BLACK SABBATH — Black Sabbath (review)

BLACK SABBATH — Black Sabbath album cover Album · 1970 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
For the artwork alone, this album could deserve a 10 out of 10. For me it's the most fitting and eerie cover ever done, perfectly capturing the feel and atmosphere of the music. Ominous music if that still needs to be said.

This album kicked off heavy metal for real. Iron Butterfly, Cream, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and many others had done huge pioneering work in the years before, but still, something was missing in their hard rock. Despite all the screams and howls, and even with the aggressive playing and huge power chords, it all lacked one defining ingredient: Satan!

Here the horned root of all evil is not only present in the lyrics but also conjured up by the music. The way how to invoke Lucifer is as simple as it is effective: 1. wear the cross upside down, 2. use words, such as Satan, evil, doom or devil at least once in every track, and 3. use the tritone as extensively as possible. Simply put, the tritone is a dissonant interval that sounds evil. They already knew it in the middle-ages. It was nicknamed ‘Diabolus in Musica’ and it was generally avoided till the late romanticists got their hands on it and used it to create darker and more menacing music. The title track is the perfect example of it.

By going in such occult directions, Sabbath openly distanced themselves from the prevailing hippie culture and guess what? It was an instant success and it reshaped the history of rock, or at least a huge part of the rock culture. Every track on this album surges with power and pours out sinister atmosphere. In fact, even the indulgent guitar solo in the lengthy Warning can't spoil the larger than life feel of the album. This is the defining album of heavy metal and probably one of the best classic metal albums ever.
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