Album Review: Emerald Sabbath – Ninth Star (PHD)

This is the story of how an Irish nuclear construction safety inspector brought 10 ex members of Black Sabbath together to produce a tribute album to one of the greatest bands ever.

The ‘Ninth Star’ album is an ambitious epic rock & classical music tribute to Black Sabbath.

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Emerald Sabbath features 10 former members of Black Sabbath and much more, including: Adam Wakeman (Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne), Bev Bevan (Black Sabbath/ELO), Neil Murray (Black Sabbath/Whitesnake), Terry Chimes (Black Sabbath/The Clash), Laurence Cottle (Black Sabbath/The Alan Parsons Project), Ron Keel (Black Sabbath/Ron Keel Band), Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell), Dave Walker (Black Sabbath/Fleetwood Mac), Bobby Rondinelli (Black Sabbath/Rainbow), Tony Martin (Black Sabbath/Headless Cross), Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne/Whitesnake) and The English Chamber Choir.

Other Emerald Sabbath contributors include Will Malone and Mike Lewis (Sabotage/Technical Ecstasy) Mike Exeter (Black Sabbath/Judas Priest), Jeremy J. Lewis (Headless Cross), Mike Lewis (She’s Gone) Skaila Kang (Royal Academy Of Music) PLUS Black Sabbath album graphic designers Richard Manning and Colin Elgie (Technical Ecstasy) and Hugh Gilmour (Born Again).

‘Ninth Star’ by Emerald Sabbath is released 15th February 2019 via Plastic Head Distribution.

There’s an decent argument for the world not needing yet another Black Sabbath tribute album. Everyone and their dog has covered a Sabbath track or two, no surprise considering the legendary career the band has had regardless of who fronted them. How do you convince someone who has heard enough Sabbath covers to last a lifetime to check out this latest offering from the Emerald Sabbath offering?

Well, the track listing might be a good place to start as the 10 tracks (9 with an intro) are some of the lesser covered Sabbath tracks. Then there is the guest list that includes Sabbath alumni, a veritable whose who of quality before the entire experience is capped off with a classical music fusion. Emerald Sabbath’s Ninth Star is a classy and respectful tribute to one of the most important bands in our history. However, it’s not very interesting and really isn’t going to appeal to a mass audience.

It doesn’t begin in particularly memorable fashion with Die Young falling flat in the vocal department even if it is note for note elsewhere. As a tribute it does perfectly fine but it leaves you wanting to hear the superior original.

A common thread throughout unfortunately as Thrashed, In for the Kill and Hole in the Sky are solid enough efforts but that’s about it. A cover/tribute should always be one of two things…a perfect rendition of the original or something completely different and these tracks fail to nail either point.

The worst track on the album, purely because of how little it offers is Changes. When I saw this in the track listing I genuinely got excited because the original with Ozzy’s glorious voice is simply phenomenal but here it sounds so ordinary.

However there are highlights and they come in the form of the instrumental tracks. Fluff and Orchid that utilise a string quartet and are very sweet on the ears while Stonehenge is all about the flute.

Then we have She’s Gone, a contender for the best track on the album. The ballad being given fresh life with great vocals from Dave Walker but Supertzar does ends up stealing the show. The choir alone makes it a worthy listen.

So that’s Emerald Sabbath’s Ninth Star. An ambitious record that doesn’t completely drop the ball. The question remains though…what was the point?

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Emerald Sabbath – Ninth Star Full Track Listing:

1. Embryo Intro
2. Die Young
3. Fluff
4. Stonehenge
5. Thrashed
6. She’s Gone
7. In for the Kill
8. Orchid
9. Hole in the Sky
10. Changes
11. Supertzar

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You can order the album here, Deezer, Google Play, via Amazon above and iTunes. More information about the project can be found over on the website, Instagram and videos can be watched on YouTube.

Emerald Sabbath - Ninth Star (PHD)
  • The Final Score - 6/10
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