BLACK SABBATH's Anno Domini 1989-1995 Box Set Reviewed - "The Most Important Thing Here Is The Music, And That’s Properly Handled, And Is Spectacular"

May 23, 2024, 3 weeks ago

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BLACK SABBATH's Anno Domini 1989-1995 Box Set Reviewed - "The Most Important Thing Here Is The Music, And That’s Properly Handled, And Is Spectacular"

The new Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath box set, Anno Domini 1989-1995, will be released on May 31. Black Sabbath Online’s Joe Siegler has issued his review of the set. The following excerpt features Joe's overall/generic set thoughts...

"Now first off, I wanted to get into one thing I’ve seen pop up a lot since this was first announced a little while ago. That’s the people who are complaining that this isn’t an all encompassing set with multiple discs of extras, every demo ever recorded, unreleased stuff. That’s *NOT* what this set is, nor was it ever intended to be. The primary reason this exists was to get these albums available again. It’s been an exceptionally long time since these four albums (Headless Cross, Tyr, Cross Purposes, & Forbidden) have been in print and available. THAT is why this release exists. These albums needed to be heard again – and they haven’t been. If you’re just gonna foam at the mouth and rant that this release sucks, and is a “cash grab” or some bullshit like that… Sigh. Move on. You won’t care for what I’m gonna say then anyway….

"Given these albums were on IRS originally back in the day, those rights had expired and as such a new deal was needed. This is being released by BMG worldwide, except for Warner/Rhino in North America. The best part is that these are going to be available digitally – FINALLY. That is the reason they’ve never been on Apple Music / Spotify / etc before – the old IRS deal had expired and never had online rights as part of the original deal. They’ll finally be there after all this time, which I will be glad for, as it’s probably the #1 question I’ve been asked running this site.

"Minor sidetrack/rant: Places like Spotify are what I call legal theft. Yes, they’re legal, but the amount of money they pay artists is microscopic – and they’re always fighting for lower payments. If you want to support your artists, BUY the music, do not rely solely on streaming services, as they basically give the middle finger to artists when it comes to paying them.

"This is definitely packaged as a box set, not so much as individual albums. Oh, they’re all in there with their proper artwork and such, but I’m speaking about a more “touchy feely” thing. For example, the labels on the vinyl & cds are all visually similar. They don’t have the OG art on them, which makes them seem like a single thing vs four individual albums. That’s not a bad thing, but I saw someone online say they wanted them to be like total reproductions of the originals in their printed materials, and they’re not. This extends to the CDs themselves. In the BMG version, the individual albums say “1/2/3/4” so it makes them feel more like a “set”. As I write this on 22 May, I haven’t seen the US domestic print. I expect it to be the same except it says Rhino instead of BMG, but I wanted to put that out there right now.

"Also, the individual CD’s have as protectors those oddly shaped soft plastic things vs paper inserts in the sleeves. I never personally cared for these things and is one of the few things in the set that made me go “really?” and check off something on the negative list (which is super short).

"The CDs all have proper CD text. If you look at this picture, you’ll see me playing Headless Cross in my car, and it shows you what the CD text looks like. All four CD’s have this set up properly, which is nice.

"The vinyl version has black printed vinyl sleeves – they’re standard vinyl sleeves, just with nothing printed on them. The vinyl version makes out better than the CD version here as the “sleeves/protectors” for keeping the physical media protected. The actual vinyl cases look pretty good on their own, and honestly don’t look a ton different from the original versions.

"The other stuff besides the physical media are a booklet with stories and quotes about all the albums here (it even touches on other stuff like Dehumanizer which happened in the middle of this, and what happened after Forbidden slightly). There’s also a replica of the Headless Cross tour program, and a Headless Cross poster. Both the CD & vinyl sets have identical material, but the physical size of them is obviously larger in the vinyl version. The poster is folded over on itself, and if you intend on framing it, you’re gonna have to flatten it out well before you can actually do that. BTW, the size of the poster from the vinyl version is 24 inches x 36 inches. I didn’t measure the CD size, but you can see them together in the pictures below.

"I was asked recently if I contributed to the booklet. They did ask me to participate, but at the time they required the material I was going through treatment for my prostate cancer, and was not in a place to be creative, so I had to decline unfortunately.

"Still, the most important thing here is the music, and that’s properly handled, and is spectacular, IMO. Headless Cross, Tyr, & Cross Purposes have all received remasters. Forbidden has been completely remixed. I’ll get into the particulars on each individual section, but all four have received some sort of sonic upgrade. How much is dependent on which one, as the OG masterings for the albums weren’t all to the same level (IMO)."

For photos and to read more, including Joe's individual album remarks, head here.

Anno Domini 1989-1995 features remastered versions of Headless Cross (1989), Tyr (1990), Cross Purposes (1994) and a new version of Forbidden (1995) that Tony Iommi remixed for the collection.

It also includes a 1989 Headless Cross tour replica concert book, a 60 page book with photos, artwork and liner notes, and a Headless Cross poster. A vinyl LP version of Anno Domini 1989-1995 will be available, and three exclusive B-side bonus tracks will be i included with the CD version:: "Cloak & Dagger", and the Japan-only releases "What's The Use" and "Loser Gets It All".

Pre-order the set here.


Headless Cross (2024 Remaster)

"The Gates of Hell"
"Headless Cross"
"Devil & Daughter"
"When Death Calls"
"Kill In the Spirit World"
"Call of the Wild"
"Black Moon"
"Cloak and Dagger (bonus)

Tyr (2024 Remaster)

"Anno Mundi"
"The Law Maker"
"The Sabbath Stones"
"The Battle of Tyr"
"Odin's Court"
"Feels Good to Me"
"Heaven In Black"

Cross Purposes (2024 Remaster)

"I Witness"
"Cross of Thorns"
"Virtual Death"
"Immaculate Deception"
"Dying for Love"
"Back to Eden"
"The Hand That Rocks the Cradle"
"Cardinal Sin"
"Evil Eye"
"What's the Use" (bonus)


"Illusion of Power"
"Get a Grip"
"Can't Get Close Enough"
"Shaking off the Chains"
"I Won't Cry for You"
"Guilty as Hell"
"Sick and Tired"
"Rusty Angels"
"Kiss of Death"
"Loser Gets It All" (bonus)

"Anno Mundi":

"Headless Cross" HD video:

Anno Domini 1989-1995 unboxing video:

Tony Iommi and Tony Martin sat down to discuss titles from the upcoming release. Watch the duo talk about the Forbidden, Tyr, and Headless Cross albums below:

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