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Black Sabbath - Paranoid CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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4.29 | 933 ratings

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4 stars Despite the success of their debut, it was this album that turned BLACK SABBATH into superstars of heavy metal.

Has there ever been a more portentious opening to an album than IOMMI'S distorted guitar on 'War Pigs', with the air-raid siren howling? As a young teen this fair put the willies up me. 'War Pigs' is a classic song in anyone's language. Distilled from a live jam that often went on for half an hour or more, 'War Pigs' was accomplished and tight as well as being direct: no metaphors or hidden messages here. 'Paranoid', a last-minute inclusion on the album, is an oddity in the SABBATH canon, with a much faster tempo. It is this song more than any other which birthed the myriad of heavy metal genres we have today - they all owe this three minute track a great debt. To tell the truth, I never liked it. It seemed lightweight to me.

This is a more complete album than the rushed debut. There's a psychedelic ballad ('Planet Caravan') and plenty of riff-laden menace, replete with sci-fi themes and social commentary - but relatively little occult imagery. At this stage of their career they were still not entirely comfortable with the image that was winning them legions of fans. 'Iron Man' is the best of the remaining tracks, a simple but effective sci-fi tale of revenge drenched in some of the most well-known riffs in rock. The sublime moment comes at the end of the instrumental break, where each motif is reprised, leading to a repeat of the song's ponderous opening riff. Genius.

Not quite five stars: had they paid as much attention to the rest of the album as they did to the opener, this could have been truly great. As it is, they had to settle for genre-defining.

'Heavy boots of lead, fills his victims full of dread.' Woo hoo!

russellk | 4/5 |


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