After enjoying the The 1996 DEP Sessions, I was hoping for another exciting collaboration between Tony Iommi and Glen Hughes. Well its here, a new album titled Fused.
This time well traveled drummer Kenny Arnoff and Bob Marlette help to fill out the Iommi/Hughes sound. This album has some similarities with the 96’ sessions, notably in the rock-blues area and with the distinct Iommi signature guitar licks and Hughes with his dynamic vocal style and tremendous bass playing. Hughes teams up well with Arnoff; I cannot think why no one would not with such an astute and profound player. Arnoff’s resume is long and impressive and his addition to any lineup is a godsend.
Iommi plays well throughout this album although there is a lot of repetition and not a great amount of diversity; you hear a lot of typical heavy dark doom filled power chords - the opening track “Dopamine” sets the pace for that. You hear one song, then another, and it all amounts to slight variations in chord changes throughout the run of the album. The lyrics and Hughes’ vocal prowess helps to keep it interesting though.
This is Tony Iommi, the guitar man that literally created dark metal with his former group Black Sabbath, so your expectations for the heavy riffing will be fulfilled…in the same instance, you will hear some great blues influenced riffing. “What You’re Living For” and “I Go Insane” are the best tracks on the album, they move along at a lightning fast pace with many changes. Iommi displays some of his best playing on these tracks and the pace changes, going back and forth at the drop of a hat. If the entire album had more of this type of progression, it would be outstanding. When “The Spell” kicked in, the beginning of the track reminded me of Sabbath’s “Electric Funeral.” Iommi has not let go of his past entirely and will always be the Black Sabbath lead guitar man, part of that always shows up on his solo work. There is nothing wrong with that, this is who he is and how he built his reputation, so it is the logical and natural path to take.