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Black Sabbath - Paranoid CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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4.30 | 903 ratings

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4 stars Here's a great album from the seventies with some atmosphere typical for... progressive rock. Well, the music is not even close (although is great) but the album is, I dare to say, thematic: post-nuclear Earth.

Or not. Not entirely. Maybe that's just my imagination, but the majority of the songs on the album fit into that picture. The album is prog-related because it's science-fiction related....oh, I know, that sounds more than just stupid. But that scenery (science fiction) fits a prog rock music just fine. There's another musical genre that utilises science fiction very often: metal. Also, that's the main thing that I see as a relation of IRON MAIDEN and progressive rock, although I know that's far from the only reason.Speaking of prog-SF-metal relation, maybe that's the reason why these two genres "fit" together well, and why nowadays, in 2007, the majority of prog acts are prog metal artists. This is perhaps worth a discussion but it doesn't have much to do with the album.

However, this is a solid piece of an album: solid as a rock, hard as a metal, very dark, and good.

The music is really raw: simple riffs, no complexities, almost punkish at the moments. If the debut was a milestone of a new genre, this album cemented the pole position of the band in heavy metal thunder. The band will continue to play, something on the edge of experimenting and/or fusing with other genres, but after this one, they were simply not allowed to shift. They set too many things, and the picture and message that band created was so powerful and suggestive (shocking at the time), it would be really stupid and out of place from band to embrace some hippie idealism or punk attitude in a years to come. The band fell into the trap after their creativity peak; in the late 80's the scenery was the same, but everything was just childish. Oh well. Enough on musical impacts and consequences.

On this album, they weren't blues oriented anymore as on the debut ("Planet Caravan" is the closest thing but it doesn't sound extremely bluesy, it sounds more suitable for the motion picture "Mad Max"), and they were not complex as in years to come (no inclining towards prog rock like in "Wheels Of Confusion", for example). Like I said, the music is raw, the riffs are simple (but brilliant and catchy), guitar solos are - as modern reviewers love to say - economical. This album is recommended to the fans of HARD ROCK. It might appeal to an average prog rock (non prog-metal) fan, but that's not for sure: you should give it a try. I don't know what to say about heavy metal fans - 95% of them are already familiar with this one, and for those who are not - well, you may dislike it, the metal genre itself nowadays is so diverse that is extremely narrow minded to say "if you like metal, you will surely love this", but it's certainly worth investigating. At the end of the day, this one is recommend for everyone.

"Paranoid" (the title song) is soooo overplayed that I can't stand it anymore, besides, it's the worst song on the album. "Rat Salad" is somewhat unnecessary drum solo surrounded with hard-rock-blues-scale riffs (like LED ZEPPELIN's "Moby Dick" but not nearly as good). If you're a Beavis and Butt-head fun, you will probably know the main theme from "Iron Man", this one is too overplayed as well, but the song in its entirety is great, a seed for BLACK SABBATH's further multi-part songs, their (tiny?) piece of proggyness.

"Electric Funeral" is another good one; here the wah-wah pedal was used for the first time (?) not as a pretencious device for extensive blues soloing (I'm referring to HENDRIX of course), but as a effect that sound really...doomed. Wah-wah in metal. Great. I'm familiar only with one more song from that period doing the same thing (QUEEN: "Great King Rat").

I see I mentioned almost all the songs on the album, well, here's the rest: both "War Pigs" and "Fairies Wear Boots" are BLACK SABBATH classics, "War Pigs" being really great (for my taste).

The album is not a masterpiece, in my opinion, but it's really good. For both relation to prog and for the quality and enjoyment music-wise that is four dark stars.

clarke2001 | 4/5 |


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