Tony Iommi’s late-80s attempts to re-establish Black Sabbath gained much-needed momentum with the bringing in of unknown Birmingham vocalist Tony Martin in 1987. Martin’s five-octave-range vocal performances on albums such as Headless Cross and Tyr won him the loyalty of a hard-core section of Sabbath’s fan base.
It’s been 17 years since Martin’s previous solo album, Scream, but his arresting delivery over the battering attack of Thorns opener As The World Burns makes it clear he’s retained the range and power of his Sabbath years.
Guitarist and songwriting partner Scott McClellan’s belligerent riffing style adds a pleasing modern edge, blending effectively with keen vocal melodies from Martin that echo his style with Sabbath, notably amid the dark atmospherics of Book Of Shadows and Nowhere To Fly.
Crying Wolf and the title track vary the intensity with well-placed acoustic textures. Thorns successfully re-establishes Martin without losing sight of his past.