Forbidden (album)

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Cover art by Paul Sample
Studio album by Black Sabbath
Released 20 June 1995
Recorded Parr Street Studios, Liverpool and Devonshire Studios, Los Angeles, 1994–1995
Genre Heavy metal, power metal[1]
Length 44:10
Label I.R.S.
Producer Ernie C
Black Sabbath chronology
Cross Purposes

Forbidden is the eighteenth studio album by British band Black Sabbath, released in June 1995. This recording saw the reunion of Black Sabbath's Tyr-era line-up from 1990, with the return of Neil Murray and Cozy Powell. It was the last album to feature Tony Martin on vocals and the last by the band until 2013 when Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler returned for the album 13. The album sold 21,000 copies in the U.S in its first week and as of 2013, Forbidden has sold 191,000 copies in the US.[2]

The album received a generally negative response from critics and fans alike. After its release, the band underwent several line-up changes and found itself at a career crossroads. However, original Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne would reconcile with guitarist Tony Iommi not long afterwards.[1]

Album information and background[edit]

The recording of Forbidden followed some late lineup changes within the band, with Butler and Ward replaced by Murray and Powell in the immediate aftermath of the 1994 Cross Purposes tour. Writing and rehearsals took place at Bluestone Farm in Wales, ahead of recording at Parr Street Studios, Liverpool that December. The album was launched in June 1995.[3] Musically, the release draws on traditional heavy metal and power metal styles as well as influences from blues. The album's opening track, "The Illusion of Power", features a rapped verse by hip-hop artist Ice-T of the group Body Count,[1] delivering a spoken word part during the song's bridge.

Body Count member Ernie C also produced, recorded, and mixed the album.[1]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 1.5/5 stars[1]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 1/5 stars[4]

Forbidden was panned by critics upon its release. Allmusic's Bradley Torreano gave the album only one and a half stars, remarking that "with boring songs, awful production, and uninspired performances, this is easily avoidable for all but the most enthusiastic fan". He also stated that he considered it a "sad state of affairs" given the band's long history.[1] Blender magazine called Forbidden "an embarrassment ... the band's worst album".[5]

Band members have since spoken about their mixed opinions of the album. Vocalist Tony Martin made known his feelings in an interview in July 2011, during which he stated: "Well, Forbidden is... I want to say 'crap', but it's actually not". He added that he thought the songs worked in rehearsals, but other factors, such as rumours of a reunion of the original Black Sabbath line-up and the record company wanting to "take [the album] and see what Ice-T wanted to do", gave the album a "distinct ill feeling". Martin also maintained that he never believed a "Run-D.M.C. type"/"Rap Sabbath" album would work.[6] Rob Zombie gave some lighter praise at the launch, stating "There is one easy way to figure out the lasting power of Black Sabbath. There's always certain bands that get a great reaction and Black Sabbath is always one of them."[7]

In regards to the subsequent original line-up reunion, Martin has also said Forbidden was a "filler album that got the band out of the label deal, rid of the singer, and into the reunion", but remarked that he "wasn’t privy to that information at the time".[8]

Guitarist Tony Iommi has admitted to Sabbath fanzine Southern Cross that he was "not happy" with Forbidden. He elaborated by saying, "We brought in Ernie C to do production, which was a bit difficult really, because I had to leave him to it… One of the problems was we weren't all there at the same time, when we were writing it. Cozy and Neil were still contracted to do other stuff, so it ended up with just Tony Martin, Geoff Nicholls and myself just jamming around and putting ideas down. It all came together very quickly and we didn't have time to reflect: make sure it was the right songs and the right way of doing it."[9]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Tony Martin except "The Illusion of Power" by Martin, Ice-T, all music composed by Black Sabbath.

No. Title Length
1. "The Illusion of Power" (featuring Ice-T) 4:51
2. "Get a Grip"   3:58
3. "Can't Get Close Enough"   4:27
4. "Shaking Off the Chains"   4:02
5. "I Won't Cry for You"   4:47
6. "Guilty as Hell"   3:27
7. "Sick and Tired"   3:29
8. "Rusty Angels"   5:00
9. "Forbidden"   3:47
10. "Kiss of Death"   6:06
Bonus track

The Japanese release added a bonus track, and a sticker of the album sleeve:

No. Title Length
11. "Loser Gets It All"   2:55


Band members
Additional musicians
  • Ice-T – additional vocals on "The Illusion of Power"
  • Ernie C – producer, engineer, mixing at Ridge Farm Studio, UK
  • Bobby Brooks – engineer, mixing
  • Andrea Wright, Phill Luff – assistant engineers
  • Geoff Pesche – mastering at Townhouse Studios, London

Charts performance[edit]

Year Chart Position
1995 Sweden 19
Germany 35
Austria 40
Switzerland 48
United Kingdom 71
Netherlands 86

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Torreano, Bradley. "Forbidden - Black Sabbath". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Black Sabbath set for major US debut". 18 June 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Black Sabbath: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Mitchell, Ben. "Blender Forbidden review". Retrieved 20 March 2008. [dead link]
  6. ^ Hodgson, Peter. "The Gibson Interview: Black Sabbath’s Tony Martin". Gibson Guitar Corporation. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Tony Q&A". Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2008. 
  9. ^ Southern Cross No.19, March 1997