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Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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4.24 | 1035 ratings

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2 stars Evil is born.

Yeah, this is it. The so called birth of heavy metal. And, the title track is assuredly evil sounding. And when ol' Kermit-the-Ozz shrieks that "oh please no!" and Iommi lets it rip, this is something special. And it is. This song is complex, powerful, and absolutely terrifying for its time. Then you get something unexpected. A harmonica introduction. This is a fun rock song. The Wizard is a somewhat complex. As to be expected, the riff is superb. I like this song almost as much as the title track, at times, but it is a step down in my eyes.

Behind the Walls of Sleep is a standard rock song. It is short, the riff is somewhat memorable, and Ozzy doesn't ruin everything, or does he? His vocals are rather awful here, and the music isn't even dark enough for it to mesh together. The riff wants to be funky, but it is so empty, as to be rendered weak. This song is only three and a half minutes long, but boy is it mediocre. At least it would be saved (read: completely rendered a waste of time) by the next track...

NIB. Quite possibly the best thing here, if only Ozzy didn't do that pedestrian and childish "oh yeah!" While his vocals are partly why I love the title track, here they just seem weak. And it is a shame, because this is still a very awesome song. The riffing is excellent, and it is heavy. Still an album highlight, and I Evil woman is up next, and already Black Sabbath drop their fun dark metal for a funky Deep Purple rock song that sort of falls flat. The hook is shallow, the lyrics are worse than cock rock, and it is one of the emptiest and weakest songs here. And is it me, or does the solo seem somewhat stumbling? Not complex, not innovative, and not interesting.

So far, it seems for each flash of brilliance, there are two sags of mediocrity (or in evil woman's case, banal rock and roll.) And the next song is a good showing of this. The whole thing is slow, and not in the good way. Black Sabbath try to be too funky. And the solos clearly show Iommi as a work in progress rather tahn the blistering work he would be later known for. The solos feel like spruced up meandering jams, rather than real parts of the songs. They are all interchangeable, and average, at best. So ends another unimpressive "rock" tune. Where is the grit? Where is the fire? Where is anything that isn't a rip off of Deep Purple (where DP did it better).

The album's epic "The Warning" is somewhat intriguing. It starts off as a bluesy funk-laden jam, with some dancing electric guitar, the rhythm plodding on, and Ozzy doing his best Jim Morrison, but he ain't no cool, jack (at least not now) The dancing guitars are nice, and this whole album is a decent enough hard rock affair, but it is nothing amazing. Still, the warning goes on for far too long. That drum solo is just unneeded. This might be seen as progressive, but it falls flat. The production is spotty (understandably so) and the soloing, while nice, is not worth the time. And it has no backing, so it is pretty much a free form jam, and not too bright of one, either. Closing the album is Wicked World. Another Deep Purple style uptempo rocker, and not a very interesting one. They are all competent musicians, but they excelled at writing dark metal, and this early simple rock doesn't suit them at all. The flurry at the end is kind of nice, though.

The boys try to hard to get funky and rocking, but it just isn't in them. Ozzy's vocals are just simply atrocious at times, and Iommi hadn't yet bloomed into the guitar master he is on later, more focused and cohesive albums. Too much spreading out of styles kills the atmosphere on the album. I will give this album **1/2 stars. One for each NIB and Black Sabbath, everything else adds up to the half. They will assuredly go on to do better.

Alitare | 2/5 |


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