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SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH

Black Sabbath

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Black Sabbath Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album cover
4.08 | 513 ratings | 40 reviews | 45% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (5:42)
2. A National Acrobat (6:16)
3. Fluff (instrumental) (4:10)
4. Sabbra Cadabra (5:55)
5. Killing Yourself to Live (5:40)
6. Who Are You? (4:10)
7. Looking for Today (4:59)
8. Spiral Architect (5:29)

Total Time: 42:21

Lyrics

Search BLACK SABBATH Sabbath Bloody Sabbath lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Ozzy Osbourne / vocals
- Tony Iommi / electric and acoustic guitars, steel guitar, piano, harpsichord, organ, flute, bagpipes.
- Geezer Butler / bass, fuzz bass, mellotron, synthesizer.
- Bill Ward / drums, tympani and percussion

Guest musician:
- Rick Wakeman / Keyboards (4)

Releases information

LP, WWA Records, WWA 005, 1973
CD (RE, RM), Essential, ESM CD 305 GAS 0000305ESM, 1996

Thanks to Ghost Rider for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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BLACK SABBATH Sabbath Bloody Sabbath ratings distribution


4.08
(513 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(45%)
45%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(42%)
42%
Good, but non-essential (8%)
8%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

BLACK SABBATH Sabbath Bloody Sabbath reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With this album BLACK SABBATH continue to explore unfamiliar territory: sophisticated songwriting.

A number of the tracks on this album don't finish in the way they start. In other words, they are not straightforward rock songs. As such they warrant attention from the progressive community. The songs with a progressive brush are the title track, 'A National Acrobat', and 'Killing Yourself to Live'.

I'll make special mention of the title track. Using a riff and rhythm more than suggestive of something from native North America, this song grinds along for three and a half minutes, combines a driving riff underneath OZZY OSBORNE's cleverly processed voice spitting vindictive lyrics, then becomes a different and altogether more menacing beast with a riff from the depths of Sheol. OZZY's voice reappears over this riff - unprocessed this time, raw as only his voice can be - and you are left in no doubt that this band is still visceral. Surely purchasing this riff from the devil must have cost one of the band members his soul. Nothing prepares you for this change, and it grabs you by the glands every time. Then the song changes yet again for the drum-led fadeout.

'A National Acrobat' is near as good. The guitar is toned strangely for this one, but it's effective, giving the song an epic sci-fi/fantasy feel. A dramatic middle section, complete with fx the early SABBATH would never have embraced, leads to a quite disparate but very fitting outro. Two down, and finally it seems BLACK SABBATH are fulfilling their promise.

In an unfortunate move they position the obligatory acoustic instrumental too early in the album. This might have been better as the sixth track, but we don't need interrupting yet, certainly not for four minutes. A nice four minutes, to be sure, but not what I spent my pennies on, and IOMMI is no AL DE MIOLA. 'Sabbra Cadabra' sounds like a great title but it's a fairly MOR love song, a little bit of a surprise. Well done and all that, especially the latter half, with a hook in the bridge (funny place for it, lads) and a stunning funky outro, but I'm getting itchy feet ...

Cured by 'Killing Yourself to Live'. This is another three-parter, the parts welded together by main force. Again the guitar tone sounds genuinely ominous, as befits the lyrics. The chorus is lifted by another great riff from the IOMMI riff factory - and again, the central section is simply superb, a real chill moment. 'I'm telling you, believe in me!' And then, suddenly, it all changes, growing even more menacing, with a hint of keyboards. Riff follows riff, enough to fill a normal album, a riot of genius one after the other - and the song changes again, picking up tempo. No, OZZY, I don't know if I'm up or down either.

Why did I stop listening to BLACK SABBATH? Because in 1977 a teenage boy was found in my home town, hanging in his bedroom, this album on the platter, side two upwards, lyrics to this song in his diary, and speculation was he'd obeyed the title. Look, back then this music was considered sufficiently powerful that listening to it could, we thought, do stuff like that to your head ...

'Who Are You' was another not-very-good idea. Kudos for trying something different - the central piano section sounds almost TONY BANKS-like - but the synths are so dated now, sounding like bees in a dustbin. 'Looking For Today' is a surprisingly gentle rocker of no particular interest, and 'Spiral Architect' follows a lovely acoustic intro not with some blinding riff, but with another gentle upbeat rocker. Seems IOMMI used up his year's quota of riffage from hell earlier in the album. This sounds like something from ELTON JOHN or THE WHO (I'm probably reminded of 'Pinball Wizard' by the dual notes that herald the song) - not a bad thing, but not what you want from the demonic foursome, particularly given the lyric. And who let the orchestra in? Were they in the wrong studio? And what's with the finish: a polite audience clapping and a post-concert outro? Haven't quite worked that one out.

Thing is, they simply couldn't play this stuff live. Early SABBATH was lead or rhythm guitar: by now they have two leads and at least two rhythms going at once, some with studio effects. OZZY's voice was so processed (a great idea) he could not make the songs sound anything like the studio versions. After this and the next album, the miraculous 'Sabotage', they abandoned all progressive ideas and studio manipulation. Sad. But you can still listen to this and reflect that when they told you BLACK SABBATH was simply a heavy blues band, they weren't telling you the whole truth. Or, with this album as evidence, not even most of the truth.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#144214) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars WHEN SABBATH MEETS WAKEMAN !

As usual, "Sabbath" release d their annual album. As usual it will be a good one. There is also someone lots of progheads cherish in the line-up (including myself of course). Mister Rick Wakeman himself holds the keyboards ! (but he did it already loooooooong before on the album "Space Oddity" from whm you might know about.

The opener is again a killer. In their past history, the band has always have the excellent idea to start an album with a killer song. "Black Sabbath" on their debut one, "War Pigs" on "Paranoïd", "Sweet Leaf" on "MOR" and the fantastic "Wheels Of Confusion" from their fourth effort. And don't worry the title track "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" just prolonged the tradition. A monster song and a fantastic witness of the early ages of the heavy metal genre (invented by "Sabbath" back to 1970).

The next song is also a highlight. More complex, "sophisticated". One of my fave here thanks to its hypnotic guitar riff (but Iommi is a master in this respect, able at times to compete with the Blackmores and the Pages). The middle part is totally heavy-blues oriented. This part is a bit longuish but the closing section is again brilliant. So mighty. So "Sabbath" !

Another tradition of the band, is to include soft / acoustic songs on their album (remember "Planet Caravan", "Solitude", the splendid "Orchid" and the less splendid (to say the least) "Changes". On this album, "Fluff" will do the job. A nice guitar instrumental. But it won't reach the sentimentality nor the perfection of "Orchid". Just a break.

This is now the fifth "Sabbath" album, and inevitably the band will start to repeat themselves like in "Killing Yourselves". A good song with a great guitar solo but this is a feeling of déjà vu (if you do not appreciate this band so much, you'll get this feeling already after their first release only).

No, "Who Are You" is not a cover from "Who" you know. It's a mellow rock ballad featuring synth and piano. Don't forget that Rick is holding the keys... But he is really the only attraction of this number that won't be much remembered in the future. "Looking For Today" is a more elaborate piece of music again. Not brilliant but the catchy mood is pleasant enough to bring some divertion in this album.

Those were the days of the most drug abuse by the band (especially Ozzy and Bill). The legend says that both of them were under cocaine every single day for about two years...They must have a damn good health for having survive to this treatment !

Globally, this album was a bit of a disappointment for me at the time of release. Fortunately there is a very good closing with "Spiral Architect". Heavy but completely original with the addition of some strings. I am not really a fan of such mixes but I have to say that they are pretty much bearable here. A bit mellow at times, but this is one of the best song of the album.

Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#144273) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" (November 1973), the band brought in Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman on one track, signaling a slight change in musical direction; it was Black Sabbath's fifth straight Top Ten hit and million-seller. Musically, this is a solid album by Black Sabbath and was in fact it was the first album that I listened to in its entirety when the album was released in 1973. The album title track "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is truly a killing rocker that would definitely attract million rock ears by that time.

The album remarked a sad story in the band's career because their manager Jim Simpson sued them for wrongful termination. The band realized that their manager screwed them out for millions of dollars. The lawsuit went on for two years. As Osbourne said, this "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" album was made to pay their lawyers. Through this album Black Sabbath reflected the brutal realities of the music business. "Killing Yourself To Live" was representing their grievances from the music business.

"Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is for me an excellent album as it has good combination of melody, riff and structure. For those who have never heard the music of Black Sabbath ('coz you Mom did not let you collect their record!) can even start with this album. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Sunday, October 21, 2007

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Four and a half stars to be exact! Forgetting all the historical events that helped create this album, SBS is without doubt their second most influential album alongside the irrepressible Paranoid and Volume IV. Sabbath Bloddy Sabbath is probably the most musically incisive album. At their peak so to speak.... The title track opener is arguably their most laconic, acidic and vitriloc spending spree ever. Sabbath were at their peak, there is no denying that and ' National Acrobat' and ' Sabra Cadabra' endorse that very point. Sabatoge followed suit with similar themes but not so close in total fulfilment.

' Spiral Architect' is epic suff and this album will not be missed from diluted " OK ' Albums from the archives because it is so vintage in so many ways. A solid recommmendation for their fifth album.

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Posted Saturday, October 27, 2007

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This helped me in the transition from hard rock fan to prog rock fan. SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH takes these prog rock sensibilities and merges them wonderfully with the heavy hard rock metal sound they've been developing for their whole career. The songs are still riff heavy, but carry much depth to them. Don't believe me? Take a listen to ''A National Acrobat'' as each riff and idea spoils you with catchy accessibility and cerebral pings in one swoop.

For my money, Ozzy has never sounded better here. Most people seem to undermine his singing ability, and while today his voice is marginal at best, back in his Black Sabbath days, he was a competent, powerful vocalist. ''Sabbra Cadabra'' is one of his best vocal performances to date, only to be outdone by ''The Writ'' on the following album. Tony Iommi has also taken a more in-depth approach to his guitar riffs as he gives a wonderful acoustic piece in ''Fluff'' (one of the first acoustic solos I've heard, so there's bias here), turned up the heaviness in ''Killing Yourself to Live'' and elaborated the riff pretty much everywhere.

I find ''Who Are You?'' the only slump here; the synth lines are annoying. ''Looking for Today'' would've fared much better had the production been so much better. Hearing an orchestra on ''Spiral Architect'' might sound odd, but it works so well. I may hold bias towards Black Sabbath as they were one of the first hard rock bands I really took to heart, but just the way that SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH was constructed ought to have progsters at least somewhat interested.

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Posted Friday, December 07, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I know it's knd of cliche to say that you really need to give an album a lot of spins to really get into the music, but of all the BLACK SABBATH's albums I found this statement to be most true concerning this record. I'm not sure if that means there is more depth to this one, or it's more progressive, or it's just me, but i've grown to really like this album.The first three SABBATH records demanded my attention, they sort of grabbed me by the throat one way or another. "Vol 4" really lacked that quality, even though there were some great songs on it, I didn't feel any energy. Perhaps that was because the band were out of there element, as they recorded that one in L.A., California. They were i'm sure in the holiday mode after so much touring. For this one they are back in the U.K., and actually in an old castle to record this. I would say that is more their element than the beach would be. It's cool that Rick Wakeman is playing on this album under the alias of Spock Wall. Haha.

"Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath" opens with a killer riff from Iommi (the king of riffs). The vocals from Ozzy are very passionate, he's really into this. I love the contrast between the heavy passages and the pastoral sections. Nice solo from Iommi 2 1/2 minutes in. Check out the heaviness a minute later as Butler lays them down, while Ozzy lets it rip vocally. "A National Acrobat" is a very proggy tune. Ward is quite prominant on this one while Iommi grinds out the melodies. Ozzy spits out the lyrics. Iommi fires off some rounds after 3 1/2 minutes. Up to this point it's been quite hypnotizing, then the melody changes to a brighter tone 5 minutes in. "Fluff" features gentle guitar with piano arriving a minute in. "Sabbra Cadabra" is an uptempo rocker. Wakeman comes in with some piano melodies 3 minutes in. Ward and Butler shine late in the song.

"Killing Yourself To Live" seems to get better as it plays out. I like when Iommi comes in playing over the soundscape 2 minutes in with some great melodies.The song changes and the tempo shifts gears a few times the rest of the way. "Who Are You ?" opens with ominous synths. It slowly plods along. It changes as mellotron waves blow in softly, but then were back to those spacey synths. "Looking For Today" is an upbeat song, I like the chorus.The guitar to end it is a highlight. "Spiral Architect" along with the title track are my favourites. It begins with gentle guitar for a minute and then a full sound comes in. Ozzy sounds great on this one. Some orchestration on this one. The bass is prominant. Amazing sound. It ends with the sound of an audience clapping.

It's not as good as any of the first three albums in my opinion, but it fits in well with them, and is my fourth favourite of their first six classic records.

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Posted Sunday, January 06, 2008

Review by Raff
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars By 1973, the Birmingham quartet had already taken the rock world by storm, and were ready to explore new musical pastures. For a band whom many consider to be the antithesis of prog, they had worn those influences rather visibly on their first, legendary album, and occasionally on the three that followed. However, for their fifth release, Black Sabbath decided to pull out all the stops, and record an album that is more than simply prog-related - therefore the one that has the most appeal for open-minded prog fans.

The first clearly noticeable thing about "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" (besides the elaborately, stylishly disturbing cover artwork) are the vastly improved production values, which emphasise the complex song structures and confer a definitely more melodic quality to the band's music - instead of pushing for a raw, 'wall-of-sound' effect like on their previous releases. Clarity is the key word here - Tony Iommi's monstrous, hypnotic riffs shine like rough diamonds, enriched by the constant presence of keyboards (courtesy of Rick Wakeman, though he is only credited on one track) and other assorted instruments which in the past one would have hardly associated with BS. The rhythm section of Butler and Ward is also more distinctly audible, and not reduced to a murky background roar. Moreover, it is quite evident that the individual members' technical proficiency has improved, as well as their compositional skills. All of this makes SBS the band's most musically accomplished album so far.

While the title-track opens the album by closely following the style of Sabbath's earlier albums, with Ozzy's voice at its whiniest over Iommi's crunching, relentless riffing - a real, heavy metal behemoth of a song - "A National Acrobat" (at over 6 minutes, the longest song on the album) suddenly steers things into a different territory. In spite of the band's trademark riff galore, there is also an air of melody and sophistication which is further developed throughout the album. Gentle, wistful instrumental "Fluff" offers a moment of respite before "Sabbra Cadabra", the only track in which Wakeman is esplicitly credited, contributing his brilliant piano lines to this driving, energetic heavy rocker.

The second part of the album is also the proggiest, with keyboards taking centre stage, and song structures becoming increasingly more elaborate. The sneaky, obsessive synthetiser riff of "Who Are You?", mimicked by Ozzy's eerie vocal tones, relaxes into a beautiful piano interlude. "Killing Yourself to Live", one of the most complex songs on the album, contains a bitter, sarcastic indictment of the music industry, driven by Iommi's corrosive riffing and Ozzy's sneering vocals. While "Looking for Today" is a more upbeat piece, featuring assorted keyboards and even flute, "Spiral Architect", one of the album's highlights, alternates slow, melancholy, orchestra-backed parts with more dynamic, riff-driven ones. Incidentally, the sci-fi-inspired lyrics are somewhat reminiscent of what their American 'counterpart', Blue Oyster Cult, were doing in the same period.

A true example of crossover between heavy rock and prog, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" has a lot to offer to the discerning listener. Even if lacking the shock value and groundbreaking power of their self-titled debut, this is an awesome slice of heavy yet intelligent music, and (together with that big favourite of mine, 1980's Heaven and Hell) their best offering ever.

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Posted Sunday, February 10, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars No "fluff" here!

After the somewhat directionless Volume Four, Black Sabbath once again got back on track with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. With this album, Black Sabbath really started to take their progressive ambitions seriously. The progressive aspects had, of course, been there all along in their music, and albums like the groundbreaking debut or the masterpiece Master Of Reality were particularly strong in progressive tendencies. With the exception of Master Of Reality however, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was Black Sabbath's most progressive album up to that point and also one of their best very best ones. I guess that Master Of Reality and Sabotage will always be my favourites, but Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is really great too. There are no weak moments as such on this album, but I feel that there is less urgency and flow here than on Master Of Reality and Sabotage. Still, nearly every track here is a true classic!

The excellent closer Spiral Architect features a very symphonic introduction and Sabbra Caddabra, which has a more Rock 'N' Roll feeling at times, features a guest spot by none other than Rick Wakeman on keyboards! It is a common mistake to think that Rick played keyboards on the whole album but it is clear to my ears that the rest of the album's keyboards were not played by Rick. Fluff is Toni Iommi's traditional acoustic piece and it is again a very good one, perhaps it is a bit too long for its own good, though.

For me this is one of Black Sabbath's best albums and a near-perfect album in its own right. A must for all fans of the heavier side of Prog or the proggier side of Heavy Metal.

Very highly recommended!

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Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Black Sabbath´s fifth studio album is their best and the most progressive of their discography, at least up to this point. It was a truly remarkable album that showed both critics and public they really were better musicians and songwriters than most people thought (including fans) or cared. There were already glimpses of their skills on earlier releases, most notably on Vol. 4, but on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath they really surfaced as a very versatile, strong and accomplished band.

Most prog fans here make a point of noting that Rick Wakeman plays on the album so to give the CD a kind of prog credential. Unfortunatly for those who were not curious enough to dig some more information, Wakeman plays only on one single track (piano and synth on Sabbra Cadabra). All of other keyboards duties are handled by band members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. Some reviewers insist on the old legend that Wakeman is the one behind Who Are You´s tasteful keyboard lines, but all involved have denied that claim through several interviews during the years. it is like som ecould not believe Ionni or Butler were not talented enough to do such job! Iommi specially is quite proeminent here, playing a nice piano and Harpsichord(!) on the instrumental Fluff and adding great flute licks on Living For Today. Not bad for a guy who has already being called ´riffmaster´!

Production is way better than earlier releases and some orchestral arrangements help enhance more progressive experiments on songs like Spiral Architect. Of course the band is not really symphonic, but clearly had expanded the bounderies of heavy music like very few others did, before or since. And on this particular CD they are at their peak, both as writers and players. There is not one single filler in the entire album. Of course some tracks are better than others, but that´s more to do about personal tastes than any song flaws.

Even if some earlier stuff had more proto metal classics than this one, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is their masterpiece in rock music as a whole. They proved they could deliver a fine work of art and that heavy music could be really progressive. Varied and very well crafted, this album impressed me a lot in a time my heroes were Yes and Genesis. Most radical progheads at the time had the same reaction. Black Sabbath and Deep Purple proved prog and heavy were not so far apart as it seemed at the beginning.

Classic album, a masterpiece of prog music (even if it is heavy prog!). 5 stars.

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Posted Monday, July 28, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the fifth studio album from heavy metal legends Black Sabbath. Their previous four albums are all classic early seventies heavy metal. Dirty, raw and mainly power chord driven music with the distinct wailing vocals from Ozzy Osbourne. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is a bit different from the first four albums because it is a bit more well produced and at times a bit more well composed ( not that it´s always a good thing). The raw and primitive productions from the first four albums are forgotten while listening to the polished sound on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

The music is still distorted and power chord driven heavy metal, but there are also some acoustic parts in the songs which contributes greatly to the diversity and even at times remind me of progressive rock. The progressive rock influence is of course also due to the fact that Rick Wakeman ( Yes) guests on keyboards. Most notable on Who Are You?. Most songs are still dark and heavy rock songs. Songs like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, A National Acrobat and Killing Yourself to Live are really heavy tunes while Sabbra Cadabra, Looking for Today ( which I find to be the weakest heavy song here) and Spiral Architect have progressive moments. The latter even has some symphonic tendencies.

The instrumental Fluff which is a mostly acoustic guitar and piano driven song was Toni Iommi´s reaction to the bad reviews that Black Sabbath got from the press in those days. He desperately wanted to show the world that Black Sabbath was more than a primitive heavy metal band. Even though Fluff is a beautiful song it´s a bit boring in my ears and easily my least favorite track here. Too bad Iommi would continue this trend on the next couple of albums trying to please the reviewers. Black Sabbath was always best when they played their most heavy songs IMO.

The musicianship seems to have taken a notch up since Vol.4 but maybe that´s more due to the polished sound than to the actual skills of the musicians.

I actually thought about giving Sabbath Bloody Sabbath a 5 star rating but came to my senses. The more I think about it the more I realise that I enjoy the more raw and primitive early albums from Black Sabbath more than this more polished version. But let me state that it´s not because I don´t think that Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is an excellent album, because I´m gonna give it 4 stars. It really is an essential Black Sabbath album and it comes down to personal taste if it´s a 4 or a 5 star rating IMO.

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Posted Friday, September 26, 2008

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is my all-time fave Black Sabbath album, and I see I'm not actually alone regarding this notion. I, as a proghead, don't get the prog related label that has been endorsed to this band's discography, but now that I am here with an intention to review Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, I will go on with it. This fifth studio effort was conceived and recorded in a moment when the band had already settled comfortably in an eclectic attitude where the typical intense rockers shared room with other trends, mostly acoustic pieces rooted on Renaissance and pastoral moods. This had started on the Master of Reality album and was continued on Vol. 4: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath pursues the enhancement of this Sabbathian eclectic trend with the inclusion of pieces ordained through a more controlled and sophisticated use of rocking power (the lats two tracks are enormously successful at it), as well as some Gothic-driven semi-prog rocker with heavy use of synth and mellotron ('Who Are You?'). The namesake opener brings a powerful demostration of aggressiveness on a mid-tempo frame: this track is really not that speedy, but it sure states a robust dynamics. 'A National Acrobat' resumes the preceding track's controlled power for its main body, properly fed by a bluesy touch: the last section brings a clever jam that mixes psychedelic heavy rock and fusion (with less guitar and more sax it might as well have been an East of Eden number!). Just when you think that a tight rocker would come next, the Sabbath guys decide to slow down things a bit more with the acoustic instrumental 'Fluff'. Built on a 3/4 tempo, Iommi really captured the serenity of Renaissance music in this piece, whose harmonic basis is built by the acoustic guitar arpeggios and harpsichord scales. The augmentation from grand piano and slide guitar conveniently adds texture without breaking the basic mood. This is my personal fave Iommi acoustic composition... and who would have thought that he would be that interested in leaning a bit close to Oldfield's pastoral side, at least for 4 minutes during his career? 'Sabbra Cadabra' is the relentless, tight rocker that the average BS-head usually waits for. The bluesy undertones cry out pure Black Sabbath all along, but this piece manages to grow beyond the standard rock'n'roll scheme. This song is designed to be really loud and catchy, yet there's still room for some adornments - a special one is provided by Rick Wakeman on synth and piano for the song's second half, turned into a real heavy metal jam. 'Killing Yourself to Live' starts the album's second half, kicking from where 'Sabbra' had left: the theme is also the alienation that comes with glory, just like tracks 1 and 4 (that is, if the lovely lady is a metaphor for the drug that gives you stamina to move on). The tracks is very heavy metal at first, then it moves to a jam with Hendrixian undertones, ultimately ending on a blues-rock note. 'Who Are You?' brings fresh airs of stylish prog-related psychedelia with its treatment of multiple synths and mellotron (shared by Ozzy and Geezer): the intro section, while calmer, serves as motivator for greater density and an increase in the spacey tones that emerge all the way till the end. 'Looking for Today' is an agile rocker with a clear melodic stance and a controlled heaviness, plus a dynamic rhythmic structure and a clever use of acoustic sources (acoustic guitar, flute, hand percussion) - this is almost Jethro Tullish, in fact. Introduced by a lovely pastoral acoustic guitar interlude, 'Spiral Architect' basically reiterates the melodic stance and controlled heaviness, but with a more epic feel due to the strategic presence of string arrangements. These last 3 tracks state a great closer for the album as a whole. 4 stars for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath!

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Posted Monday, October 13, 2008

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Who are you? Well, Rick Wakeman actually!

Recorded in 1973, "Sabbath bloody Sabbath" represents a minor turning point for Black Sabbath. Here, they begin a two album drift taking them as close as they would come to prog, with the following "Sabotage" for me being a genuine prog album.

Back to "SbS" though, and although we have an unchanged line up, the presence of Rick Wakeman guesting on keyboards gives us an immediate indication that we can expect an element of refinement in the band's style. That expectation is confirmed loudest and clearest on "Who are you", where Wakeman's heavy synth tones dominate the song. The sound he creates here was still relatively novel at the time this album was released, and it's appearance on a track by a band who up until this point had been as predictable as Status Quo, raised many an eyebrow.

The album overall is not as radically different as "Who are you" might imply though, the distinctive riffs of Tony Iommi still dictating the overall mood. There is an emphasis on melody and a slightly softer edge to the album as a whole here which will make it more appealing to those who perceive the Sabs only as the band who made "Paranoid". The opening title track for example will surprise many with its more intricate structure and thoughtful arrangement. Later we have the fine balance of the acoustic instrumental "Fluff", named if I remember correctly after legendary DJ Alan "Fluff" Freeman, a man who did so much to promote prog and good music in general.

Like Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath have tended through the years to me misunderstood and conveniently labelled as simply being a band of heavy riffs and little else. Those with such a perception of the Sabs should try "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", they may be pleasantly surprised.

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Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008

Review by The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Prog Bloody Rock

Sabbath's 5th studio album, is in my humble opinion there best in means of composition, being highly elaborated compared to their previous albums. This album is what I would like to call Sabbath's Heavy Prog album. It isn't actually for Rick Wakeman's addition, if not for the inclusion of keys as an important role of the music. The rest of the line-up is the same, Tony on the guitar, Ozzy on the vocals, Geezer on the bass and Bill on the drums.

Another difference from previous Sabbath albums is that this album brings no more 'verse-chorus-verse-chorus' formula to the songs(well, on most of them), even if in previous albums they had adventured like in the songs War Pigs or Faires Were Boots or Wheels of Confusion, those still featured the heavy and raw sound of their debut, here the Prog aspects are predominant and not made coincidentally. But I'll have to warn you, while Sabbath is proggier they're also more melodic, key factors being the use of keyboards, Ozzy having a drastic change of voice, Geezer's bass is not sludgy and as present as before, and due to the cleaner production. However, compared to other classic Rock/Prog bands, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is still relatively heavy.

The album opens up with the killer title track. While it may seem a simple hard rock song from the first listen, you'll then discover that there's more to that: swift of riffs and contrasting acoustic guitar. A fantastic way to open an album, and it very much sums up the new sound of this album.

The album follows up with A National Acrobat. Another heavy song, with again time and mood changes. This song, as the previous one, evolves into heavier moods, led by Tony's heavy riffing. There's a lot of complex stuff through the song.

Typical for a Sabbath album, you got a soft instrumental between the heavy songs, this one is called Fluff. While I never was fond of them, this one is a pretty nice one with acoustic guitar and piano. Though as always, well at least for me, they're a bit out of place.

The album continues with the famous Sabbra Cadabra. As the first two tunes, this one starts off as an unstoppable machine of heavy guitar/bass riffing with Bill doing some fine drumming. However, in the middle of the song you got a drastic transformation with synths and piano by virtuoso key-man, Rick Wakeman. The mood there is a bit more funky if you want, but still the main riff is there hidden. The one who shines here, besides Rick, is Geezer's stunning bass playing.

Next stop, Killing Yourself to Live. Another evolutionary buddy as the already mentioned ones. Amazing this song is, a tiny-epic, even if it's just 5:41 minutes, seems like 10. You got some few synths, but the dominating instrument here is Tony's razor guitar, it kills everything in it's way, giving some fantastic solos throughout the whole song, as well as riffs.

We continue and we find Who Are You?. A synth led song, a tad too electronic for Sabbath. You have some average deliveries from Ozzy's voice and the song really is a bit dull and monotonous. Not a bad song as for what it is, but Sabbath isn't a good candidate for it.

We move on and find up with Looking for Today. Similar to the title track, mixing from electric, semi-heavy, guitar to soft, yet entertaining, acoustic guitar. At the end, the song changes of riff slowly, with the appearance of Tony's guitar solo.

The album finishes up with another killer song, and quite a classic I must say. Spiral Architect begins with gentle acoustic playing ala From the Begining from ELP, and then moves to a rock ambient but with less heaviness compared to the other heavy tracks from this album. It has some very nice orchestral arrangements throughout the song, but the end of the song is quite odd and really leaves the album open, but overall the song is great.

Certainly you may notice by just reading this review, Sabbath progressed a lot. While there are some flaws like the experimental Who Are You? breaking the whole majestic flow, nonetheless this is a masterpiece: Sabbath's most elaborated album. Highly recomended for Heavy Prog and Hard Rock fans!

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Posted Sunday, December 21, 2008

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars BLack Sabbath was and is a big influence for many bands, doesn't matter if they are prog bands, heavy, doom, etc, because of their manner of interpretation and stunning ideas made them to be one of the best bands ever and one of the most respected in music circles. Now it may sound strange for some of you but I don't considered this album release in 1973 named Sabbath bloody sabbath to their best as amany claim here, is just another typical album for them, maybe in places a little light then previous works but not the best for sure, at least not for me.The music remain on same coordonates like on Master of reality for ex, but in places is more sophisticated , even more proggish than on those albums mentioned before. Here are everything from changing moods, heavy riffs, great choruse, nice keboards arrangements, Ozzy's voice shine on every piece, so a good album for sure. Master of reality and Vol 4 are the best Sabbath albums with Ozzy no doubt for me. Anyway this album is the peak of their career, leaving the listner with no regrets after purchase him. The sound was clearly more crystal than on previouses works and even lighter, but keeping that doomy atmosphere on almost all pieces, they even collaborate with one of the best keybord players ever from prog music - Rick Wakeman - this collaboration turn to be very good - th example is the piece - Sabbra Cadabra. No doubt a solid album, not only for them but to '70's music, many musicians have this Sabbath bloody sabbath as main influence in their music. All the pieces stands as strong and very well written, the band is in their most accompliced moment of their career, but with all that not better than previouses works and not better than Sabotage, the next one from 1975. To me this is a solid 4 stars, recommended to anyone intrsted to discover the sound of the best band from the gloomy Birmingham.

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Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review by Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The history of their music goes back until 1969. Because another had the band of the same name, the name of their bands will be renamed though they were acting with the form of the Jazz combo that is called Earth. The fashion of psychedelic was active at the last time of the 1960's and people were sensitive to the fashion. After announcing the tune of the single in 1970, they announce first album "Black Sabbath". They announce the album with the composition of a reformative performance and an overwhelming tune always afterwards. Their mid-term music characters might have left the top and a few reverberations with this album in a general opinion though the evaluation of "Master Of Reality" or "Vol.4" was high. After it had debuted, they always challenged the composition of a reformative tune. It is gradually weeded out and the perfection of the tune has increased though their debut albums had the element of Blues a little. Their styles reach the very top by established extent "Vol.4". However, it is said that work to invent the tune after "Vol.4" is announced became difficult them. The idea and the directionality of the tune might have been a little loose. However, they kept challenging the creation of music further. It was Riff of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" to which Iommi had given birth to save directions of them who had become loose. It is said that their work made progress by this idea to flow.

They change the composition of the performance, the technology, and the tune cultivated till then a little. The keyboard and strings boldly taken give musical the tension and the extension further. It works at the direction where the appointment of Rick Wakeman to perform the keyboard in "Sabbra Cadabra" is good. The member of Sabbath is doing the work of the keyboard in other tunes. It is guessed that the magic of the progress of the code exists in one of the charms of them in my opinion. Their characteristics often take E Minor to the code of the tune. However, it is possible to make anxious a new charm and mysteriously by gradually introducing the tune of the majors code into the whole of the album. These are not bad elements at all. It is guessed that their charms are doubled by introducing a little bright tune and a friendly tune. "Spiral Architect" collected at the end of this album might proven the respect. I think that this tune with strings and an active element is one of the masterpieces of them. They are chosen and, of course, this tune is chosen to be a repertoire of the re-formation.

They evolved gradually after it debuted really and were always introducing a reformative element. He guesses that the charm of Sabbath is in the individuality of the point and each member who establishes one style in the world of the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal in the upcoming album though they accomplish the revolution further.

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Posted Monday, June 29, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars On Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, they tried to expand their style a bit further. They even decided to try out some progressive moog doodling from mr Wakeman, who puts in a fine performances here by the way (take it from a non-fan!) They also tried to diversify their song writing into something more polished and mature. That certainly charmed the progressive rock audiences but even though it works really well on some songs, the attempts to broaden the sound can not mask that things were going downhill for Sabbath.

Especially Ozzy has lost something for me, he's sure singing very passionately and he looks fresh and crisp like a schoolboy on the back cover but he has this very winy tone in this voice here, it's no longer the human incarnation of the hoofed Prince Of Darkness but rather resembling the sound of a goat that you stepped on the tail.

Anyway, the first two tracks together with Sabra Cadabra and Killing Yourself are excellent, the rest of the album gets painful at times. Especially the vocals on Looking for Today and Spiral Architect are very mediocre, not to say cringe worthy. Too far fetched for Ozzy's possibilities. Even Wakeman's nice mellotron parts can't hide that.

My conclusion is that Sabbath should be applauded for the ambition and the drive to go forward and explore other lands. But it doesn't sound like they felt very good at easy there. The most effective songs are the simplest ones again.

Besides, some band pictures reveal that Iommi had cut his hair and his moustache during this period. That sounds like a serious identity crisis to me! 3.5 stars.

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Posted Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After very average "californicated" Vol.4, Black Sabbath returned back their more clear acoustic production. Still very heavy and bluesy in moments, they turned to complex structures, many acoustic guitar intros and Rick Wakeman keyboards indeed.

Album is much more progressive, than all earlier works, and if not excellent, has many interesting moments. Sound is not so doomy and killing you with heavy pulsation, but much airy,much more melodic.

Many songs are not slow heavy doom anymore. Lighter producing, more space for Ozzy's voice ( Ozzy never had a great voice, but because of his tembres and charismatic voice he is a great singer). In this album you can hear him better than usual.

Using softer production and Wakeman keyboards, Black Sabbath didn't become Yes for sure. But it gave new nuances and interesting additions to their music.

"Fluff"is one of their greatest instrumentals ever.

Not as excellent as their debut or "Heaven and Hell", but one between their best ( at the same level with "Paranoid").

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Posted Friday, December 11, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage look and sound almost identical to me which results in me constantly mixing up which tracks belong to which record. Still, one can't complain about having two great Black Sabbath releases!

It's definitely a surprise that Black Sabbath managed to release an excellent followup to their less inspired Vol 4 and have it not been for Sabotage, I might have started looking for a pattern of a sort where every odd-numbered release is vastly superior to the even-numbered such. Most of the songs on this album have been covered by other artists and that pretty much says everything that needs to be mentioned. These songs are literally what all metal band's that exist today listened to this record while growing up, which might explain why the metal scene of today sound very much like the material on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath! Of course, some play these riffs faster, some groove to them in a Post Metal fashion while others continue replicating exactly the same basic pattern incorporated here.

Unfortunately this album is far from the atmospheric complete experience that was offered previously on the debut album and Master Of Reality. This is strictly a song-based album where the individual compositions comprise the overall sum of the experience. Of course it's not much of a problem when you have a record filled with top notch material as it is here, but ultimately this direction would become one of the main reasons behind Sabbath's fall.

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is another excellent release from Black Sabbath which is something that can't be taken for granted considering how their story would unfold in a few years time. To me, this album is easily in my Sabbath top three surpassed only by their earlier material. Definitely an album you should check out if you haven't already!

***** star songs: Sabbra Cadabra (5:55)

**** star songs: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (5:42) A National Acrobat (6:16) Fluff (4:10) Killing Yourself To Live (5:40) Who Are You? (4:10) Looking For Today (4:59) Spiral Architect (5:29)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#297524) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 05, 2010

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is the BS album that I discovered most recently, unlike the first four classic ones which I listened in my youth. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" was not available in the shops in my hometown when I was getting into the band so I never had a chance to listen it earlier. But now, when I finally got it and listened thoroughly I can only pity what I missed previously.

This is by far the most accomplished, the best produced and arranged and excellently composed of all 5 early albums. The music palette is expanded with an array of keyboards, synths, flutes, acoustic guitars, strings and percussion. Rick Wakeman's appearance, although notable, is in my opinion overstated - he played on only one track ("Sabbra Cadabbra"). Kudos instead must be given to Iommi and the company for their composition and instrumental skills that made this album perhaps the most progressive of all their albums. Highly effective and polished sound may attract even those who do not like the harsh heaviness and black murky production of early albums, followers of narrow-defined progressive rock included.

I will not mention particular tracks because all are excellent each in its own way. Perhaps synthesizer-dominated "Who Are You" is the weakest moment but overall it is recuperated by wonderful heavy/acoustic ingredients of the title track, amazing dual lead guitars in "National Acrobat" or the "symphonic" baroque feel of strings-laden closer "Spiral Acrobat". This album should be part of any decent prog collection! Sabbath at their best!

PERSONAL RATING: 4,5/5

P.A. RATING: 5/5

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#301278) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 01, 2010

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Perhaps the Black Sabbath album for those who don't like Black Sabbath, they really start to stretch out musically on this one. Oddly, this sounds like their least heavy album up to this point; even the follow-up Sabotage sounds heavier. You can almost hear the beginning of Prog-Metal here. I'm not sure who wrote the lyrics here, but bassist Geezer Butler generally wrote most of Sab's lyrics. Anyway, there are some great lines here that sound both trippy and philosophical: "I've lived a thousand times/I found out what it means to be, believe"; "Don't believe the life you have will be the only one/You have to let your body sleep to let your soul live on" Those lyrics are from just one song, "A National Acrobat", one of Sabbath's best songs and one of their most progressive.

Rick Wakeman plays piano and synthesizer on this album, although apparently it is Tony Iommi who plays the synth on "Who Are You?" That song is one of the few examples from Sabbath where the keyboards are more important than the guitar. The mix of acoustic and electric guitars on the title track is well done. On the acoustic instrumental "Fluff" Wakeman adds some tasteful piano and harpsichord. One of the best songs here is "Sabbra Cadabra", another one of their more proggy efforts. I'm not exactly sure without listening to them if Ozzy double-tracked his vocals on the first four albums; but even if he did the effect is more noticeable here. "Killing Yourself To Live" is another great song about suicide apparently, which includes the seemingly out-of-place interjection: "Smoke it...get high". A teenager once attempted suicide blaming this song. Weird.

"Looking For Today" is the most accesible and mainstream song on here, and clearly the worst on the album. It almost sounds like an attempt at a hit single. Fail. One of the biggest problems I find with this album is that Bill Ward's drumming seems to be pushed back in the mix; you don't notice him as much as you do on the first 3, for example. "Spiral Architect" has a string section and sounds symphonic but the song itself is one of the weakest on the album. One of Sabbath's best albums and it deserves 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#305209) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 18, 2010

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I don't know this for a fact, but somehow I strongly suspect that this one cost Sabbath quite a few fans, even if it sold pretty well. Over-the-top gory album cover or not, this album is easily the band's least heavy, least dark, and least stereotypically Sabbath one to this point (not to mention the prominent presence of synthesizers on a few tracks), which basically means that diehard fans of the band's established sound will have a good chance of not liking this one anywhere near as much as the first four. But doggone it, I *like* this album, and were it not for a serious stinker (and another track that's really dull) I might call this one my favorite. The heaviness that characterized the previous albums is nowhere near as all- encompassing and suffocating on this album as on past ones, and while many will lament at this, I rejoice at the fact that this means there's some more friggin' diversity in the style of rockers Sabbath tackles.

Of course, Sabbath isn't really the ideal band to have go out and experiment, which means that there's a massive duffer to be found within. Yes, it is the infamous "Who are You" that I speak of, which is, without a doubt, my least favorite Sabbath track from the first six albums. The synth tones sound absolutely ridiculous in this context, the melody is plodding and completely uninspiring, the lyrics can't help but be noticed in their horribleness, and ... did I mention the synth tones? I like Yes and (to a lesser extent) ELP as much as anybody, but Wakeman (who actually appears on another track) and Emerson tended to play much more interesting and engaging parts than the "majestic" lines given here, not to mention that their 'beauty' parts actually had a chance to be moving from time to time. Frankly, this is a track I cannot imagine enjoying, and if you do, I have a feeling you and I wouldn't have much in common if we met.

Other than that and the ultra-mundane "Killing Yourself to Live," though, this album is terrific. The opening title track is easily my favorite of a good bunch, as it does a good job of alternating a good anthemic heavy riff with poppy acoustic parts that keep both fresh and enjoyable, while Ozzy's ever-getting-higher voice providing a good deal of entertainment all its own (especially when he yells out "You bastards!"). Throw in an all-new heavy riff in the coda, a riff that puts half of Vol. 4 to shame, and you have a really awesome classic on your hands.

The other 'rockers', though, largely (as mentioned before) avoid the kind of heaviness that had defined the band to this point. "A National Acrobat" starts out with a nice, relatively 'light' riff, before going into a cool funky, wah-wah'd version of the riff while Ozzy plays off it well (his echoed screams at the end of certain lines sound really nice here). Throw in some brief, tasteful solos, a good "HA HA!" at one point in the coda, a totally unexpected switch to an upbeat guitar line at the end (mixed in with some other riffs), and you have another un- Sabbathy Sabbath classic.

Another un-Sabbathy Sabbath classic is "Sabbra Cadabra," which is as close as Sabbath ever came to doing a generic 70's 'bar-rock' number in their prime, and which pleases me greatly because I love humming that riff and hearing Ozzy sing his "love me til the end of tiiiiiiiiime!!!" lines as well as he does. And hey, it even has Wakeman throwing in some synth lines (not really like anything he'd use in Yes, more like his solo career tones) in the middle (which don't suck, unlike the ones in "WhoRU") and contributing some great boogie piano in the ending coda. And how about those parts in the middle where Ozzy is singing those encoded "I don't wanna leave you" lines amidst some great, tasty guitar-piano interplay, or when Ozzy is laughing at the end in such a disturbing way? Great stuff, I tell you, even if some Sabbath fanatics might disagree.

These same fanatics might wish that the rest of the tracks weren't departures from the formula in the way the aforementioned tracks are, but they'd definitely be disappointed in how things turned out. "Looking for Today" isn't brilliant, but it's a nice, very poppy (in feel and melody, though maybe not in guitar sound) number that provides a good way to close things out (at least, on my copy, which I think is supposed to have this as track seven). Plus, I think I hear flutes here and there on it, which don't really add much to the sound, but are at least amusing to note. "Spiral Architect," then, takes this slight desire for additional orchestration and goes so far as to add strings to a melody and lyrics that have to be among the most goofily pretentious and overblown of Sabbath's early career, which definitely says quite a bit. Some have gone so far as to compare it to Styx, and while that's not necessarily far off, I tend to think of this as sounding exactly like the sort of thing Spinal Tap would have written in the 70's had they really existed. But you know, as much as I love to namecheck Spinal Tap as the quintessential ridiculous rock band, that movie had some really friggin' great songs in it, and this really fits into the mold of their art-metal triumphs.

Finally, there's "Fluff," an instrumental that must have pissed off many an angry metalhead to no end. There's no way I'd ever guess that an instrumental this pretty and delicate, filled with a nice acoustic guitar theme, nice tinkly piano, some moving harpsichord and an occasional 'weeping' guitar sound in the background, was made by Black Sabbath, but here it is anyway.

In short, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is an album made for people who wouldn't think of buying a Black Sabbath album, and made to largely annoy those who would. Since I fall into the category of "Music lover who kinda likes Sabbath sometimes" instead of "Sabbath fan," that description works just fine for me. If it works for you, get it, and even if it doesn't, it would do you some good to get it anyway. Just make sure to skip the stuff that sucks, of course.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#368066) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is one of the strongest albums by Black Sabbath, and notably one of their most progressive. Heavy riffs and soothing passages ensue.

This album contains the powerful riffs that Black Sabbath is known for, but also includes some beautiful acoustic strumming, and the title track contains one of the heaviest Black Sabbath moments that I can think of (almost like a proto-death metal riff). The songwriting on this albums is much better than anything they had done before and it really stands out. Also, Iommi's guitar tone often doesn't seem as dark as it did on previous releases, opting for a more metal twang that wouldn't sound out of place on a Led Zeppelin album. Every song on this album has at least one infectious groove or melody, and there are frequent changes in the songs that really strengthen the album as being progressive.

Highly recommended for fans of Black Sabbath or the more progressive side of accessible music.

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Posted Monday, April 11, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Whilst previous Black Sabbath albums included a few synthesisers and keyboards here on there, their use was mainly restricted to the occasional stab at more progressive rock- sounding tracks between the heavy songs that were their main focus. On Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the group finally integrated the synthesisers into the main songs on the album, perhaps inspired by the influence of Rick Wakeman, who had befriended the band whilst they were recording the album whilst his own band, Yes, were recording Tales from Topographic Oceans, and even agreed to sit in as a guest musician on the uplifting Sabbra Cadabra.

Elsewhere on the album, the band integrate the doomy sound of their first two albums with the more mainstream approach of Volume Four on songs such as the title track and Killing Yourself to Live, whilst songs like Spiral Architect and A National Acrobat involve new heights of experimentation and complexity which suggest a fusion of progressive rock and proto-doom metal. Whilst modern-day prog metal acts don't revere this album to the same extent that today's doom metal artists and sludge merchants worship the first two or three Sabbath albums, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath still deserves to be acknowledged as one of the first albums to suggest that sort of blending of the styles. Arguably, it's the last Sabbath album to be quite so trailblazing and influential, at least in terms of the Ozzy era.

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Posted Friday, August 26, 2011

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' - Black Sabbath (8/10)

With "Volume Four", Black Sabbath developed upon the progressive themes they had planted in their previous record, "Master of Reality". Although their sound was still well- rooted in the heavy metal grit they introduced themselves to the world by, Sabbath exchanged some of their less refined sensibilities for more sophisticated arrangements and a generally more artsier approach than what they had gone for prior. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" continues this development, albeit to a lesser degree of evolution than witnessed by their last step forward. Although the cover art implies something ripped from the bowels of hell, Black Sabbath had never sounded so refined, their style creeping ever closer to the world of prog rock. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" may be less of a surprise than "Volume Four", but the band's firmer grasp of their 'new direction' results in a slightly superior realization of the 'prog' Sabbath.

Proggers will be quick to point out that Yes key wizard Rick Wakeman plays keys here. Indeed, he backs up the band with some inventive piano work on "Sabbra Cadabra", but it's nothing that would have been beyond the talents of Tony Iommi. Although the light timbre of the piano would have stuck out like Michael Jackson at a Klan meeting on "Paranoid", Black Sabbath had steadily built up an openness to using this and other 'pretty' sounding instruments in their work. The excellent instrumental "Fluff" is ample demonstration of the band's fully realized 'softer side'. Of course, the majority of this and any Black Sabbath album still resorts around their brand of thick, heavy rock.

This may be the first album of Black Sabbath's career where I cannot identify a true standout track that could be promised a place on a best-of compilation. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" still triumphs over its predecessor for the fact that it manages to pursue these progressive sounds with consistency. Sabbath have still not entirely regained their doomy heaviness, but it's certainly a harder rocking effort than "Volume Four". "A National Acrobat" is my favourite from the album, a slower track with a beautiful dual harmonized guitar lead that foreshadows the music of another legendary British metal band. "Who Are You" is a gloomy throwback to Black Sabbath's doom roots, glorifying the synthesizer and featuring some of the band's most sophisticated orchestrations to date. "Spiral Architect" (the namesake of an excellent Norwegian prog metal band, by the way) is an upbeat and fitting way to close the album, with acoustic and electric guitars backed up with a Beatles-esque string arrangement. Excellent stuff.

Although I did remark that Ozzy Osbourne's vocals had never sounded so powerful and evocative on "Volume Four", there is the constant feeling here that he is attempting to go past what is comfortable for his vocal range. Although some of his 'high notes' don't sound too bad, there are points where the strain in his voice is well evident, and it leaves him with less room to explore the emotion of his singing. Of course, it's that sort of adventurous spirit that largely defines this stage of Black Sabbath's development. Not everything was prone to work perfectly, but they did it anyway. In the case of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", it's very clear that they learned some things since "Volume Four". The sound is a little more focused, the compositions more consistent, and the orchestrations more sophisticated. It could have been easily expected given the band's impressive track record, but Black Sabbath's fifth instalment is an excellent album.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#761373) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 01, 2012

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars Much has been written here about the appearance of Rick Wakeman on this album, and how it signals a turn to prog by thease early metal monsters. But really, Wakeman's appearance is minimal. He plays on one track, Sabbra Cadabra, begins playing about a third of the way through the song, and only adds two simple synth flourishes and some nondescript piano jamming. It's as if Sabbath had been in the studio, and noticed Wakeman walk by with his synths and grand piano under his arms, and asked him to sit in. His piano on Cat Stevens' Morning Has Broken sounds more prog than this.

Despite that, by the end of the album, well, really the final track, Spiral Architect, the band actually does play some true seventies prog. It's good, but it's nothing revelatory.

Some moments sound derivative. The title track, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, has a verse section that sounds like Hocus Pocus played on a very slow turn table, and A National Acrobat bears a strong resemblance to 25 or 6 to 4.

It's not a bad album, but I'm not sure if prog is what we really wanted from this band at that time.

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Posted Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.75 stars really!!!

The Sabs" fifth album holds a special place in many metalheads and progheads, but for different reasons, I believe. Indeed, the former will be very happy for the return of more "Machiavelic" artworks and titles, and the latter will rejoice at more instruments appearing and a cameo appearance of keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman. Personally, not being a fan of Satanist bullcrap, I also find a few weaknesses in the present album, the first of which is Ozzy's increasingly annoying voice (though he's getting better in terms from a technical POV) and Butler's bass is all too often buried in the mix, or muffled as such.

Many will point out the opening title track as a highlight, probably, because it is the higher-profiled track on the album, and though good and coming with tempo changes, it's not my fave on the album, as I find National Acrobat a tad proggier. The now-obligatory acoustic track is the 4-mins inaptly-titled Fluff, which features Iommi's piano and harpsichord and guitar over Geezer's quiet bass. Many progheads will listen to up-tempoed Sabbra Cadabra (ha-ah!!) because of Wakeman's piano and synth participation, but it's hardly determinant in the track's overall structure, IMHO. I may just be in a minority, but I find Ozzy's vocals often near-irritating on this and their previous album.

On the (more-interesting) flipside, the opening dumb-titled (not sure if it's Ozzy or Geezer"s text) is a relatively good track on the instrumental side, almost reminiscent of the Paranoid album. Too bad for the crappy lyrics though; because this could've been their best track, when considering their last three albums. Progheads will also pay closer attention to the synth-laden Who Are You, where both Ozzy and Geezer are toying with synths and trons, and Tony over a piano. A rather unusual Sab song, and the following Looking For Today continues the exploration with Iommi playing an organ and blowing a flute (remember his short Tull membership). The album-closing Spiral Architect opens on acoustic guitar, before veering a bit Who-ish with their power chords, but Ozzy's near- annoying voice sort of ruins the ambiance, and almost annulling the string section's intervention. However, I will never understand the need for that short, ill-advised and useless outro.

Personally, I always found the Satanist artwork almost laughable and its back-cover hardly better, and despite its overall proggier feel, it is a tad inherently superior to their few previous or succeeding albums. Indeed, there seems to be more new ideas on SBS than on both their previous albums together, especially so on the flipside; but this old dog will still prefer their first two looser albums.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#1076149) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Latest members reviews

4 stars "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is often considered Black Sabbath at their most progressive. It's not an opinion that I'm on board with. Black Sabbath were innovative from the beginning. Their eponymous 1st album definitely did not sound like most popular music at the time! For the sake of comparis ... (read more)

Report this review (#986856) | Posted by thwok | Thursday, June 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the two albums where Black Sabbath peaked imo. This was a sublime release from the band and I could write a book about it and how it influenced me musically and in life. Here Sabbath enter progressive territory fully and they even incorporate keyboard wizzard, Rick Wakeman, into one of ... (read more)

Report this review (#939376) | Posted by sukmytoe | Thursday, April 04, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I was seriously questioning if PA was insane by including Black Sabbath in the archives. A very unsuitable addition, even for Prog Related, I thought. After I have been listening to their 1970s albums again, there is no doubts that Black Sabbath belongs in PA. What I thought were "merely" some sl ... (read more)

Report this review (#509063) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, August 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Undoubtably one of the best Black Sabbath albums ever, and it even has a place in my favourite albums of all time. My favourite thing about it; how different it is from the rest. The synthesizers take some control in songs, while the guitar still has heavy riffage; makes for an interesting s ... (read more)

Report this review (#322882) | Posted by Jazzywoman | Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The history of Black Sabbath is well known by most of you out there, and I agree with most of you that their six first works should be heard by everyone who likes any kind of rock music. This is their fifth album and maybe it is their finest. For sure it is the one I hear the most and everytime i ... (read more)

Report this review (#321662) | Posted by migue091 | Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars The black sabbath and metal genre, this genre is obviously racist since they have done so many drugs they cannot stand straight. Even if Ozzy says he likes the Beatles, he is a liar, the metal genre will do that. The album is delved in thought and the sound recording is marginal on the copy I ... (read more)

Report this review (#305512) | Posted by thewickedfall | Monday, October 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This review was originally posted on my music blog. A bunch of people like this album a lot because of how different it is from the rest of Black Sabbath's golden age material, and honestly, to me, the things that make this album different from stuff like Master of Reality and their self-titl ... (read more)

Report this review (#297765) | Posted by 40footwolf | Tuesday, September 07, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars What are many fans thinking? Sure, this is a pretty good album by a classic band, but there's not much in the way of progressive rock on the album. For sure, there's "Fluff", which is a wonderful acoustic (non- prog) guitar piece, which is a nice instance of a heavy metal band stretching its legs ... (read more)

Report this review (#217963) | Posted by topofsm | Sunday, May 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album,which is the last in the series of classic Osbourne-era Sabbath recordings,stands out as the one that gathers more prog elements,and actually has Rick Wakeman as a guest(!).Even if the final result somewhow fails to captivate as much as Master of Reality or Vol.4(for me personally)did, ... (read more)

Report this review (#215046) | Posted by Gustavo Froes | Monday, May 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is such a mature effort from Black Sabbath, it almost came as a shock to me when I first heard it.The songs have multiple elements and progressions, the guitar work is much more diverse and varied. The whole band seems fired up, and Ozzy actually does a good job singing with passion?! In ... (read more)

Report this review (#212426) | Posted by Alitare | Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars So, I was at my local public library earlier this week and came upon this album. Right off the bat, I'll say, I've never really taken a liking to Black Sabbath (I do own Paranoid), but in all fairness I never really gave them a chance either. I decided to check it out. I listened to it three tim ... (read more)

Report this review (#182002) | Posted by Kix | Sunday, September 07, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Netherworld Meets Art World Much like Led Zeppelin and The Who the kingpins of doom `n roll discard previous formulas in favour of more structured compositions incorporating elements of art rock to produce what could arguably qualify as one of the earliest examples of progressive metal. Ozzy Os ... (read more)

Report this review (#157955) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Monday, January 07, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This has always been my favorite Sabbath album.This was the album that proved all the critics wrong who said Black Sabbath didnt play with boxing gloves on.The song Sabbath Bloody Sabbath highlights Ozzys range unlike no other BS song.In the total picture of rock music this album is a masterpiec ... (read more)

Report this review (#155688) | Posted by James D Hill | Monday, December 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Sabbath has come of age! An excellent introduction to Sabbath which proved to me that their is more than meets the eyes with this band, two songs on this album will make you hooked; Sabbra Cadabra and Who Are You with their prog keyboards and classical leanings, the rest of this album will grow o ... (read more)

Report this review (#143814) | Posted by Cheesecakemouse | Friday, October 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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