Black Sabbath
BLACK SABBATH

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BLACK SABBATH - Black Sabbath cover
4.16 | 124 ratings | 17 reviews
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Album · 1970

Tracklist

1. Black Sabbath (6:20)
2. The Wizard (4:24)
3. Behind The Wall Of Sleep (3:37)
4. N.I.B. (6:08)
5. Evil Woman (3:25)
6. Sleeping Village (3:46)
7. Warning (10:28)

Total Time 38:08

Line-up/Musicians

- Ozzy Osbourne / vocals, harmonica
- Tony Iommi / guitars, keyboards
- Geezer Butler / bass
- Bill Ward / drums

About this release

Released by Vertigo, Warner Bros.

North American Edition has the following tracklist:

1. Black Sabbath (6:20)
2. The Wizard (4:22)
3. Wasp / Behind The Wall Of Sleep / Bassically / N.I.B. (9:44)
4. Wicked World (4:47)
5. A Bit Of Finger / Sleeping Village / Warning (14:15)

Total Time 39:28

Reissued in 1996 with the following tracklist:

1. Black Sabbath (6:20)
2. The Wizard (4:24)
3. Behind The Wall Of Sleep (3:37)
4. N.I.B. (6:08)
5. Evil Woman (3:25)
6. Sleeping Village (3:46)
7. Warning (10:28)
8. Wicked World (4:47)

Total Time 42:55

Reissued as Deluxe Edition in 2009 with a bonus disc with the following tracklist:

1. Wicked World (single b-side) (4:44)
2. Black Sabbath (studio out-take) (6:22)
3. Black Sabbath (instrumental) (6:13)
4. The Wizard (studio out-take) (4:46)
5. Behind the Wall of Sleep (studio out-take) (3:41)
6. N.I.B. (instrumental) (6:08)
7. Evil Woman (alternative version) (3:47)
8. Sleeping Village (intro) (3:45)
9. The Warning (part 1) (6:58)

Total Time 46:24

Thanks to Pekka, Time Signature, Stooge, progshine, cannon, Lynx33 for the updates

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Black SabbathBlack Sabbath
Rhino Warner Bros. 498 1990
Audio CD$1.74
$1.12 (used)
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Multiple Formats
Universal Republic 2013
DVD$8.41
$6.13 (used)
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Rhino Warner Bros. 498 1990
Audio CD$1.33
$1.00 (used)
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DVD$1.60
$3.48 (used)
The Best of Black Sabbath ( 32 Tracks)The Best of Black Sabbath ( 32 Tracks)
Import · Limited Edition · Remastered
Sanctuary UK 2000
Audio CD$10.19
$5.91 (used)
Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath Live Gathered In Their Masses (CD+DVD)Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath Live Gathered In Their Masses (CD+DVD)
Box set · Import
POL
Audio CD$11.03
Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978
Remastered
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Audio CD$24.98
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Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978)Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978)
Box set · Remastered
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Audio CD$125.00
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Black SabbathBlack Sabbath
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Universal Japan 2007
Audio CD$39.00
$18.77 (used)
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Sinkadotentree
Without question BLACK SABBATH have been the most influencial band when we're talking about the style of music that this site celebrates. It's a huge accomplishment to create a style music that didn't really exist before. The taboo lyrics about hell, Satan, Wizards, the occult and the like made the music on this debut sound like a soundtrack for a horror movie. These guys were trailblazers and while i feel the two albums that follow are much better than this one, i also could never go below 4 stars for such a defining moment in Metal history. The cover art is creepy just like the music. I remember as a teenager seeing this album cover in the record stores many times but never having the nerve to buy it until many years later. Of course the opening title track sets the tone for the record in such a dramatic way that i'm sure it's given many a listener goose bumps.That dark figure pointing at him as he turns away to run scared out of his mind. My favourite is "The Wizard". The harmonica works so well in this song. I don't think the rest of the album is on par with the first two tracks but it's all very solid.
Conor Fynes
'Black Sabbath' - Black Sabbath (7/10)

Although I would likely point the finger at King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" as the harbinger of 'heavy' in heavy metal, there's absolutely no denying what a massive impact Black Sabbath's self-titled debut had on the formation of the genre. With that context in mind, there's no wonder why it's still considered a classic by many, forty-odd years after its release. It is a lumbering, ugly hard rock record with strong ties to the blues and the occult, and though Black Sabbath do not impress near as much here as they would with the essential "Paranoid", its historical significance alone warrants a listen.

"Paranoid" would solidify the band's take on heavy metal, but the rich distortion and 'evil' tone have been nailed from square one. At this point, I might liken Black Sabbath to Led Zeppelin's first two albums. Though rooted in the American blues style that swept through the British hard rock scene at this time, the aggression has toned up several notches. In the case of Sabbath- and arguably what most sets them apart- is their devotion to a dark atmosphere. The infamous 'tritone' is upheld from the very start; the title track "Black Sabbath" opens with an unforgettably doomy riff, and vocals to foreshadow impending damnation. The title track sets a standard for doom metal that many bands still compete with.

The distorted riffs are a constant throughout "Black Sabbath", but the songwriting feels more at home with its time period after the title track. "The Wizard" through "Sleeping Village" are all rocking tracks that make no effort to hide the heavy blues influence. Of these, "The Wizard" and "N.I.B" stand out, the former for its deep harmonica work and fantastic riffs, and the latter for its superb bass work, courtesy of Geezer Butler. "The Warning" brings Sabbath back to a more epic format, relying heavily still on bluesy riffs, but taking the structure a step further, and giving Iommi plenty of time for fiery solos that draw a parallel to Jimmy Page's lead style.

Although I loved his vocals on "Paranoid" and have been impressed by some of his performances thereafter, Ozzy Osbourne feels like the weak link on the debut. His nasal vocal tone fits the eerie atmosphere, but his voice feels unrefined and unkempt. Of course, this fits the description of the rest of Black Sabbath, but in the case of Ozzy's voice, it doesn't bode well. With the exception of the first two tracks and the catchy "Evil Woman", the vocal melodies feel tacked on without too much thought.

It's not the masterpiece that Black Sabbath would craft later the same year, but for the fact alone that they were able to revolutionize hard rock music within a single album, the debut deserves to be heard. Tony Iommi takes centerstage in everything the band does here, and though the songwriting does not feel as consistent or focused as they would for the two following records, the band's gritty sound and influence cannot be underestimated.
dtguitarfan
As I contemplated how to review this album, I began listening to it to refresh the songs in my mind. I had to do this one justice as it is very probably the most historically significant album of all times for the history of Metal. So I'm listening to the opening track, and my wife says, from the kitchen "what's that wailing...noise?!" I laughed, and said "it's Ozzy! *pause* You know, Ozzy Osbourne?" I told her this was the debut album from Black Sabbath, and began telling her how it was legendary as the first Metal album ever. I told her the story of Tony Iommi, how he had suffered a machinist accident while working in a sheet metal factory, losing the tips of two fingers on his right hand. Being a left-handed guitarist, this was a crippling injury for him. But the story doesn't end there - inspired by the story of Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, who also lost the use of two fingers, Tony came up with two very innovative ideas. First, he crafted custom thimble like devices out of metal with leather coverings - fake fingers. He also down-tuned his guitar to ease the tension on his fingers. The down-tuning gave his playing a very distinct, dark tone, and the "thimble" finger tips gave his playing a sharper, heavier feel, and metal was born. I told my wife, in conclusion, that Tony Iommi was often credited as the father of all Metal music! My wife said, in a subtly sarcastic way, "oh, lucky for us!" And I laughed to myself quietly, reveling in this wonderful piece of history.
Sheavy
This album is downright evil, in all the best ways possible. This little group from Birmingham, England are the undisputed Gods of the 70's metal bands, and this record and the following are prof of this. When one thinks of the word "metal" gritty and raw and dirty come to mind, not highly polished glossy or "glam". Blues is a very raw sounding type of music generally, and Black Sabbath took the that sound and absolutely dropped it into hell.

All the members play with a passion that is hard to get across in studio recordings. Tony's guitar playing is stellar, with A Bit of Finger / Sleeping Village / Warning featuring ome outstanding guitar soloing. Geezer Butler is also playing top notch, with even a little bass solo wedged in between The Wall Of Sleep and N.I.B..

This album is bassically a masterpiece of music, let alone metal. There was really only a little hint of what kind of sound was possible, Edgar Broughton Band' debut is a masterpiece with moments to rival this, and Led Zeppelin's Dazed And Confused being really the only two doom metal sounding songs before this was unleashed upon the world.
Warthur
Previously a blues-rock band by the name of Earth chugging away in an era where blues-rock bands were hardly thin on the ground, and not really distinguishing themselves from their sound (heck, Iommi jumped ship briefly to play in Jethro Tull before departing to make way for Martin Barre to take that post), Black Sabbath took on a new musical direction inspired by horror fiction, tapped into the spirit of the end of the hippy era, and within a few months let loose this monster of an album, inspiring both traditional heavy metal and several other subgenres with it - doom metal and stoner metal in particular. Led Zeppelin had been active before them, and the Stooges had a raw and nasty guitar sound, but it took Iommi to teach the world what metal truly meant from the very first devastating, Earth-shattering, portentious riff on the title track. Coupled with a competent rhythm section and Osbourne's soul-in-torment wails and a new genre was born.

The Black Sabbath debut is a territory often revisited, and very occasionally equalled, but surely never beaten in terms of sheer inspirational glory. The pace might be a bit slow for fans of speed metal and styles influenced by it, but if you can take a slow riff or two, then you need to hear this album. If you don't like this one, then you're probably not going to enjoy half the metal out there either.
poslednijat_colobar
It is 1970 and Black Sabbath have released their debut album. One big trip in the world of heavy metal music is about to begin. I don't know whether heavy metal starts here, but if it's so, obviously this genre doesn't start very properly. An album extremely influenced by blues, it is important album for the development of heavy metal. All I can say is that I'm not big fan of blues and all blues songs sound me like one exactly the same. There are some really good ideas here, but they are developed in amateur way. The sound is deadfully slow and all the songs are very boring. The vocals by Ozzy Osbourne are almost awful. If I have to listen to one or two songs it's OK, but when I have to listen to the whole album it become more and more harder for me. The production of the sound is weak, too. The musicianship is ok. There is one really good song and this is N.I.B.! The thing I dislike very much in music is the static feeling - without harmony and moving forward and I can find all of these elements here on this album. The beginning is hard for very much bands, including Black Sabbath!!! 2 stars
The Angry Scotsman
Where to begin? Well, this is one of the most influential albums. Ever. This album is the birth of metal. Sure, its roots lay in the late 60's hard rock and psychedelic bands of England, but this album is what cemented it, and was the first true metal album. Given the numerous sub-genres it has spawned and the thousands upon thousands of metal bands there have been from all across the spectrum, the impact can not be under estimated.

As mentioned above this genre grew out of psychedelic and hard rock, but drew heavily from blues. This would make sense, being that rock also grew from the blues. This album, is HEAVILY blues influenced. It can be heard the in the groovy bass, as well as the riffs and solos. You can also hear the hard rock, in the heaviness and loudness of the guitars and the psychedelic rock in the overall feel, and the solos.

So given all that, what makes this the first metal album?

The heaviness. At the time it was unparalleled. Not to mention the slow, grim feeling. The darkness of it. Believe me it is...listen to the song Black Sabbath as Ozzy moans "OH NO NO PLEASE GOD HELP ME" over that slow, ominous riff, and his singing about Satan and watching the flames grow higher.

Black Sabbath features some great musicians. There is of course Ozzy, who belts out some great vocals, and really contributes to the dark, bleak feeling. Tony's guitar playing is great and for the time truly heavy. Geezer lays down some of the best bass you will hear, not to mention one of the first uses of the wah pedal on bass. Also, he wrote most of the lyrics. Then of course there is Bill Ward. He just throws down some great sounding beats and is powerful, and lays down perfect fills. Just has a real knack for "feeling" the groove.

Black Sabbath. Perfect intro for the album. It sets up wonderfully for the riff, which is slow, heavy, and gloomy. The bass is funky, the drums complement perfectly and Ozzy's voice is the right fit. It picks up after a few minutes and then throws us into some pretty trippy soloing.

The Wizard. Starts out with some harmonica. (How's that's for some blues?) Well it continues. The whole song has a very bluesy feel. A great song and one of the best showcases of Ward's drumming.

Behind the Wall of Sleep. Another bluesy song, this is more of the same, which is a good thing! Another superb song with some of the best bass on the album, and great drumming. The riffs are just so cool sounding and the lyrics are dark and inspired by Lovecraft.

N.I.B. A song told from the point of view of Lucifer, (though it may not be quite what one might expect!) Begins with a wah-wah bass solo. I fell in love instantly. Another amazing song with some good solos. My personal favorite from the album.

Evil Woman. This may be the most blues inspired song on the album. You can hear it in the riffs, the solos, the bass, and the overall song structure and feel of it. Not to mention the lyrics about the "evil woman" and Ozzy asking her to "don't you play your games with me".

Sleeping Village. A slow song, actually quite progressive this one has it all. Slow and bleak. Heavyness. Blues inspiration. Wild, dual solos, amazing bass playing, and perhaps the best drumming on the whole album.

Warning. A ten and a half minute song, this one is also very progressive, (the most on the album). This song spans all the genres I have mentioned above. Some of the solos just blow my mind.

One of the most important albums of all time, you must hear this one. Heavy, dark, bleak and raw, yet still tinged with blues and psychedelic rock. Awesome album, there is no bad song and no slow points. Brilliantly composed songs. A true masterpiece

Five Stars

(And 666 words) \m/ \m/
AtomicCrimsonRush
Recorded in 3 days and sounding like it, Black sabbath's debut is a raw brutal assault on all thing's wholesome and pure. As soon as the three note guitar riff booms out on the title track, the doom and gloom of metal is felt in it's sheer ominous presence. "What is this thing..." Ozzy wants to know, and his occult imagery abounds, with witches, wizards and sorcery; a full barrelled onslaught where music would never be the same again. There were occult bands out there in the 70s but Sabbath were in a league of their own. The crawling pace of the track is startling and effective, perap the beginning of death metal is right here. Certainly the themes are typical of the rising metal wave of the 80s; The 3 D's - death, damnation and devil worship would become the standard for metal songwriters for years to come but Sabbath were pioneers.

The real showstoppers are 'The Wizard' and 'N.I.B.' whichare quintessential sabbath tracks, along with 'Evil Woman'. The harmonica compliments the killer guitar riff in 'The Wizard', which ranks as one of my favourite tracks. Once it gets in your head you won't get it out.

Iommi's powerful guitar riffs are dynamic, pristine and sharp; simple but memorable and the enigmatic Ozzy Osbourne permeates each track with his pulsating shrilly delivery. This was the beginning of Sabbath's rise to infamy, and while not as polished as brilliant as subsequent albums, it is still a great debut from one of the most influential metal giants.
Stephen
The saga of Black Sabbath started after the band watched a long queue line of people wanting to see horror movie, and by that time they decided they want to recreate an equivalent to what they called horror music. Released right on Friday, 13th, 1970, this eponymous debut is often cited as a landmark release of heavy metal and Black Sabbath is one of the founding fathers. The musical style is mainly blues rock with a lot of heavy riffs, considering the time of the year. The atmosphere is dark, gloomy, and depressive, and this style is later responsible for the creation of doom and gothic metal.

The title track started with the rains and thunder followed by tolling bells. After 4-minutes of slowtempo moan and frightening nuance, the swelling rhythm starts pouring in before fading out nicely. "The Wizard" is another strong track featuring Ozzy with his harmonica bound with a perfect combination of Iommi's conquering riffs and Ward's infectious drumming. "Behind The Wall of Sleep" is another great slowtempo track with mesmerizing riffs. "N.I.B" cracked out with a memorable riffs and a genius grinned lyric from Lucifer's point of view. This is my other fave track and I also love how Ugly Kid Joe covered this classic later. The bluesy and Crow's cover of "Evil Woman" sounded a bit monotonous but Butler displayed a nice bass slap here, worth checking out. "Sleeping Village” showed a remarkable Iommi/Butler duel. "Warning" is the longest track of the album and not an original piece of the band, somehow a bit flat and boring to my ear, but I love the wonderful jam in the middle of the song and emerged as one of Iommi's finest moment.

Black Sabbath's debut is amazingly important, interesting, and intuitive. My most fave tracks here are the title track, "The Wizard", and "N.I.B", probably not a surprise since those three are among their regular concert songs. This is an exciting album and will appeal to fans of classic rock, traditional heavy metal, and also modern day doom and gothic metal.
Time Signature
The wizards...

Genre: heavy rock / original metal!

There's no doubt about it. This album is the most important metal album of all time. It is often described as the birth of metal. It is a milestone and a seminal work in the history of metal, but the metal was already there in the heavy rock genre. Still, this is probably where everything came together.

Musically, "Black Sabbath" is somewhat of a journey through different hard rocking genres and other styles, including especially the blues and jazz.

The opening track, which is also the title track is one of the heaviest and eeriest rock songs ever made - still to this day! It evolves around a simple, but heavy riff based on the diabolus in musica tritone which creates an almost scary tension before the song changes into a faster part towards the end with a very bluesy guitar solo. This song is basically the birth of doom metal. The following track, "The Wizard" is an uptempo, yet heavy song with a catchy dark main riff accompanied by funky drums and a simple harmonica figure. The following track "Wasp/Behind the Wall of Sleep/Basically/N.I.B" is a longer, basically procressive, piece consisting of several distinct parts, which are mainly based on the blues and could be described as (even) heavier versions of Led Zeppelin type riffs. "Wicked World" is a more uptempo song, based on catchy bluesy main riffs but with a jazzy feel, and a haunting clean melodic bridge. "A Bit of Finger / Sleeping Village / Warning" is a 14-minute mammoth containing several turns tempo changes and movements, most of which have a bluesy and jazzy feel to them.

Musically, the "Black Sabbath" album is probably best described as jazzy and bluesy heavy rock with an overall progressive feel. And then it contains the creepiest, heaviest and strangest rock song ever made.

This album really belongs in any metal collection.

Members reviews

ProgMetaller2112
What to say about Sabbath's debut?There is not much to say about it except that it is probably the most influential record in Metal history.Before this album happened and before Sabbath changed their name, they were a little known hard rock blues band that had gone under a few different names for a few years.Then out of nowhere, Geezer had an encounter with an unknown figure and saw a horror movie by the name of Black Sabbath as they would soon change their name to that which they would soon name a song by that as well. The rest as they say is history. Black Sabbath's first album started a revolution in music in particular Heavy Metal music and you can feel that it did. Let's get to the music on the album

1. Black Sabbath: What else can be said about this classic of a song.Try to listen to it in the dark I guarantee that it will creep you out.This song has all you want in a metal song as it is brooding, creepy and very, very heavy. The way Ozzy screams out "Oh No!!" just sends shivers down my spine. A classic Sabbath tune. 10/10

2. The Wizard:This song is yet another moody piece of music. I especially love how Ozzy works in that evil sounding harmonica.The lyrics paint a picture of a Wizard with magic powers and he is able to put people in a trance.Another classic off this debut. 10/10

3. Behind The Wall Of Sleep:This one is very blues based but also very,very heavy for its time.The lyrics again are very dark. Short tune but a brutal one. 10/10

4. N.I.B.: This one will always be one of my favorites from Sabbath as it immediately has that Classic Sabbath sound.It is yet another wicked piece of music.A highly recommended Sabbath tune to listen to. 10/10

5. Evil Woman:A good old fashioned blues song turned into some heavy sh## about a woman who does harm to others and their emotions."Evil woman, don't you play your games with me" is such a catchy phrase and chorus that you can't help but sing along to it. It is not as good as the first few songs but still an enjoyable song. 8/10

6. Sleeping Village:A good piece of music but nothing too special in my honest opinion. 7/10

7. Warning:This song even though it is a cover, it has power that you can't help but feel what Ozzy is singing and feeling.In the middle section of the song Tony Iommi plays and shreds for a few minutes as it is a pleasure to my ears hearing what he is playing. 8/10

8. Wicked World:This song is yet another very good piece of music as again it hits you like the first 5 tracks.The riffs and lyrics just fit the dark and moody feel of the album.In the middle Tony shreds yet again. Great stuff. 9/10

If you have not gotten into Heavy Metal in the past and would like to I suggest this album to be your starter as there is no better place to start than where it all began with Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath

4.5 stars!! Highly recommended
Hagbard Celine
Sometimes I wonder what it must have been like to have been a British hippie in the waning months of 1969 or the dawn of 1970, perhaps already fond of the heavy distorted psychedelic blues rock of the last couple of years, wandering into some dingy British club tripping my balls off and hearing the first chords of "Black Sabbath" crash into my ears. Follow them with Tony Iommi's quiet, ominous single notes based on those chords, and the dark rumble of Geezer Butler's bass and Bill Ward's drums beneath the melody, and my fear might start to rise. Hear Ozzy Osbourne sneer "what is this that stands before me?" and the bad trip would be in full swing.

While the band's vision would be more fully realized on that fall's "Paranoid" album, Black Sabbath's debut was a key part of the creation of metal in 1970. Songs like "Black Sabbath," "The Wizard," and "NIB" became cornerstones of what would soon be recognized as a new style of music, albeit one loathed by the mainstream rock press. Elsewhere, "Behind the Wall of Sleep" and "Wicked World" rock in the loose, jammy way prevalent at the time. "Warning," however, drags out a little too long, clocking in at over 10 minutes and meandering through various aimless blues jams that cause me to usually skip it when I listen to this album.

Due in part to a freak accident that cost Iommi the tips of a couple of fingers, leading him to downtune a half step, right from the beginning Sabbath's sound was darker than their peers. Heavy, blues-based psychedelic rock was all the rage in the late '60s and the Stones had brought the devil into the devil's music with "Sympathy for the Devil," but Black Sabbath took things to a new level that unwittingly became a new kind of music. A strange, unintentionally brilliant album, especially in the context of its time.
SouthSideoftheSky
The first Heavy Metal album of all time

This self-titled debut album by Black Sabbath is a truly groundbreaking and absolutely essential album not just for Metal fans but for any fan of Rock music. Mixing electric Blues, Jazz and Rock, creating a totally unique sound. In addition, the lyrical themes are also quite groundbreaking with references to Satan, wizards, evil women and black sabbath's. This is possibly the heaviest and scariest album ever created, at least from the perspective of its time. Even the cover art is groundbreaking and full of dark mystique. There is a perfect fit between the music and the picture.

The title track and N.I.B have become two of the most well known songs by the band and especially the first must be heard by anyone interested in the history of Rock music. Another track that deserves special mention is Sleeping Village which starts with a short acoustic part featuring a traditional Scandinavian instrument that I don't know the name of in English. Ozzy's vocal performance is surprisingly impressive. His voice perfectly fits the music.

This album was the start of an amazing career by an amazing band and is one of the most impressive debut albums I have ever heard! Black Sabbath is an absolutely essential album, but it is not quite a masterpiece like some later Black Sabbath albums. Some parts have a slight improvisational character fitting better in a live setting than on a studio album.

Despite its minor flaws, this is an extremely important record!
Valarius
To be honest I'm not really all that into Black Sabbath, and only make the effort to buy their albums if I can get them cheap, like on Ebay, charity shops or car-boot sales.

Going into this album I wasn't expecting a great deal. I've given it plenty of plays to allow myself to become familiar with the songs and let them grow on me, but unfortunately I've only come to like four of the eight songs. And even then I feel that two of them go on a bit too long.

Considering that this is practically the album that started Heavy Metal, it's understandable why so many people would rate this album so highly, but I've honestly never been too keen on Black Sabbaths sound or style. To be as blunt as I can, I find their music to be pretty boring.

There are some pretty decent songs on here, but for me they're nothing to shout about. 'Black Sabbath' and 'N.I.B' are two obvious crowd pleasers, but I could think of a million different songs I would rather listen to before even thinking about putting these on.

Judging by the amount of positive reviews this album seems to have received over the years, I think it's fair to say that this isn't actually that bad an album, and that this review reflects my own personal opinion. If you want to listen to some early heavy metal then by all means check this out, but in my opinion (since this is my review) this album is just plain boring and dull.
Sean Trane
Difficult to find a more influential album in the heavy metal genre than Black Sabbath's debut album. Graced with a gloomy old mill filtered photo with a so-called witch, the Brummie quartet went straight for the dark side of rock and their sinister looks sporting large crosses were certainly enhancing intently this image. Recorded and produced (almost inexistently by Rodger Bain) in just two days, this might seem today a real botch job in the light of modern technology, but it is precisely this rough, raw finish that gave this album its aura. The album was immediately successful on both side of the Atlantic, but it was to stay 18 months in the US charts.

If anything must represent heavy metal, than the eponymous album opener is it: from its thunderstorm and bell intro, to the sinister slow descending riff (based on Gustav Holtz's Mars piece from The Planets Suite) and Geezer Butler-inspired depressive lyrics, the group cannot help but launch a chain of reaction in everyone. Love it or hate it, this track is an absolute stunner (I remember that even my grandfather had to recognize its powers, when I presented him this "UFO") and the reaction of the public was immediate. One of HM's most defining moments. The following gloomy Wizard track is a blues-derived riff-laden song with an unusual pace and the dreamy, almost ambient by their standard, Wall Of Sleep with its great slower mid-section are not as much attention-grabbing, but remain quite solid tracks that make this album an all-time classic. Closing the first side is an epic love song (NIB is NOT Nativity In Black), starting on a pulsating bass solo (Geezer Butler is the unsung hero of BS's first two albums and had one of the more original style back then), than Iommi's solid guitar riff takes over accompanying an average Osbourne vocal line, but for some reasons, the whole thing works quite fine and this track remains a classic to this day. Ward's jazzy drumming throughout the album brings a bit of lightness to his three mate's overpowering heaviness. Butler's style is also bringing much air, as he generally shadows Iommi's riffs (instead of countering or underlining them) and plays much like his inspiration, Cream's Jack Bruce.

The flipside starts on a rare cover, the groovy bass-ed up Evil woman, which was originally intended as the single then with what I' call the album's weaker track Sleeping Village: it seems like a collage of three pieces, but comes off well in its second half, and might be as close as they'd get to an instrumental track on this album. As SV ends in a feedback, the most impressive almost 11- min Warning (an Ainsley Dunbar Retaliation cover) starts exactly on that same feedback, and although it might appear as completely indulgent nowadays, it is one of the most Sabbath tune ever. Indeed the track is full of "solo" playing that seem to drag on a bit, especially Iommi's guitar twangs in the middle section, but it is a real testimony to his passage in Jethro Tull and Mick Abrahams (whom he replaced), see Cat Squirrel on the This Was album. But it got most future metalheads understanding what Iommi's modified sound was all about. Indeed a work incident had him lose a fingertip and he had to detune his guitar strings in order to accommodate his self-made prostheses to replace the lost bit. The closing Wicked World is another great BS track, getting lost in the shuffle of their first two albums' abundance of good ideas.

Need I say something more about this flawed but groundbreaking artefact of the first months of a then-new decade?

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