Sound — 10
Even though vintage is out of fashion now, Tony Iommi is not looking back on what's trendy and what's not 'cause he created the most memorable riffs in heavy music and what he plays is classic of heavy metal. "Fused" by Tony Iommi and Glenn Huges, out July 2005, is the third album of the team. It was recorded in Monnow Valley Studios in Wales in December 2004 and produced by Bob Marlette who had produced Tony's first solo album back in 2000. Marlette also plays keyboards and bass on the record and he co-working some songs. Even though "Fused" is called the record of two guys, there's actually another one, who they wouldn't make a record without - Kenny Aranoff's drum work on the album is not less important, than Iommi's or Huges'. He creates an outstanding heavy drum sound, which is what rock starts from.
Recording "Fused" the musicians had two aims - the album should have been powerful and they wanted a record that they could go out and play live. And they achieved it stunningly well - music on the record is wrapped in powerful and mellow groove. The album is as heavy as heavy rock can be, featuring low-tuned guitars and crunchy riffs, but at the same time very melodic. It is darker than any of the albums Iommi and Huges did together before.
"Fused" is one of those genius records that doesn't have to grow on you. Right from the first song you realize that's a masterpiece. Even though the opener "Dopamine" is not the greatest song on the record, but the most radio-friendly. Slow "The Spell" goes back to Black Sabbath roots with some heavy doom riffs. Awesome epic "I Go Insane" closes the album with crashing metal coda. This partly acoustic ballad is nine minutes long and has tempo changes and four movement of riffs by Iommi. The original version had six, but then the song was twelve-minute. The epic component of the song comes from Huges' predilaction to finish every record with an epic song. And he truly calls this one "the epic of epics."
Lyrics — 10
Huges sings about what happens to everybody -? being lost, going insane, things that terrify you. That's one of the components that makes the album "live." I love the funny beginning of "Go Insane" - "I just want to live forever..." - not new! I thought everybody does. "Wasted" seems like a song to an alcoholic friend, who can't stop drinking, which is actually a very vital question in rock music industry.
As Iommi says, he wasn't limited on what to play in the song in order to satisfy singer's ability. Huges can sing on anything - both chords and riffs. Maybe that's why the album came out so honest - musicians didn't have any restrictions in crafting music, expressing their feelings.
Overall Impression — 9
That's the album I've been waiting for a long time - not popularity-oriented, but easy-listening and airplay-friendly at the same time. You can actually feel the maturity of music. It's not an album by some young guys, who're playing in rock stars. There's no pretence, this music simply comes from these musicians' lives. The two musicians respect each other and the album was made in the "respective" manner. Huges finds Iommi's riffs awesome and Iommi appreciates Huges vocal skills. One thing that this album misses is variety. All the songs sound like they were written during one day or at least in the same mood and with the same feelings. Well, getting older, we all closes up for something different than our living style and that relates to music too.
Tony Iommi and Glenn Hughes write songs like they were born to make good music and with the experience they both have, these guys know not only exactly what they want, but how to get it. If it's loud, it's comfortably loud, if it's lyrics about life, they reveal inner thoughts. Having two reactive components - legendary Riffmaster General Tony Iommi and The Voice of Rock Glenn Huges - in the mixture, the record is condemned to be a blow-out. As Huges says to Iommi in his "thank-you message" on the album, "It's all about the chemistry!"