TONY MARTIN Explains Why 'The Eternal Idol' Album Is Missing From BLACK SABBATH 'Anno Domini 1989-1995' Box Set

June 1, 2024

In a new interview with Phil Aston of Now Spinning magazine, former BLACK SABBATH singer Tony Martin spoke about the "Anno Domini 1989-1995" box set of the Martin-era SABBATH recordings, which was made available on May 31 via Rhino. Asked how it feels to know that these albums are now available again, Martin said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "To be honest, there's been a few periods when I didn't think it was happening. In fact, about a year ago, [SABBATH guitarist] Tony Iommi's manager called me and said, 'You know what? This is just so complicated that I don't think we can do this.' And so I was resigned to it not happening myself. And it's all to do with band politics, really. That's all it is. There are so many people that are involved or have their fingers in the pie that they all have to be on board and there was allegiances changing all over the place, left, right and center. And it's, 'Oh, come on.' And so in the end it was getting a bit tiring, but well done to Tony Iommi and BMG. My God, such patience that they showed to get this thing together and actually get it out there. Wow."

Martin went on to say that "it feels brilliant" to see the albums finally re-released. "I'm very excited. I haven't actually had these albums in my own hands physically for the past 25 years. I gave all mine away thinking I'd be able to get some more, and I didn't. They just stopped making them. So to physically hold them again, it's really cool. And what a great job they've done of it. So I'm thrilled and excited. And I'm helping out now. 'Cause I'm not in the band, obviously, anymore. So I just offered my help to help promote it. And they said, 'Great. Yeah. Let's do it.'"

When Aston noted that there seems to be a greater appreciation for Martin's era of SABBATH now than there was at the time of the albums' original release, Tony said: "Yeah, there is a kind of reason for that. Partly, people have got over the 'it's the new guy' thing. And also, it's like 25 years since, and so now we're reaching out to a whole other group of people, which is in addition to those that were already there. But to the outside world — well, and to me — it felt like a huge 25-year gap. But, actually, the fans were always there. I've been waiting myself as well to get this back out there. And it's just band politics, really. That's all it is."

As for why 1987's "The Eternal Idol" album is missing from the box, Martin confirmed that the rights to his BLACK SABBATH debut, unfortunately, lie with another record company. "It's owned by somebody else," Martin said. "And also, 'The Eternal Idol', well, it was kind of re-released not that long ago, really. So, they were kind of thinking, 'Well, there's no real panic, 'cause that's already been done. Let's just move on,' kind of thing. 'Cause that would've wrapped them up in contracts for centuries, I think. I can't even think that they'll ever get them to let that go. But they were struggling to get the people that are involved with these four to sort of make up their minds and do stuff."

Martin added: "I've been all for it all the way along, I have to say, obviously, 'cause it's my career, it's my history. It's not just the band's history; it's 10 years of my life that went AWOL. I've been up for it all the way along, but some people don't. And it's taken them a while to sort of get on board."

For the "Anno Domini 1989-1995" box set, which comes with either CDs or LPs, Iommi has remastered the albums "Headless Cross" (1989),"Tyr" (1990) and "Cross Purposes" (1994) and even remixed "Forbidden" (1995).

"There's some great stuff with Tony Martin," Iommi told DPA in a recent interview. "The funny thing is, though, when we had that lineup together, it was difficult because people wouldn't quite all accept it at the time.

"I financed that whole project, the touring and buses and everything else. I paid for it personally," he said. "I really enjoyed the band, I enjoyed the stuff we were doing."

Several albums make their vinyl debut in the LP version of "Anno Domini", while the CD version contains three exclusive bonus tracks: the B-side "Cloak & Dagger" and the Japan-only releases "What's The Use" and "Loser Gets It All". A booklet comes with the set featuring photos, artwork, and liner notes by Hugh Gilmour. The collection also contains a "Headless Cross" poster and a replica concert book from the "Headless Cross" tour.

"Anno Domini" picks up BLACK SABBATH's story in 1989, two decades and multiple lineup changes into the band's groundbreaking career as metal originators. At the time, membership had solidified around riffmaster and founding member Tony Iommi, legendary drummer Cozy Powell (JEFF BECK, RAINBOW, WHITESNAKE),singer Tony Martin, and longtime BLACK SABBATH collaborator and keyboardist Geoff Nicholls (QUARTZ, BANDY LEGS).

The group originally released "Headless Cross" in 1989 on I.R.S. Records, the first of four albums SABBATH recorded for the label. Praised by fans and critics alike, the band's 14th studio release produced three singles: "Devil And Daughter", "Call Of The Wild" and the title track. Bassist Neil Murray (WHITESNAKE, GARY MOORE) joined for the "Headless Cross" tour and stayed to record SABBATH's next album, 1990's "Tyr". Named for the Norse god of war, the album explores similar mythological themes in songs like "The Battle Of Tyr" and "Valhalla". On "The Sabbath Stones", the band channels Old Testament fire and brimstone into a classic bruiser.

In 1992, following a successful world tour, this incarnation of BLACK SABBATH was put on hold when the band reunited temporarily with Ronnie James Dio. Two years later, Martin and Nicholls were back in the studio with Iommi to record 1994's "Cross Purposes". The band was completed with the addition of founding SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bobby Rondinelli of RAINBOW.

The "Tyr"-era BLACK SABBATH lineup reunited in 1995 when Powell and Murray returned to record "Forbidden". It was the band's 18th studio album, and its last for nearly 20 years. (In 2013, Iommi, Osbourne and Butler released BLACK SABBATH's final studio album, "13".) "Forbidden", produced by Ernie C of BODY COUNT, the hard rock band fronted by rapper/actor/SABBATH fan Ice-T, who appears on the song "Illusion Of Power". Since its release, sonically improving the album has been one of Iommi's pet projects.

He explained: "I was never happy with the guitar sound, and Cozy was definitely never happy with the drum sound… So, I thought it would be nice to do it for him in a way." He adds, "I just felt that, without changing any of the songs, there was an opportunity to go back and bring out some of the sounds and make it more what people would expect SABBATH to sound like."

Included in the set:

* "Headless Cross", "Tyr" and "Cross Purposes" newly remastered
* "Forbidden" newly remixed by Tony Iommi
* 1989 "Headless Cross" tour replica concert book
* 40-page book with photos, artwork and new liner notes
* Replica color tour poster

Disc 1 – "Headless Cross"

01. The Gates Of Hell (2024 Remaster)
02. Headless Cross (2024 Remaster)
03. Devil & Daughter (2024 Remaster)
04. When Death Calls (2024 Remaster)
05. Kill In The Spirit World (2024 Remaster)
06. Call Of The Wild (2024 Remaster)
07. Black Moon (2024 Remaster)
08. Nightwing (2024 Remaster)
09. Cloak & Dagger (2024 Remaster)

Disc 2 – "Tyr"

01. Anno Mundi (2024 Remaster)
02. The Law Maker (2024 Remaster)
03. Jerusalem (2024 Remaster)
04. The Sabbath Stones (2024 Remaster)
05. The Battle Of Tyr (2024 Remaster)
06. Odin's Court (2024 Remaster)
07. Valhalla (2024 Remaster)
08. Feels Good To Me (2024 Remaster)
09. Heaven In Black (2024 Remaster)

Disc 3 – "Cross Purposes"

01. I Witness (2024 Remaster)
02. Cross Of Thorns (2024 Remaster)
03. Psychophobia (2024 Remaster)
04. Virtual Death (2024 Remaster)
05. Immaculate Deception (2024 Remaster)
06. Dying For Love (2024 Remaster)
07. Back To Eden (2024 Remaster)
08. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (2024 Remaster)
09. Cardinal Sin (2024 Remaster)
10. Evil Eye (2024 Remaster)
11. What's The Use (2024 Remaster)

Disc 4 – "Forbidden" remix

01. Illusion Of Power
02. Get A Grip
03. Can't Get Close Enough
04. Shaking Off The Chains
05. I Won't Cry For You
06. Guilty As Hell
07. Sick And Tired
08. Rusty Angels
09. Forbidden
10. Kiss Of Death
11. Loser Gets It All


LP 1 – Side A

01. The Gates Of Hell (2024 Remaster)
02. Headless Cross (2024 Remaster)
03. Devil & Daughter (2024 Remaster)
04. When Death Calls (2024 Remaster)

LP 1 – Side B

01. Kill In The Spirit World (2024 Remaster)
02. Call Of The Wild (2024 Remaster)
03. Black Moon (2024 Remaster)
04. Nightwing (2024 Remaster)

LP 2 – Side A

01. Anno Mundi (2024 Remaster)
02. The Law Maker (2024 Remaster)
03. Jerusalem (2024 Remaster)
04. The Sabbath Stones (2024 Remaster)

LP 2 – Side B

01. The Battle Of Tyr (2024 Remaster)
02. Odin's Court (2024 Remaster)
03. Valhalla (2024 Remaster)
04. Feels Good To Me (2024 Remaster)
05. Heaven In Black (2024 Remaster)

LP 3 – Side A

01. I Witness (2024 Remaster)
02. Cross Of Thorns (2024 Remaster)
03. Psychophobia (2024 Remaster)
04. Virtual Death (2024 Remaster)
05. Immaculate Deception (2024 Remaster)

LP 3 – Side B

01. Dying For Love (2024 Remaster)
02. Back To Eden (2024 Remaster)
03. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (2024 Remaster)
04. Cardinal Sin (2024 Remaster)
05. Evil Eye (2024 Remaster)

LP 4 – Side A

01. Illusion Of Power
02. Get A Grip
03. Can't Get Close Enough
04. Shaking Off The Chains
05. I Won't Cry For You

LP 4 – Side B

01. Guilty As Hell
02. Sick And Tired
03. Rusty Angels
04. Forbidden
05. Kiss Of Death

BLACK SABBATH released six albums with Martin on vocals: "The Eternal Idol", "Headless Cross", "Tyr", "Cross Purposes", "Cross Purposes Live" (1995) and "Forbidden". Eventually, Martin and his "Forbidden"-era bandmates were ousted when Iommi reunited with SABBATH's fellow original members.

In January 2022, Martin reflected on his time with SABBATH during an appearance on "The Ron Keel Podcast", saying: "It doesn't haunt me. It's not a bad thing. I've got a lot to be grateful for. SABBATH is the reason why you, and the world, knows about my voice. So there are things to be grateful for. It was hard work for me. I'm 12 years younger than the rest of the guys, so even just circle of friends was different — they're hanging out with Ian Gillan and Brian May, and my best friend is Dave down the road. So that was a gap. And also the experience — they were way ahead of me in experience, at least 12 years further up the road from me, and I never could quite catch them up; they will always have that much more experience than me. So that was hard work."

He continued: "When I first got the gig, it was actually 1986 that I was put on standby when they were with Glenn Hughes on the 'Seventh Star' album. And I don't know what the issues were, but something went wrong with Glenn and they put me on standby. That scared me to death, 'cause it's Glenn Hughes. I can't sing like Glenn Hughes; nobody can sing like Glenn Hughes. Only Glenn Hughes can sing like Glenn Hughes. So that was really scary. Then they got Ray Gillen in. Then he left — he left to join BLUE MURDER with John Sykes, so they called me again and said, 'You'd better come down to the studio and try this out.' And they gave me one song, which was 'The Shining' off 'Eternal Idol', and then two days later said, 'Okay. You've got the job. You've got a week to finish the album.' So right from the start it was scary — it was huge; suddenly being the frontman of BLACK SABBATH was just ridiculous. And yeah, the whole association with me and my voice lasted 11 years."

Seven 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 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."

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