Sea Of Tranquility

The Web Source for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal & Jazz-Fusion
  Search   in       
Main Menu

Martin, Tony: Thorns

Former Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin released his new album entitled Thorns earlier this month. Whilst Ozzy and Dio rightly get the plaudits for their work in Sabbath, Martin’s vocal ability and contribution to the band (and therefore Hard Rock music generally) should never be underestimated. The Headless Cross album is perhaps the best reminder of this. His previous Solo works are notable, and it’s been well over a decade since we last heard from him, so I was keen to check out Thorns.

My first impression of Thorns is that Martin’s vocal abilities are still very strong. It is bordering on obscene that his voice is still this clear and powerful as this at his age. Whilst Martin rightly takes the limelight on the release he is well supported- Danny Needham (Venom), Magnus Rosen (HammerFall), Scott McClellan and Greg Smith (Alice Cooper, Rainbow, Blue Öyster Cult) all make strong contributions to the release. Scott McClellan’s contribution is arguably the strongest of the supporting cast as along side the guitar work he is also the principal song writer on the album, contributing the vast majority of the riffs. Whilst McClellan isn’t a household name yet he will have enhanced his standing with his efforts on this release. My only critique on McClellan’s input is that I’d have liked to have seen a few more solos throughout the album.

The song writing on this release is varied, touching on a range of hard rock and metal styles over the course of the 11 tracks. Despite the variation form track to track, the common theme is that the songs allow Martin to showcase his vocal talents.

Elaborating on the mix of styles on Thorns a little; "As the World Burns" & "Run Like the Devil" have a distinctive metallic edge. "Black Widow Angel" & "No Shame at All" are hard rocking tracks with an almost Ozzy era Sabbath style swagger in the riffing. The Title track "Thorns", and "Book of Shadows" are more epic in their composition. The only track that I’m not totally sold on is "This Is Your Damnation" which has a different vibe to the rest of the release -I’d almost go so far to say that it’s almost a hard rock take on ‘the Devil Went down to Georgia’. Not terrible but I don’t think the album would lose much if it had been omitted from the final track listing.

All in all, this album is a very solid release, enhanced by the vocal talents of Tony Martin. If you’re a fan of traditional Hard Rock / Heavy Metal then I’d recommend checking it out. Die-hard Sabbath fans will want to hear this for sure to see how Tony is sounding in 2022. Who knows, perhaps Martin’s performance will give oxygen to a potential Martin/Iommi collaboration in the coming years.

Track Listing:
  1. As The World Burns
  2. Black Widow Angel
  3. Book Of Shadows
  4. Crying Wolf
  5. Damned By You
  6. No Shame At All
  7. No Where To Fly
  8. Passion Killer
  9. Run Like The Devil
  10. This Is Your Damnation
  11. Thorns

Added: January 3rd 2023
Reviewer: Chris Reid
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 1167
Language: english

[ Printer Friendly Page Printer Friendly Page ]
[ Send to a Friend Send to a Friend ]


[ Back to the Reviews Index | Post Comment ]

» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Martin, Tony: Thorns
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2023-01-03 16:29:18
My Score:

It could not have been easy for Tony Martin to follow in the footsteps of Ozzy Osbourne and Dio, leading Black Sabbath over seven albums in the ‘80s and ‘90s, before the original members got back together in 1997. Since Martin left the band, he has released three solo albums, including his latest titled Thorns. Playing on the album are:

Tony Martin (vocals, bass, guitar)
Magnus Rosen (bass)
Scott McClellan (guitars)
Danny Needham (drums)
Greg Smith (bass)
Joe Harford (guitar)
Dario Mallo (guitar)
Bruno Sa (keyboards)
Laura Harford (voice acting)

The album bursts forth with the opening track “As The World Burns”, the razor sharp guitar and drum attack at full bore, a heavy metal gallop in the vein of Iron Maiden, with a little Black Sabbath thrown in for good measure. The tempo slows, evolving into moodier, somber tones, before the breakneck pace and soaring vocals bring it all home. The slower paced “Black Widow Angel” is constructed of heavy doom riffs and inventive rhythmic changes, with the drum work demanding further inspection. “Crying Wolf” has a bluesy inflection with wonderful acoustic guitar and colourful Hammond organ and is followed by the mid-tempo rocker “Damned By You” where Martin sings his heart out, his voice dripping with emotion. The scorching guitar solo is one of the best on the disc. “No Shame At All” is all about the groove and is another burner while the catchy "Nowhere To Fly” features a calming guitar riff and another riveting vocal from Martin. Its somber beauty is revealed ever so slowly, which serves this ballad very well.

Thorns is such a refreshing album, old school doom metal played with passion and intensity, filled with well crafted songs, excellent musicianship, and great melodies. Martin proves he still has plenty left in the tank which is a great thing for music fans. An essential album for any hard rock/metal collection.

A Dark Star Records release.

Martin, Tony: Thorns
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2022-04-08 23:49:27
My Score:

For his first solo outing since 2005's Scream, former Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin returns alongside guitarist Scott McClellan, who helped co-write the album, as well as drummer Danny Needham from Venom, former HammerFall bass player Magnus Rosén, guitarists Dario Mollo & Joe Hartford, bassist Greg Smith, and keyboard player Bruno Sa, for this very heavy and enjoyable heavy metal record, Thorns. With 11 brand new songs, Martin is in fine form throughout, returning to the crushing, doom laden style of Sabbath albums like Eternal Idol, Headloss Cross, and Tyr.

While not breaking any new ground, Tony's return to these gothic, doomy sounds is quite welcome, McClellan providing a never ending supply of crushing riffs on the opening double stomp of "As the World Burns" and "Black Widow Angel", either one would have sounded right at home on any of the Black Sabbath albums mentioned above. And, there's more to come, the slow mid-paced "Book of Shadows", the chugging "Damned By You", the molten blues-metal of "No Shame At All", the melancholy doom of "Nowhere to Fly", and the near Pantera groove metal intensity of "Passion Killer", all providing for plenty of headbanging enjoyment. Though "Crying Wolf" is a bit of a mellow let down, and "This is Your Damnation" is mostly acoustic blues, "Run Like the Devil" and the closing title track dial up much of the firepower that we hear throughout the rest of the album.

All you Black Sabbath fans who have been waiting for Tony Martin to return to the heavy sounds he took part in with Tony Iommi & Co. all those years ago, rejoice. Thorns is mighty heavy and mighty fun, and shows Mr. Martin hasn't lost a step one bit. Recommended.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
For information regarding where to send CD promos and advertising, please see our FAQ page.
If you have questions or comments, please Contact Us.
Please see our Policies Page for Site Usage, Privacy, and Copyright Policies.

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all other content Sea of Tranquility

SoT is Hosted by