‘Against All Odds’ (Heavy Metal HMR LP9) Review by NEIL JEFFRIES July 1983
I SAW Quartz support Black Sabbath seven years ago and although they were called Bandylegs then they weren’t as bad as the moniker suggested. A change of name to Quartz seemed to bring about regression in musical ability and I thought I’d seen the worst HM band ever when they toured with Gillan. Now, against all odds (pun intended) they’re back. Unbelievable.
In truth they have improved on my previous memories thanks to the arrival of a new singer named Geoff Bate. Also the production, (handled by the band themselves and Robin George) sounds very slick. Despite these two plus points though it’s still pretty much “in–one-ear-out-the-other” stuff.
As ever Black Sabbath remain their idols and their sole influence. (It certainly sounds that way at least.) Tony Iommi gets another sleeve credit although I can’t for the life of me understand why he involves himself in such a pale imitation of his own excellent works. Quartz guitarist Mike Hopkins sets his instrument up in virtually the exact tone as Tony’s and although some of his work is pretty good, it lacks the fire of the original. Most of the songs are built on his rehashed Sabs riffs and these don’t sound good beneath the glossy American-ised production. One saving grace is Geoff Nicholl’s keyboards (see the Sabs connection again?) but some very pedestrian drumming all but cancels out his contributions.
Side Two’s ‘Silver Wheels’ is good but too much of the rest sounds all too familiar and you’ll come to it in the knowledge that it’s all been done before and so much better? Some Black Sabbath fans might like it but I expect I’m in a majority who will find this record very dispensable.