The “Ninth Star” album by EMERALD SABBATH is one man’s compulsive homage to the pioneers of heavy metal music. It’s an ambitious epic rock & classical music celebration of BLACK SABBATH.
Founded and produced by Michael Suilleabhain, a Nuclear Construction Safety Inspector from West Cork, Ireland [hence the emerald] his pet-project features ten former members of Black Sabbath [from a possible list of over thirty previous band members] plus the English Chamber Choir. He says he’s seen Black Sabbath a total of 82 times, with every line-up [except with Ray Gillen] and has a great passion for classical music. In May 2015 he decided to combine both of his pleasures into one huge and sweeping acclamation.
Adam Wakeman was the first to contribute to the project, with keyboards on “Changes” and then it snowballed into the full and final product. Suilleabhain decided to re-record his chosen Black Sabbath tracks and instrumentals with as many ex-members of Black Sabbath as he could find. A lot of the artists also played on the originals (such as Vinny Appice, who joined Sabbath on drums for the Heaven And Hell tour, and The English Chamber Choir on Supertzar). He then brought in a string quartet with various other classical players to polish the recording off.
Along with ten members of Black Sabbath, there are also three ex-sabbath designers/artists including Richard Manning and Colin Elgie (Technical Ecstasy) and Hugh Gilmour (Born Again); two former string arrangers – Will Malone (Sabotage, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Never Say Die) and Mike Lewis (She’s Gone, Technical Ecstasy).
The first song to be released from the album is “She’s Gone” [it originally featured on Sabbath’s 1976 album “Technical Ecstasy”] and is shared below. The new recording features Dave Walker, who replaced Ozzy Osbourne briefly in 1977/1978. Walker also fronted Idle Race, Savoy Brown and Fleetwood Mac. “She’s Gone” also features former Black Sabbath / Whitesnake member Neil Murray on bass guitar, Chris Cundy on keys and the Ardeton String Quartet. In this incarnation of the slow and pensive aria, EMERALD SABBATH captures the silent emptiness of unrequited love while Walker evokes the grim, nervous sense of loss that reminds us of Johnny Cash.
Other tracks, such as: “STONEHENGE” recorded in memory of guitarist / keyboardist Geoff Nichols 1944-2017 feature Adam Wakeman on keyboards, Pete Rinaldi on guitar, Laurance Cottle on bass and Sarah Tobias on flute.
“CHANGES” has Michael himself on vocals with the core band mentioned above plus Bev Bevan on drums, Queenie May on backing vox, Anneka Sutcliffe on violin and Sarah Tobias on flute & clarinet.
“Ninth Star” by Emerald Sabbath is released 15th February via Phd.
Main Picture: from left Neil Murray – Bass Mike Exeter – Guitar Mixing Michael Suilleabhain – Vocals Bev Bevan – Drums and Percussion