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Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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4.12 | 771 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.75 stars really!!!

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

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

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

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

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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