Black Sabbath – The Eternal Idol Ray Gillen Mix (no label)

The Eternal Idol Ray Gillen Mix

Glory Ride; Born to Lose; Lost Forever; Eternal Idol; The Shining; Hard Life to Love; Nightmare; Ancient Warrior

For fans who closely know The Eternal Idol by Black Sabbath, and how Tony Martin brilliantly sang its songs, the “Ray Gillen Mix” of that same album might come as a bit of a surprise.  This is because Gillen sang – and recorded – those songs first, and Martin emulated much of the phrasing and range established by the late, great Gillen.

The Eternal Idol Ray Gillen Mix is a perfect studio recording of this excellent Sabbath release with noticeable differences from what was commercially released with Martin’s vocals in 1987.  One reason is the track order.  “Glory Ride” is the first track, and not “The Shining”.  A more important difference is the recorded performances of the songs.  For example, “Glory Ride” has an entirely different beginning with Eric Singer counting in on his sticks and adding a series of powerhouse fills before the band joins together in the song. 

The sound of Iommi’s guitar is also a bit dirtier and fuzzier than on the commercial release, which was a nice surprise.  Iommi’s solo was different – and arguably worse – in the sessions with Gillen than what he did for the official release.  Singer’s china cymbals are also more clearly audible, as were his dexterous double-bass and snare fills toward the end of this opening track.  None of this was contained on the commercial release.

The next track, “Born to Lose”, is again counted-in by Singer on his sticks before he accompanied Iommi’s opening riff on his hi-hat.  Gillen’s vocal accents differed from what Martin would later do.  “Lost Forever” also has the count-in and Singer’s cymbal work throughout the song is clearer than the commercial release.  Gillen’s other worldly vocals on “Eternal Idol” showed why he was one of the, if not the, hottest commodities on vocals in this genre in the late 1980’s, early 1990’s. 

“The Shining” also has a different beginning than the official release, with Singer’s hi-hats brining in (and accompanying) Iommi’s awesome opening.  This different start is also present in “Hard Life to Love”, with some of Iommi’s tinkering being audible at the opening of the awesome “Ancient Warrior”.

One of the other beauties of this release is the fact that it contains recordings of Ray Gillen’s wonderful voice before he recorded Badlands’ incredible first album with Jake E. Lee.  Of course, Eric Singer was also on that first Badlands release, making The Eternal Idol Ray Gillen Mix a prime example of what we music collectors love so much.  To put a cherry on that sundae, the tasteful packaging accompanying this release cinches it as one that is strongly recommended for fans of the work of these artists.

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  1. Yes, I echo Chambeau’s comment, as this isa major upgrade on previous versions of THIS tape: as you may know there is another tape of the album with Gillen’s vocals, but with more solos laid down.

    Iommi has announced that the forthcoming reissue of ‘The Eternal Idol’ shall have the Gillen version as a bonus CD. The tracklisting is the same as this here bootleg, and ut’l be interesting to hear if he has ‘fiddled’ with it.

    I also wonder now whether this bootleg came from the source to be used for the official reissue, as the two releases are close together, relatively speaking.

  2. This CD is worth the investment. Great vocals and excellent sound. Highly recommended.

  3. For an excellent look at this period in history check out Sabbath Bloody Sabbath – The Battle for Black Sabbath by Gary Sharpe-Young. It goes in depth with most of the musician invloved with the record. Can be found at


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