BLACK SABBATH — Black Sabbath (review)

BLACK SABBATH — Black Sabbath album cover Album · 1970 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
UMUR
"Black Sabbath" is the eponymously tited debut full-length studio album by UK, Birmingham based heavy metal act Black Sabbath. The album was released in Europe through Vertigo Records in February 1970. It saw a US release through Warner Bros. Records in June 1970. The US version features an alternative tracklist to the original European version, replacing the Crow cover track "Evil Woman" with an additional Black Sabbath original titled "Wicked World". The tracklist change makes sense as the band were never that happy with the inclusion of "Evil Woman", but they were pushed by their then manager to include the track, as he felt the album otherwise lacked a song with commercial appeal (and if he was shooting for a radio hit single, he was probably right).

The album was recorded in one 10-hours long session in October 1969, and it was predominantly recorded live in the studio, with lead vocalist Ozzy Osbourne recording his vocal tracks simoultaniously with the recording of the instrumental tracks. The band then spend a few hours doing some overdubs (a few vocal overdubs, the bells, thunder and rain sound effects opening the title track, and the double-tracked guitar solos on "N.I.B." and "Sleeping Village"), and then the album was more or less done. Although the contemporary music press was largely unenthusiastic about the album, it was a commercial success for Black Sabbath and after its US release, sold more than a million copies.

"Black Sabbath" is in retrospect THE seminal release which started the heavy metal movement. Although at it´s core it´s pretty much a really heavy blues rock album, there is a dark occult atmosphere to the album (which is further enhanced by the creepy cover artwork and lyrics about Lucifer and other dark themes) and some very heavy distorted riffs and rhythms, which were more extreme than similar features on the output by other contemporary heavy rockers like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Uriah Heep. The most heavy and dark moments on this album simply transcend the term rock and belong to the then new born genre heavy metal (which it probably wasn´t labelled back then).

The album opens with the dark and doomy title track, which for contemporary ears must have been an extremely heavy track. But "The Wizard", "Behind The Wall Of Sleep", "N.I.B.", and "Sleeping Willage/Warning", are also quite dark and heavy tracks. Listening to "Evil Woman" it´s understandable the band didn´t feel it fit with the rest of the material, as it features a less heavy and lighter mood. "Wicked World" is arguably a better choice, featuring a similar heavy impact and dark atmosphere to the other tracks on the album. The album is packed in a dark, heavy, and organic sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. This one is not only a classic, it´s a great album featuring high level musical performances (real persons playing/singing, warts and all), a well sounding production, and powerful and creative songwriting. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.
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UMUR wrote:
24 days ago
Yeah sometimes it´s completely anarchistic, and I love it. Great great album.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
25 days ago
I love all the album's until after Sabotage but this one is the perfect album of all time. The band name, the cover art, the murky wild compositions. OMG this must have been mind blowing when it first came out!

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