Released: 2005, Sanctuary Records
After the bitter, bitter, disappointment brought to us by GZR’s “nu-est” solo album, and hot on the heels of Iommi’s own 2004 release of THE 1996 DEP SESSIONS (which didn’t impact upon me neither positively or negatively) we have the new album FUSED. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from a new Iommi solo album. Having no expectations turned out to be a great thing because this album kicked my ass!
It is not only Iommi that makes this album so great, it’s also the other leading man - vocalist & bass player Glenn Hughes (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, etc) . The combination of Tony’s riffs and Glenn’s vocals make for a winning combination...so much so that I’d dare to say this is the best (maybe even better?) material from Iommi since 1992's DEHUMANIZER which featured Dio’s too short lived return to Sabbath. So you’re wondering, if this album is so great, what’s with the 4.5/5 and not a 5/5? Well for me, I inevitably compare FUSED to past works with Black Sabbath and with that I look to my favorites like VOL. 4 and MASTER OF REALITY. Back then, most all riffs and solos were memorable which is not exactly the case with all of FUSED. The other missing ingredient is the doom...some of it’s there but hey I wanted more Sabbathy doom ha! With the stuff on FUSED there is much more of a modern hard rock feel. You could sort of call FUSED heavy metal, but not fully. Some of Tony’s trademark solos are on here, but they are clearly not the focus of the album. Any keen fan will no doubt pick out Tony’s style, but it’s not the early 70's and Tony’s style has obviously evolved. Glenn however has never sounded better! His vocals on FUSED cover all ranges. He can easily sing circles around vocalists half his age. One interesting thing to note, at points when Glenn reaches for the higher registers (i.e. “Wasted Again”) he sounds uncannily like Chris Cornell (Soundgarden)!
My favorite tracks on here include the opener, “Dopamine” which has radio hit written all over it...at least radio that doesn’t cater to shit so that eliminates 99% of them. Ha! I love the opening riff for “Wasted Years” but then the song kinda changes into more of a hard rock thing, still cool though. This is also the first place on the album where you’ll hear the Chris Cornell reference. “Resolution Song” has some nice doomy riffing at the beginning mixed with a slight “Planet Caravan” clean part...pretty cool stuff loaded with Iommi’s godly riffing! The opening to “What You’re Living For” is a change of pace for the album since it picks up in speed a bit, reminding me a little of something from DEHUMANIZER. The doom returns for the beginning of “The Spell” oh yes, Iommi’s still got it! If you’ve made it this far into the album, then hold on, the last track, clocking in at over 9 minutes is a killer. It starts mellow with some sweet soloing before Glenn’s vocals come in over the clean guitar. It heavy’s up a bit for the chorus with Glenn’s vocals becoming the focal point. After switching between these parts the song mellows out until 4:20 when it builds up to a heavier riff section that lasts close up to 6mins when the song goes in a new direction and the tempo picks up. The solo coming in at about 7mins is classic Tony and goes on for nearly a minute of the song....what a great way to end the album!
Praying for some new Black Sabbath? Tired of waiting for Ozzy to green light an album? Then FUSED is the fix that get you through or perhaps even make you quit waiting and start asking for more IOMMI/HUGHES material!! Whoo!