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Tony Martin - Scream (CD)

Tony Martin
by David Kaluza at 17 December 2005, 9:16 AM

After the rather disappointing Black Sabbath album, Forbidden, it seems that Tony Martin's career took a turn for the worse. He might have done some quality work in the meantime, fronting Empire and working with Dario Mollo on The Cage, but he sadly never reached the heights or popularity he had in the time he spent with Sabbath. And just when I was wondering when, and if, we were gonna hear from Tony again, up pops Scream, his second solo release following 1992's Back Where I Belong.
Even more amazing is the actual lineup for this album. Tony Martin doesn't just do the vocals, he also plays both the bass and drums on nearly all the tracks. The only exception to this being the up-tempo rocker Raising Hell, for which the legendary Cozy Powell recorded the drum tracks way back in the 90's. This of course counts as something rather special, since Cozy has been dead for nearly eight years now and this might very well be the very last new track we will ever get to hear him perform on. Apart from this we also have Joe Harford, Tony's youngest son, on guitar and Geoff Nichols on keyboards. It has to be said straight away that he does a more than adequate job. Talent obviously runs in the family and while Joe is not Iommi or Blackmore yet, we should definitely keep an eye out for him in the future.
Keeping Tony's former employers in mind, it should come as no surprise that the bulk of the material consists of very traditional, solid Hard Rock, often referencing Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. And while tracks like the doomy Bitter Sweet, Fields Of Lies (both very much Sabbath) or Faith In Madness definitely manage to hold their own, I must admit that I am not quite as charmed by every song on Scream. Some of the material is just a tad too substandard to really stand out, almost as if Martin didn't dare to go all-out but rather tried to stick to a certain formula, and this somewhat hurts the album as a whole. It never gets to the point where you can classify it as crap, but I can honestly say that something like for example the lyrically slightly over-clichéd I'm Gonna Live Forever or the somewhat awkward sounding The Kids Of Today (Don't Understand The Blues) won't get played too many times at my place. Apart from these two exceptions though, most of what is on offer is really rather good, with some great performances by both Tony as well as Joe. Another positive note must also go to the production - which sounds good throughout and is entirely recorded in Tony's own home in, believe it or not…Headless Cross, England!
All in all, Scream certainly is a very worthwhile album. It might not be the best melodic Rock CD we have heard this year, but it is good to hear that Tony Martin is still around. Fans of classic Hard Rock could do far worse than to give this one a listen. Not groundbreaking but a very solid effort altogether.

3 Star Rating

Raising Hell
Bitter Sweet
Faith In Madness
I'm Gonna Live Forever
Surely Love Is Dead
The Kids Of Today Don't Understand The Blues
Wherever You Go
Field Of Lies
Tony Martin - Vocals, Bass & Drums
Geoff Nicholls - Keyboards
Cozy Powell - Drums (on Raising Hell)
Joe Harford - Guitar
Record Label: MTM Music


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