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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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4 stars Netherworld Meets Art World

Much like Led Zeppelin and The Who the kingpins of doom `n roll discard previous formulas in favour of more structured compositions incorporating elements of art rock to produce what could arguably qualify as one of the earliest examples of progressive metal. Ozzy Osbourne`s banshee wails acquire melodic qualities, Bill Ward evolves into more of a percussionist, Tony Iommi becomes an arranger of songs and multi-instrumentalist ( he plays keyboards, flute and even the bagpipes here ) while Geezer Butler`s once macabre lyrics play at nuances of optimism.

After bouts of writer`s block and rock`n roll burnout the band relocated to a rustic castle in the Welsh countryside in `mid `73 to rehearse in it`s dungeon ( where else? ) where Osbourne and Iommi encounter an apparition ( actually in the armoury ) and snap out of the creative lull to record the finest and most musical Black Sabbath album ever.

This is not to say that the rack and ruin and plodding riffs are discarded altogether but are cleverly merged with orchestral-like arrangements which feature acoustic guitars, synthesizers, flutes and even a string ensemble. Even the grand wizard of art rock Rick Wakeman makes a guest appearance on one track. The suprising fusion also results in several radiant tracks with single potential but oddly the band chooses the less-than-cheerful title track " Sabath Bloody Sabbath " b` sided with the mournful " Changes " from their previous Volume 4 album which also features Wakeman for single release. One of the more splendatious tracks, " Sabra Cadabra " , is not only a great rock`n roll song but also deals with love, sex and happiness, subject matter once athematized by the band. Be that as it may, the title track and " Killing Yourself To Live " dispirit any illusion that the Sabs have taken an about face on their gloom ridden trepidations and are placed appropriately at the opening and middle of the tracking sequence as if to make good this point. Both follow similar patterns which allow for doses of grinding heaviness which illustrate the fluctuating moods which seem to allude to the consequences of overindulgence in illicit drugs.

The Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, also pens his first composition for the band which questions the motives of God. Astonishingly enough, " Who Are You " is one of the more orchestral tracks on the whole record, coloured with synths and mellotrons becoming one of the most cultivated Black Sabbath tracks ever. Two other tracks, " A National Acrobat "and " Spiral Architect " explore cosmic sci / fi themes and have lyrical depth which almost seems to indicate that the Sabs want to flush out the fatalistic mould that they embodied themselves in throughout their previous work. The latter track, which concludes the album, once again brings in various symphonic elements which actually turns their music into a sublime experience leaving the listener with a sense of solace which is evinced through the superb conceptual cover art by poster artist Drew Strizan.

While not making a complete crossover into the realm of art rock Black Sabbath`s occasional forays heard here are well worth the nod with superior production and a more lucid approach when compared to most of ther previous an subsequent work.

Vibrationbaby | 4/5 |


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