favorite track no the disc.
Iommi - The 1996 DEP Sessions (Sanctuary Records) 2004
1. "Gone" (4:29)
Contrary to popular opinion, I find the first colaboration of Hughes and Iommi to be one of Tony's finest albums. There is just something special when you put these two guys together. Whereas that album has a distinct 80's flare to it that was very much different from what one would expect from Iommi, "The 1996 DEP Sessions" is very much what I would expect from the riff master. This CD starts off with a heavy track called "Gone" that easily could have fit on almost any Black Sabbath record. "From Another World" likewise has a distinct Black Sabbath sound to it, although this song starts off a bit more melancholy before bursting into a heavy jam. The guitar solo on this track had me grinning from ear to ear. It's great to hear those signature Iommi solos. Once again, Hughes' voice sound great on this track proving once again why he has become one of my all time favorite vocalists. "Dont' Drag The River" continues with the melding of heavy guitar riffs, melodic song writing and infectious vocal melodies. Iommi changes things up with "Don't Drag the River" slightly, starting the song off with an acoustic guitar and building the song up to a powerful rock ballad. This song would probably have fit perfectly on "Seventh Star". Once again, it's Hughes' voice and vocal melodies that make this song come alive. "Fine" is also a slightly more melancholy song and has a slightly more modern vibe musically that some of the tracks. "Time is the Healer" returns back to the slow, heavy doom that one would expect from Iommi. "DEP Sessions" finishes off with "I'm Not the Same Man" and "It Fall Through Me", both of which are melodic rockers that would have fit well on the "Seventh Star" CD.
"The 1996 DEP Sessions" is an official release of the "Eight Star" bootleg that has been floating around for years. The difference between that bootleg and this official release is that all the drums have been re-recorded. Originally, former Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland recorded the drums, but due to his conviction for sexual assault, Jimmy Copley re-recorded all the drums in 2004 so that Iommi and Hughes could avoid any connection with the man. Black Sabbath keyboard player Geogg Nichols, as well as Deep Purple/Rainbow keyboard player Don Airey contributed keyboards to this album. Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Gary Moore, Company of Snakes) recorded all the bass tracks.
Iommi - Fused (Sanctuary) 2005
"Fused" is the Iommi/Hughes follow-up to the highly acclaimed "The 1996 DEP Sessions" which was not officially released until 2004. Joining Tony and Glenn is vocalist/bass is drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Alice Cooper). It looks like this release is one of those that people seem to either love or hate. I've read several reviews that say this CD is total garbage, while others are hailing it as one of the most important releases of 2005. Well, I guess I will have to side with the positive crowd. I think that Iommi and Hughes have a fantastic chemisty together. This CD is chock full of Sabbath style metal grooves set against Glenn's metallic, soulful vocals and some solid drumming. Comparisons to Black Sabbath are undeniable. Many of these riffs could easily have been used on a Sabbath record and no fan would have balked. "Fused" is a brilliant mix of heavy riffs and melodic songwriting set on fire with Iommi's fluid guitar solos. Together with the crisp production, "Fused" is simply a great CD.