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BLACK SABBATH

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Black Sabbath biography
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 this was not really emphasised by the group itself: Geezer's lyrics (and to a lesser extent Ozzy's) were es...
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Black Sabbath (Deluxe Edition) (2CD)Black Sabbath (Deluxe Edition) (2CD)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
Audio CD$9.47
$9.46 (used)
Paranoid (Deluxe Edition) (2CD)Paranoid (Deluxe Edition) (2CD)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
Audio CD$9.23
$9.22 (used)
Master Of Reality (Deluxe Edition) (2CD)Master Of Reality (Deluxe Edition) (2CD)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
Audio CD$9.47
$9.46 (used)
ParanoidParanoid
Warner Bros. 1990
Audio CD$1.48
$0.01 (used)
Black Sabbath, Vol.4Black Sabbath, Vol.4
Rhino Warner Bros. 498 1990
Audio CD$2.86
$0.99 (used)
Past Lives (Deluxe Edition) (2CD)Past Lives (Deluxe Edition) (2CD)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
Audio CD$9.47
$9.46 (used)
Sabbath Bloody SabbathSabbath Bloody Sabbath
Warner Off Roster 1990
Audio CD$4.71
$2.99 (used)
SabotageSabotage
Warner Off Roster 1990
Audio CD$4.71
$2.86 (used)
Mob RulesMob Rules
Rhino 2013
Audio CD$2.75
$2.83 (used)
BORN AGAIN - BLACK SABBATHBORN AGAIN - BLACK SABBATH
Import
SANCTUARY 2015
Audio CD$3.54
$7.95 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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1h 35m
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Black Sabbath Heaven And Hell (1980) LP USD $10.00 [0 bids]
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Black Sabbath Greatest Hits Australian pressing OOP USD $5.31 [0 bids]
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Black Sabbath Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Orig. Italy tape ! USD $34.99 Buy It Now 7h 3m
Black Sabbath 'The Fundamental Church Of Rock' 12-tr Live in UK USD $29.99 Buy It Now 7h 22m
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Black Sabbath on Kerrang Cover 1998 Shirley Manson of Garbage Korn Ash USD $10.86 Buy It Now 7h 36m
Black Sabbath on Record Song Book Magazine Cover March 1971 George Harrison USD $14.48 Buy It Now 7h 37m
Black Sabbath - We Sold Our Soul For Rock N Roll USD $12.04 Buy It Now 7h 44m
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Black Sabbath Master of Reality HMV Exclusive Coloured Vinyl LP sealed USD $57.92 Buy It Now 7h 59m
BLACK SABBATH - Sabotage - LP 1975 - OZZY, DEEP PURPLE, URIAH HEEP, HAWKWIND USD $18.81 Buy It Now 8h 12m
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Black Sabbath - Greatest Hits 1970-1978 CD - 2006 - 16 Tracks - Rrw USD $2.75 [4 bids]
8h 13m
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Ozzy Osbourne 'Down To Earth' LTD Pic LP Picture Disc Vinyl Record Black Sabbath USD $76.99 Buy It Now 8h 25m
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BLACK SABBATH Eternal Idol 12" Vinyl LP EX 1987 Vertigo Label Tony Iommi USD $28.31 [0 bids]
9h 36m
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9h 58m
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10h 14m
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10h 22m
Earrhquake Album - Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, YES - music cd album USD $7.17 Buy It Now 10h 46m
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11h 4m
Rainbow - Rising Cd Dio Deep Purple Elf Black Sabbath USD $4.27 [3 bids]
11h 6m
Rainbow - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll Cd Dio Deep Purple Elf Black Sabbath USD $3.62 [1 bids]
11h 7m
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11h 8m
Ozzy Osbourne - Live At Budokan (2002) Sony Black Sabbath USD $4.33 [0 bids]
11h 11m
Ozzy Osbourne: Tribute (1995) Sony Digital Remaster Randy Rhoads, Black Sabbath USD $4.33 [0 bids]
11h 11m
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11h 27m
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11h 28m
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BLACK SABBATH 1ST WARNER BROS 1970 ORG. USA LP 1ST PRESS USD $142.42 Buy It Now 12h 2m
BLACK SABBATH - "MASTER OF REALITY" LP, WB BS 2652, 1971 ORIG. PRESS, VG+ USD $10.50 [2 bids]
12h 3m
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BLACK SABBATH shows & tickets


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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 | 716 ratings
Black Sabbath
1970
4.28 | 789 ratings
Paranoid
1970
4.04 | 616 ratings
Master Of Reality
1971
3.81 | 527 ratings
Volume Four
1972
4.09 | 628 ratings
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1973
3.96 | 468 ratings
Sabotage
1975
2.72 | 328 ratings
Technical Ecstasy
1976
2.89 | 316 ratings
Never Say Die
1978
4.01 | 474 ratings
Heaven And Hell
1980
3.46 | 324 ratings
Mob Rules
1981
2.72 | 262 ratings
Born Again
1983
2.54 | 179 ratings
Seventh Star
1986
3.16 | 173 ratings
The Eternal Idol
1987
3.23 | 196 ratings
Headless Cross
1989
3.19 | 176 ratings
Tyr
1990
3.07 | 230 ratings
Dehumanizer
1992
3.28 | 150 ratings
Cross Purposes
1994
1.78 | 148 ratings
Forbidden
1995
3.53 | 129 ratings
Heaven & Hell: The Devil You Know
2009
3.71 | 239 ratings
13
2013

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

2.94 | 75 ratings
Live at Last
1980
3.39 | 110 ratings
Live Evil
1983
2.91 | 23 ratings
Cross Purposes Live (CD + VHS)
1995
4.22 | 94 ratings
Reunion
1998
3.95 | 70 ratings
Past Lives
2002
4.16 | 27 ratings
Live at Hammersmith Odeon
2007
4.19 | 32 ratings
Heaven & Hell: Live from Radio City Music Hall
2007

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

3.35 | 12 ratings
The Black Sabbath Story - Volume 1 1970-1978
1991
3.73 | 11 ratings
The Black Sabbath Story - Volume 2 1978-1992
1992
1.65 | 23 ratings
The Last Supper
1999
3.62 | 13 ratings
Never Say Die
2003
4.33 | 3 ratings
Inside Black Sabbath with Tony Iommi
2003
2.65 | 8 ratings
Cross Purposes Live
2003
4.50 | 6 ratings
In Concert
2004
4.33 | 3 ratings
Total Rock Review
2006
3.78 | 21 ratings
Heaven and Hell: Live from Radio City Music Hall
2007
5.00 | 2 ratings
Children Of The Grave
2008
2.53 | 6 ratings
In Moscow
2008
4.75 | 4 ratings
Madman Alive in Athens
2008
3.83 | 6 ratings
Classic Albums: Paranoid
2010
3.06 | 9 ratings
Live. Gathered in Their Masses
2013

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

4.05 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Black Sabbath
1971
4.00 | 4 ratings
Attention! Black Sabbath
1973
4.50 | 4 ratings
Pop Giants: Volume 9
1974
5.00 | 3 ratings
Reflection
1975
3.07 | 33 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
5.00 | 2 ratings
Star Gold
1976
4.14 | 10 ratings
Greatest Hits
1977
5.00 | 3 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
4.20 | 5 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
4.67 | 6 ratings
Under Wheels of Confusion 1970-1987
1996
3.80 | 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
4.67 | 3 ratings
The Singles 1970-1978
2000
3.78 | 18 ratings
The Best of Black Sabbath
2000
4.50 | 6 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
4.36 | 11 ratings
Black Box (The Complete Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978)
2004
5.00 | 3 ratings
Selections From - Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978)
2004
4.00 | 3 ratings
Black Sabbath
2006
4.60 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits 1970-1978
2006
5.00 | 2 ratings
Rock Giants
2006
3.65 | 18 ratings
The Dio Years
2007
5.00 | 2 ratings
Audiobiography
2007
4.83 | 6 ratings
The Rules of Hell
2008

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

4.33 | 12 ratings
Paranoid
1970
4.09 | 11 ratings
The Wizard
1970
3.90 | 10 ratings
Evil Woman
1970
4.00 | 8 ratings
N.I.B.
1970
3.83 | 6 ratings
Coleccion Underground N° 3: Presentando Paranoid
1970
3.94 | 7 ratings
Paranoid
1971
2.76 | 8 ratings
Iron Man
1971
3.33 | 3 ratings
Rock Power
1971
3.50 | 8 ratings
Snowblind
1972
3.14 | 7 ratings
Tomorrow's Dream
1972
3.50 | 8 ratings
Snowblind
1972
3.86 | 7 ratings
Wicked World
1972
3.75 | 4 ratings
Black Sabbath/Status Quo split PROMO
1972
3.71 | 7 ratings
Paranoid
1972
4.05 | 11 ratings
Paranoid
1973
4.14 | 7 ratings
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1973
4.22 | 9 ratings
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1973
2.66 | 10 ratings
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1973
3.75 | 8 ratings
Hole in the Sky
1975
3.50 | 8 ratings
Gypsy
1976
3.29 | 7 ratings
It's Alright
1976
3.67 | 6 ratings
Hard Road
1978
3.63 | 8 ratings
Never Say Die
1978
3.60 | 5 ratings
Hard Road
1978
4.29 | 7 ratings
Die Young
1980
4.78 | 8 ratings
Neon Knights
1980
4.00 | 8 ratings
Mob Rules
1981
4.20 | 5 ratings
Turn Up the Night
1981
4.00 | 7 ratings
Paranoid
1982
4.00 | 7 ratings
Paranoid
1982
4.00 | 7 ratings
Paranoid
1986
4.00 | 3 ratings
Seventh Star Sampler
1986
3.80 | 5 ratings
No Stranger To Love
1986
4.00 | 4 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
4.00 | 6 ratings
Call of the Wild
1989
4.14 | 7 ratings
Devil and Daughter
1989
2.50 | 7 ratings
Headless Cross
1989
3.75 | 8 ratings
Feels Good to Me
1990
4.00 | 3 ratings
Castle Gold Collection: Volume 22
1991
4.00 | 3 ratings
Kerrang! Four-Play
1992
4.00 | 5 ratings
Time Machine
1992
3.81 | 7 ratings
TV Crimes
1992
3.83 | 6 ratings
I
1992
3.60 | 5 ratings
Get a Grip
1995
3.50 | 6 ratings
Psycho Man
1998
2.00 | 1 ratings
Paranoid
1998
3.75 | 4 ratings
Reunion
1998
4.14 | 7 ratings
Black Mass
1999
4.20 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Black Sabbath
2000
4.14 | 7 ratings
Paranoid
2000
4.00 | 7 ratings
Paranoid
2004
4.25 | 8 ratings
The Dio Years (Sampler)
2007
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Devil Cried
2007
3.80 | 5 ratings
Heaven and Hell (Radio Sampler)
2008
3.67 | 3 ratings
The End
2016

BLACK SABBATH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Volume Four by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.81 | 527 ratings

BUY
Volume Four
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Volume 4" was the second Black Sabbath album to join my cassette collection, back in 1983, and it happened as a matter of economy. I was 12, had recently become hooked on heavy metal, and had only a weekly paper route supplying me with $25 a month, most of which my mother insisted I save in a bank account. Cassettes in those days were on average $8.99, and "Volume 4" was priced at only $6.99. My first Black Sabbath album was "Mob Rules" and so for me this album had a very different sound to it, especially in the vocals (chronologically speaking, it should be the other way around). I was used to Ronnie Dio singing and had only heard from a friend that Ozzy had started the band, which I took to mean that he had gotten the guys together and said, "You guys will make a great band". I was 12, remember.

This album was a big step for Black Sabbath. They had been making each album heavier than the last and now found themselves at a very important point in popular music history. The heavy guitar sound that grew into popularity in 69/70 was starting to undergo a transformation. Many bands were going more commercial, or more funky, or more in a roots rock direction and meanwhile hard rock was really coming to the fore. Still others were catching the prog wave as progressive rock had reached its zenith. Black Sabbath approached their fourth album with new directions in mind. Though the signature heavy riffs were in place for songs like "Wheels of Confusion" and "Under the Sun", there were other ideas that made it to the vinyl. Ozzy had a piano ballad with Mellotron (or were they real strings?), Iommi had a classical guitar instrumental piece with strings, too. In fact, no fewer than three tracks include strings or Mellotron. Then there was the effects piece called simply and aptly "FX". On another personal note, "Born Again" was my third Black Sabbath album, so with "FX", "E5150" and "Stonehenge" I was under the impression that every Sabbath album had such a track. "Supernaut" features a (is that calypso?) percussion solo, and "St. Vitus' Dance" sounds like country metal. Those last two songs are also danceable, unlike the serious tones of "Snowblind", a song about cocaine.

The cocaine factor played a heavy role in the making of the album. The band had gone off to California and landed in a veritable river of the stuff. They had it delivered by the soapbox according to one member in an old interview, and Iommi once reflected that the band just lied around crashed out and waiting for Iommi to get them motivated with a musical idea. It's hard to imagine these accomplished and talented musicians lying about like junkies trying to find a new way to butter toast, but the resulting music shows that the band was very willing to move into new territory. Many of the tracks feature songs or instrumental sections within songs. After the first or second chorus, a new riff, rhythm, and melody will come in before going back to the original musical theme of the song. Bill Ward's drumming still had its jazz roots showing through in places, but he also contributed some trickier, non-standard beats and maintained his usual fills.

What makes this album so interesting for me is mostly the slightly more complex song structuring and variations in a single track. "Under the Sun" is heavy and ponderous at first but the middle section called "Every Day Comes and Goes" is a hurried song with some short and speedy drum solos to connect the gaps in the rest of the music. I've always loved "Wheels of Confusion" with its mellow rock introduction and slow simple riff which then gives way to a slightly spacey instrumental section that leads to a very heavy riff, a frantically busy part that then drops back to the simple heavy riff again. The song wraps up with an instrumental entitled "The Straightener", which has a nice melody accompanied by heavy riffs and a lead guitar duet thanks to overdubbing. "Tomorrow's Dream" and "Snowblind" also feature additional parts in the middle of the song.

Though this album's singles don't stand up to those from the other first five albums, I've always enjoyed "Volume 4". Perhaps the band learned from their adventures which ways were the best to pursue. I feel "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and "Sabotage" didn't pack as much variety as "Vol. 4" though that might be a good thing for most Sabbath fans. And while I'm okay to skip "Changes" and "FX", I usually enjoy listening to the rest of the album.

When I first discovered that Black Sabbath were on PA, my immediate thought was, "Volume 4! Of course!" I can see how this album has helped make the band worthy of inclusion.

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 Born Again by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.72 | 262 ratings

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Born Again
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by Pastmaster

5 stars Black Sabbath - Born Again

"Born Again" is the eleventh studio album by heavy metal band Black Sabbath. By 1983, Dio and Vinny Appice had left the band due to disagreements and misunderstandings over the making of the live album "Live Evil", so the rest of Black Sabbath had to find a new vocalist and drummer. Original drummer Bill Ward rejoined for Born Again, and they recruited Deep Purple's Ian Gillan to be on vocals. Ian Gillan plus 3/4 of Black Sabbath sounds like a perfect match, and unlike most, I certainly find it to be a perfect combination.

"Born Again" is one of Black Sabbath's darkest and doom-filled albums to my ears, but with a perfect balance between driving songs like opener 'Trashed' and the dark dirges of other tracks. The beginning of 'Disturbing the Priest', which I assume is a play-on-words of disturbing the peace, definitely fits the cover with it's terrifying shrieks and Iommi's signature sludgy guitar. The short opening for 'Zero the Hero', the dark ambient sounding 'The Dark', sounds like it came straight out of a horror movie soundtrack. Finally, 'Digital Bitch' opens up with one of the nastiest sounding guitar riffs I've heard, and I mean that in the best way possible. It really gets you ready for the rest of the fast and catchy song.

While this is unmistakably Black Sabbath, with Ian Gillan on vocals it's hard not to hear some elements of Deep Purple within the album. The best example of this is in my favorite song from the album, 'Zero the Hero'. When Gillan sings the name of the song, it sounds right out of a Deep Purple song. The song maintains a constant dark driving riff and a haunting chromatic walk down the scale. While I'm talking about this song, I may as well mention Iommi's amazing guitar solo in the middle of the song. The guitar really sings, and just enhances the sound mixed with the haunting notes being played. For a little bit of trivia, the short 'Stonehenge' has an interesting live performance story that may sound familiar. The band wanted a Stonehenge replica for the Born Again tour, but the replica was accidentally too big. This is what most likely inspired the famous scene in "This is Spinal Tap", where they get a Stonehenge replica that is too small.

The main complaint that I've seen for this album is the production. The production is definitely not the best I've heard, but I personally find the muffled raw sound benefits the dark and raw sound of the album. The album cover is also another part of the album that is often seen as a negative. I personally think it has some sort of charm to it. The evil devil-baby featured on the cover looks like a still of a puppet from a stop-motion short.

Overall, the album is definitely an acquired taste and perhaps a love-it-or-hate-it album. If you don't have an issue with muffled productions and are a fan of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, then I highly recommend giving it a try.

(Originally written on www.MetalMusicArchives.com)

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 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.09 | 628 ratings

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Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by Ghost_of_Prog

4 stars The world's first progressive metal album?

Every subculture has it's universal truths, and the heavy metal genre has quite a few: Metallica sold out with "The Black Album", Dimebag Darrell is a martyr of the genre, Dio is a god among men and above reproach, metalcore insults the genre, saying Slipknot is even decent is tantamount to heresy, and Black Sabbath is responsible (directly or indirectly) for every sub-genre in heavy metal. In regards with that last gospel truth, there is some genuine truth to that. Nearly every metal band under the sun has cited Black Sabbath as an influence. There first two albums laid the foundation for the entire genre and their next two albums extended the genre even further and indirectly influenced sub-genres such as doom, sludge, and stoner metal. So after laying such foundations, where else can they go?

Their answer was their fifth album, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. When it was initially released, fans, critics, and even the band themselves, weren't too sure what to think about it. It received acclaim for sure, but it was vastly different in comparison to its predecessors with its use of synthesizers and cleaner production values. Some fans were put off by it and the band even commented that this was the start of when album's cost more to make due to studio influence. However, in hindsight, this album was the first instance seen of the two genre's of progressive rock and heavy metal fusing together.

The album opens with the title track, which is dubbed "the riff that saved Black Sabbath", and that claim is not unfounded. I've noticed that the reason many prog-heads gravitate towards this album because of Rick Wakeman's presence (despite the fact that he only appears on one song). Even if he played on every song, the focus on Wakeman takes away the attention from Black Sabbath's true star; Tony Iommi. Not only could the man churn out heavy riffs like a factory, but he was also the leader of the band's creative process. Without him, Geezer could not write his lyrics and Ozzy could not sing. Tony also took a lot of elements from jazz and psychedelic rock, allowing him to create unique pieces such as "Wicked World" and "Fairies Wear Boots." Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is another weapon in his unique arsenal which shows the roots of a popular style in progressive metal; alternating between heavy and soft on a regular basis. Tony plays a heavy and catchy riff while Ozzy sings his typical fashion but then Tony switches to an acoustic guitar while Ozzy sings more smoothly. A guitar solo transports us to the last part of the song which is heavier and tonally different than the first half, another prog-metal style. This amazing song, this genesis of prog-metal, is 99% the work of Tony Iommi. Let's give credit where credit is due.

The progressive rock elements are peppered throughout the rest of the album but do not come together with the heavy metal was well as the title track does. A National Acrobat, starts off with a riff similar to the title track (albeit a bit softer) before delving into fantasy-like lyrics and Tony's extended guitar solos. An enjoyable track, but it kind of meanders on.

Fluff is an excellent piece that shows Tony can write beautiful compositions on instruments other than the electric guitar. However, the instrumental sounds remarkably out of place. This is not because it is a soft song on a heavy metal album. Black Sabbath has done it before with "Planet Caravan" and "Solitude". These two songs came after some extraordinary heavy material (the former after "War Pigs" and "Paranoid" and the latter as the penultimate final song on it's album) and sounded like something Black Sabbath would do (a psychedelic journey and a mournful song). I don't detract any points because of it because a good song is a good song regardless.

The prog-head's interest peaks at Sabbra Caddabra where Rick Wakeman makes his appearance. However, the keyboards and pianos sound like something Tony could have easily handled and don't show the skill Wakeman is capable of. He recorded his parts while Yes was recording Tales of Topographical Oceans, an album which Rick hated. He even asked to be paid in beer rather than money for his contribution. I don't say any of this to insult Wakeman or his fans, but simply to show how little involvement he had and how little he cared about it (it was something more he did for fun). The song itself is like that, fun, but really nothing too memorable.

Killing Yourself to Live is a typical heavy metal song, but that's not always a bad thing. Tony still shows that he is the king of the riff even when he decides to dabble into other things.

The two songs I've seen most picked on by both metal and prog-heads are Who are You? and Looking for Today, the former relying a synth melodies while the latter attempting to be a "hit" song. While I do agree with the criticism towards the latter (I've listened to it multiple times and can't remember a single thing about it), I must confess I have a soft spot for the former. It's more of an experiment on Ozzy's part and the song does have a heavy feel in line with the Sabbath style.

The album closes with Spiral Architect, which opens with Tony playing an elegant melody on the acoustic guitar before the hard rock and the orchestras break out. A very interesting experiment that Sabbath has never done before, but manages to pull off very well.

Despite being a little rough around the edges, I believe I can (without a doubt) give this album four stars. It's an excellent addition to any prog-rock music collection and an essential to heavy metal listeners. Just as they did before, Black Sabbath sowed the seeds for another sub-genre in heavy metal, but also for a genre they originally had very little to do with.

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 Black Sabbath by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.23 | 716 ratings

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Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

3 stars Black Sabbath's debut is influential, no doubt; pretty much every metal artist around today will cite the title track as an inspiration. Unfortunately, I think that the album doesn't have a ton going for it beyond that characteristic, its influence.

Black Sabbath is hailed as being the first distinctly metal album but personally I believe that, the first track aside, it fits more in the camp of dime-a-dozen dark, heavy blues bands that were popping up around the start of the 1970's. Songs like "The Wizard" and the first side's medley are really just heavy blues songs and Tony Iommi's solos are typical blues rock fare. The album's redeeming feature, in my opinion, are the songs on side two. "Wicked World" is slightly more progressive than the rest of the album, while still keeping in the heavy spirit, and the second side's medley features some of the best work by all the band's members.

"Black Sabbath" laid out a blueprint for the band, and countless others, to follow but there's a lot of fine-tuning (and Tony Iommi de-tuning) that would have to happen before their magnum opus "Paranoid" could be achieved.

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 Paranoid by BLACK SABBATH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1971
3.94 | 7 ratings

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Paranoid
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by thwok

4 stars I think Black Sabbath might have the most warmed - over discography in heavy metal history. I counted at least 10 releases in the Singles/EPs section of the Black Sabbath page under the title "Paranoid"! I am probably in the minority in feeling that the Paranoid album is the least interesting of their first six masterpiece albums. I find it rather disjointed and meandering, especially the second side.

However, this EP groups two of the best songs from the original Paranoid album with "Sweet Leaf" and "N.I.B". I think most of us could agree that these are four of the most revered songs in the history of original heavy metal. The Metal Music Archives site doesn't even list this EP, so it may be very difficult to find. It's without a doubt a 4 or 4 1/2 star release in my book. If you can find these four songs grouped together, it's fully worth the time and effort.

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 Paranoid by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.28 | 789 ratings

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Paranoid
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

4 stars Black Sabbath's second release, "Paranoid", is an iconic album with plenty of replayability value. One of the classic early metal albums, "Paranoid" took what had been laid down on "Black Sabbath" and reworked its elements into a tighter, more accessible package.

What we have with this album is a collection of dark, apocalyptic power chord- based songs with some extended instrumental jamming and plenty of use of the tritone. It works quite well; "War Pigs", "Iron Man" and "Electric Funeral" are all ominous, doom-impending metal classics and the album's other tracks, while not at quite the same caliber as these three, are all enjoyable to listen to.

While the spotlight for this album is usually on Tony Iommi's riffs, what really makes it for me is the rhythm section. Geezer Butler's booming bass lines and Bill Ward's drum fills are top notch and the instrumental "Rat Salad" features a great solo from the latter.

Not an especially progressive album but "Paranoid" is still a strong, memorable album to revisit now and again and enjoy every time you hear it.

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 Black Sabbath by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.23 | 716 ratings

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Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars The band, debut album and first track are all called BLACK SABBATH and it all begins with the pitter-patter of raindrops like fallen angels from the heavens above in tandem with the peal of church bells before the doom and dread inspired snail-paced guitar riffs introduce the world to a totally new player in the musical arena. Clearly the hippie flower power days and utopian idealism that dominated the latter half of the 60s had imploded and in its wake a new musical cynicism that BLACK SABBATH pioneered and offered the world, was dropped onto unsuspecting ears with a nice little slice of the occult complete with the blasphemous and utterly profane for the day and age.

After the initial unhurried guitar riffs run their course, the music kicks into some of the very first music ever recorded that i would call true metal. Sure there were plenty of other bands that developed aspects of metal such as the The Kinks developing the distortion, Blue Cheer upping the ante, Hendrix for adding some adrenaline and creative mojo to the whole thing, but it was BLACK SABBATH who practiced some musical magical alchemy and made metal out of lesser pseudo- and non-metal elements.

The whole enchilada that is! You know of what i speak! The kinda music that is loud, distorted, in-in-yer-face and drenched with attitude, despair and accompanied by brutal riffs (well, by the standards of the day!) and a true rockin' rhythm section. This must have been quite the album to shock the parents of the day. Oh the horror of good Christian parents who felt they went wrong with Timmy! Just look at that scary, nightmare inducing album cover! 45 years after its release, this is still some dark and ominous visuals and the music? Perhaps not as wicked as it sounded then but still has a mysterious aura to it.

Although this sound has been refined and branched out into a million different directions, nothing compares to the debut album by BLACK SABBATH as far as conjuring demonic filled atmospheres that tread heavily on the listener's psyche and sense of well-being in the world. This is true horror music of the first degree and one that Rosemary's baby would surely enjoy as demonic lullabies.

The sound that BLACK SABBATH created wasn't really some brilliant mastermind plan in the making. Like many things in music and history in general, it was a by-product of one fateful day in Tony Iommi's life when at the tender age of 17, he lost the tips of his middle and ring fingers in an accident on his very last day working at a sheet metal factory. Having been utterly devastated and ready to write off his guitar playing career altogether, he was reminded by a co-worker of a similar situation in the jazz world which after an even worse tragedy, Django Reinhardt took his disability as an opportunity to reinvent a musical genre.

The rest is history. This single day would transpire in the form of Tony Iommi putting a heavy emphasis on down-tuned fifth root power chords and riffing over more traditional classical interpretations of rock music. Years of honing these new musical innovations led directly to the SABBATH sound and unintentionally created a whole new rock genre that has only mushroomed into the vast universe that made its way into the 21st century.

Of course, SABBATH started out like many other bands in the world of the heavy psych and blues rock and even had the less wicked band name Earth in the beginning, but that name was already taken and the band opted for a more sinister name came from the title from a 1963 movie, an idea i hear was actually from the Vertigo record label. The inspiration from the movie and the newly adopted title led the band in the direction of horror music as they saw an opportunity to create a huge contrast from the dominate styles of the era.

On this first release they still have many ties to their bluesy past as heard, for example, on the second track "The Wizard" with the harmonica intro and bluesy guitar riff but even on these early tracks that are clearly connected to the earlier years, SABBATH manages to steer it into a sinister power chord frenzy punctuated by Ozzy Osbourne's efficacious poetic lyricism that despite relentless accusations isn't about practicing Satanism, witchcraft or evil-doings. It is on the other hand all about observing and reporting those Earthly horrors done by others in the form of musical story telling. Oh yeah, they definitely took a cue from the progressive rock world too while not clearly falling into that particular arena of music and developed a style that had progressive elements albeit used sparingly such as the multi themed tracks (like "A Bit Of Finger / Sleeping Village / Warning") that are in reality several tracks sewed together.

This was the very beginning for SABBATH and although not far from success and all the financial benefits that ensue, at this point the band were on a budget and as a result this album was recorded in a single day lasting only 12 hours and only another day for mixing. After all was said and done, the band relied on their sheer ingenuity and intuition to make this album come to fruition and i have to say that even though i wasn't experiencing this album at the time it was released, almost 50 years later i find this to be worthy of all the fuss and rage that has been heaped upon it.

It is ground zero for the explosion of the dark side of music that would waste no time diversifying and expanding a millionfold into everything from the obvious heavy metal and punk genres to even the world of dark cabaret and beyond. I never rate albums according to influence alone. They deserve recognition of course but don't necessarily make great listening experiences for yours truly. When it comes to the debut by BLACK SABBATH everything works for me. It is an excellent listening experience all the while making you feel like you are dipping your feet into the primeval pools of sonic torture that was essential in the big bang of the whole heavy metal experience and beyond. SABBATH!!!!!!!

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 Paranoid by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.28 | 789 ratings

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Paranoid
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars After dropping their sonic bomb on the world of free love and idealistic utopian visions with their self-titled debut at the very beginning 1970, creating a clear delineative line between two distinct decades in their wake, BLACK SABBATH wasted no time releasing their followup PARANOID just a mere seven months later, however while the debut was criticized as being too strange by the critics but yet still attracted a decent amount of public interest, it was PARANOID that set the world on fire as it shot up to the top of the British charts and sold mass quantities of albums. The critics still panned it (of course) as have many others who haven't taken the initiative to dig deeper into the symbolic mordant lyrics of social critique and heavy apocalyptic doom inspiring song structures built upon the crushing down-tuned riffs of Tony Iommi, but the real underlying success of BLACK SABBATH with PARANOID is that it simply harnessed the sentiments of an ever skeptical public following one of the most tumultuous decades known as the 60s.

BLACK SABBATH clearly hit upon a new sound that has since been tagged HEAVY METAL and while the debut still had a murkiness that tied it to the bluesy psychedelic 60s despite the occult themes and imagery, PARANOID tweaked those elements and created one of the earliest blueprints of the dawning of an entire rock genre. The dark lyrics, doom laden tritone song structures, occult imagery and energetic power chords guaranteed an instant polarizing reaction for first time listeners but one they for sure could not simply ignore. Whereas a few other groups like Lucifer's Friend, Sir Lord Baltimore and Deep Purple were heading in the same direction with harder driven rhythms and a brashness absent from 60s comparisons, BLACK SABBATH was the first to bring all the attributes together on PARANOID by finally jettisoning most of the heavy psych and blues and concocting a shocking and thought provoking album that dared to delve into the occult and scathing critique of the political subterfuge of the era.

The album title was originally supposed to be titled 'War Pigs' but the record company wouldn't allow it so they changed it to the more nebulous title PARANOID. The track 'War Pigs' was originally supposed to titled 'Walpurgis,' one of the major holidays in Satanism, but once again the Vertigo label saw SABBATH as a potential commercial behemoth and managed these possible controversies fairly well. Parental overrides by the record label aside, what we get here is a nice callathump of dark, doomy, energetic guitar riffing, groovy bass and drum interaction and of course, Ozzy Osbourne's manic vocal style spewing out the best nihilistic antiestablishmentarianisms to be found in the musical universe. Whether you consider the mostly hard rockers such as 'War Pigs,' 'Iron Man,' 'Fairies Wear Boots' or the title track, the depressive cosmic vibe of 'Planet Caravan' or the semi-proggy jazz influenced 'Electric Funeral' and 'Rat Salad' tracks, it is evident that SABBATH were not only pioneering a totally new sound and ethos but were gifted at keeping a nice variety between the tracks as to keep the album entertaining.

Like much of early SABBATH and the other contemporary proto-metal albums of the early 70s, i used to think this sounded primitive and substandard to the vast wealth of music inspired by these early prototypes of the heavy metal genre, but let's face it, the roots of a tree are never as pretty and splendiferous in their coloring as are the branches and leaves that grow from them. PARANOID is the perfect primeval example of this phenomenon we call evolution but as i listen to this almost 50 years after its release and do indeed hear an underdeveloped musical form, i have to say that i have come to love this album exactly for what it is. It is not about the stunning guitar virtuosity that Ritchie Blackmore would develop with Deep Purple, it's not about the top notch production that could compete with anything released in the 21st century and it's not even about an all encompassing theme or concept. It's simply about a certain mood dynamic and atmosphere that is absent from a lot of music these days. For me the secret of PARANOID is an extremely well-balanced musical approach that perfectly contrasts slow and fasts tempos, loud and soft passages all tempered with a brash bravado that critiques the misuse of power. As with many albums before my time, this was a grower but as time has gone on has become only more and more brilliant. Yeah, Iommi's leads are an acquired taste as well, but just like mayonnaise and garlic which at one time i didn't care for, are ones that i now savor. True this album was a rushed affair with some tracks being created on the spot, but that only testifies to the creative genius of the band who could muster up this material instantaneously and still sounds relevant to this day despite perhaps sounding like a product of its time.

Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward created several classic masterpieces in the 70s but PARANOID was their first album that skyrocketed them onto the world's stage and allowed them the success to create the scaffolding of the heavy metal universe that would build itself into the vast universe that it has become today. PARANOID was exemplary at capturing the mood of an era when clandestine wars, political scandals and assassinations, media manipulation (hmmm'.. some things never change) and perhaps a healthy drug consumption conspired to make a skeptical and unwary public question virtually every aspect of reality. Of course, the more you tear down the previously constructed world views, the more you open yourself up to the vast universe of possibilities including some that aren't so pleasant more likely than not making you PARANOID. This is simply one of the earliest soundtracks for this state of mind.

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 Paranoid by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.28 | 789 ratings

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Paranoid
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by martindavey87

1 stars Time to make some enemies...

Whilst I'm not a big fan of Black Sabbath, I was able to tolerate their debut album. Their follow-up album however, just doesn't work for me. And here's why:

For starters, the whole album seems very 'immature', sounding like it was written by a bunch of twelve year-olds who have only been playing their instruments for a month (and I should know, I've been there myself). The guitar riffs are dull and uninspired, the lyrics are tacky and not very creative, and overall the songs are just boring, Ozzy's vocals are awful, and that has got to be one of the most God-awful covers ever.

On top of the that, the edition I have has a live version of 'Wicked World' on it, and it's about 20 minutes long, full of boring guitar solos with Tony Iommi playing the same legato licks over and over and Ozzy annoyingly shouting 'alright!' after every second line. Lame.

Overall, I find this to be, quite simply, a rubbish album. Harsh, but hey, this is my review, what can ya do about it? I gave it a fair amount of listens, and while it's predecessor had its moments, 'Paranoid' (arguably one of the greatest and most beloved metal records of all time) just seems very, very boring to me.

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 13 by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.71 | 239 ratings

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13
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It can be pretty hard not to feel sorry for certain bands that destroy their own legacy, whether or not they did it intentionally. Even if it was their own doing, there's a genuine desire for a group to succeed and continue making quality records based on how good their old classic records were. There are plenty of obvious examples that come to mind: Metallica, Megadeth, Queen, etc., etc.; however, one of the worst cases of this would have to be with Black Sabbath. Why? Because they were such a significant band in pioneering an entire genre of music, of course the genre being heavy metal. While the band's records with Ronnie James Dio behind the mic were damn solid releases, most of the other post-Ozzy records have ranged from merely passable to downright atrocious (do we even need to mention their last album?). However, the hype train rolled in once the band's 2010 reunion with Ozzy Osbourne was announced. With him back into the fold, the group set out to record their big comeback album known as 13; the big thing to mention, however, is that Bill Ward isn't playing on this one. Due to a disagreement about his contract, he opted out and American drummer Brad Wilk ended up being his replacement. So, after so much hype and everything else surrounding the band, how good is 13? It's absolutely astounding.

First of all, rejoice because this goes back to the old 70s Sabbath sound! Tony Iommi's guitar work is as sinister and doomy as ever, and the band as a whole locks in well with the bleak atmosphere that Ozzy conveys with his vocals and lyrical imagery. Going back to Tony Iommi for a second, his guitar tone is exceptional on this record; you'd swear he was throwing his instrument against a giant steel wall because of how thick and metallic it sounds. Geezer Butler's bass work consistently alternates between locking in with Iommi's heavy riffs and performing some very complex (and usually swinging/bluesy) bass lines around a musical backdrop. Brad Wilk is actually a very good replacement for Bill Ward, offering lots of variety and maintaining a heavy degree of precision with the other band members. Speaking of variety, the songs are extremely diverse and let each musician stretch out his skills a bit. There's definitely a heavier dose of doom metal than in previous efforts by the band, as showcased in the first two tracks, "Age of Reason," etc. At the same time though, the album has a more modern-metal slant to it, which is not a bad thing at all in this case. The production is crystal-clear, and the aforementioned guitar tone certainly sounds more befitting of today's metal music as opposed to back in their initial heydey. Take the five-minute hard-rocker "Loner" for instance; the song sounds like a mix of 80s Dio-era Sabbath and elements of modern 2000s hard rock. The difference is that the band have plenty of tricks to differentiate this song from that very hard rock crowd; for example, there's a beautiful clean guitar section that comes before the typically heavy choruses, and it really adds some emotional depth to an otherwise ordinary song. On top of this, there's an insanely heavy bridge section in the middle that almost channels 80s thrash; a fast guitar riff from Iommi and Butler clashes against manic drumming from Wilk, while Ozzy places a neat vocal melody on top to give the section just that extra edge. Great stuff, to say the least.

As I mentioned earlier, the band aren't afraid to switch things up a bit; the biggest example of this is with the gorgeous ballad "Zeitgeist." Tony Iommi switches to the acoustic guitar as Ozzy provides distorted vocals reminiscent to those of the band's 1970 song "Planet Caravan." The song is of a minimalist nature, but including a bunch of embellishments would most likely ruin the song's magic. Iommi swiftly switches between very well-chosen chords and little melodies to offset them. The chorus is especially lovely and displays Ozzy's vocal work at its best as he legitimately sounds brooding and depressed throughout the climactic moment. Also, blues-esque solo at the end fits the acoustic chords very well and doesn't overstay its welcome. However, the most exciting portions of the record come in when the band do what they do best: play extremely doomy, sludgy anthems of darkness! There are plenty of them to choose from on here; "God is Dead" has already been out for quite a while and remains among the album's highlights, but "Age of Reason" and "End of the Beginning" are right up there too. The former pits extremely hollow-sounding riffs with masterfully placed melodic lines that offer a slight glimmer of hope. The barren riff in the bridge is particularly intense, sounding almost like something off Death's album Spiritual Healing. Ozzy's sinister vocals as he sings over the riff are just icing on the proverbial cake. The latter song "End of the Beginning" is a wonderfully bleak opener that actually bears many similarities to the band's very first song, the eponymous "Black Sabbath." The quiet verses and loud doom metal choruses certainly remind one of the iconic 70s tune, but the faster section that begins in the middle is done just a wee bit better than the speedier section in "Black Sabbath." The band enter a bluesy section aided by Brad Wilk's swinging percussion and Tony Iommi's stylish solo, and the climactic vocal section that comes afterwards blends very well with the faster portion of the song. Songwriting like that is what makes this album work so well.

The only flaw with this album is that there are some points that are a little too reminiscent of the band's past songs, but that's to be expected when a group has been around for so long (just look at some of the self-plagiarism in Metallica's Death Magnetic!). Honestly, this album is mindblowing. The riffs are amazing, the atmosphere is great, the vocals are surprisingly good, and the lyrics are very well-written and suitably dark to fit the music. I'd recommend this not just to a Black Sabbath fan, not just to an Ozzy fan, but to any fan of hard rock or metal music. This is a comeback album done the way a comeback album is supposed to be done: with quality and, of course, respect to the fans who have supported the band over the years. Buy this; you won't regret it.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

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