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Black Sabbath - Paranoid CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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4.30 | 898 ratings

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5 stars Is Paranoid the mother of all metal albums? Who knows, that’s one of those arguments that has no real answer. For sure it’s been enough of an influence on a couple of generations of metalheads since that it probably qualifies as one of the best-known metal albums ever though. And there are most likely people half my age or less who know the album as well or better than I do, even though I grew up listening to it.

Hard to believe it’s nearly forty years old; seems like only yesterday Ozzy was belting out the anti- warmonger lyrics to “War Pigs” and singing about the fractured life of the “Iron Man”. But the days that followed when fundamentalists crushed and burned thousands of copies of the album and decried Osbourne as the anti-Christ seem like a lifetime away. Some things age better than others.

Beyond all the social strife these guys caused back in the day there lies a pretty damn good album. Tony Iommi’s heavy riffs and Geezer Butler’s thudding bass were not standard rock fare at the time, and I think some metal and heavy rock fans today fail to appreciate how innovative this album was at the time. Just about every track is a classic, and even today we can relive “Iron Man” whenever we pick up that crappy plastic axe and play Guitar Hero.

“Paranoid” and “War Pigs” are just as well known though, and “War Pigs” was still a major party song when I was in high school more than six years after the album released, even though by then the likes of Elton John and Hall & Oates were kings of the airwaves, and Starland Vocal Band was winning a Grammy. Go figure.

Musically I think Fairies Wear Boots is probably the most original tune on the album, although there is certainly no shortage of fans who would disagree. About the only track that hasn’t worn all that well over time is the heavy psychedelic Planet Caravan, although even this is a better composition than the majority of metal or psych I’ve heard released in the last ten years or so. The rhythmic guitar and funky percussion makes for an incredible high on a quiet summer evening sitting outside watching the sunset. Not the scene the band likely anticipated it being played in, but it works nonetheless.

This is a classic, without a doubt essential to just about any record collection. Is it a masterpiece though? Tougher call, but not all that tough for anyone over the age of forty or so. A five star album in my mind, and since this is my review that’s what I’m going to give it.


ClemofNazareth | 5/5 |


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