Black Sabbath – The Eternal Idol (1987)
Produced by Jeff Glixman, Vic Coppersmith-Heaven, Chris Tsangarides. This was the first Black Sabbath album that I got after I was already a huge fan of the band. I bought Technical Ecstasy about 18 months before and since then had bought most of their back catalogue, so I was eagerly awaiting the release of the next instalment in the Sabbath story. When I got this home from the record shop I was disappointed at the time, I must say. I think the problem lay with the opening song, ‘The Shining’ being slow to mid-paced unlike any of the albums since probably Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. I needed that first song to hit me with an uptempo ball tearer, so basically I subconsciously wrote the whole album off and just went back to listening to all my favourite Sabbath records and this stayed unplayed for the best part of 20 years. I rediscovered it about 15 years ago and it’s pretty solid, I must say. The aforementioned ‘The Shining’ is the pick of the bunch and these days the mid-paced groove hits all the right buttons for me – sounds powerful as fuck. Considering there were 3 producers for this album, it sounds pretty together – the drums in particular are excellent. I guess this album kind of starts off where Seventh Star ended and if Glenn Hughes was still the singer it would be even more so. Tony Martin is a great singer, though – part Hughes, part Ronnie James Dio. I still like Seventh Star more as it has a few more immediate songs. This is still good though, and I feel a bit of a fool for dismissing it so readily when I was 14. Stupid kid. You want a weird fact? I know you do, and here it is: ex-Clash, ex-Generation X and ex-Cherry Bombz drummer, Terry Chimes, played drums for Black Sabbath on the Eternal Idol tour. You can see him in the music video for ‘The Shining’. Is that a bizarre fit or what? Ol’ Tezza really got around back in the day – talk about versatile!
Whitesnake – 1987 (1987)
Produced by Mike Stone & Keith Olsen. I remember seeing the music videos to ‘Still of the Night’, ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘Is This Love’ on Rage when this album came out and I recognised Vivian Campbell from Dio and Rudy Sarzo from Quiet Riot. I didn’t know much about Whitesnake’s history at the time so I just assumed that those two blokes, plus the others in the video were the ones that played on the album – and what an album it is; it’s no wonder this was a worldwide hit! Later I found out that John Sykes, formerly of Thin Lizzy and Tygers of Pan Tang was the one who supplied most of the guitars and co-wrote nearly everything on it. Sykes could possibly be my favourite guitarist, only second to Eddie Van Halen, and although I preferred him in Thin Lizzy, to think that he wouldn’t have been given the credit for writing these wonderful songs back in the day is pretty shit. With a monstrous guitar tone and blistering solos, Sykes makes already great songs fucking over the top! He friggen rules. And kudos to Neil Murray on bass and Ainsley Dunbar on drums for also making this such a great album. That being said, I still love the music videos even though they are a scam, ha ha. Classy, timeless artwork by Hugh Syme gives a prestigious vibe befitting such a milestone album.
UK Subs – Diminished Responsibility (1981)
Number three in a run of four classic albums, this is probably the weakest of them, but fuck me, that just shows how great the others are, coz this still rules. Chock full of anthems like You Don’t Belong, Time and Matter, Party in Paris, this album laid the groundwork for arguably their best and most diverse album, Endangered Species. There’s something about this and Endangered Species that gives a real futuristic vibe – well, maybe ‘retro-futuristic’ – which I think is down to Nicky Garratt’s at times chiming guitar tone drenched in reverb and, at least on this album, keyboards supplied by none other than the Damned’s Captain Sensible…that and the fantastic artwork that looks straight out of a sci fi b-movie from the 70s – friggen excellent! I suggest getting this on CD which adds the absolutely killer single ‘Keep On Running’ – my favourite Subs song of all time.
Written by Karl Mautner.
Read more of Karl’s entertaining and insightful thoughts on classic albums at the Rise of the Rat Facebook page, and Karl’s own Instagram page.