|Presenting my favorite bands pt. 2 (Black Sabbath)|
Part 1. Pentagram
Part 2. Black Sabbath
Sorry for my bad grammar!
English isn't my native language :/
Black Sabbath may be the most horrifying track ever recorded, and that exact number has aged very well. Other bands like Blue Cheer, Sir Lord Baltimore and Deep Purple experimented with heavier and more down tuned sounds, but no one succeeded in blending occult and scary elements in the music as well as Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath took their name from the 1963 horror classic by Mario Bava, and saw an opportunity to shock their audience and make money off it. This debut is Sabbath’s most bluesy record and there’s very loose feel to it.
Released: February 13, 1970
Favorite track: Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath’s second outing is their most well acclaimed release. The record is filled with immortal classics like War Pigs, Iron Man and Paranoid, but it’s the lesser known tracks such as Planet Caravan, Hand of Doom, Electric Funeral and Fairies Wear Boots that steals the show here. Paranoid is actually the album I give the fewest listens out of all the Sabbath albums. The record isn’t overrated because no one can’t or should deny the influence it has had on the metal genre. I think it’s overplayed and that’s fucking sad… but good for the band, ha!
Released: September 18, 1970
Favorite track: Electric Funeral
Master of Reality
This record still stands as one of the heaviest Sabbath releases! Both Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler downtuned their instruments three semi-tones and made one of the heaviest fucking albums ever. Especially when you realize that this is from 1971. In Japan Flower Travellin’ Band was experimenting with the same downtuned tone on the cult classic “Satori”. However, Iommi’s compositions on Master of Reality just kills and humiliate everything in its surroundings. Children of the Grave, Lord of this World and Into the Void will never age… and yes… it is Ozzy singing on Solitude!
Released: July 21, 1971
Favorite track: Into the Void
Black Sabbath went to the city of angels and recorded their fourth and coke influenced outing, Vol. 4. Rodger Bain was fired and the band had now full control in the studio. While the riffs on Under the Sun and Cornucopia is doomy as fuck, the band began to experiment with a lighter sound on the depressing Changes. A ballad with only piano, mellotron and Ozzy’s mellow vocals. Also Supernaut and St. Vitus Dance seem very upbeat compared to earlier works by the group. On Vol. 4 Ozzy began to grow as a singer and hits some of his finest notes here IMO. This record is fan favorite, but the lighter elements and dry production seem to turn some off.
Released: September 25, 1972
Favorite track: Wheels of Confusion
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
After the wild recording of Vol. 4 and the tour that followed, Iommi got his first writer’s block. The writer’s block seemed to disappear when the band chose to rehearse their fifth album in the haunting dungeons of Clearwell Castle. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath saw the band go even further with their experimentation. They even invited keyboardist Rick Wakeman off Yes into the band to help them out on some tunes. “Who Are You” may be the doomiest electronic song ever! Composition wise the title track, A National Acrobat, Spiral Architect and Killing Yourself Live saw the band maturing. The light and heavy sounds seem to blend very well together here.
Released: December 1, 1973
Favorite track: A National Acrobat
My favorite Sabbath record and actually my favorite album of all time. Not that I think it can compete composition wise with Captain Beyond’s s/t, King Crimson’s “Red” or Lucifer’s Friend’s “Banquet”, but because of the intensity in Ozzy’s vocals (His best performance ever!) and Iommi’s dramatic experimentation with the light and ultra-heavy sounds. Symptom of the Universe and The Writ is a pretty good example of that! The band went through some rough times with lawsuits while recording the album. Black Sabbath were no longer young lads playing music, but adults who had to pay for their actions. Sabotage was also the last truly great record by the original lineup.
Released: July 28, 1975
Favorite track: Megalomania
What happened to Black Sabbath here? Did they just forget about all their problems, Satan and nuclear wars and just write songs about rock ‘n’ roll doctors and prostitutes. The band once mentioned this as their sexiest record. Technical Ecstasy saw the band dump from quality to average… But is it that bad an album, as most consider it to be? It’s definitely better than most of the material in Ozzy’s solo career IMO. She’s Gone may be the most annoying song Black Sabbath ever recorded (An embarrassing copy of Solitude and Changes), but tracks like the doomy You Won’t Change Me and especially the awesome and groovy Dirty Women show signs of quality. Also the funky All Moving Parts is a funny listen.
Released: October 1, 1976
Favorite track: Dirty Women
Never Say Die!
In 1978 the band was burned out. Ozzy had already left the band once and got kicked out in 1979 because of his uncontrollable behavior. The whole band was heavy into drugs and had been that since 1972, but now it had taken its tolls on them. Never Say Die is Black Sabbath’s most inconsistent record but also one of their more interesting ones post-Sabotage. Over to You, A Hard Road and the title track are mediocre, but songs like Johnny Blade, Junior’s Eyes and the weird Swinging the Chain (Sung by Bill Ward) are great. The jazzy ballad Air Dance is a little Sabbath masterpiece IMO. Ozzy’s performance is an improvement too after his very nasally vocals on TE. He sounds better here than on any of his solo records!
Released: October 1, 1978
Favorite track: Air Dance
Heaven and Hell
Black Sabbath needed a new singer and invited the talented singer Ronnie James Dio into the band. He had just leaved Rainbow due to an ego conflict with Ritchie Blackmore. Ronnie may be a better singer but he didn’t fit as well in the band as Ozzy. Black Sabbath began writing much tighter tracks that still contained Iommi’s heavy riffing, but sounded much cleaner with Martin Birch’s delicate production skills. Some classic tracks were born here such as the great opener “Neon Knights”, the catchy “Die Young” and the epic title track, that later became a part of Dio’s own live set. Iommi did one of his best guitar solos here as well on the underrated power ballad “Lonely is the Word”.
Released: April 25, 1980
Favorite track: Lonely is the Word
This was Sabbath’s heaviest affair since Master of Reality. The band became much more angry sounding and the tracks here is much more organic than on Heaven and Hell. Dio does some of his best vocal deliveries here as well. Just listen to the doomy Sign of Southern Cross and Falling Off the Edge of the World. Those songs can be considered the first epic doom songs ever. Candlemass must have listened to this album on repeat. In the booklet of Ancient Dreams by Candlemass Leif Edling is wearing a Mob Rules shirt, so that is saying something. Sadly Bill Ward left after Heaven and Hell so Dio’s future drummer Vinny Appice joined the band and actually did a great job behind the drums. Ronnie left after this album while working on the live album “Live Evil”… those damn ego conflicts!
Released: October 1, 1981
Favorite track: Falling off the Edge of the World
This record marked the quick return of Bill Ward on drums. Ian Gillan off Deep Purple joined the band as well. The Born Again project was never intended to be a Black Sabbath album, but record labels know how to milk money of band names. Born Again sold well but was never that well acclaimed. The production on it sucks kangaroo balls, the cover looks like a poster from a cheesy remake of Rosemary’s Baby, and Ian Gillan is maybe hard to take serious on a Sabbath album. He actually sang the Ozzy material better than Dio! Tracks such as Disturbing the Priest (The sickest screams he ever did!), the title track, Zero the Hero and Trashed kicks cheesy, sweaty, bloody annoying ass!
Released: August 7, 1983
Favorite track: Disturbing the Priest
It took me a long time to appreciate this album. Once I considered this the worst Sabbath album. Like Born Again, this was never intended to be a Sabbath record, and it’s more visible here than on any other albums in their discography. Seventh Star sounds like your typical cock rock album from the mid-80s, but with a charming, bluesy feel to it. No Stranger to Love, sucks! The rest has really grown more and more on me. I don’t listen to this as a Sabbath album like everything else in their catalog. This is a solo album. Even the delusional album cover screams “Solo”. This is Glenn and Tony. Both in big conflicts! Glenn was kicked out of the Gary Moore band, due to his coke addiction and therefore had a bad reputation in the music scene. Tony was constantly fucked in his brummie arse by the record labels. Together they were… “Angry Hearts”, HA!
Released: January 27, 1986
Favorite track: Heart Like a Wheel
The Eternal Idol
The incredible singer Ray Gillen sang for Black Sabbath after Glenn pissed off a roadie and therefore got beaten up by him. Glenn’s nose was totally fucked and he was incapable of singing on the Seventh Star tour. Ray Gillen was psyched to be Sabbath’s new singer, but fucked his career up in the band, because spent more time partying than writing songs. Tony Martin was soon after chosen as Sabbaths new singer, and a long partnership between him and Tony began. Eternal Idol is definitely the most Sabbath sounding record since Mob Rules, but the songwriting lacks a bit here. There’s nothing quite incredible here. The title track is actually darn good and could have been better with an added guitar solo.
Released: November 1, 1987
Favorite track: Eternal Idol
This is a step up from The Eternal Idol. The production is clean but sadly also very dry. Tony Martin really shows what he is capable of on this record. He does some incredible vocal performances on tracks such as Devil and Daughter, When Death Calls and Nightwing. Sadly, he could never hit those high notes live. The incredible drummer Cozy Powell who played on Rainbow’s classic “Rising” album was in the band too. Cozy was one of the driving forces here, and was fighting like hell to keep this band alive. The Eternal Idol wasn’t promoted at all, but Cozy used every opportunity to promote Headless Cross . It also turned out that the lineup of Headless Cross was the most stable since the original lineup, though they had a session bassist on the album.
Released: April 17, 1989
Favorite track: When Death Calls
Tony Iommi hated Tony Martin’s pseudo satanic lyrics on Headless Cross. Therefore Tony began writing lyrics about the Norse mythology. Tyr was the second album to feature the Headless Cross lineup with new bassist Neil Murray in the lineup, who had also played with Whitesnake and Colosseum II. Tyr sounds at times like a softer Dio era album, but never hits those albums incredible feeling. This album is very AOR sounding like Headless Cross, which is a kind of turn off for me.
Released: August 20, 1990
Favorite track: The Battle of Tyr/Odin’s Court/Valhalla
What the hell happened! Tony Iommi reunited with the Mob Rules lineup and together they recorded the last truly great Sabbath album. Dehumanizer is heavy as fuck… and fuck grunge! Computer God, After All (The Dead) and TV Crimes just rips the Tony Martin years apart with pure heaviness. Dio left the band once again on tour when he found out that Black Sabbath was going to open for Ozzy on his farewell gig at Ozzfest. The metal god Rob Halford stepped in and sang for Black Sabbath on those gigs. Iommi gave the Tony Martin lineup one more shot after this incident.
Released: June 30, 1992
Favorite track: After All (The Dead)
Cross Purposes took some of the heavier tones from Dehumanizer and became the heaviest Tony Martin era album to date. This could have been a very good record, but there is just something in the songwriting that doesn’t appeal to me. It seems a little uninspired here and there, but it’s consistent and the best sounding Tony Martin album since The Eternal Idol. It went totally downhill for the band after this record.
Released: January 31, 1994
Favorite track: I Witness
Tony Iommi had a record deal with I.R.S. Records and needed to do a third album with the Tony Martin lineup, before he could move on and do a reunion with the original lineup. This is a rushed job. Iommi really didn’t care for this record at all. The songs are forgettable and the production is boring and sounds too flat. I think that Body Count is good at what they are doing, but seriously! What the hell is Ice-T doing on a Sabbath album?
Released: June 20, 1995
Favorite track: The one with Bill Ward on drums
18 years after the pile of shit called Forbidden, Black Sabbath released their nineteenth album called 13. I was pretty psyched when this album was released. It contained almost the original lineup and it sounded heavy… but also very uninspired. Sadly, Black Sabbath seems to copy its former glories. Especially Zeitgeist sounds too much like Planet Caravan. It’s like the band are paying tribute to themselves. Bill should have been on this album too. This could have saved the drums, which are sounding too safe on here. There’s still some appreciated moments on here that saves it from being a new forbidden. The epic opening track and God is Dead are both enjoyable.
Released: June 10, 2013
Favorite track: End of the Beginning