Former BLACK SABBATH singer Tony Martin has set "Thorns" as the title of his long-awaited new solo album, due in the coming months via Battlegod Productions and Dark Star Records. Battlegod will handle distribution in Australia, Asia, Europe and Japan, while Dark Star will handle distribution in all of North and South America, including both physical and streaming.
Among the guest musicians set to appear on the LP are Scott McClellan (who helped write the album), Danny "Danté" Needham (VENOM), Magnus Rosén (HAMMERFALL), Greg Smith (ALICE COOPER, RAINBOW, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT) and Martin's youngest son Joe.
"Thorns" track listing:
01. As The World Burns
02. Black Widow Angel
03. Book Of Shadows
04. Crying Wolf
05. Damned By You
06. No Shame At All
07. No Where To Fly
08. Passion Killer
09. Run Like The Devil
10. This Is Your Damnation
Tony said in a statement: "This new album is probably the most 'Tony Martin' a Tony Martin album has ever sounded!! It's got several surprises that will lift people's eyebrows, I am sure. Largely but not entirely based around the riffs of Scott McClellan, new to the world scene, he has proved to be a worthy partner in crime for this release... I was able to make some great songs out of the riffs he was coming up with, which is very similar in the writing sense to that which I experienced with Tony Iommi. Different sound and style, but the riffing talent that someone like Scott has is very cool. It is diverse, melodic, powerful, thought-provoking and of a standard high as ever I have worked on. I believe there are stories still to tell, songs still to be sung, and with this album, I feel it's achieved everything I could have wished for.
"Grateful to the people who have given their extra talents in appearances on this recording. It's been a challenge in COVID lockdown, getting everyone's performances from across the world, but in another way, it was a perfect opportunity to get it done."
Martin's last solo album, "Scream", was released in November 2005 via MTM Music.
BLACK SABBATH released six albums with Martin on vocals: "The Eternal Idol" (1987), "Headless Cross" (1989), "Tyr" (1990), "Cross Purposes" (1994), "Cross Purposes Live" (1995) and "Forbidden" (1995). Eventually, Martin and his "Forbidden"-era bandmates were ousted when guitarist Tony Iommi reunited with SABBATH's fellow original members.
In a 2012 interview with Über Röck, Martin said that he was "surprised" to see Iommi criticizing him in the guitarist's "Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven And Hell With Black Sabbath" book (referring to the Martin period, especially the touring phase following the release of "Cross Purposes" in 1994, Iommi lambasted his former singer as "unprofessional" and having "no stage presence"). Martin said: "I mean, they never said anything to me. Surely, if you've got a problem, the first person you should say something to is the person that's in the band with you... It sounds like a really stupid thing to say, as they didn't say anything to my face — and, if that's the case, then more fool them for not saying anything, because, you know, we could have fixed it. I said to them, endlessly, that if there was anything they wanted changed, done differently, just to say and we could fix it, but clearly, they didn't, they hadn't got the guts to, obviously, and to write about it in a book afterwards seems a bit daft to me. I'm not bitter about it, but it is surprising... It seems a bit stupid to say that after the event."
Four years ago, Iommi told I Heart Guitar that "it's a shame" that "it took a lot for people to accept" Martin as SABBATH's vocalist. "It's taken all these years later for people to say, 'Oh blimey, that was a good band with good singing.' So it took a long time to get people to really realize how good it was."
In 2018, Iommi spent time in the studio remixing "Forbidden" for a future release. The LP, which features Martin, drummer Cozy Powell and bassist Neil Murray, is often regarded as SABBATH's worst studio recording.
Photo credit: Rob Billingham