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Black Sabbath - Paranoid CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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4.30 | 898 ratings

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Symphonic Team
5 stars Iommi's Killer Riffs, Ozzy's estranged vocals, welcome to Sabbath's best album

A definitive metal album in any sense of the word and quintessential Sabbath from start to finish with their best line up. This has no less that 3 of the classic metal songs in metal history; War Pigs, Paranoid and Iron Man. But the rest of the songs are excellent too namely Electric Funeral, and Hand of Doom. The lyrics, power riffs and vocal delivery are the blueprint of all things metal. Ozzy has a fantastic voice here and blasts a massive delivery on every track. Who can forget his powerful delivery on War Pigs? "Generals gathered in their masses, Just like witches at black masses, Evil minds that plot destruction, Sorcerers of death's construction, In the fields the bodies burning, As the war machine keeps turning, Death and hatred to mankind, Poisoning their brainwashed minds, Oh Lord yeah!" Then we are treated to the simplistic yet killer riff from Iommi which cranks seriously with a great bass and drum rhythm. It is simply brilliant. Paranoid of course is one of the greatest metal moments with Ozzy giving it everything as that riff blazes away. Every metal guitarist should know this and it is easy to play once you get the hang of it. I love the way it ends with Ozzy singing: "And so as you hear these words telling you now of my state, I tell you to enjoy life I wish I could but it's too late." Many critics attacked the song believing it stated to 'end your life' but Ozzy was more optimistic than people gave him credit for. Planet Caravan is a psychedelic Sabbath track that feels out of place but it is the sheer audacity of the band to produce this among all the metal that makes it a true curio. I don't mind this at all and it feels bizarre and ethereal. Ozzy's psyched up phased voice gives it a creepy trippy style.

Iron Man is certainly my favourite Sabbath song and the way it begins with distorted monster vocals users in a masterpiece of metal. The riff is doomy and unforgettable, and the lyrics are sung in time to the riff augmenting the atmosphere; "He was turned to steel, in the great magnetic field, When he travelled time, for the future of mankind, Nobody wants him, He just stares at the world, Planning his vengeance, that he will soon unfurl." Easy to play once again but such a brilliant combination of chords that Iommi cemented his reputation as a master of the power riff. The guitars sound like an iron giant creeping forward with massive stomping feet. The way the time sig changes in the middle is masterful. The lead break is inspired with fretmelting finesse. The ending speeds up and changes time sigs again and it ends on a massive freakout of guitars. Absolutely essential listening.

Electric Funeral is doom metal in its earliest form and a great song with sleak guitars and innovative lyrics; "Robot minds of robot slaves lead them to atomic rage, plastic flowers, melting sun, fading moon falls upon, dying world of radiation, victims of mad frustration, Burning globe of oxy'n fire, like electric funeral pyre."

There is an anti Heroin song, the guitar heavy Hand Of Doom , and this features Ozzy preaching aginst substance abuse; "Now you know the scene, your skin starts turning green, Your eyes no longer seeing life's reality, Push the needle in, face death's sickly grin, Holes are in your skin, caused by deadly pin"

Rat Salad is intriguing with a metal meets jazz vibe. The drums of Bill Ward are given the spotlight as he is allowed to bash out for a while solo. This instrumental chugs along nicely and the guitars shine once again. Geezer Butler's bassline here is terrific.

Fairies Wear Boots/Jack the Stripper ends the album and Ozzy has a memorable style on this with some driving guitars and lead solos that strip down wallpaper. The band were delightful in full flight and this album provides a massive spark for their fire. They were unsurpassed progenitors of metal and this may be one of the most influential albums along with Deep Purple's "In Rock."

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |


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