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Black Sabbath - Paranoid CD (album) cover

PARANOID

Black Sabbath

 

Prog Related

4.25 | 669 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars As someone whose experience islimited to the metal bands following in Sabbath's wake, I came to Paranoid with fresh ears and an expectation for anachronism; however, while Paranoid's sound is very much a relic of its days, the dark energy, vibe, and style maintain a strong appeal to those who can appreciate some good old fashioned, bluesy-doom.

The group's infamy as a template for heavy-metal is, I think, probably deserved with Paranoid, which features wonderfully crushing, tuned-down riffs and ominous chords throughout. "War Pigs" is a powerful opener, complete with brooding effects, tempo changes, vocals, and song structure; a great, somewhat complex tune. "Iron Man", "Hand of Doom" and "Faeries Wear Boots" follow suit, giving the listener an iconic set of songs which showcase the band's dark signature sound. Moreover, the instrumental performances are excellent, with Iommi's guitar leading the way with scary-sounding sustanis and inventive solos; the rhythm section is quite good as well, with Butler's bass standing out as a power force for the group's emphasis on the bottom-end. The surprise atmospheric "Planet Caravan" is a thoughtful highlight as well.

The overall effect will please anyone who enjoys dark blues or metal music, although one shouldn't compare Sabbath's metal to modern followers, who up the ante in terms of aggression and intensity. Paranoid is mostly laid-back, gloomy, and occasionally rousing-- never intense or explosive.

There are a few things which keep me from scoring this one higher though. "Paranoid" and "Electric Funeral" fail to impress, being straight forward, dated-sounding rockers. Also, some of Ozzie's drug inspired lyrics take away much of the seriousness in some songs, making it difficult for me to connect with them.

These minor complaints don't do much to mar this classic though. An icon of its times, Paranoid is a worthy listen today by all fans of hard rock. Four stars rounded up for historical significance and vintage appeal.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |

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