After so many years at the helm of heavy metal monolith, Black Sabbath, a band that appeared to be coasting along on auto-pilot, Tony Iommi -- master of the guitar's black arts --produced his first solo effort in 2000. Many wondered if he had anything more to pull out of his wizard's cap than a dead rabbit, but by assembling an all-star cast of vocal collaborators, Iommi silenced his critics with a masterful collection of songs at once steeped in Sabbath tradition and full of new departures. The strongest section of Iommi is the three-song plummet into doom that moves from the eerie wails of Skunk Anansie's Skin on "Meat," to Dave Grohl's drowsy brooding on "Goodbye
Lament" to the tormented howls of Phil Anselmo on "Time Is Mine." What
could have turned out to be an embarrassing crossover attempt turned out to
be one of the most forwarding-thinking metal albums to come along in years.
Iommi is just a great record, full of memorable riffs and songwriting, utterly unspoiled by commercial cynicism. In 2004, the guitarist released a compilation of music recorded in 1996, with metal jack-of-all-trades Glenn Hughes, titled The DEP Sessions. Iommi also remains busy with some much anticipated and well-received Black Sabbath reunion tours featuring the original lineup of that monumental band.