One of my favorite reissues released in 2010, is the Deluxe Edition of Black Sabbath’s Seventh Star. Seventh Star was originally released in January of 1986. The story behind Seventh Star has been well documented. This was supposed to be a Tony Iommi solo CD, but the record company pressured Iommi to release this a Black Sabbath CD. That is abridged version of the story, but if you check out the booklet that is included in this two CD set, it will tell you the complete details about Seventh Star. There are also some cool pictures of the band as well.
How is the music on Seventh Star? I wouldn’t call it unSabbath like. It isn’t as heavy, or doom laden as most of Black Sabbath’s stuff but it is very good. The bass from Dave Spitz is nowhere near as heavy as that of Geezer Butler, but due to the nature of the music, it works, and works well. Tony Iommi’s riffs are awesome as always, and Glenn Hughes vocals are perfect. While this CD may not be as heavy as other albums in the Black Sabbath discography, it is awesome in its own right.
The song “In For The Kill” is an excellent tune. It is a shame that this tune doesn’t get more airplay. This hard rocking number ought to be up there with Sabbath’s best. “No Stranger to Love” is a powerful slow number. Geoff Nicholls keyboard work on this song brings the classic Sabbath album Heaven and Hell to mind. Eric Singer shows off his mad drum skills on the rocker “Turn To Stone”. Tony Iommi may have been a genius nabbing Glenn Hughes to sing on this CD. His vocals are as good as it gets. I have always been a fan of Glenn Hughes since his Deep Purple days, but I think Iommi’s playing may complement his voice even more. If Black Sabbath doesn’t reunite with Ozzy Osbourne, Glenn Hughes ought to be given a strong look. Needless to say, I have no problem listening to Seventh Star over and over again. It is a very underrated recording in the Sabbath discography.
With the newly reissued Deluxe Edition, you get a really cool fold out digipack case with band pictures, and a nicely put together booklet. The second CD features the late Ray Gillen (Badlands) singing with Black Sabbath Live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1986. The Live recording isn’t what I would consider pristine, but it something I have looked forward to owning for years. It has only been available in bootleg formats prior to this release. Gillen’s vocals sound fantastic on both the Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie James Dio, and Glenn Hughes tracks. For my ears, the second CD alone is worth the price of admission. The audio quality isn’t the greatest, but it preserves a piece of Metal history, with a singer who should have been one of Metal’s biggest stars.
If you are a Black Sabbath fan, and have never picked up Seventh Star before. This is the version to own! It may not be the preferred Black Sabbath lineup, and the original recording is somewhat short, but it is still a very solid effort from Tony Iommi and company! Recommended!
1. In for the Kill
2. No Stranger to Love
3. Turn to Stone
4. Sphinx (The Guardian)
5. Seventh Star
6. Danger Zone
7. Heart Like a Wheel
8. Angry Heart
9. In Memory…
10. No Stranger To Love (Alternate Version)*Bonus Track
Black Sabbath is:
Tony Iommi – Guitars
Glenn Hughes – Vocals
Eric Singer – Drums
Dave “The Beast” Spitz – Bass
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards
Gordon Copley – Bass on “No Stranger To Love”
Ray Gillen – vocals (on – Disc 2)
The only singer I have ever seen that could come close to matching Ronnie James Dio’s vocals on the classic Black Sabbath tune “Heaven & Hell” is Ray Gillen. Check out this clip with the late Ray Gillen on vocals live from Montreal in 1986.
Dusk is the third and final album by Badlands. This disc was recorded in 1992 before the death of singer Ray Gillen. According to drummer Jeff Martin, the songs on “Dusk” were demos for the third Badlands album. Atlantic Records didn’t like the direction of the songs and later dropped Badlands. The incredible thing about this album is that the songs were recorded in one take. They haven’t been touched up for this disc. For this album to be captured in this fashion, it sounds really good.
I don’t think the songs on “Dusk” are quite as strong as first couple of Badlands records. The music has more of a raw feel to it than some of their earlier stuff. I also think the songs might be a tad bit heavier on this disc.
When Ray Gillen uses the upper range of his voice, it sends shivers down my spine. Gillen was an amazing singer who never got the recognition he deserved. His vocals on this disc are spot on all the way through “Dusk”.
I have always enjoyed the guitar work of Jake E. Lee. His playing is exactly what you would expect. It is awesome as always. Because of the raw feel of the music, some songs feel like a Jake E. Lee jam session. Some people will love it, others will want a little more structure to their songs. I think it sounds pretty cool.
It isn’t very often when you actually hear a bass player play his instrument instead of just trying to keep the rhythm with the drummer. You can hear Greg Chaisson cutting loose on the bass all over “Dusk”.
Some of the highlights are the rocking tune “Healer” and “Sun Red Sun”, the Hendrix like “Fat Cat”, the bluesy “Lord Knows”. “Ride the Jack” sounds like it could have been a very good left over track from the debut disc.
As a whole, I am a fan of Badlands. They always seemed to create some cool bluesy metal that seemed to be well beyond its time. “Dusk” carries on where the first two albums left off. If you are a fan of Badlands, you should certainly pick this up.
You can find “Dusk” at NEH Records at this link.
Ray Gillen – Vocals
Jake E. Lee – Guitar
Greg Chaisson – Bass
Jeff Martin – Drums
Yesterday (Monday, December 1st) was the 15th Anniversary of the death of singer Ray Gillen. I remember Ray best for the time he spent with Jake E. Lee in the band Badlands. I am still very fond of the three albums released by Badlands and I still listen to all of them today.
Rest in Peace Ray! You are missed!
The following videos are from Ray’s time as singer in Badlands.
Dreams In The Dark
After coming off of the Ozzy Osbourne, Ultimate Sin tour, Jake E. Lee, formed Badlands with singer Ray Gillen.
If you were a fan of Jake E. Lee’s awesome metal guitar licks on Ozzy disc, The Ultimate Sin, then you may have found his work on Badlands a surprise, as on this disc, he moved in a more bluesy, hard rock direction.
As much as I enjoyed Lee’s work with Ozzy, it wasn’t until his work with Badlands where he truly shined. Jake E. Lee’s awesome guitar licks, combined with Ray Gillen’s incredible voice is one potent combination, and it shows on the brilliant debut record from Badlands.
This record didn’t chart as high as some of other hair metal acts at the time, but Badlands sound nothing like the majority of the acts from the 80’s. If anything their music was ahead of its time. It is excellent, bluesy hard rock that still sounds incredible to this day. I still consider this one of my top ten records of all time.
Sadly, this record is out of print, and prices for it are starting to soar on the internet. Hopefully, this record will get reissued, as music this good needs to be heard by rock fans who would like to check it out. Grab this if you can find it! Happy Hunting!
Rating: Out 0f 10
1. High Wire
2. Dreams In The Dark
3. Jade’s Song
4. Winter’s Call
5. Dancing On The Edge
6. Streets Cry Freedom
7. Hard Driver
8. Rumblin’ Train
9. Devil’s Stomp
11. Ball & Chain
Ray Gillen – Vocals
Jake E. Lee – Guitars
Eric Singer – Drums
Greg Chaisson – Bass