Black Sabbath – Forbidden Remix (2024)

June 8, 2024

I was very dubious of the Forbidden remix. Why, you ask? Well, remixes, generally, aren’t usually that great. If a band decides to do it, there’s usually a reason – and it’s easy to see why in Forbidden’s case. On top that, most if not all remixes that I’ve heard of controversial albums have failed to improve on the original. This, I’m happy to report, is where Forbidden differs. The changes here are night and day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always cheered for the underdog that is Forbidden in its original form, preferring it originally to both Cross Purposes and Tyr. But I do understand the issues with the original mix, and the general air of that everyone involved (with perhaps the except of Cozy Powell) just really can’t be bothered. It is incredible then, how much difference the new mix by Mike Exeter – under guidance and instruction from Tony Iommi himself – has given Forbidden a second life. It may not be too overblown to say that Forbidden is now getting the life that it should have had in the first place, where instead it lived in the shadow of bad decisions and the looming Ozzy Sabbath reunion.

I do have some grumbles, however, that stop Forbidden 2024 from getting top marks. The first is that the “typical” compressed and modern drum sound employed here is the antithesis to everything Cozy Powell was: loud, obscene, dense, and in your face! Whilst there is an additional clarity to the drum track, and fills and cymbal work are much clearer, the drums in general have much less of an impact than they did on the original mix. If they had just kept Cozy’s original SNAP of a snare sound, most of this would have been avoided.

The second grumble is that for reasons that are perhaps unknown to everyone except Iommi himself, they decided to change up some of the lyrics / vocal takes whilst performing the remix. I have no fucking idea why they have done this. The most glaring is the change of the second chorus in “Get A Grip”. It’s even more mind boggling because choruses 1 and 3 remain with their original lyrics. Such a bizarre decision!

Despite these I suppose small complaints it feels like a veil has been lifted off this session. Both Tony Martin and Tony Iommi sound absolutely fucking fantastic, like this stuff was recorded earlier this year rather than in the middle of the 90s. I can only hope that the new mix helps get these songs the love and attention that they deserve.