StrikeOfTheBeast
The way of the riff
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Black Sabbath Openers Ranked

LP's
19Black Sabbath
Forbidden


"Illusion of Power." Choppy, underproduced, and lazily performed, "Illusion of Power" is undoubtedly their worst opener and was a bad album to end their career prior to 13.
18Black Sabbath
Born Again


"Trashed." Sloppy production, bland song structure, and unfitting vocals make for a poor opener in their catalog.
17Black Sabbath
Technical Ecstasy


"Back Street Kids." Least favorite Osbourne-fronted album and probably least favorite Ozzy opener with its uninspired songwriting.
16Black Sabbath
Never Say Die!


The title track. A slight step up from Technical Ecstasy but still poor by early Sabbath standards.
15Black Sabbath
Seventh Star


"In For The Kill." It's actually a pretty decent tune with better riffs than most of Born Again and improved vocals, but the glammy sound didn't work for Sabbath imo. Still a solid opener and decent album.
14Black Sabbath
Tyr


"Anno Mundi (The Vision)." A vocally driven track that is most impressive with that part, and the song has reasonable buildup and solid drumming, but it's a tad repetitive.
13Black Sabbath
Headless Cross


The title track. It feels like a clone to "Heaven And Hell," but Martin gives a powerful vocal performance complimented by impressive drumming.
12Black Sabbath
The Eternal Idol


"The Shining." Tony Martin was a competent vocalist for the group, and he made a good first impression on his first album with the band that he WASN'T the original vocalist for; yes, the Ray Gillen version of the album is even better than this solid output by the group. Check it out now on YouTube. Anyhow, "The Shining" makes a good impression for the best Martin-era album, sounding like they would do with Dio but with a glossier finish.
11Black Sabbath
Cross Purposes


"I Witness." Taking no time to open up with catchy riffing, "I Witness" has all the ingredients to make for a nifty tune in their catalog. Martin's potent vocals, Geezer's basslines, Iommi's signature guitarwork, and solid drumming. It works for one of the best songs from the underrated Martin era.
10Black Sabbath
13


"The End of The Beginning." It's mostly a copy-and-paste of their older works, but it sounds exceptionally lively for the 21st century and is the return to the first-tier guitar wizardry of Tony Iommi who is the band's beating heart.
9Black Sabbath
Mob Rules


"Turn up The Night." Despite being overly similar to "Neon Knights," it's a great introduction to one of the band's more underrated albums and features fantastic vocals and impressive production.
8Black Sabbath
Dehumanizer


"Computer God." A dark foreshadow of what would come to our society, this song shows the angrier side of Dio-era Sabbath with a powerful vocal performance and their signature slam down behind the drum kit, basswork, and guitarwork.
7Black Sabbath
Sabotage


"Hole in The Sky." This tune shows the more hard-rock side of the band that would follow after this album (for better or worse), but it's a fun tune nevertheless with a great vocal performance and catchy guitarwork.
6Black Sabbath
Vol. 4


"Wheels of Confusion-The Straightener." Paving the way for the more progressive side of the band, this tune is an interesting opener that pushes the band forward even if it lacks the bite of some of their best openers.
5Black Sabbath
Heaven and Hell


"Neon Knights." This opener is the sound of a re-energized band. Despite having lost their definitive frontman, Dio really roks the mic with his powerful, operatic vocal delivery with passionate instrumentation below him and an outstanding guitar solo. The album also gets even better from here.
4Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath


The title track. To this day, this is one of the band's creepiest tunes with its sinister, apocalyptic buildup. This was a significant milestone that paved the way for heavy metal as a genre, and while they've changed their formula with the times, they've never perfected atmosphere quite the way they did here again.
3Black Sabbath
Master of Reality


"Sweet Leaf." That downtuned riff and grinding bassline from the early 70's was very influential in defining the riff-driven side of heavy metal for decades to come. One of the band's best and most well-known tunes for a reason.
2Black Sabbath
Paranoid


"War Pigs." No song defines them better than this one. Often cited as their best song, "War Pigs" is epic in scope with a dark, political underbelly complimented by stellar musicianship. They've made one song that's better as an opening track than this one, but this song set the standard for countless musicians after them and truly consolidated them as the quintessential metal godfathers.
1Black Sabbath
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath


The title track. "War Pigs" may be their definitive song, but as far as a bloodthirsty, riff-heavy opener is concerned, Bloody Sabbath's t/t is a triumph. It sounds fresh, invigorating, and it sounds like Sabbath moving forward. Ozzy's vocals are fantastic, the riffs are catchy and malefic in tone, the bass grinds, and everything needed to make a fantastic tune is there. Sabbath's best opener and one of their most defining tracks to date.
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