BLACK SABBATH

Heavy Metal • United Kingdom
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Black Sabbath are an English heavy metal, hard rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, singer Ozzy Osbourne, and drummer Bill Ward. The band has since experienced multiple line-up changes, with Tony Iommi the only constant presence in the band through the years. Originally formed in 1968 as a heavy blues rock band named Earth, the band began incorporating occult themes with horror-inspired lyrics and tuned-down guitars. Despite an association with occult and horror themes, Black Sabbath also composed songs dealing with social instability, political corruption, the dangers of drug abuse and apocalyptic prophecies of the horrors of war. Osbourne's heavy drug use led to his dismissal from the band in 1979, after which he began a successful solo career, selling over 100 million albums. He was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. After a few albums with Dio's vocals and read more...

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Sabbath Bloody SabbathSabbath Bloody Sabbath
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The Ultimate Collection (2CD)The Ultimate Collection (2CD)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2017
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Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
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Vol. 4Vol. 4
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
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The Black Sabbath Collection 1970-1978 (9LP w/ 7The Black Sabbath Collection 1970-1978 (9LP w/ 7")"
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2019
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Master Of RealityMaster Of Reality
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
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Black SabbathBlack Sabbath
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
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13 [2 CD][Deluxe Edition]13 [2 CD][Deluxe Edition]
Deluxe Edition
Republic 2013
$11.69
$5.45 (used)
The End [2 CD]The End [2 CD]
Explicit Lyrics
Eagle Rock Entertainment 2017
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BLACK SABBATH Discography

BLACK SABBATH albums / top albums

BLACK SABBATH Black Sabbath album cover 4.20 | 165 ratings
Black Sabbath
Heavy Metal 1970
BLACK SABBATH Paranoid album cover 4.48 | 200 ratings
Paranoid
Heavy Metal 1970
BLACK SABBATH Master Of Reality album cover 4.36 | 166 ratings
Master Of Reality
Heavy Metal 1971
BLACK SABBATH Vol 4 album cover 4.02 | 118 ratings
Vol 4
Heavy Metal 1972
BLACK SABBATH Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album cover 4.32 | 136 ratings
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Heavy Metal 1973
BLACK SABBATH Sabotage album cover 4.19 | 103 ratings
Sabotage
Heavy Metal 1975
BLACK SABBATH Technical Ecstasy album cover 2.93 | 67 ratings
Technical Ecstasy
Heavy Metal 1976
BLACK SABBATH Never Say Die! album cover 3.18 | 67 ratings
Never Say Die!
Heavy Metal 1978
BLACK SABBATH Heaven And Hell album cover 4.38 | 135 ratings
Heaven And Hell
Heavy Metal 1980
BLACK SABBATH Mob Rules album cover 3.97 | 96 ratings
Mob Rules
Heavy Metal 1981
BLACK SABBATH Born Again album cover 2.98 | 69 ratings
Born Again
Heavy Metal 1983
BLACK SABBATH Seventh Star album cover 2.92 | 55 ratings
Seventh Star
Heavy Metal 1986
BLACK SABBATH The Eternal Idol album cover 3.30 | 55 ratings
The Eternal Idol
Heavy Metal 1987
BLACK SABBATH Headless Cross album cover 3.71 | 56 ratings
Headless Cross
Heavy Metal 1989
BLACK SABBATH Tyr album cover 3.34 | 52 ratings
Tyr
Heavy Metal 1990
BLACK SABBATH Dehumanizer album cover 3.68 | 75 ratings
Dehumanizer
Heavy Metal 1992
BLACK SABBATH Cross Purposes album cover 3.34 | 48 ratings
Cross Purposes
Heavy Metal 1994
BLACK SABBATH Forbidden album cover 2.23 | 48 ratings
Forbidden
Heavy Metal 1995
BLACK SABBATH 13 album cover 3.78 | 51 ratings
13
Heavy Metal 2013

BLACK SABBATH EPs & splits

BLACK SABBATH The End album cover 3.83 | 5 ratings
The End
Heavy Metal 2016

BLACK SABBATH live albums

BLACK SABBATH Live At Last album cover 2.93 | 23 ratings
Live At Last
Heavy Metal 1980
BLACK SABBATH Live Evil album cover 3.48 | 36 ratings
Live Evil
Heavy Metal 1982
BLACK SABBATH Cross Purposes: Live album cover 3.35 | 10 ratings
Cross Purposes: Live
Heavy Metal 1995
BLACK SABBATH Reunion album cover 3.91 | 23 ratings
Reunion
Heavy Metal 1998
BLACK SABBATH Past Lives album cover 3.60 | 20 ratings
Past Lives
Heavy Metal 2002
BLACK SABBATH Live At Hammersmith Odeon album cover 4.09 | 13 ratings
Live At Hammersmith Odeon
Heavy Metal 2007

BLACK SABBATH demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

BLACK SABBATH re-issues & compilations

BLACK SABBATH We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll album cover 4.46 | 13 ratings
We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll
Heavy Metal 1975
BLACK SABBATH The Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection
Heavy Metal 1992
BLACK SABBATH The Sabbath Stones album cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
The Sabbath Stones
Heavy Metal 1996
BLACK SABBATH The Best Of Black Sabbath album cover 4.75 | 6 ratings
The Best Of Black Sabbath
Heavy Metal 2000
BLACK SABBATH Symptom Of The Universe: 1970-1978 album cover 5.00 | 3 ratings
Symptom Of The Universe: 1970-1978
Heavy Metal 2002
BLACK SABBATH Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978) album cover 4.90 | 5 ratings
Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978)
Heavy Metal 2004
BLACK SABBATH Greatest Hits 1970-1978 album cover 2.22 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits 1970-1978
Heavy Metal 2006
BLACK SABBATH Black Sabbath: The Dio Years album cover 5.00 | 5 ratings
Black Sabbath: The Dio Years
Heavy Metal 2007
BLACK SABBATH The Rules Of Hell album cover 5.00 | 3 ratings
The Rules Of Hell
Heavy Metal 2008
BLACK SABBATH Greatest Hits album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Greatest Hits
Heavy Metal 2009
BLACK SABBATH Iron Man: The Best Of Black Sabbath album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Iron Man: The Best Of Black Sabbath
Heavy Metal 2012

BLACK SABBATH singles (34)

.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Evil Woman / Wicked World
Heavy Metal 1970
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Paranoid
Heavy Metal 1970
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Iron Man / Electric Funeral ‎
Heavy Metal 1970
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Wizard
Heavy Metal 1970
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Children Of The Grave
Heavy Metal 1971
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Wicked World
Heavy Metal 1971
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Sweet Leaf
Heavy Metal 1971
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
After Forever
Heavy Metal 1971
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Tomorrow's Dream
Heavy Metal 1972
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Heavy Metal 1973
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Changes
Heavy Metal 1973
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Am I Going Insane (Radio)
Heavy Metal 1975
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Back Street Kids
Heavy Metal 1976
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
It's Alright
Heavy Metal 1976
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Gypsy
Heavy Metal 1976
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Never Say Die!
Heavy Metal 1978
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
A Hard Road
Heavy Metal 1978
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Neon Knights
Heavy Metal 1980
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Die Young
Heavy Metal 1980
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lady Evil / Children Of The Sea
Heavy Metal 1980
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lady Evil
Heavy Metal 1980
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Mob Rules
Heavy Metal 1981
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Turn Up The Night
Heavy Metal 1982
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Shining
Heavy Metal 1987
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Headless Cross
Heavy Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Devil And Daughter
Heavy Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Call Of The Wild
Heavy Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Feels Good To Me
Heavy Metal 1990
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
TV Crimes
Heavy Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Master Of Insanity Part 1
Heavy Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Master Of Insanity Part 2
Heavy Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Get A Grip
Heavy Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Devil Cried
Heavy Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 2 ratings
God Is Dead?
Heavy Metal 2013

BLACK SABBATH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Black And Blue
Heavy Metal 1980
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cross Purposes: Live
Heavy Metal 1995
.. Album Cover
1.50 | 2 ratings
The Last Supper
Heavy Metal 1999
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Black Sabbath Story: Volume One 1970-1978
Heavy Metal 2002
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Black Sabbath Story: Volume Two 1978-1992
Heavy Metal 2002
.. Album Cover
3.69 | 4 ratings
Never Say Die: Live In 1978
Heavy Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Classic Albums: Paranoid
Heavy Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 3 ratings
Live... Gathered in Their Masses
Heavy Metal 2013

BLACK SABBATH Reviews

BLACK SABBATH Sabotage

Album · 1975 · Heavy Metal
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What sounds like just like a form of wordplay on the band name BLACK SABBATH, SABOTAGE, the final album of the classic mandatory six found the quartet of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward culminating all the heavy metal thunder one last time before the band effectively lost all momentum and quickly fell from grace. SABOTAGE is also one of the most misunderstood and least appreciated of the big six but for us diehard fans the album ranks very well near the top of the mighty SABBATH’s canon for being one of the most intricately crafted and esoterically interesting of the bunch. Graced with epic proto-prog compositions that eschew conventional songwriting with a fiery passion reinvigorated that allowed more experimental touches to seep in, SABOTAGE allowed SABBATH one last moment of musical glory before the band hit a creative brick wall. The album while seemingly random in many ways actually makes a lot more sense once the story behind it is unmasked. The tale is somewhat hinted upon with the oddball album cover that shows the band’s reflection in the mirror behind being SABOTAGED.

SABBATH had a phenomenally successful run with the first five albums but like many rock bands of the era found themselves in the spoils of riches which led to hedonistic drug abuse rituals and incessant bouts of self-indulgence. Around the time of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” the band discovered that the management had been ripping them off all along and siphoning funds like a parasitic scourge. SABOTAGE was created during the time when the litigation against former manager Patrick Meehan and others was taking place. Many of the references on the album are derived from the experiences of this period of time and despite the stress that the never-ending legal battles generated, the incident seems to have reinvigorated the fiery passion of distrust, paranoia and rage against the machine that made the first two SABBATH albums so amazingly focused. Despite all odds, the band seemed to channel all of the angst into crafting one of the most sophisticated and fine-tuned albums of its career. While SABOTAGE usually ranks last of the classic period amongst the general fanbase, the album that requires more than the average spins before digesting is actually one of the band’s highest artistic statements.

SABOTAGE is a unique mix of stylistic approaches. Not only does it contain some of the band’s heaviest moments such as the crushing “Symptom Of The Universe” which some cite as one of the first blueprints of thrash metal (another would be Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack” the prior year) but the album also contains the bizarre “Supertzar” which while based on Iommi’s guitar riffing, employed the English Chamber Choir to ululate wordless vocalizations which eerily accompanied the heavy metal thunder. The opening “Hole In The Sky” sets an important tone of blistering heaviness that evokes the zeitgeist of earlier albums like “Paranoid” and the short acoustic guitar snippet “Don’t Start (Too Late)” which i always assumed was about taking political action was actually an inside joke that referred to tape operator David Harris who was often frustrated because they band would start playing before he was ready to begin recording. The less than a minute echoed guitar sequence reminisces of the short instrumentals on “Master Of Reality” and provides the perfect fluffer between the heavy metal bombast of “Hole In The Sky” and the soul crushing uptempo heaviness of “Symptom Of The Universe, arguably one of the band’s finest moments.

Starting with “Megalomania” the album becomes much more experimental. While heavy metal guitar riffs remain aplenty, the track which approaches the 10-minute mark displays SABBATH’s most proto-prog leanings that begins with a sinister mid-tempo slice of echoey guitar fueled paranoia that slowly morphs into a heavy metal guitar riff based powerhouse. The track not only provides the perfect canvas for Ozzy Osbourne to vent his rage and discontent but also allows his much improved vocal style to hit a new level of sophistication by exploring a wider range of octaves as well as some of the most powerfully emotive deliveries of his career. The rest of the album only builds off of the momentum. “Thrill Of It All” follows suit with another dualistic one-two punch of melodic constructs. It begins with Iommi’s guitar parts, both rhythm and lead generating a fiery metal experience that shifts into a more keyboard dominated second half which displayed the band’s much improved integration of keyboards.

After the choral metal experience of “Supertzar,” the sole single of the album “Am I Going Insane (Radio)” also proved to be one of the most hated of the band’s career right up their with “Changes” from “Vol 4.” While the “(Radio)” annex to the title insinuated an edit of some sort and the cause of much confusion, the title actually was derived from the Cockney slang term “radio-rental” which means “mental” and if like me you’re not up on your English dialects especially in the slang department it is an understandable misunderstanding. The song itself is hardly a throwaway despite its commercial appeal. By far the most accessible of the SABOTAGE track listing, it was also one of the few tracks where Ozzy wrote the lyrics, a job mostly performed by bassist Geezer Butler. While Ozzy’s lyrics usurp the guitar playing of Iommi on this one as his playing becomes subordinate, the track is quite arty in in display of heavy and soft alternate passages and Ozzy’s emotive vocal delivery and lyrical content narrated the depression that the band was in the middle of.

The biggest mindfuck of the album has to be the fact that “Am I Going Insane (Radio)” was a title of the penultimate track however it was the final track “The Writ” that actually repeated the lyrics “Am I Going Insane.” The closer wasn’t really a bona fide song of sorts but rather a melodic declaration of frustration and paranoia not experienced since the band’s earliest albums of 1970. The pop melody is the most repetitive of the album and IMHO was the ultimate statement of a band truly losing its shit before the inevitable downturn which was prolonged for an agonizing two more albums which finally resulted in Ozzy leaving the band. The track is also rather symbolic. As Ozzy repeats the lyrics like a deranged declarative chant of sorts, the album ends by sinister laughing voices mocking him as if the lawyers had the last laugh. So many ways to interpret all of this but the ambiguity of it all plus the stellar instrumental performances of SABOTAGE are what has made this one of the hardcore fan favorites. While not as immediately accessible as the first three albums, SABOTAGE was in reality the peak of SABBATH’s Ozzy-era creative prowess and for true fans where the six year party officially ended. A more careful analysis and the proper time for its magic to sink in will reveal SABBATH’s most crowning achievements made all the more remarkable by the traumatic events that surrounded it.

BLACK SABBATH Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

Album · 1973 · Heavy Metal
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When the four members of BLACK SABBATH reflect upon the time period when “Vol 4” was released they can only recall upon how the seeds were sown for the ultimate demise of the so-called pioneers of the heavy metal genre of rock music. All the members were suffering from one form or another of substance abuse and the phenomenal success of their albums gave them the financial freedom to indulge in their wildest fantasies in order to achieve the ultimate party like it’s1999 scenario. Unfortunately these endless days and nights of hedonistic highs and living in the sin city of 1970s Los Angeles essentially killed the creative process and no matter how hard the band tried to muster up even the simplest of ideas, ended up in dismal failure every time. The team members that consisted of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward were starting to think that the band’s expiration date had arrived and were seriously considering throwing in the towel.

Luckily the band decided to return to the UK and immerse itself into the mysterious and spooky surroundings of The Forest of Dean where they rented Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire, England where they once again were able to grasp onto the musical mojo that made their earlier albums so sinister and sensational. The haunting environs suited the band well as they recaptured the occult darkness once again. SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH was literally launched when Tony Iommi stumbled upon the main riffs while playing in one of the dungeons in the castle and the evil heaviness is what set the tone for the rest of the album to follow. Once the SABBATH dudes were acclimated to the new surroundings, the ideas started pouring in once again. Scaring the crap out of each in the spooky medieval fortress aside, the band continued the heaviness of the four previous albums and continued the experimental and progressive elements that started on “Vol 4.”

SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH introduced even more complex compositional arrangements that included more keyboard styles and also some strings and other touches. While a sitar and bagpipes were attempted to be included, they were nixed from the final editing which was probably a good thing! With the heavy introductory riffs of the title track and the nightmare visions of the album cover art by Drew Struzan, SABBATH recaptured the dark imagery and darkened vibes of the debut album and “Paranoid” but also displayed a more mature musical approach that found the standard heavy metal riffing styles fortified by deviations into more sophisticated flirtations into the world of progressive rock that found the band members taming their demons and taking on the challenges in order to up their game and remain relevant in a quickly evolving music business. Despite almost breaking up earlier in the year of 1973, the band composed some of the best material of its career and once back in the London for the final recording sessions also happened to be in the studio next to where Yes was recording “Tales From Topographic Oceans” which led to Rick Wakeman playing keyboards and piano on “Sabra Cadabra.”

Except for a few speed bumps, SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH gracefully returned to the Lords of Darkness’ former glory with crushing heavy riffing, evil sounds and imagery and most importantly an album that holds together cohesively unlike the wobbly “Vol 4” that was bogged down by the insipid ballad “Changes” and the pointless electronic experiment of “FM.” With the heavy duty bombast of the title track, the album follows with one of the band’s most interesting tracks ever, the fiery “A National Acrobat” which holds its own in the heaviness department but also engages in an interesting mixing it up of stylistic changes that includes some funk driven grooves and sensational atmospheric freakery to add the proper spell casting haunting sounds. It also displays Ozzy’s vocal style in full fire as he seemed to hit his stride on this album. The track takes many hairpin turns and cranks it out for over six minutes.

While the heaviness is in tact, SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH is a much more daring album as each track takes a different approach. The third track “Fluff” is perhaps the only one that fails to engage. As an acoustic guitar instrumental, it serves well as an intermission of sorts but with a running time of over four minutes woefully wears out its welcome. While similar tracks on previous albums were effective (such as “Orchid” on “Masters Of Reality”) they only lasted a short time whereas “Fluff” just goes on and on with a beautiful piano run which would admittedly sound great on a Yes album but derails the tone of what the first two tracks so confidently constructed. Luckily the following “Sabra Cadabra” makes up for its lackadaisical fluffiness and returns the musical flow to sizzling. With the highly fueled octane of Iommi’s instantly addictive guitar riffs and Ozzy’s controlled manic vocal style, the track delivers some serious chops before Rick Wakeman’s Minimoog and piano contributions take the track into the stratosphere. This still remains one of my most cherished SABBATH tunes. The arrangements and compositional flow are just flawless.

Side Two continues the musical mojo with the crushing riffs of “Killing Yourself To Live” which also displays creative compositional deviations from the expected SABBATH grab bag. Ozzy handled the synthesizer duties on all but “Sabra Cadabra” despite not knowing how to play it but still mustered up the engaging track “Who Are You?” which displays a sinister keyboard riff that sounds like the prototype of what would eventually evolve into the intro of “Mr. Crowley” in his future solo career. While simple in design, the creepy scale utilized works perfectly and continues the eerie mood of the album. “Looking For Today” is another guitar riff based track but with a more complex melodic development and while not the best track on the album isn’t that bad at all. The album ends with “Spiral Architect” which includes the strings of The Phantom Fiddlers. The track is laced with many changes in tempo, timbre and dynamics and the most diverse of the album. While it contains a huge guitar riffs, the problem with this one is that the delivery style is too reminiscent of Pete Townsend and The Who in certain sections when Ozzy isn’t singing. Once again not a horrible track at all but The Who segments bug me. A minor quip. The string section is actually used tastefully and works quite well.

Although the band was staggering along and pulling miracles out of their arses to keep the musical compositions flowing, things were still continuing to unravel as the members were starting to suffer from infighting and the continued drug related incidents. Despite it all the critics had finally caught up to the band’s vision and SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH actually received praise from both critics and fans alike. As well as being a bloody excellent album that still keeps me enthralled, this was my first experience with SABBATH so this is an album that has a personal significance as well as just being a great album. While not as perfectly sinister as the band’s first three albums, this one holds together quite well despite the many elements thrown in the blender and forced to perform unthinkable things together. Only the lackluster “Fluff” and the overuse of the Townsend guitar style on “Spiral Architect” keep me from giving this a perfect score but because this album was my gateway into the world of the BLOODY SABBATH crowd, i’ll round it up every time and for my tastes a clear step up from “Vol 4.”

BLACK SABBATH Vol 4

Album · 1972 · Heavy Metal
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BLACK SABBATH had a phenomenal three year run with the first three albums “Black Sabbath,” “Paranoid” and “Master Of Reality” taking the world by storm and virtually single-handedly launching a new heavier form of gloomy doom fueled rock to the world. As the band became more famous and falling deeper and deeper into the trappings of rock stardom so too did the pressures take hold and it was precisely at the time when the band was entering the studio to record the fourth album unexcitingly titled VOL. 4 the drug addictions were starting to take their toll. As the good life became ever easier to grasp hold of, the temptations of too much of a good thing were starting to stifle the creative processes that had made BLACK SABBATH a household name in a very short time.

Lots of changes were in the works for SABBATH members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. Firstly the band let go of producer Rodger Bain and Iommi took control over the production process citing that Bain wasn’t capturing the band’s true potential. And so the alternative fab four headed into the studio in Los Angeles with speaker boxes filled with cocaine and set out to take the band to the next level on its own terms and those terms would be a focus on the heavier guitar riff filled doom and stoner metal of the first three albums with a few experimental touches. Fueled with drugs and ambition the band members discovered a new life in the sin city of LA and Geezer Butler recounted in a Guitar World interview in 2001 that this was the point where the classic lineup began its inevitable slow burn to implosion.

VOL 4 comes off as a very uneven album after the sheer perfection of the band’s first three efforts. Apparently an outside producer was need to organize and babysit these kids in a candy store as VOL 4 comes off as a fairly by the books affair with a few random numbers thrown in for variety’s sake although Iommi’s producer plaudits aren’t too shabby in and of themselves. Of the album’s ten tracks, the opener “Wheels Of Confusion / The Straightener,” “Tomorrow’s Dream,” “Supernaut,” “Snowblind,” “Cornucopia” and the closing “Under The Sun / Every Day Comes And Goes” follow the same playbook rules that got the band noticed in the first place. Those being catchy heavy psych guitar hooks drenched in distortion with a bluesy bad boy boogie style of cyclical riffing that trades off energetic hooks with slow plodding doomy power chords. A few interesting upgrades occur. The opener displays an excellent melodic extended dual guitar solo effect that carries the track past the eight minute mark. The closer finds some extended compositional skills that flirt with progressive rock.

The other tracks all stand out as territories unexplored by SABBATH at this point. The first is the unexpected sappy ballad “Changes” which finds no heavy metal at all but is rather a piano accompanied by a symphonic backing with lyrics that lament about Bill Ward losing his wife. Clearly attempting to cash in on the maudlin crowds and possible commercial crossover, the track is widely deemed as one of the most out of place songs on any early SABBATH albums and was thankful jettisoned from live performances after the following tour. If the track wasn’t bad enough, it left an impression on Ozzy who would add similarly insipid ballads all throughout his future solo career and the song would eventually years later *gasp* be rerecorded by Ozzy’s daughter Kelly. Gag icon please. Another head scratcher arises from the electronic experimental piece “FX” which honestly goes nowhere and also seem like a drug induced decision to win over some of the emerging electronica crowds that were gathering steam around the same time.

The other two tracks “Laguna Sunrise” and “St. Vitus Dance” are much better but also sound a bit out of place on a SABBATH album. The former sounds a bit like something off of Led Zeppelin’s “Houses Of The Holy” with a bit of SABBATH grit but is only an acoustic guitar instrumental with more symphonic backing much like the short intermissions of “Master Of Reality” only more chilled and folky. “St. Vitus Dance” jumps back into heavy distorted rock but has a bit more of a groove to it but also seems to never gather the steam that it needs to really go where it hints at and a clear indicator if it hasn’t already proven obvious that SABBATH were very much on automatic pilot while the spent half of their budget on drug binges.

Out of the first six essential BLACK SABBATH albums i have always found VOL 4 to be the weakest of the bunch and despite the attempts to experiment in myriad directions, the least effective as well. It’s difficult to be too harsh on this classic album because it does deliver quality early heavy metal tunes in full regalia and as an attempt to take things into a more streamlined hard rock approach VOL 4 does deliver. The problem is that the album is sandwiched between several better albums before and after that sound more cohesive, more professional and infinitely more interesting from a musical standpoint. Personally i loathe the cheesy ballad “Changes” and the half-baked attempt at making an electronic instrumental that stood out with “FX” only displayed the bad judgement fueled by the incessant cocaine abuse. While the band were pleased with themselves, the critics and fans weren’t as much since the band had lost a bit of that dark and mysterious edge. The tracks presented here came off as rather tame in comparison. However despite the fumbles, VOL 4 still comes off as a doomy riff fueled early heavy metal classic.

BLACK SABBATH Master Of Reality

Album · 1971 · Heavy Metal
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BLACK SABBATH has not only gone down in history as one of the greatest rock bands EVER and not only for being the primary reason metal music exists today AND also not because the music was so damn good but ALSO in how this band moved on so effectively from one album to next and in the process paved the way for a ridiculous amount of sub-genres to form in the following decades. The “other” fab four of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward dropped not one but two bombs on the unsuspecting world with their self-titled debut and then with “Paranoid” in 1970. Each only took a mere two days to record but their legacies have reverberated well into the 21st century. Only a year later the band was already shifting gears with the third album MASTER OF REALITY.

Due to the heavy touring schedule that immediately followed the previous albums, Iommi was suffering from finger pain due to the stress on his deformed finger tips that were severed during an accident years earlier. While this was fortuitous for the future headbangers of the world in that his misfortune turned an innovative adaptation into the world of heavy metal, the truth is that it also took its toll on his ability to perform. Being the guitar god innovator that he was, Iommi found a way out by taking yet another step to ease his discomfort as the music evolved into ever more challenging stylistic changes. One of these adaptations was simply down tuning his guitar on some of the heavier tracks and in the process invented even more styles of heavy metal in the forms of stoner and sludge that wouldn’t really find new life for over 20 years.

MASTER OF REALITY found the band off the road and having some time on their hands to experiment. The success of the first two albums and the tour also guaranteed a much heftier budget to play with and in the process this third album benefited from both more time and much more money. Rodger Bain would return as producer along with future Judas Priest associate Tom Allom joining in on engineering. The bigger budget meant a fuller sound and the band’s playful experimentalism allowed the music to diversify past the heavy metal shock rock that graced the first two albums. The album lived up to all expectations and was a major commercial success and clearly showed that BLACK SABBATH was no fly by night act. The band handled success quite well and utilized every opportunity to enhance the creative process. The world has never been the same since and neither would the “other” fab four.

The most obvious precursor for the stoner metal world single-handedly comes from the opener “Sweet Leaf” which opens with a coughing Tony Iommi after toking on a joint. After two albums of nihilism, the occult and impending doom and gloom, MASTER OF REALITY seemed like a therapy session in comparison with the sweet herb providing the zone out substance de jour. After the adolescent tuning out session of the opener, the band gets down to some serious heavy metal business as it jumps back into the political critique and anti-religious zealotry so prevalent on the first two albums. “After Forever” also displays a bigger and fuller sound with heavier distortion and a more clearly delineated bass lines distinct from the guitar. Bill Ward also developed a more staunchly independent style of drumming and the overall sound is darker due to the forced down-tuning of various songs. Ozzy pretty much stayed the same which added a bit of stability to an otherwise evolutionary thrust into a more psychedelic and even progressive outburst of creativity.

The album also hosted two short acoustic finger-picked guitar tracks that served as intermissions. Both “Embryo” and “Orchid” offered a veritable contrast between the longer heavy metal tracks that ranged from aggressive stomps to jamming sessions which allowed Iommi to crank out some stellar guitar solos. These short tracks have sort of a Scottish jig jerkiness to them. Three tracks were downtuned 1 1/2 times: “Children Of The Grave,” Lord Of This World” and “Into The Void” and allowed Iommi the comfort to expand his guitar playing skills and thus are more explorative than many of the other heavy metal tracks. These tracks also followed the first two album’s thematic approach with lyrical content that preached anti-war, mutual love and protests about injustices in the world in general. Of course this album was quite 420 friendly according to its participants. Wink and nod.

Perhaps the strangest track on the album is “Solitude” which recalls the mopey distortion-free contemplation of “Planet Caravan” from “Paranoid.” This track not only displays an exclusively clean guitar delivery from Tony Iommi but also finds him expanding his duties of playing flute and piano. The delay effect on Ozzy’s vocals, the mid-tempo pace and the hypnotic bass groove give this track a very psychedelic effect and the lack of percussion places this more into a freak folk category of music than anything remotely heavy metal, a trait that would continue throughout SABBATH’s career as well as being adopted by Ozzy as a solo artist. The grand finale “Into The Void” ends the album with gusto as heavy distorted guitar in the typical wickedly melodic style finds guitar stomps, sinister riffs, solos and features some early metal guitar gallops that pretty much spawned the careers of future bands like Metallica and the entire thrash scene.

While it’s hard to choose a favorite SABBATH album from the first six essentials, my personal favorite is this one. MASTER OF REALITY not only stands up over the test of time and can be played at any moment and as many times as i want but it also was one of the first albums that really got me to sink my psyche into the master SABBATH reality. While i wasn’t around to experience this first time around, it exudes a rather timeless display of how great music doesn’t have to rely on technical prowess or even excessive speed to be effective. This music perfectly evokes the emotional responses it summons. No one could ever argue that Tony Iommi was the greatest guitarist of all time or even that Ozzy Osbourne was the best vocalist but no one can deny that this band conjured up some serious sonic demons that possessed the soul for all eternity. This is truly one of the best albums ever to have been recorded and best of all BLACK SABBATH had a few more gems in them before the pressures of it all took its toll.

BLACK SABBATH Black Sabbath

Album · 1970 · Heavy Metal
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FMOTP
The other reviewers have already stated it - this is as essential as a heavy metal record gets. I may listen to Master of Reality or Volume 4 more often; I think they show more variety. However, there's no denying the significance and basic entertainment value of this debut. I'll only add a couple of points.

First, many bands need an album or two to hit their stride. It's amazing to me how BLACK SABBATH was changing rock music from the start. Every major innovation in metal, until early death/black metal at least, was foreshadowed in Sabbath's first few albums. Second, Ozzy's public image has possibly prevented him from getting his deserved recognition as a effective, distinctive singer.

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stefanbedna wrote:
more than 2 years ago
be following last album Black Sabbath ALIAS Heaven&Hell-The Devil You Know released 2009 official album discography thanks stefanbedna
Pelata wrote:
more than 2 years ago
The importance of Black Sabbath cannot be understated. Without Black Sabbath, Heavy Metal as we know it would not exist...or perhaps not exist at all.

My favorite era is without a doubt the Dio era (including the Heaven & Hell band). The albums RJD was a part of are pure Metal magic!!

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