Black Sabbath
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath


4.5
superb

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
February 17th, 2010 | 598 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: WHEEEEEREEE CAN YOU RUN TO?

By Volume 4, it was clear that Black Sabbath, although having created another excellent album, were getting slowly stuck in a creative rut. By the recording of their fifth album, they were ready to admit it. They had no idea where to go.

"Ideas weren't coming out the way they were on Volume 4 and we really got discontent. Everybody was sitting there waiting for me to come up with something. I just couldn't think of anything. And if I didn't come up with anything, nobody would do anything."
~ Tony Iommi

So, what do you do as an occult-inspired band to revive your creative drive? That’s right, one taketh one 18th century Gloucester castle, one moveth into the creepy dungeons of said castle, and one starteth rehearsing in said dungeons. Such is the interesting story that caused Sabbath Bloody Sabbath to happen. Iommi got his inspiration back in those dungeons, and thus conjured up the main riff for the title track, swiftly followed by another album’s worth of material. Sabbath was back yet again.

Their fifth album had the band further exploring new possibilities to expand their classic sludgy sound, a move they had pioneered, be it in a crude form, on their previous record. For Bloody Sabbath, they got out synthesizers, strings, keyboards, you name it, to create an approach leaning slightly towards the also popular progressive rock movement, headlined by the likes of Yes and Genesis (in fact, ex-Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman guest performs on Sabbra Cadabra).

This doesn’t mean Sabbath was turning into something else than it always had been. The typical heaviness is still dominant, and although again not quite matching their second and third album again, the instrumentation is still vintage Iommi, Butler & Ward. The only real exception is Who Are You, which is especially heavy on the synths, and while definitely not among the best songs on the album, the spacey effects combined with Osbourne’s wailing voice is a perfect match. Speaking about the vocalist, he is at his best on this record. His voice is and will always be an acquired taste, but the magic it did for Sabbath in the earlier years is undeniable. On this particular work, Ozzy manages some very decent higher (only higher, not high) notes and semi-screams, especially notable on the later part of the title track.

Three other prime moments for the newly introduced instruments are Sabbra Cadabra, Looking for Today and Spiral Architect. The first starts off as a frenzied performance, both vocally and instrumentally, but eventually leads into Wakeman’s virtuosic performance, which perfectly accompanies the track, rather than dominating it. The second, filled with some traditional bluesy riffs, contains some fitting flute in the background, but the third encompasses the new elements in the best way; highlights are the piano intro and the string section towards the end. All were rewarding new moments for Sabbath, but as shown in the album’s other half, the boys did indeed not forget their past.

The again very tasteful Fluff, revisiting the acoustic breaks of Orchid, Embryo and Laguna Sunrise, maybe doesn’t count, but the title track, despite having a brief softened-up moment shortly after the beginning, is essentially classic Sabbath; drowning, sludgy riffs and Butler’s dominant bass playing creating the backbone. It’s the kind of monstrous song that reminds you how good Hand of Doom and Children of the Grave, just to name a few, were again. A National Acrobat and Killing Yourself to Live follow in the same vain, but thanks to Osbourne’s scream-ish performances, the tracks were different enough from the band’s earlier work to have become brand new standouts.

After the great but still disappointing Volume 4, few will have thought Sabbath had it in them to create a superb album. With their fifth record, the band showed that they, although moving away slightly from their roots, were still essential in shaping the world of heavy metal. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath takes on quite a new form, but succeeds on all fronts nonetheless. Not afraid of experimentation, Black Sabbath’s fifth is another addition the group’s legacy, a legacy that in the years to come, they would almost lose…

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’s Black Sabbath was:

- Frank Anthony ‘Tony’ Iommi ~ Lead Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer, Organ, Flute
- John Michael ‘Ozzy’ Osbourne ~ Vocals, Synthesizer
- Terrence Michael Joseph ‘Geezer’ Butler ~ Bass Guitar, Synthesizer, Mellotron
- William Thomas ‘Bill’ Ward ~ Drums, Percussion


Also performing:

- Rick Wakeman ~ Keyboards, Synthesizer, Piano
- Will Malone ~ Orchestral Arrangements

Sabbath classics:

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Sabbra Cadabra
Killing Yourself to Live
Spiral Architect


TO BE CONTINUED…



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user ratings (1433)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
February 17th 2010


8256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The last really great album to come out of the Ozzy-era.

FadeToBlack
February 17th 2010


10930 Comments


strangely I've never really listened to Black Sabbath at all apart from the obvious songs like War Pigs, Iron Man and Electric Funeral. That shall change tomorrow.

oh and good review as per usual

BigHans
February 17th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The riff of the title track is like a nuclear bomb.

Meatplow
February 17th 2010


5524 Comments


Great review, have a pos.

I never understood the appeal of this album at first, but after many years it's become one of my favourite albums occupying a unique position in the Sabbath discography for me. I just love it.

The last really great album to come out of the Ozzy-era.


I disagree, it's an unpopular opinion but I feel Sabotage is certainly on par with any of their earlier works. As for Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die, they initially turned me off Sabbath but have grown on me a lot ;)

Nagrarok
February 17th 2010


8256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Sabotage will receive a 3.5 from me tomorrow, but I feel it's too inconsistent, both in terms of quality and style. Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die are really the point they started to desintegrate for me.

Agree about that riff Hans. One of Iommi's finest.

Lakes.
February 17th 2010


27978 Comments


Ace review man.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

kygermo
February 17th 2010


996 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review as usual. This album is unstoppable.

LepreCon
February 17th 2010


4110 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Album and review are great, have a pos

bungy
February 17th 2010


8843 Comments


Sabbra Cadabra is awesome.

Ponton
Emeritus
February 17th 2010


5793 Comments


Nice work again, Nag, though that goes without saying.

Gyromania
February 17th 2010


15791 Comments


zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

EVedder27
February 17th 2010


6088 Comments


Getting another pos from me.

qwe3
February 17th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

such a good album. prob my second fav sabbath album

jk2two
February 17th 2010


105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Awesome review - gave it a vote... but I have to defend Vol. 4, I love that album: "Wheels of Confusion," "Supernaut," "Snowblind," "Conucopia," "Under the Sun," all amazing songs and I think that one gets a bad rap sometimes.

Love SBS as well though and your review certainly does it justice, a pleasure to read... Love "Killing Yourself to Live," I think that's one of the strongest tracks on here.

Jethro42
February 17th 2010


12456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow!! I didn't know about Wakeman's contribution. However I know that Iommi have played a short time for Jethro Tull in late 60's before guitarist Martin Barre was hired permanently.
Superb review Nag. Pos'd

Ire
February 17th 2010


41790 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The last really great album to come out of the Ozzy-era.

I hope you mean that Sabotage is classic right?

Crimson Death
February 17th 2010


533 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath is such a good song!

Countess
February 18th 2010


818 Comments


great review
Sabbra Cadabra might be my fav Sabbath song

Jim
February 18th 2010


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

haven't heard this in yonks. it never blew me away, although i found it occasionally brilliant and overall good.

good review baaaarrrr

Nagrarok
February 18th 2010


8256 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks for the positive feedback guys.

I hope you mean that Sabotage is classic right?


No, I mean Sabotage is the worst of the first six albums, although still pretty good.




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