By Martin Popoff
Ian Gillan and Tony Iommi
Main point of this is a noble one, Tony and Ian getting together for charity, to help fund the rebuilding of a music school in war-torn Gyumri, Armenia. These are two guys who know how happy music can make you, especially for those bitten by it as a kid. So the anchor is the pair of new studio tracks, first “Out Of My Mind”, a grinding, Egypto-Purple, Sabbath/Iommi solo slog, second (and opening the second disc), same sort of thick, dirty vibe with a l’il Middle East, but a little more acoustic and melodic. The rest of this 18-song grab-bag comprises a bewildering array of rarities, oddities, often sub-par album tracks, live stuff, drunken jams and collaborations.
Hugely raising the value is the big book that explains the origins and motivations of every quizzical inclusion. Also, weirdly, not everything is an Iommi/Gillan thing. Some are just Ian from the far corners of his solo career and Tony, the same, with highlights beyond the two new mountain moments being “Slip Away” and “Let It Down Easy” (raging, groovy metal — best thing on here) from Tony’s Fused sessions with Glenn Hughes, and the blustery “Easy Come Easy Go” from Ian and a bunch of blokes, including Y&T’s wickedly awesome Leonard Haze. The “Dick Pimple” Purple studio jam at the end is amusing, as well, as is the inclusion of the old Gillan classic “No Laughing In Heaven,” although it’s played as straight as it could be.
This collection is really for the archaeologist-type fan of these two hairy beasts, i.e. those who are missing some of these mostly inconsequential bits and pieces.