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The three Black Sabbath albums Tony Iommi likes least

@josephtaysom

Tony Iommi is the architect of Black Sabbath. Although Ozzy Osbourne takes the bulk of plaudits, it was Iommi who shaped the band’s sound and brought metal to the masses. Despite everything they achieved together, the group has three albums that the guitarist looks back upon with regret.

Sabbath will always be remembered for their pioneering instincts, yet, not everything they touched across their journey turned to gold. While they kept their experimental instincts alive throughout their tenure and developed a more textured sound as the years progressed, life was never straightforward for the group. Even when Sabbath were creatively firing on all cylinders, conditions were chaotic, and turmoil was always loitering around the corner. According to Iommi, substance abuse and a revolving door policy on singers would hamper their artistry.

The first LP that Iommi expressed remorse regarding is 1981’s Mob Rules. Iommi and Geezer Butler were the only founding members of the group who appeared on the record following the departures of Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward. Following the album, their replacements, Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice would depart from Sabbath before returning a decade later.

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“We were all going through a lot of problems at that time, most of it related to drugs,” Iommi admitted to Guitar World. “Even the producer, Martin Birch, was having drug problems, and it hurt the sound of that record. Once that happens to your producer, you’re really screwed. Mob Rules was a confusing album for us. We started writing songs differently for some reason and ended up not using a lot of really great material.”

Another album from their catalogue that doesn’t leave Iommi brimming with pride is Technical Ecstacy. It would be their final record with Osbourne during his first spell with the group. Things had grown tired for the group, and they attempted to freshen things up but missed the mark.

“Black Sabbath fans generally don’t like much of Technical Ecstasy,” Iommi said. “It was really a no-win situation for us. If we had stayed the same, people would have said we were still doing the same old stuff. So we tried to get a little more technical, and it just didn’t work out very well.”

Finally, the album Iommi condemned in the strongest terms is Born Again, their only record made with Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan. The lack of chemistry with the singer was an issue, says the guitarist, and this was the only LP they made with his involvement. “When we first put that line-up together [Ian Gillan, Iommi, Butler, Ward], it was only on paper – done purely by lawyers,” Iommi said.

“Ian is a great singer, but he’s from a completely different background [Deep Purple], and it was difficult for him to come in and sing Sabbath material. To be honest, I didn’t like some of the songs on that album – and the production was awful.”

Considering the circus surrounding Black Sabbath throughout their career and the challenging conditions that they’ve worked under, it’s a miracle that there are three albums on this list. 

Black Sabbath albums Tony Iommi dislikes:

  • Mob Rules
  • Technical Fantasy
  • Born Again