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BLACK SABBATH

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Black Sabbath picture
Black Sabbath biography
Founded in Birmingham, UK in 1969 - Major recording hiatus between 1998-2013 - Disbanded in 2017

The historic four members of Black Sabbath went to the same Birmingham secondary school (in the then-semi slums of Aston) and played in two separate groups (Ozzy and Geezer in one called The Rare Breed and Tony and Bill in another called Mythology) then joined forces. Tony Iommi's loss of two fingertip of his fretting hand in an industrial work-related accident (he is a bit older than the other three and was working already) had almost convinced him to stop music, but his foreman offered him a Django Reinhardt album (he was missing two fingers) and this helped Tony overcoming his handicap by adding a self-made prostheses on his fingertip, but he had to detune his guitar to play with it. The now-named EARTH group (a definite improvement on the previous Polka Tulk Blues Band then the Earth Blues Band) soldiered on for a few months without much success, although they were playing 12-bar Jazz-Blues-Rock ala Ten Years After, until Toni Iommi accepted an offer to join JETHRO TULL as their guitarist in replacement for Mick Abrahams. While Iommi's tenure in Tull lasted a few weeks (his only testimony is Tull's appearance in the RnR Circus DVD), it gave him an idea of what kind of efforts were required to get a professional group together. After his return to Birmingham, he reconvened EARTH and gave them a tight schedule and work ethics, which made him assume the leadership of the group as well.

Changing their name to Black Sabbath, the group started getting gigs all over the country, and recorded their debut album in two days. This self-titled album is now one of the most influential albums ever in rock's history, especially the eponymous track, with its bell-and-thunderstorm intro, its huge descending riffs and gloomy fantasy lyrics. The group went on crazily-scheduled tours and quickly managed an international fame with the star system lifestyle including heavy use of all kinds of drugs. With their second album "Paranoid", Sabbath consolidated their aura and success, with a highly impressive and very different sound to anyone else around, great interplay and grim lyrics, and almost didn't include the title track, which would go on to be their only #1 hit on either side of the Atlantic. One of the reason of the group's success is their "Satanist" image, which attracted all kinds of freaks (we are in the aftermath of Manson and the Tate murders), but th...
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Black SabbathBlack Sabbath
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$6.20
$12.94 (used)
ParanoidParanoid
Sanctuary 2015
$22.11
$24.54 (used)
The Ultimate Collection (2CD)The Ultimate Collection (2CD)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2017
$13.19
$13.46 (used)
Vol. 4Vol. 4
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$7.79
$7.01 (used)
Sabbath Bloody SabbathSabbath Bloody Sabbath
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$6.66
$3.79 (used)
Dehumanizer (Deluxe) (2CD)Dehumanizer (Deluxe) (2CD)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2019
$16.88
$20.64 (used)
SabotageSabotage
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$7.53
$13.56 (used)
Heaven & HellHeaven & Hell
Remastered · Extra tracks
Sanctuary 2010
$12.47
$10.96 (used)
Never Say Die!Never Say Die!
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$5.00
$24.99 (used)
Master Of Reality (Deluxe Edition) (2CD)Master Of Reality (Deluxe Edition) (2CD)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$15.22
$13.29 (used)

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BLACK SABBATH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BLACK SABBATH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.23 | 877 ratings
Black Sabbath
1970
4.30 | 971 ratings
Paranoid
1970
4.07 | 765 ratings
Master Of Reality
1971
3.86 | 632 ratings
Volume Four
1972
4.10 | 754 ratings
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1973
4.02 | 569 ratings
Sabotage
1975
2.75 | 399 ratings
Technical Ecstasy
1976
2.96 | 377 ratings
Never Say Die!
1978
4.03 | 561 ratings
Heaven And Hell
1980
3.47 | 398 ratings
Mob Rules
1981
2.78 | 322 ratings
Born Again
1983
2.59 | 225 ratings
Seventh Star
1986
3.16 | 218 ratings
The Eternal Idol
1987
3.21 | 238 ratings
Headless Cross
1989
3.14 | 221 ratings
Tyr
1990
3.07 | 283 ratings
Dehumanizer
1992
3.19 | 189 ratings
Cross Purposes
1994
1.91 | 185 ratings
Forbidden
1995
3.58 | 170 ratings
Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know
2009
3.75 | 305 ratings
13
2013

BLACK SABBATH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.94 | 92 ratings
Live at Last
1980
3.42 | 136 ratings
Live Evil
1983
2.91 | 30 ratings
Cross Purposes Live (CD + VHS)
1995
4.20 | 111 ratings
Reunion
1998
3.95 | 85 ratings
Past Lives
2002
4.15 | 38 ratings
Live at Hammersmith Odeon
2007
4.22 | 49 ratings
Heaven & Hell: Live from Radio City Music Hall
2007
4.00 | 2 ratings
Neon Nights . 30 Years Of Heaven & Hell . Live At Wacken
2010
3.63 | 8 ratings
The End - 4 February 2017, Birmingham
2017

BLACK SABBATH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.41 | 15 ratings
The Black Sabbath Story - Volume 1 1970-1978
1991
3.73 | 15 ratings
The Black Sabbath Story - Volume 2 1978-1992
1992
1.86 | 29 ratings
The Last Supper
1999
3.60 | 20 ratings
Never Say Die
2003
4.50 | 4 ratings
Inside Black Sabbath with Tony Iommi
2003
2.81 | 12 ratings
Cross Purposes Live
2003
4.56 | 9 ratings
In Concert
2004
3.75 | 4 ratings
Total Rock Review
2006
3.87 | 27 ratings
Heaven and Hell: Live from Radio City Music Hall
2007
3.75 | 4 ratings
Children Of The Grave
2008
2.71 | 8 ratings
In Moscow
2008
4.60 | 5 ratings
Madman Alive in Athens
2008
3.90 | 10 ratings
Classic Albums: Paranoid
2010
3.45 | 20 ratings
Live. Gathered in Their Masses
2013
3.67 | 6 ratings
The End - 4 February 2017, Birmingham
2017

BLACK SABBATH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Sabbath
1970
4.05 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Black Sabbath
1971
4.00 | 5 ratings
Attention! Black Sabbath
1973
5.00 | 4 ratings
Pop Giants: Volume 9
1974
5.00 | 3 ratings
Reflection
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Black Sabbath
1975
3.16 | 41 ratings
We Sold Our Soul for Rock and Roll
1975
4.67 | 3 ratings
Attention! Black Sabbath Volume 2
1975
4.50 | 4 ratings
Children of the Grave
1976
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Best Of Black Sabbath
1976
5.00 | 2 ratings
Paranoia
1976
4.67 | 3 ratings
Star Gold
1976
4.09 | 13 ratings
Greatest Hits
1977
5.00 | 4 ratings
The Singles 1970-1978
1978
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Best: The Ultimate In Heavy Metal
1983
5.00 | 2 ratings
Collection Vol.1
1984
5.00 | 2 ratings
Hand of Doom
1984
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Sabbath Collection (original)
1985
1.48 | 4 ratings
Blackest Sabbath
1989
5.00 | 4 ratings
Black Sabbath
1990
5.00 | 3 ratings
Backtrackin'
1991
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Black Sabbath Story
1991
4.67 | 6 ratings
The Ozzy Osbourne Years
1991
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Ultimate in Heavy Metal
1991
4.25 | 4 ratings
Iron Man
1992
4.50 | 4 ratings
Iron Man (Alternative Version)
1994
2.06 | 8 ratings
The Sabbath Stones
1996
4.71 | 7 ratings
Under Wheels of Confusion 1970-1987
1996
4.25 | 5 ratings
The Originals
1996
5.00 | 2 ratings
Black Sabbath 1970-1987 Digital Remaster
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
We Sold Our Soul To Rock 'n' Roll, Vol.II
1996
4.50 | 4 ratings
The Collection
2000
4.50 | 4 ratings
The Singles 1970-1978
2000
3.79 | 20 ratings
The Best of Black Sabbath
2000
4.56 | 9 ratings
The Complete 70's Replica CD Collection 1970-1978 (boxset)
2001
4.67 | 3 ratings
Rock Champions
2001
4.67 | 3 ratings
The Best of Black Sabbath
2001
4.73 | 11 ratings
Symptom of the Universe
2003
4.53 | 17 ratings
Black Box (The Complete Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978)
2004
5.00 | 5 ratings
Selections From - Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978)
2004
5.00 | 3 ratings
Black Sabbath
2006
4.50 | 6 ratings
Greatest Hits 1970-1978
2006
5.00 | 2 ratings
Rock Giants
2006
3.74 | 23 ratings
The Dio Years
2007
5.00 | 2 ratings
Audiobiography
2007
4.80 | 10 ratings
The Rules of Hell
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Iron Man: The Best of Black Sabbath
2012
4.50 | 2 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2017
0.00 | 0 ratings
Supersonic Years: The Seventies Singles Box Set
2018

BLACK SABBATH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.38 | 13 ratings
Paranoid
1970
4.00 | 13 ratings
The Wizard
1970
3.92 | 12 ratings
Evil Woman
1970
4.11 | 9 ratings
N.I.B.
1970
4.00 | 7 ratings
Coleccion Underground N° 3: Presentando Paranoid
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sweet Leaf
1971
4.00 | 9 ratings
Paranoid
1971
2.89 | 9 ratings
Iron Man
1971
3.50 | 3 ratings
Rock Power
1971
3.56 | 9 ratings
Snowblind
1972
3.25 | 8 ratings
Tomorrow's Dream
1972
3.56 | 9 ratings
Snowblind
1972
3.88 | 8 ratings
Wicked World
1972
4.25 | 4 ratings
Black Sabbath/Status Quo split PROMO
1972
3.88 | 8 ratings
Paranoid
1972
4.10 | 12 ratings
Paranoid
1973
4.25 | 8 ratings
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1973
4.30 | 10 ratings
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1973
2.73 | 11 ratings
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1973
3.78 | 9 ratings
Hole in the Sky
1975
3.56 | 9 ratings
Gypsy
1976
3.38 | 8 ratings
It's Alright
1976
3.75 | 8 ratings
Hard Road
1978
3.67 | 9 ratings
Never Say Die
1978
3.67 | 6 ratings
Hard Road
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lady Evil
1980
4.40 | 10 ratings
Die Young
1980
4.77 | 11 ratings
Neon Knights
1980
4.00 | 10 ratings
Mob Rules
1981
4.14 | 7 ratings
Turn Up the Night
1981
4.13 | 8 ratings
Paranoid
1982
4.13 | 8 ratings
Paranoid
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Trashed / Zero the Hero
1983
4.13 | 8 ratings
Paranoid
1986
4.00 | 3 ratings
Seventh Star Sampler
1986
3.67 | 6 ratings
No Stranger To Love
1986
4.00 | 5 ratings
The Shining
1987
3.80 | 5 ratings
4 Songs From The Eternal Idol
1987
4.17 | 6 ratings
Devil And Daughter
1989
4.20 | 5 ratings
Devil And Daughter
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Moon
1989
4.00 | 6 ratings
Call of the Wild
1989
4.14 | 7 ratings
Devil and Daughter
1989
2.56 | 8 ratings
Headless Cross
1989
3.67 | 9 ratings
Feels Good to Me
1990
4.00 | 3 ratings
Castle Gold Collection: Volume 22
1991
4.00 | 3 ratings
Kerrang! Four-Play
1992
3.86 | 7 ratings
Time Machine
1992
3.83 | 9 ratings
TV Crimes
1992
3.88 | 8 ratings
I
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
Back to Eden
1994
3.57 | 7 ratings
Get a Grip
1995
3.75 | 8 ratings
Psycho Man
1998
3.50 | 2 ratings
Paranoid
1998
4.00 | 5 ratings
Reunion
1998
4.22 | 9 ratings
Black Mass
1999
4.20 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Black Sabbath
2000
4.22 | 9 ratings
Paranoid
2000
4.22 | 9 ratings
Paranoid
2004
4.33 | 9 ratings
The Dio Years (Sampler)
2007
4.00 | 5 ratings
The Devil Cried
2007
4.00 | 6 ratings
Heaven and Hell (Radio Sampler)
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
1969 Demo
2009
3.31 | 16 ratings
The End
2016

BLACK SABBATH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sabotage by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.02 | 569 ratings

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Sabotage
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by Just Because

5 stars This is the most mature album by BS. It is one of their two the most elaborated ( along with «Sabbath Bloody Sabbath» ) and easily the best work.

«Hole in the Sky» is a non-prog, rather simple, yet effective heavy song, full of energy. Bill plays as if he wants to destroy the drum kit. Ozzy is in top form. One of the best BS`s openers. 9/10

«Don't Start (Too Late)». It is rather a draft than a finished track. However it is a sweet quasi-flamenco number that shows Tony`s talents to play on an acoustic guitar and serves as a break between two heavy songs. 7/10

While the band by itself in 1970`s was ahead of its time , on «Symptom of the Universe» they outdid themselves to make speed/thrash metal ( in 1975 ! ). Another example of foresight: at 3:39 comes a guitar solo as if «Iron Maiden» is here with their debut album. Not only that, after intensive hammering at 4:14 there happens a sudden twist and towards the end we hear a pleasant acoustic jazzy part. Still nowadays jazz-metal is not a mass genre and «Symptom ?» can be considered as an exotic song being an example how to sew seamlessly two such different pieces. 10/10

First part of «Megalomania» is creepy and depressing. Ozzy sings with increasing despair, he almost groans here, but a nice brief transition with piano touch is just around the corner. Then at 3:25 comes a riff one way or another replicated by many metal bands. Ozzy`s singing is getting more ferocious and his vocal performance would suit «Judas Priest». All band members seem to compete with each other in creation of dark drive. Tony adds an aggressive solo to already electrified atmosphere, then in the end begins an insane carnival or a real coven (yes, sabbath !). What also comes to mind is that ending of «In the Hall of the Mountain King ». 10/10

«The Thrill of it All» A song which structure reminds me of the previous track, yet it is more upbeat and not as heavy as «Megalomania». The first half has interesting riffing and an infectious melody, then an elegant shift (once again on this album) leads us to something that would be on Ozzy`s solo albums: a heavy-pop marching accompanied with synthesizers. 9/10

Inspired by «Karmina Burana» «Supertzar» is a well-crafted instrumental with a choir. IMHO the most symphonic effort of BS. 9/10

«Am I Going Insane (Radio)» sounds as another one Ozzy`s statement about coming solo career. Besides «Don't Start (Too Late)» it is the weakest and most commercial number on the album, but a pretty good song with tasty playing on synth. 8/10

«The Writ» is a stone thrown at the band`s former management. Funny that the same year «Queen» did the similar thing: they released «Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to?)» . But that`s another story. Laughter fades out and there enters prominent bass playing, it has intriguing and sinister feel. Cool. Bravo, Geezer ! The song moves to softer and back to heavier parts and some moments are out of this world. 10/10

The album is the brightest example of proto-progressive metal genre. 72/80 = 4,5 out of 5 which I have rounded to 5 stars.

 13 by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.75 | 305 ratings

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13
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars All rock world was impatiently waiting for this long-awaited album whose initial work goes as back as 2001. Having 3 original members in the line-up and especially Ozzy behind the microphone sounded promising. The result is one of the heaviest Black Sabbath albums augmented by omnipresent dark riffing, loud guitar in the mix and drums being high in the mix which might be tiresome for a hard-rock album that very much focusing on heavy riffing. It actually makes a heavy metal album out of it with prevailingly moderately paced pieces.

In terms of compositions, the band harkens back to their most popular times in the 70's when doom rock was their major sound signature minus bluesy moves.

There are only 7 songs but all have plenty of time to develop and build or repeat. The last song even brings some feelings of being sorry and melancholy; it also contains musical references to the "Black Sabbath" song on their debut album.

This is a 4-star album to hard-rock and doom-metal/rock fans and a 3-star for progressive rock explorers.

 Tyr by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.14 | 221 ratings

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Tyr
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars This is an average hard-rock album that will please the fans of 70's hard-rock elements updated with the 80's sounds such as synths. Vocals are very good and melodic, delivered by Tony Martin and is, together by guitar riffing and colour, the highlight here. Melodies oscillate between quite good and mediocre. Drums and keyboards reflect the north American leadership in heavy metal in the second half of the 80's. Acoustic guitar sections bring good refreshment and place to re-breathe.

Even though the album isn't monotonous, there is not much memorable; the first three tracks being the strongest ones. For a prog-head there is even less to be appreciated -> good vocals and some good guitar work. Therefore 2 stars, otherwise 3 for metal/hard-rock fans.

 Sabotage by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.02 | 569 ratings

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Sabotage
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

5 stars A poll here on progarchives has made me think to this album that I hadn't listened to for many years. It was my first Sabbath album and I clearly remember listening to it when I was a schoolboy, in particular on a portable cassette recorder while going back home from school. The walkman had not been actually invented, yet.

I can recall the guitar intro of Symptom of the Universe, which is the track that I like the most from this album, but let's start from the beginning: As a Sci-Fi fan, the title "Hole In The Sky" was enough to switch my curiosity on. The song has a regular strucure, so it's easy to follow, but the guitar riff and the high pitch vocals of Ozzy make it special. I've always thought that Ozzy's voice was perfect for the band., especially on slow songs, where it sounds really weird. But the album proceeds with the two guitars of Toni Iommi for an acoustic piece which introduces the metal guitar of "Symptom Of The Universe". Guitar then bass and drums. Bill Ward shows a lot of drumming skill on this song, and Ozzy performs greatly. Really a great (hard) rock song. I have to add that when I write a review I usually relisten to parts of the songs I'm writing about. I can't skip on this one, it's too good.

Megalomenia starts bluesy and slow. It's another great song which I was almost forgotten. The chorus on major chords sounds similar to some Led Zeppelin, but call me crazy, I've always preferred the Sabbath to the Zeps. "why don't yoy just get out of my life...". Then in the second half it turns into a full rock and roll song. Gorgeous.

"Thrill Of It All" opens the B side (I had it on tape, remember?) It's another rock and roll song, highly enjoyable. Strangely it reminds me to a Pink Floyd song from Obscured By Clouds: "Childhood's End".

Supertzar is symphonic. It features the English Chamber Choir, the same of Rick Wakeman's Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, and the choir arrangement style is recognizable. I must say that this album doesn't have any weakness. Every track has its merits and there's enough for every taste. Also "Am I Ging Insane". It's probably me, as I was enjoying this album in the same period in which I was discovering the early Pink Floyd, but this song has for me a similar feeling as Pink Floyd's "Flaming", probably is that sort of Tic-Toc rhythm. The crazy laughs and screams which close it introduce the last track.

The Writ starts with the bass, then suddenly Ozzy screams together with guitar and drums. Again, it may seem strange, but I still hear a relation with Obscured By Clouds. Apart of that, I think this album is superior to that Floyd one. I can't say if it's absolutely the best Sabbath album. I like also its predecessor Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. I can't skip any second and I've already finished writing while the album is still playing in my headphones.

Is it a masterpiece? Considering that Sabbath have been fundamental for the birth of a musical genre and this is possibly their best album I'm not ashamed of rating it with the maximum.

 We Sold Our Soul for Rock and Roll by BLACK SABBATH album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1975
3.16 | 41 ratings

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We Sold Our Soul for Rock and Roll
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by thwok

4 stars I'd argue that this compilation falls just north of excellent. You can argue all day long about individual song choices. I personally feel that the PARANOID album is a slightly overrated listening experience, 4 songs is too many to include here.

Truthfully, that's entirely subjective; Black Sabbath's first quartet of albums are beyond reproach. You can count on one hand the number of bands as influential as BS to hard rock. You could almost say they invented it! As an introduction to the band's first masterpieces and some lesser known tracks, WE SOLD OUR SOULS is worth at least four stars.

 Dehumanizer by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.07 | 283 ratings

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Dehumanizer
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

2 stars Black Sabbath #12: "Dehumanizer" was released in 1992 and it sees the return of the Black Sabbath line up of 1980 - 82; Tommy Iommi (of course), Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Geezer Butler on bass, Vinny Appice on drums, and the ever faithful but hardly ever mentioned Geoff Nicholls on keyboards. The last studio album to have this line up was "Mob Rules" released in 1981. So, that's all cool right? But, wait a minute. What happened to who was then the lead singer, Tony Martin? He was invited to come try out the songs, but the band decided to go with Dio. Martin was the 2nd most used vocalist after Ozzy Osbourne, and would continue to be after the tour for Dehumanizer. Apparently Tony was busy on a solo album at the time, and knew that Iommi wanted to reunite the line-up from 80-82, so he was all good with it. Yes, he would come back to Black Sabbath for the album that would come next. The story goes that Martin received a phone call from Ian Gilliam (who did lead vocals of the Sabbath album "Born Again") who said that neither one of them were formally fired, so he thought it would be funny just to go to one of their shows and just turn up on stage ready to go. That never happened though.

Cozy Powell was supposed to be the drummer for this album. In fact, there are demos recorded with him that have been bootlegged. Powell, however, was laid up with a broken pelvis from a horse riding accident. So Appice was re-recruited, and the reunion was complete. What resulted was an album that was rougher around the edges, because the band wanted to capture a live feeling to the album, so there were fewer overdubs and layered vocals. The music is also louder than what it was on "Mob Rules" and even different from the previous album "Tyr". It all sounds promising, right? The famous Dio line-up of before with a heavier and more live atmosphere and less sampling and loops and everything, more organic if you will. Everything was working in their favor. But, overall, it just fails after the first track.

The heavier and grungier sound is apparent from the beginning with "Computer God", which was actually an unused song from "The Geezer Butler Band". Dio's voice is more gravelly, the playing is less polished than a lot of the previous albums as of late, and it seems more earthy. These are all things that should have worked in the albums favor. This rousing opening is followed by a slower, darker and heavier "After All (The Dead)". The track sounds good enough at first, but seems to lose steam as it goes on, even Dio's voice becoming less convincing and the music fading out at the end only cheapens it more. After this, the album falters as the same old "same old" formula goes into effect, the band starts to sound a bit uninspired and Dio's lyrics on "TV Crimes" start to sound a bit cheesy. This track still has the heavy metsl sound, but it is only one singer away from being a pop song. "Letters from Earth" continues with the downward spiral of the album, uninspired playing and singing.

"Master of Insanity" is another unused Geezer Butler Band track. It features a guitar solo written and performed by Jimi Bell, who was the guitarist for the GB Band (and who is now the new guitarist for that pop-metal band "Autograph", by the way). The solo was recorded for the GB Band's use, but Sabbath retained it. Butler promised to pay Bell for the use of his solo on this album, but Bell claims he never saw any payment for it. Honestly, it is a little bit better than the last two tracks, but only barely. In the end, its pretty much gets lost in the almost hilarious sounds of commercialized evil metal. The formula is getting old, and all of the old hooks and inspiration of the Black Sabbath of old is completely missing, even if the line-up is there.

Things only get worse on the last half of the album as the songs continue to sound uninspired, predictable and tired. Even the softer "Too Late" just doesn't add anything else to the album. It's all the same as what we have heard before, just a little bit heavier, but a lot more cheesier, especially in the lyrics department. "Time Machine" could have just as easily been done by Cinderella and not have sounded much different, and that chorus sounds like something Bon Jovi could be singing. You keep thinking that something good has got to come out of this line-up, but it just doesn't and before you know it, its all over and you can't remember anything at all about what you have listened to because nothing stands out. It's all been heard before.

After the contract for Dio expired, he left the band again, even with some shows still left on the tour. The band was able to recruit Rob Halford, lead singer from Judas Priest, to finish out the tour (with Dio's blessing). When the 2 year mark came around again (Black Sabbath at this time was releasing albums every 2 years), Tony Martin was brought back again for the next album, "Cross Purposes". The band had experienced a bit of a rejuvenation from the sales of "Dehumanizer", even though they weren't stellar, they gave the band a slight kick, even though it was mostly from the fact that the Dio lineup had returned. Dio would come back, of course, for the Black Sabbath spin-off "Heaven and Hell", but that spark from the earlier years just wouldn't be there for this album. You are better off just returning to your copy of "Holy Diver" than going with the false hope that this album could be anything close to that.

 Sabotage by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.02 | 569 ratings

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Sabotage
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars What sounds like just like a form of wordplay on the band name BLACK SABBATH, SABOTAGE, the final album of the classic mandatory six found the quartet of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward culminating all the heavy metal thunder one last time before the band effectively lost all momentum and quickly fell from grace. SABOTAGE is also one of the most misunderstood and least appreciated of the big six but for us diehard fans the album ranks very well near the top of the mighty SABBATH's canon for being one of the most intricately crafted and esoterically interesting of the bunch. Graced with epic proto-prog compositions that eschew conventional songwriting with a fiery passion reinvigorated that allowed more experimental touches to seep in, SABOTAGE allowed SABBATH one last moment of musical glory before the band hit a creative brick wall. The album while seemingly random in many ways actually makes a lot more sense once the story behind it is unmasked. The tale is somewhat hinted upon with the oddball album cover that shows the band's reflection in the mirror behind being SABOTAGED.

SABBATH had a phenomenally successful run with the first five albums but like many rock bands of the era found themselves in the spoils of riches which led to hedonistic drug abuse rituals and incessant bouts of self-indulgence. Around the time of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" the band discovered that the management had been ripping them off all along and siphoning funds like a parasitic scourge. SABOTAGE was created during the time when the litigation against former manager Patrick Meehan and others was taking place. Many of the references on the album are derived from the experiences of this period of time and despite the stress that the never-ending legal battles generated, the incident seems to have reinvigorated the fiery passion of distrust, paranoia and rage against the machine that made the first two SABBATH albums so amazingly focused. Despite all odds, the band seemed to channel all of the angst into crafting one of the most sophisticated and fine-tuned albums of its career. While SABOTAGE usually ranks last of the classic period amongst the general fanbase, the album that requires more than the average spins before digesting is actually one of the band's highest artistic statements.

SABOTAGE is a unique mix of stylistic approaches. Not only does it contain some of the band's heaviest moments such as the crushing "Symptom Of The Universe" which some cite as one of the first blueprints of thrash metal (another would be Queen's "Sheer Heart Attack" the prior year) but the album also contains the bizarre "Supertzar" which while based on Iommi's guitar riffing, employed the English Chamber Choir to ululate wordless vocalizations which eerily accompanied the heavy metal thunder. The opening "Hole In The Sky" sets an important tone of blistering heaviness that evokes the zeitgeist of earlier albums like "Paranoid" and the short acoustic guitar snippet "Don't Start (Too Late)" which i always assumed was about taking political action was actually an inside joke that referred to tape operator David Harris who was often frustrated because they band would start playing before he was ready to begin recording. The less than a minute echoed guitar sequence reminisces of the short instrumentals on "Master Of Reality" and provides the perfect fluffer between the heavy metal bombast of "Hole In The Sky" and the soul crushing uptempo heaviness of "Symptom Of The Universe, arguably one of the band's finest moments.

Starting with "Megalomania" the album becomes much more experimental. While heavy metal guitar riffs remain aplenty, the track which approaches the 10-minute mark displays SABBATH's most proto-prog leanings that begins with a sinister mid-tempo slice of echoey guitar fueled paranoia that slowly morphs into a heavy metal guitar riff based powerhouse. The track not only provides the perfect canvas for Ozzy Osbourne to vent his rage and discontent but also allows his much improved vocal style to hit a new level of sophistication by exploring a wider range of octaves as well as some of the most powerfully emotive deliveries of his career. The rest of the album only builds off of the momentum. "Thrill Of It All" follows suit with another dualistic one-two punch of melodic constructs. It begins with Iommi's guitar parts, both rhythm and lead generating a fiery metal experience that shifts into a more keyboard dominated second half which displayed the band's much improved integration of keyboards.

After the choral metal experience of "Supertzar," the sole single of the album "Am I Going Insane (Radio)" also proved to be one of the most hated of the band's career right up their with "Changes" from "Vol 4." While the "(Radio)" annex to the title insinuated an edit of some sort and the cause of much confusion, the title actually was derived from the Cockney slang term "radio-rental" which means "mental" and if like me you're not up on your English dialects especially in the slang department it is an understandable misunderstanding. The song itself is hardly a throwaway despite its commercial appeal. By far the most accessible of the SABOTAGE track listing, it was also one of the few tracks where Ozzy wrote the lyrics, a job mostly performed by bassist Geezer Butler. While Ozzy's lyrics usurp the guitar playing of Iommi on this one as his playing becomes subordinate, the track is quite arty in in display of heavy and soft alternate passages and Ozzy's emotive vocal delivery and lyrical content narrated the depression that the band was in the middle of.

The biggest mind[%*!#] of the album has to be the fact that "Am I Going Insane (Radio)" was a title of the penultimate track however it was the final track "The Writ" that actually repeated the lyrics "Am I Going Insane." The closer wasn't really a bona fide song of sorts but rather a melodic declaration of frustration and paranoia not experienced since the band's earliest albums of 1970. The pop melody is the most repetitive of the album and IMHO was the ultimate statement of a band truly losing its [&*!#] before the inevitable downturn which was prolonged for an agonizing two more albums which finally resulted in Ozzy leaving the band. The track is also rather symbolic. As Ozzy repeats the lyrics like a deranged declarative chant of sorts, the album ends by sinister laughing voices mocking him as if the lawyers had the last laugh. So many ways to interpret all of this but the ambiguity of it all plus the stellar instrumental performances of SABOTAGE are what has made this one of the hardcore fan favorites. While not as immediately accessible as the first three albums, SABOTAGE was in reality the peak of SABBATH's Ozzy-era creative prowess and for true fans where the six year party officially ended. A more careful analysis and the proper time for its magic to sink in will reveal SABBATH's most crowning achievements made all the more remarkable by the traumatic events that surrounded it.

4.5 but rounded UP!

 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.10 | 754 ratings

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Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars When the four members of BLACK SABBATH reflect upon the time period when "Vol 4" was released they can only recall upon how the seeds were sown for the ultimate demise of the so-called pioneers of the heavy metal genre of rock music. All the members were suffering from one form or another of substance abuse and the phenomenal success of their albums gave them the financial freedom to indulge in their wildest fantasies in order to achieve the ultimate party like it's1999 scenario. Unfortunately these endless days and nights of hedonistic highs and living in the sin city of 1970s Los Angeles essentially killed the creative process and no matter how hard the band tried to muster up even the simplest of ideas, ended up in dismal failure every time. The team members that consisted of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward were starting to think that the band's expiration date had arrived and were seriously considering throwing in the towel.

Luckily the band decided to return to the UK and immerse itself into the mysterious and spooky surroundings of The Forest of Dean where they rented Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire, England where they once again were able to grasp onto the musical mojo that made their earlier albums so sinister and sensational. The haunting environs suited the band well as they recaptured the occult darkness once again. SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH was literally launched when Tony Iommi stumbled upon the main riffs while playing in one of the dungeons in the castle and the evil heaviness is what set the tone for the rest of the album to follow. Once the SABBATH dudes were acclimated to the new surroundings, the ideas started pouring in once again. Scaring the crap out of each in the spooky medieval fortress aside, the band continued the heaviness of the four previous albums and continued the experimental and progressive elements that started on "Vol 4."

SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH introduced even more complex compositional arrangements that included more keyboard styles and also some strings and other touches. While a sitar and bagpipes were attempted to be included, they were nixed from the final editing which was probably a good thing! With the heavy introductory riffs of the title track and the nightmare visions of the album cover art by Drew Struzan, SABBATH recaptured the dark imagery and darkened vibes of the debut album and "Paranoid" but also displayed a more mature musical approach that found the standard heavy metal riffing styles fortified by deviations into more sophisticated flirtations into the world of progressive rock that found the band members taming their demons and taking on the challenges in order to up their game and remain relevant in a quickly evolving music business. Despite almost breaking up earlier in the year of 1973, the band composed some of the best material of its career and once back in the London for the final recording sessions also happened to be in the studio next to where Yes was recording "Tales From Topographic Oceans" which led to Rick Wakeman playing keyboards and piano on "Sabra Cadabra."

Except for a few speed bumps, SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH gracefully returned to the Lords of Darkness' former glory with crushing heavy riffing, evil sounds and imagery and most importantly an album that holds together cohesively unlike the wobbly "Vol 4" that was bogged down by the insipid ballad "Changes" and the pointless electronic experiment of "FM." With the heavy duty bombast of the title track, the album follows with one of the band's most interesting tracks ever, the fiery "A National Acrobat" which holds its own in the heaviness department but also engages in an interesting mixing it up of stylistic changes that includes some funk driven grooves and sensational atmospheric freakery to add the proper spell casting haunting sounds. It also displays Ozzy's vocal style in full fire as he seemed to hit his stride on this album. The track takes many hairpin turns and cranks it out for over six minutes.

While the heaviness is in tact, SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH is a much more daring album as each track takes a different approach. The third track "Fluff" is perhaps the only one that fails to engage. As an acoustic guitar instrumental, it serves well as an intermission of sorts but with a running time of over four minutes woefully wears out its welcome. While similar tracks on previous albums were effective (such as "Orchid" on "Masters Of Reality") they only lasted a short time whereas "Fluff" just goes on and on with a beautiful piano run which would admittedly sound great on a Yes album but derails the tone of what the first two tracks so confidently constructed. Luckily the following "Sabra Cadabra" makes up for its lackadaisical fluffiness and returns the musical flow to sizzling. With the highly fueled octane of Iommi's instantly addictive guitar riffs and Ozzy's controlled manic vocal style, the track delivers some serious chops before Rick Wakeman's Minimoog and piano contributions take the track into the stratosphere. This still remains one of my most cherished SABBATH tunes. The arrangements and compositional flow are just flawless.

Side Two continues the musical mojo with the crushing riffs of "Killing Yourself To Live" which also displays creative compositional deviations from the expected SABBATH grab bag. Ozzy handled the synthesizer duties on all but "Sabra Cadabra" despite not knowing how to play it but still mustered up the engaging track "Who Are You?" which displays a sinister keyboard riff that sounds like the prototype of what would eventually evolve into the intro of "Mr. Crowley" in his future solo career. While simple in design, the creepy scale utilized works perfectly and continues the eerie mood of the album. "Looking For Today" is another guitar riff based track but with a more complex melodic development and while not the best track on the album isn't that bad at all. The album ends with "Spiral Architect" which includes the strings of The Phantom Fiddlers. The track is laced with many changes in tempo, timbre and dynamics and the most diverse of the album. While it contains a huge guitar riffs, the problem with this one is that the delivery style is too reminiscent of Pete Townsend and The Who in certain sections when Ozzy isn't singing. Once again not a horrible track at all but The Who segments bug me. A minor quip. The string section is actually used tastefully and works quite well.

Although the band was staggering along and pulling miracles out of their arses to keep the musical compositions flowing, things were still continuing to unravel as the members were starting to suffer from infighting and the continued drug related incidents. Despite it all the critics had finally caught up to the band's vision and SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH actually received praise from both critics and fans alike. As well as being a bloody excellent album that still keeps me enthralled, this was my first experience with SABBATH so this is an album that has a personal significance as well as just being a great album. While not as perfectly sinister as the band's first three albums, this one holds together quite well despite the many elements thrown in the blender and forced to perform unthinkable things together. Only the lackluster "Fluff" and the overuse of the Townsend guitar style on "Spiral Architect" keep me from giving this a perfect score but because this album was my gateway into the world of the BLOODY SABBATH crowd, i'll round it up every time and for my tastes a clear step up from "Vol 4."

4.5 but this one i'm rounding UP for sure ;)

 Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.58 | 170 ratings

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Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by handwrist

4 stars I remember going into this album very skeptical. Since Dio left the Sabbath, there was barely anything that was worth of note to my hears, and the sheer metallic cheesiness of it all did not appeal to me at all.

But this one grabs you immediately with massive doom riffage from Iommi. This is Ronnie's last album (not just with the band, but in this world) and as soon as his voice is heard you know he means business. I am extremely partial to Ozzy's era, and to Ozzy's style in general, as I am more a blues guy than a heavy metal kind of guy, but Dio might be the one exception. His energy and personality come shining through, in everything I have heard of him so far. His cries sound sincere, not cheesy to me. And so is with this album. Iommi's soloing is as classic as the riffs before and after it. A very strong starter for the album.

I suppose if you are more of a fan of fast metal, then you will not find this album particularly enjoyable as it's more on the doomy side. For me though, that's what I prefer, so I move along very pleased with this direction. At points, it reminds of Candlemass, like in Bible Black, a highlight of the album.

Overall, a very solid album.

 Cross Purposes by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.19 | 189 ratings

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Cross Purposes
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

2 stars Somehow, Black Sabbath just kept hanging on. After the departure of Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio, they just kept hanging on. Yes, the continued line-up changes kept coming and going and it was getting hard for people to keep up with who was who during this time, but, as far as the albums go, from "The Eternal Idol" in 1987, to "Forbidden" in 1995, one thing remained constant: Tony Martin was the lead singer for Black Sabbath, except for one album, "Dehumanizer" (which saw the return of Dio), making Martin the most consistent vocalist next to Osbourne. He sang on 5 of Sabbath's studio albums. Yet it is funny how no one seems to remember his name. During this time of upheaval in the band, hardly anyone kept track of that. Martin just didn't have that unique vocal quality of Osbourne, Dio or Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), who only sang on one of Sabbath's albums, "Born Again". Basically, he could have been anyone. But at least he helped make things consistent during this time.

Such is the case is the 17th Black Sabbath album, "Cross Purposes". Released in January of 1994, this album had the hard job of trying to re-re-form the band after Dio and Vinnie Appice (drums) left after the "Dehumanizer" tour. Strangely enough, Bobby Rondinelli, former drummer for Rainbow, who, as most know, Dio was the original vocalist for, came in to replace Appice on drums, but would only remain for this album. So, for "Cross Purposes" we see the return of Martin as vocalist, of course Tony Iommi (the one constant Sabbath member) on guitars, original band member Geezer Butler was along for this album also on bass, previously mentioned "one-timer" Bobby Rondinelli on drums, and the invisible, yet faithful member Geoff Nicholls on keyboards. Nicholls has at least grown to full band status, and not just a session musicians whenever Osbourne was involved, but he is another one that was unheard of, but who was almost always there, even in the early days.

So, the question is, how does this album stack up to the rest of their discography? Well, pretty much the same as all of the others that were produced during this period. Iommi tries his best to create memorable riffs, and actually seems to hit the mark better than he has for a while. Unfortunately, his power metal style that he was using during this time in the Sabbath history just doesn't seem to fit well with Martin's more soulful vocals. That eerie evil sound that seems to exist when Osbourne or Dio are singing just isn't there, and, even the opening track "I Witness", which is supposed to grab your attention, just ends up sounding like it is coming off of a Whitesnake album. Also missing is the changing meters and melodies that really made Sabbath stand out in the Osbourne years, in other words, the one thing that hinted at progressive sound is not even there anymore.

"Cross of Thorns" goes for a slower sound, and Nicholl's keyboards tend to help Martin's vocals fit in a bit better, and you even hear Martin reach for Dio's thicker voice, and it actually works, except that, now there are no memorable guitar riffs and unfortunately, you end up with another mostly mediocre track. "Psychophobia" simple just returns to the same Whitesnake- style power metal of before. The big surprise of the album is held out for the next track "Virtual Death". Iommi and Butler come together like they haven't done since the "Sabotage" album. A nice slow-crawl of deep dark metal starts off the track and even Martin, with a completely different style, sound like he actually belongs here with this classic sound. The harmonic resonance almost sounds like "Alice in Chains" on this song, and that is a compliment of the highest order. It's an excellent track, and things are looking up now. The wailing guitar solo is perfect, exactly what you would expect from a band with a lot of talent, if only the album were full of tracks like this, especially with the feeling that Iommi knows what to do with Martin's vocals. Excellent. One of the brightest stars in Sabbath's discography from this era, by far.

So, "Immaculate Deception" starts off again with another great riff, but then Nicholls comes in and waters the whole thing down. Rondinelli attempts to save the track with sudden fast and heavy drumming for the choruses, but can't quite pull it off because now the track is inconsistent and soon slips into obscurity with many of the other Sabbath tracks from this era. "Dying for Love" is just another hard rock ballad that could have been done by any of the commercial hair metal bands from the 80s. "Back to Eden" has nothing going for it at all that you haven't heard a million times already. "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle" is more Whitesnake schleppery. Iommi has a cool riff, but it's too repetitive and Martin's vocals just don't do anything to help, but then neither does the lackluster melody and textbook lyrics. A real snore-fest.

"Cardinal Sin" (originally known as "Sin, Cardinal Sin" but renamed because of a printing error) is a track where Nicholls steals a symphonic style riff from Deep Purple's "Perfect Stranger" to try to bring some flavor to another tasteless tune. It doesn't help. The track does speed up in the middle section, but even that doesn't help bring any interest to the track. "Evil Eye" finishes off the album with a track that was co-written by Eddie Van Halen, but was uncredited due to record label restrictions. Guess what? You can hear some riffs that sound like they were inspired by him, and in the end, it's just another track, and by this time you might be wondering, what's the use? Speaking of that, "What's the Use?" is the name of the Japanese edition's bonus track. And, no, you are not any better off knowing that. It's only another throw away track with Martin trying to sound like Dio again, coming full circle to the first track.

So, put this one in the stack of mediocre Black Sabbath albums. With only one excellent track on here, "Virtual Death", its just not worth your time, unless you want to hear just how great this album could have been if they used Martin's vocals the way they did on that track. But, since there is only one non-throw away track on this album, it's just not good enough. This one is only for straightforward metal lovers with very few expectations. Download "Virtual Death" and forget the rest.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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