Paranoid
BLACK SABBATH

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BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid cover
4.41 | 185 ratings | 18 reviews
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Album · 1970

Tracklist

1. War Pigs (7:56)
2. Paranoid (2:49)
3. Planet Caravan (4:25)
4. Iron Man (5:55)
5. Electric Funeral (4:49)
6. Hand Of Doom (7:08)
7. Rat Salad (2:30)
8. Fairies Wear Boots (6:14)

Total Time 41:48

Line-up/Musicians

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

- Tom Allom / piano (track 3)

About this release

18 September 1970
Vertigo, Warner

Reissued as Deluxe Edition in 2009 with the following tracklist:

Disc 1: Original Album

1. War Pigs (7:56)
2. Paranoid (2:49)
3. Planet Caravan (4:25)
4. Iron Man (5:55)
5. Electric Funeral (4:49)
6. Hand Of Doom (7:08)
7. Rat Salad (2:30)
8. Fairies Wear Boots (6:14)

Disc 2: Quadraphonic Mix 1974

1. War Pigs (7:55)
2. Paranoid (2:47)
3. Planet Caravan (4:30)
4. Iron Man (5:58)
5. Electric Funeral (4:47)
6. Hand Of Doom (7:07)
7. Rat Salad (2:29)
8. Fairies Wear Boots (6:13)

Disc 3: Alternate Versions

1. War Pigs (instrumental) (8:00)
2. Paranoid (alternate lyrics version) (2:50)
3. Planet Caravan (alternate lyrics version) (6:01)
4. Iron Man (instrumental) (5:57)
5. Electric Funeral (instrumental) (4:52)
6. Hand Of Doom (instrumental) (7:14)
7. Rat Salad (alternate mix) (2:29)
8. Fairies Wear Boots (instrumental) (6:16)

Total Time 127:13

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

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The Crow
An essential album in rock music history!

But also not a perfect one, of course. For that the sound and production should be better, and the overall songwriting stronger. Don't get me wrong, there are true classics in here, but also a pair of fillers which not deserve the status or masterpieces.

Black Sabbath forgot a bit their blues-rock roots in this second release and they increased the importance and weight of the riffs, achieving this "heavy" and sound that together with albums like Deep Purple's In Rock would plant the seed of heavy metal.

War Pigs starts with sirens and heavy guitars, which introduce one hell of a riff and vocal melodies from Ozzy, who sings a critic and apocalyptic text with dark passion. The riffs salad towards the end of the song is just magnificent! Just like Paranoid, another milestone from this album despite its repetitiveness.

Sadly Planet Caravan comes with its boring psychedelia, making a true setback, which vastly dismisses with Iron Man, maybe the best song in the whole record and with the riff in Black Sabbath's history. And there is a lot of riffs in Tommy Iommi's career!

Electric Funeral is together with the song Black Sabbath the birth of doom metal, mixed with some very heavy passages towards the end. It's also a pleasure to hear how the stoner rock was born with songs like Hand of Doom, despite being not so remarkable like other classics from this disc. Rat Salad is forgettable in my opinion, despite the grandiose Bill Ward's efforts on drums.

Fairies Wear Boots, like the previous track bring back the style of the debut album, constituting a solid ending for Paranoid. Conclusion: Paranoid is one of the best albums from Black Sabbath. Is not my personal favorite, but I recognize the sheer importance of its heavy riffs, slow hard passages and accelerated rhythms in the creation of heavy metal, doom metal and stoner metal. It has three outstanding songs, three very good ones and two just passable. Excellent overall and maybe not so important for prog, but necessary to understand modern rock music.

Best Tracks: War Pigs, Paranoid, Iron Man, Electric Funeral, Hand of Doom.

My rating: ****

This review was originally written for ProgArchives.com
siLLy puPPy
After dropping their sonic bomb on the world of free love and idealistic utopian visions with their self-titled debut at the very beginning 1970, creating a clear delineative line between two distinct decades in their wake, BLACK SABBATH wasted no time releasing their followup PARANOID just a mere seven months later, however while the debut was criticized as being too strange by the critics but yet still attracted a decent amount of public interest, it was PARANOID that set the world on fire as it shot up to the top of the British charts and sold mass quantities of albums. The critics still panned it (of course) as have many others who haven’t taken the initiative to dig deeper into the symbolic mordant lyrics of social critique and heavy apocalyptic doom inspiring song structures built upon the crushing down-tuned riffs of Tony Iommi, but the real underlying success of BLACK SABBATH with PARANOID is that it simply harnessed the sentiments of an ever skeptical public following one of the most tumultuous decades known as the 60s.

BLACK SABBATH clearly hit upon a new sound that has since been tagged HEAVY METAL and while the debut still had a murkiness that tied it to the bluesy psychedelic 60s despite the occult themes and imagery, PARANOID tweaked those elements and created one of the earliest blueprints of the dawning of an entire rock genre. The dark lyrics, doom laden tritone song structures, occult imagery and energetic power chords guaranteed an instant polarizing reaction for first time listeners but one they for sure could not simply ignore. Whereas a few other groups like Lucifer’s Friend, Sir Lord Baltimore and Deep Purple were heading in the same direction with harder driven rhythms and a brashness absent from 60s comparisons, BLACK SABBATH was the first to bring all the attributes together on PARANOID by finally jettisoning most of the heavy psych and blues and concocting a shocking and thought provoking album that dared to delve into the occult and scathing critique of the political subterfuge of the era.

The album title was originally supposed to be titled “War Pigs” but the record company wouldn’t allow it so they changed it to the more nebulous title PARANOID. The track “War Pigs” was originally supposed to titled “Walpurgis,” one of the major holidays in Satanism, but once again the Vertigo label saw SABBATH as a potential commercial behemoth and managed these possible controversies fairly well. Parental overrides by the record label aside, what we get here is a nice callathump of dark, doomy, energetic guitar riffing, groovy bass and drum interaction and of course, Ozzy Osbourne’s manic vocal style spewing out the best nihilistic antiestablishmentarianisms to be found in the musical universe. Whether you consider the mostly hard rockers such as “War Pigs,” “Iron Man,” “Fairies Wear Boots” or the title track, the depressive cosmic vibe of “Planet Caravan” or the semi-proggy jazz influenced “Electric Funeral” and “Rat Salad” tracks, it is evident that SABBATH were not only pioneering a totally new sound and ethos but were gifted at keeping a nice variety between the tracks as to keep the album entertaining.

Like much of early SABBATH and the other contemporary proto-metal albums of the early 70s, i used to think this sounded primitive and substandard to the vast wealth of music inspired by these early prototypes of the heavy metal genre, but let’s face it, the roots of a tree are never as pretty and splendiferous in their coloring as are the branches and leaves that grow from them. PARANOID is the perfect primeval example of this phenomenon we call evolution but as i listen to this almost 50 years after its release and do indeed hear an underdeveloped musical form, i have to say that i have come to love this album exactly for what it is. It is not about the stunning guitar virtuosity that Ritchie Blackmore would develop with Deep Purple, it’s not about the top notch production that could compete with anything released in the 21st century and it’s not even about an all encompassing theme or concept. It’s simply about a certain mood dynamic and atmosphere that is absent from a lot of music these days. For me the secret of PARANOID is an extremely well-balanced musical approach that perfectly contrasts slow and fasts tempos, loud and soft passages all tempered with a brash bravado that critiques the misuse of power. As with many albums before my time, this was a grower but as time has gone on has become only more and more brilliant. Yeah, Iommi’s leads are an acquired taste as well, but just like mayonnaise and garlic which at one time i didn’t care for, are ones that i now savor. True this album was a rushed affair with some tracks being created on the spot, but that only testifies to the creative genius of the band who could muster up this material instantaneously and still sounds relevant to this day despite perhaps sounding like a product of its time.

Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward created several classic masterpieces in the 70s but PARANOID was their first album that skyrocketed them onto the world’s stage and allowed them the success to create the scaffolding of the heavy metal universe that would build itself into the vast universe that it has become today. PARANOID was exemplary at capturing the mood of an era when clandestine wars, political scandals and assassinations, media manipulation (hmmm….. some things never change) and perhaps a healthy drug consumption conspired to make a skeptical and unwary public question virtually every aspect of reality. Of course, the more you tear down the previously constructed world views, the more you open yourself up to the vast universe of possibilities including some that aren’t so pleasant more likely than not making you PARANOID. This is simply one of the earliest soundtracks for this state of mind.
martindavey87
Time to make some enemies...

Whilst I'm not a big fan of Black Sabbath, I was able to tolerate their debut album. Their follow-up album however, just doesn't work for me. And here's why:

For starters, the whole album seems very 'immature', sounding like it was written by a bunch of twelve year-olds who have only been playing their instruments for a month (and I should know, I've been there myself). The guitar riffs are dull and uninspired, the lyrics are tacky and not very creative, and overall the songs are just boring, Ozzy's vocals are awful, and that has got to be one of the most God-awful covers ever.

On top of the that, the edition I have has a live version of ‘Wicked World’ on it, and it's about 20 minutes long, full of boring guitar solos with Tony Iommi playing the same legato licks over and over and Ozzy annoyingly shouting 'alright!' after every second line. Lame.

Overall, I find this to be, quite simply, a rubbish album. Harsh, but hey, this is my review, what can ya do about it? I gave it a fair amount of listens, and while it's predecessor had its moments, 'Paranoid' (arguably one of the greatest and most beloved metal records of all time) just seems very, very boring to me.
Sinkadotentree
Well they established the style of music they were going to play on the debut and on this their second album released the same year they improved upon it. Songs like "Paranoid" and "Iron Man" brought them into the limelight and they became a household name. How good are the lyrics on "War Pigs" ? PINK RFLOYD's "Us And Them" sounds like a spacey continuation of this track but the words are no less damning against war and those who oversee it. "Paranoid" is less than 3 minutes in length but it's pedal to the metal all the way. They just rip it up, very intense. "Planet Caravan" is a nice break from the insanity. Surprisingly psychedelic. "Iron Man" continues to be brought into today and now because of the "Iron Man" movies. Heavy duty. "Electric Funeral" reminds me of ALICE IN CHAINS everytime i hear it these days. A drugged out doomy piece. "Hand Of Doom" is an anti-drug song while "Rat Salad" is the Bill Ward show. "Fairies Wear Boots" is probably my favourite. So yes i've played this to death over the years but it's still a 5 star masterpiece, and they don't lift their foot off of the pedal one bit for the followup album "Master Of Reality".
Conor Fynes
'Paranoid' - Black Sabbath (9/10)

Barring the fact that the album was released a damned decade before metal was in full swing, Sabbath's 'Paranoid' was, and is as solid an album as they come. Although the self-titled debut may have had more of an immediate impact, Iommi and company would focus in on their doom innovation, a decision setting them further apart from the hordes of UK blues rockers. It's not often that an album is still relevant forty years after its release.

Considering how iconic 'Paranoid' is, it seems redundant to dwell on general information regarding the album. Suffice to say, taking into consideration that 1970 was the same year Deep Purple recorded 'In Rock' and the year after Led Zeppelin recorded 'II', Black Sabbath took a more downtuned, heavier approach to rock music. British rock was opening itself up to a more distorted sound in general, but Sabbath weren't afraid to sound ugly. A familiar blues style can be heard in Iommi's crunchy lead work, but the use of tritones, or 'evil' sounding riffs was what gave the band their then-unique take on rock music. The lyrical content somewhat fittingly either contends with the concept of war, or nightmarishly drug-fuelled adventures. As a respite from the doomy riffs, 'Paranoid' is fleshed out with some sounds of 60's era psychedelia, as best exemplified by the spacey, jam-oriented 'Planet Caravan'.

The first side of the album is a hit parade of some of the band's best-known tracks. 'War Pigs' sets up the rest of the album perfectly; a gloomy overture introducing Iommi's gritty guitar tone and some of the best riffs on the album. 'Paranoid' and 'Iron Man' are both instantly memorable tunes that have earned their due as rock radio staples. My favourite cut from the record would have to be 'Electric Funeral' however, opening the second side on an even darker note. From its signature psych-doom riff to lyrics about the apocalyptic existence of mutants in a post-nuclear city, it perfects the heavy darkness explored on the first side. The rest of 'Paranoid's later half doesn't feel quite as memorable as the first, however. The musical tightness never lets down, but 'Hand of Doom' and instrumental afterthought 'Rat Salad' feel a little less vital than the rest. Luckily, 'Fairies Wear Boots' wraps things up on a rocking note, closing with an epic lead melody that seems to foreshadow the future sound of Iron Maiden.

'Paranoid' is not quite perfect, but it's fairly close, especially considering that the sound of heavy metal was still so young. At the very least, it deserves its status as a classic. With memorable songwriting, evocative lyrics and some of the best riffs ever written, who could ask for more?
Warthur
Black Sabbath's second album of 1970 still heavily features the doom metal sound that they had already perfected on their debut - unleashed with devastating effect in War Pigs and Hand of Doom - but the selection of songs this time around are more varied, proving that the group weren't just a one-trick pony. Never has a quickie throwaway single been as influential as the title track, which set a precedent for speed metal in proving that crunching heavy metal riffs could be played fast to good effect. The trippy space blues track Planet Caravan proves that the band were paying attention to the experiments then underway in the progressive rock genre, and also acts as an interesting interlude between the speed metal of Paranoid and the doom metal of Iron Man.

The band even prove they have a sense of humour on the closing track, Fairies Wear Boots, which as well as taking a pop at skinheads who'd hassle the band for having long hair also prefigures the more light-hearted odes to weed and other illegal substances that would make appearances on Master of Reality and Volume 4. The inclusion of this song at the end of the album is actually an inspired choice - after treating the listener to doomy visions of war, nuclear holocaust, and heroin addiction, perhaps something to lighten the mood is essential. And I don't think the band were ever more adept lyrically speaking than on this album; Hand of Doom, in particular, is an insightful and eloquent look at the end of the hippy era and the effect this disillusion had on many at the time.

On balance, it's hard to say which of the Sabbath albums from 1970 is the superior one. If I absolutely had to choose one, some days I'd probably go for the debut, simply because it chooses a particular mood and then nails it perfectly. Then again, other days I'd go for Paranoid, simply because it is more varied. Both, I'd say, are equally essential to any metal collection, unless you are absolutely averse to slow playing in your metal.
arcane-beautiful
I’ve had this album for a while now, and I only got around listening to it.

I’ve never been a massive fan of Sabbath, but I do like them enough, they do have some amazing songs. But aside from that, I have to be a little critical.

I respect what this album did, and it really is a stepping stone in the world of metal, and even the proto doom can be heard for bands like Cathedral & Candlemass to take influence from…and it can be heard.

But asides that, the album really isn’t perfect, well in my opinion it isn’t. At times Sabbath can annoy me, and I think this album had the most Sabbath songs that annoy me…

Besides my dislike to some songs, the rest are great and pretty good at times, so don’t take my word as Gospel, but as a guys opinion. It’s very unique as well to say the least, well for its time.

1. War Pigs – One of Sabbaths best songs in my opinion. Great riffs, and is it me, or does Ozzy’s vocals sound a wee bit like Captain Beefheart. The lyrics are pretty good for Sabbath as well. 10/10

2. Paranoid – I have a bad past with this song…I’m not going to get into it. 6/10

3. Planet Caravan – A wee bit too bluesy at times, and can be a wee bit repetitive, but the atmosphere makes up for it. Pantera do a good cover of this song. 9/10

4. Iron Man – I really don’t like this song, the riff is boring and repetitive. The only good thing about it is the middle section. The lyrics are just stupid as well 5/10

5. Electric Funeral – Great doomy riff, but the lyrics at times can be forced. 9/10

6. Hand Of Doom – The most experimental song. Odd changes in tone, but great riffs and atmospheres. 9/10

7. Rat Salad – Nice wee instrumental. 8/10

8. Fairies Wear Boots – One of their best riffs in my opinion. Great song, with some odd lyrics…about drugs. 10/10

CONCLUSION: Annoying at times, but it does make up for it…
The Block
I am Iron Man!

I was introduced to Black Sabbath at an early age, by my dad, even though I did not know it yet. I just dismissed it as my dad’s ‘oldies’ music, but since then I have grown to love them. One of the albums he played the most was Paranoid, so it was only fitting that this should be my first Black Sabbath review. It has great heavy bass lines that mix well with the guitar work of Tony Iommi. And of course you can’t say Black Sabbath without at least thinking about Ozzy Osbourne. It’s amazing how in real life he can’t talk for his life, but once he gets the microphone in front of his mouth he can actually pronounce syllables.

One of the most recognizable songs on the album is, of course, “Iron Man”. It has one of the most recognizable riffs in all of metal or even music, for that case. The choruses are also very good, blending in nicely with the heavy bass and guitar. The story is also very interesting, following the comic strip Iron Man, of course. Though it is the most popular song it is not necessarily the best on the album.

Talking of really good songs, the first track, “War Pigs”, is a great song. The riff is very catchy going from low notes, and then the last one is higher, which makes a cool approach to the song. The beginning of the song has great guitars by Tony Iommi, along with good drumming by Bill Ward. It then transfers smoothly in to vocals by Ozzy and he takes it away from there.

Paranoid is definitely one of, if not the best, Black Sabbath album in my opinion. It includes all around great performances by all musicians present on the album. I would like to specifically point out Ozzy, of course, and Tony Iommi for his great guitar work throughout. Besides “Iron Man” and “War Pigs” some honorable mentions include “Paranoid” which includes great vocals and great drumming by Bill Ward. Also there is Jack the Stripper/ Fairies wear Boots which includes some riffs that are kind of similar to those employed in “Iron Man”. The only song I don’t enjoy on the album is “Rat Salat”, and it is not because it is completely instrumental. I absolutely love instrumental songs, but I think that Black Sabbath should stick to songs with lyrics because their music goes better with them .For a great effort by Black Sabbath they get 4.5 stars.

The Angry Scotsman
Sabbath's debut may have been the first metal album, maybe not. Perhaps that distinction goes to Led Zeppelin or Vincebus Eruptum. Regardless, THIS is the album that really made metal.

The first true blue, heavy metal album.

Black Sabbath's eponymous album had the heaviness and dark, bleak atmosphere of metal, but was obviously still influenced by blues and psychedelic rock. The blues is stripped away here, and while the psychedelic remains, this album is about the heavy.

War Pigs. An 8 minute, progressing, psychedelic tinged song that is strongly anti-war. This song has it all, Butler's bass lines, Iommi's riffing and awesome guitar solos, Bill Ward's superb drumming, (this song is one of the best examples) and Ozzy's vocals really do fit perfectly.

Paranoid. Another Sabbath classic, this is a short, mid paced song with chuggy riffing, sustains, and lots of powerful chords. Proto thrash! Cool song, love Butler's rhythm bass under the solo.

Planet Caravan. Very different! This is a purely soft, mellow song showcasing a gentle Butler bass riff, a clean simple guitar tone in the background, sparse bongo drumming and Ozzy's distorted, chilling vocals. Later a very beautiful and melodic guitar solo comes in, and fades out with the song. Very trippy, mellow, and dreamlike.

Iron Man. Perhaps the most famous song in all of metal, hell perhaps one of the most famous in all of rock! Awesome song, and nothing really needs to be said about this one.

Electric Funeral. Awesome, trippy riff. One of the best on the album. Slow, dark song that peaks in the middle with an emotional fury, then quickly descends and closes it as it starts.

Hand of Doom. Very intriguing song. It alternates, quite abruptly between soft, groovy sections and loud, thundering ones. Also, an anti-heroin song inspired by Vietnam vets coming back with addictions to the drug.

Rat Salad. A short song that is more a showcase for Bill Ward's drumming, sprinkled with staccato riffing and mini solos. What's not to love about all that!?

Fairies Wear Boots. A bluesy type feel to it, (the leftover remnants of their debut album)another progressing song with a real feel of movement to it.

A classic and superb album. Features amazing output from every one of the members, something I wish I'd see more often today. Iommi's guitar work is just great, as is Butler's bass playing, Ward's drumming is some of the best in metal, and while Ozzy may be a bit of a joke today...his vocals were the best back then. There is no bad song, each one is well crafted, and unique. There is great variation on this album! Something we again, do not see today.

Masterpiece.

Five Stars
Stephen
Who would argue when people hailed "Paranoid" as Black Sabbath's magnum opus? After the magnificent debut, Sabbath continued to deliver an even mindblowing creation. This record wasn't only commercially successful, but also stroke hard in many young listeners' mind and gave them an inspiring idea that contributed a lot to the future development of heavy metal. The real strength of this album is the dynamic of the composition. Almost every thing that you never imagined were blended well into one big bucket and the band stirred 'em nice.

Three sensational classics are inside this album and that probably can be the big reason for you to buy this album. "War Pigs" had its paralyzing riffs and Ozzy's inviting vocal really shake people's emotion to sing along to the track. The title track, which is perhaps their most-recognized track, has a furious rhythm and superb hooks. "Iron Man" tried a slower tempo with heavy riffs, another strong tune to love. "Planet Caravan" showed their psychedelic attempt with a strange vocal effect, this one is a soothing and I praised this one big. "Electric Funeral" is a real doomy song, one of their greatest underrated tracks. "Rat Salad" is quite similar with Zeppelin's "Moby Dick", putting Bill Ward to the front. The closing track, "Fairies Wear Boots", is the most progressive track which is a blues-based, mostly fast, and heavy, I love this one.

"Paranoid" is truly a landmark release of the band, but personally, this isn't a record I can listen to everyday. The idealistic and variety value of the album forced me to have the right mood to fully spin this. If you're a big fan of metal, this is basically the starting point of most genres. Nothing short of great music inside, couple of decent tracks maybe, but Sabbath deserved a huge 4.5 stars.

Members reviews

ProgMetaller2112
This album is essential to all Heavy Metal collections as it has some of the best songs and most well-known songs that there is in Heavy Metal. We go from War Pigs to Paranoid to Iron Man to Fairies Wear Boots all in a matter of less than 50 minutes. The Sabbath was able to make some really rocking tunes on here with a somewhat bluesy, jazzy twist to it. The likes of which was not heard from before in music. Obviously, this album is one of the most best and most influential that there is Metal history so I won't ramble on like I did on the first album.I happen to think that this album is one of the most essential Heavy Metal albums that there is. Essential!!
bassgeezer
Whereas Prog Archives rankings are, in my opinion, about right, I don’t think MMA’s rankings, which are in their relative infancy, are right yet. One thing that is spot on though is that Paranoid is the top proto-metal album. For me it was definitely the first metal album. This was the CD I took round the shops with me some years ago when I was choosing my current music system. I wanted to be sure Geezer’s bass was going to sound right. War Pigs is the perfect metal test for a set of speakers. Paranoid was part of the soundtrack to my youth.
SouthSideoftheSky
Rat Salad

On the totally groundbreaking self-titled debut, Black Sabbath took electric Blues, Jazz and Rock and created a brand new sound that was to become highly influential on all of Rock music and especially, of course, Metal music. But while the sound of the debut, fresh and groundbreaking though it was, still stuck relatively close to the influences. There were moments on that first album where the band played Blues Rock with some Jazz influences rather than the Heavy Metal they were in the middle of creating.

With Paranoid they ventured further away from their Blues background and injected more speed and precision into their playing while still retaining most of the heaviness of the debut. They also abandoned much of the dark and gothic subject matter of the debut and began singing about mental illness, drugs and politics. The opening number, War Pigs, is a good example of this development.

In some respects this is perhaps even better than the debut, but overall I think this is slightly less essential. I also find this album slightly less enjoyable than the debut and the follow up, but it's still a great album. And a Heavy Metal classic in its own right.

The title track speeds things up further and is definitely the fastest and shortest song the band had done up to that point. It is also the simplest song and is possibly my least favourite Black Sabbath song ever! It predated the emergence of Punk with many years but it is almost a Punk song! As is often the case with Metal and progressive bands, it is when they strip away all the complexities of their music that they have hits! Black Sabbath is hardly a band that have had any genuine hits, but Paranoid is probably as close as they ever came to having a hit song. Almost every person in the world has heard this song even if they are not into Heavy Metal at all.

Planet Caravan slows things down considerably and is very different from the rest of the songs. It is a wonderful song that reminds me somewhat of Camel and is one of the highlights of the album for me. Iron man is another song that many people recognize. It is not my favourite but it is much better than the title track and both these songs along with Electric Funeral and War Pigs soon became mainstays of the band's live set for the rest of their long career.

For me the second half of this album is by far the best half. It is also here that we find the most complex and progressive songs. The slow, heavy Electric Funeral is probably the closest they come here to the style of the debut album. But it is with the complex Hand Of Doom and the short instrumental Rat Salad that the album reaches new levels of brilliance. However, my very favourite track is the excellent closer, Fairies Wear Boots!

I have been a Black Sabbath fan for ten years now and I know the band's discography very well. Paranoid is not one of my favourites, but it represents a clear progression from their debut towards the masterpiece Master Of Reality and beyond. I see Paranoid as something of a transitional album between two even greater albums and as such slightly overrated in relation to those.

Still, an essential addition to any Metal collection.
Sean Trane
As their debut album scored immediately on both side of the Atlantic, the world was now warned about BS and there would be no surprise effect this time around. Or so they thought! The Birmingham quartet had more trick up their sleeves and pulled a lot of trump cards from their games to confirm with HM's most definitive album. As much as Warning had done the job on the debut album, there was little to prepare the listener for the sonic assaults of their opening track, the eternal anti-war tune War Pigs with its air-raid siren howling in the opening riffs. Originally intended as War Pigs, this album title was vetoed by their US label fearing too much controversy with the Vietnam crisis and its political inflammatory contents, even though Butler's lyrics for the track came from the group playing US military installation in Germany and their lengthy conversation with the soldiers.

With the famous Sci-Fi warrior (rather cheap and missed, imho) of the outside gatefold and the very-white photo-shoot of its innerfold, Paranoid might have even not seen its title track included at first. The group had recorded this album almost as quickly as their debut album (one session) and when the Vertigo label assembled it, they deemed it too short, they asked the group to add another track, so the amphetamine-fuelled Paranoid was recorded as an afterthought, not knowing it would become their biggest and sole #1 hit on both side of the Atlantic. Originally the song had been casted-off because the group thought it too close to Zep's Communication Breakdown on their debut album. In terms of influences, Paranoid's riff is definitely one of the most inspiring for generations of metal group along with Zeppelin's Immigrant Song and from Judas Priest to the 80's thrash and speed metal groups and 90's progmetal, everyone owes a huge debt to it.

Again the group had all their songs well rehearsed well ahead of time as they played many gigs, including some Hamburg nights where they played up to six sets of 45 minutes, with War Pigs often lasting a full 40 minutes and here reduced to an 8 minutes version (you can hear its aborted ending as a cut-off). Sounding quite different is the superbly atmospheric Planet Caravan (where they sound like a very spacey Ten Yearts After) hinting at Sleeping Village on the previous album, where Bill Ward's bongos and Butler's gentle bass are absolutely gorgeous, Iommi's jazzy guitar and Ozzy's muffled vocals provide a genuine piece of jazzy psychedelia. The opening side finishes on another Sabbath monument, the awesome Iron Man, with its huge crunching power chord and its laughable opening announcement, and later Iommi's spine-chilling solemn solo. Again Geezer Butler's thumping bass lines (inspired by Cream's Jack Bruce) and Bill Ward's jazzy drumming bring a breath of fresh air to the general heaviness.

The flipside opens on another small but often overlooked Sabbath gem, Electric Funeral starting a bit like the gloomy BS track of the debut, but the middle section develops much more muscles and energy. The longest track of the album, Hand Of Doom, starts out appropriately gloomily and picks up again with Ozzy's inspired vocals and Ward's driving rhythm and then menacingly slowing down again.

After the short instrumental rifferama of Rat Salad, comes probably the most stunning Sabbath track (certainly my fave), Fairies Wear Boots, an anti-Skinhead anthem, which is really an Osbourne theme, since he was one of them prior to playing music. A lengthy intro including Butler's booming bass, Ward's incessant drum rolls and Iommi's distant guitar (at first) tells you that you're fantasyland, and until Ozzy's spine-chilling vocals enters some 90 seconds into the track, this is pure bliss? But Ozzy's vocals are particularly inspired as well and once the verse gone; Iommi, Ward and Butler take us to unsuspected proglands and looping it to the intro again for a second run. Even some 35 years after discovering this album, I can't help replaying this track a second time just for kicks and thrills. What an awesome way to finish an album.

After such a review, I don't really think closing comments are really necessary, right

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