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Black Sabbath Paranoid album cover
4.31 | 1116 ratings | 65 reviews | 58% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. War Pigs (7:55)
2. Paranoid (2:47)
3. Planet Caravan (4:24)
4. Iron Man (5:53)
5. Electric Funeral (4:47)
6. Hand of Doom (7:07)
7. Rat Salad (2:29)
8. Fairies Wear Boots (6:13)

Total Time 41:35

Bonus track on 1986 CD release:
9. Wicked World (live) (18:51)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ozzy Osbourne / vocals
- Tony Iommi / lead guitar, keyboards, flute (?)
- Geezer Butler / bass
- Bill Ward / drums, congas (?)

- Tom Allom / piano (3-unconfirmed)

Releases information

Artwork: Marcus Keef

LP Vertigo - 6360 011 (1970, UK)
LP Warner Bros. - WS-1887 (1971, US)

CD Castle Communications ‎- NELCD 6003 (1986, UK) With a bonus Live track
CD Essential ‎- ESM CD 302 (1996, UK) Remastered by Ray Staff
CD Sanctuary Records ‎- 2730327 (2010, Europe) Remastered by Andy Pearce

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy BLACK SABBATH Paranoid Music

BLACK SABBATH Paranoid ratings distribution

(1116 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(58%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (9%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BLACK SABBATH Paranoid reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

As their debut album scored immediately on both side of the Atlantic, the world was now warned about BS and there would be no surprise effect this time around. Or so they thought! The Birmingham quartet had more trick up their sleeves and pulled a lot of trump cards from their games to confirm with HM's most definitive album. As much as Warning had done the job on the debut album, there was little to prepare the listener for the sonic assaults of their opening track, the eternal anti-war tune War Pigs with its air-raid siren howling in the opening riffs. Originally intended as War Pigs, this album title was vetoed by their US label fearing too much controversy with the Vietnam crisis and its political inflammatory contents, even though Butler's lyrics for the track came from the group playing US military installation in Germany and their lengthy conversation with the soldiers.

With the famous Sci-Fi warrior (rather cheap and missed, imho) of the outside gatefold and the very-white photo-shoot of its innerfold, Paranoid might have even not seen its title track included at first. The group had recorded this album almost as quickly as their debut album (one session) and when the Vertigo label assembled it, they deemed it too short, they asked the group to add another track, so the amphetamine-fuelled Paranoid was recorded as an afterthought, not knowing it would become their biggest and sole #1 hit on both side of the Atlantic. Originally the song had been casted-off because the group thought it too close to Zep's Communication Breakdown on their debut album. In terms of influences, Paranoid's riff is definitely one of the most inspiring for generations of metal group along with Zeppelin's Immigrant Song and from Judas Priest to the 80's thrash and speed metal groups and 90's progmetal, everyone owes a huge debt to it.

Again the group had all their songs well rehearsed well ahead of time as they played many gigs, including some Hamburg nights where they played up to six sets of 45 minutes, with War Pigs often lasting a full 40 minutes and here reduced to an 8 minutes version (you can hear its aborted ending as a cut-off). Sounding quite different is the superbly atmospheric Planet Caravan (where they sound like a very spacey Ten Yearts After) hinting at Sleeping Village on the previous album, where Bill Ward's bongos and Butler's gentle bass are absolutely gorgeous, Iommi's jazzy guitar and Ozzy's muffled vocals provide a genuine piece of jazzy psychedelia. The opening side finishes on another Sabbath monument, the awesome Iron Man, with its huge crunching power chord and its laughable opening announcement, and later Iommi's spine-chilling solemn solo. Again Geezer Butler's thumping bass lines (inspired by Cream's Jack Bruce) and Bill Ward's jazzy drumming bring a breath of fresh air to the general heaviness.

The flipside opens on another small but often overlooked Sabbath gem, Electric Funeral starting a bit like the gloomy BS track of the debut, but the middle section develops much more muscles and energy. The longest track of the album, Hand Of Doom, starts out appropriately gloomily and picks up again with Ozzy's inspired vocals and Ward's driving rhythm and then menacingly slowing down again.

After the short instrumental rifferama of Rat Salad, comes probably the most stunning Sabbath track (certainly my fave), Fairies Wear Boots, an anti-Skinhead anthem, which is really an Osbourne theme, since he was one of them prior to playing music. A lengthy intro including Butler's booming bass, Ward's incessant drum rolls and Iommi's distant guitar (at first) tells you that you're fantasyland, and until Ozzy's spine-chilling vocals enters some 90 seconds into the track, this is pure bliss? But Ozzy's vocals are particularly inspired as well and once the verse gone; Iommi, Ward and Butler take us to unsuspected proglands and looping it to the intro again for a second run. Even some 35 years after discovering this album, I can't help replaying this track a second time just for kicks and thrills. What an awesome way to finish an album.

After such a review, I don't really think closing comments are really necessary, right

Review by russellk
4 stars Despite the success of their debut, it was this album that turned BLACK SABBATH into superstars of heavy metal.

Has there ever been a more portentious opening to an album than IOMMI'S distorted guitar on 'War Pigs', with the air-raid siren howling? As a young teen this fair put the willies up me. 'War Pigs' is a classic song in anyone's language. Distilled from a live jam that often went on for half an hour or more, 'War Pigs' was accomplished and tight as well as being direct: no metaphors or hidden messages here. 'Paranoid', a last-minute inclusion on the album, is an oddity in the SABBATH canon, with a much faster tempo. It is this song more than any other which birthed the myriad of heavy metal genres we have today - they all owe this three minute track a great debt. To tell the truth, I never liked it. It seemed lightweight to me.

This is a more complete album than the rushed debut. There's a psychedelic ballad ('Planet Caravan') and plenty of riff-laden menace, replete with sci-fi themes and social commentary - but relatively little occult imagery. At this stage of their career they were still not entirely comfortable with the image that was winning them legions of fans. 'Iron Man' is the best of the remaining tracks, a simple but effective sci-fi tale of revenge drenched in some of the most well-known riffs in rock. The sublime moment comes at the end of the instrumental break, where each motif is reprised, leading to a repeat of the song's ponderous opening riff. Genius.

Not quite five stars: had they paid as much attention to the rest of the album as they did to the opener, this could have been truly great. As it is, they had to settle for genre-defining.

'Heavy boots of lead, fills his victims full of dread.' Woo hoo!

Review by ZowieZiggy
5 stars This album belongs to my youth. I am almost born with it. And from time to time (like this evening, ooups, night already) I spin it with lots of nostalgia.

In December 1970, I purchased four singles that will have an enormous influence on my musical taste for some years : "Whole Lotta Love" / "Livin', Lovin' Maid", "Black Night / Speed King", "See Me, Feel Me / Overture" and "Paranoïd / Rat Salad". I spent days listening to both sides of these discs endlessly. Until I got "Abraxas" (my first album) in January 1971. I was not yet twelve.

When you listen (or will listen maybe after "Sabbath" 's inclusion on PA which I won't discuss in any review but if have time I will post my point of view on the forum about it) to the first part (side at the time) of this incredible album, there is only one word available : briliant. The strenght of the tracks is phenomenal. Three magnificent and super powerful pieces of music of which "Paranoïd" will ALWAYS a special place in my heart. Bearing in mind that it was almost regarded as a leftover and written in less than half an hour it is even more impressive. I have always been nuts about it (and I still very much enjoy it).

But what to say about "War Pigs" and "Iron Man" ? The absolute heavy metal songs. And believe me, the versions available on this studio recording are edulcorated. they are featured in a rawer, more destructive version on some live "non-official" album like their Olympia appearance on December 20 or the Fillmore West on November 27th (both 1970 of course). The best experience is to have a listen. But be prepared. Heavy-metal to the bones. But great one (if ever this concept can be admitted on PA).

Actually the only number I didn't like from that side was the psychedelic "Planet Caravan". Once in a while, I did listen to it but most of the time I just skipped it. I was really in the heavy stuff while listening to "Sabbath" in those very remote days. I have another opinion about it now but still, it is my least fave of the whole.

The B-side was almost on par as well with two fabulous songs like "Electric Funeral" and the fantastic "Fairies Wear Boots". The later being a bit more melodic than the rest of the album (but in terms of melody, this was not difficult). "Rat Salad" is Ward's showcase but not only. Great riff (à la Page).

"Hand Of Doom" is also a song combining soft (almost acoustic) passages with heavy ones (maybe a "Led Zep" influence - remember "What Is and What Should Never Be" or "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" (even if the latter was a cover of a ...Joan Baez song). Very effective as well.

Sentimentally, I will give the maximum rating to this album. It is superior to their debut one and actually it won't be equalled neither by "Sabbath" nor by any heavy metal band after this release IMHHO.

Prog-relation is of course very scarce here (if you exclude the spacey "Caravan" stuff, there is actually nothing related to prog).

It will peak at the top of the UK chart and will reach number 12 in the US.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Here's a great album from the seventies with some atmosphere typical for... progressive rock. Well, the music is not even close (although is great) but the album is, I dare to say, thematic: post-nuclear Earth.

Or not. Not entirely. Maybe that's just my imagination, but the majority of the songs on the album fit into that picture. The album is prog-related because it's science-fiction related....oh, I know, that sounds more than just stupid. But that scenery (science fiction) fits a prog rock music just fine. There's another musical genre that utilises science fiction very often: metal. Also, that's the main thing that I see as a relation of IRON MAIDEN and progressive rock, although I know that's far from the only reason.Speaking of prog-SF-metal relation, maybe that's the reason why these two genres "fit" together well, and why nowadays, in 2007, the majority of prog acts are prog metal artists. This is perhaps worth a discussion but it doesn't have much to do with the album.

However, this is a solid piece of an album: solid as a rock, hard as a metal, very dark, and good.

The music is really raw: simple riffs, no complexities, almost punkish at the moments. If the debut was a milestone of a new genre, this album cemented the pole position of the band in heavy metal thunder. The band will continue to play, something on the edge of experimenting and/or fusing with other genres, but after this one, they were simply not allowed to shift. They set too many things, and the picture and message that band created was so powerful and suggestive (shocking at the time), it would be really stupid and out of place from band to embrace some hippie idealism or punk attitude in a years to come. The band fell into the trap after their creativity peak; in the late 80's the scenery was the same, but everything was just childish. Oh well. Enough on musical impacts and consequences.

On this album, they weren't blues oriented anymore as on the debut ("Planet Caravan" is the closest thing but it doesn't sound extremely bluesy, it sounds more suitable for the motion picture "Mad Max"), and they were not complex as in years to come (no inclining towards prog rock like in "Wheels Of Confusion", for example). Like I said, the music is raw, the riffs are simple (but brilliant and catchy), guitar solos are - as modern reviewers love to say - economical. This album is recommended to the fans of HARD ROCK. It might appeal to an average prog rock (non prog-metal) fan, but that's not for sure: you should give it a try. I don't know what to say about heavy metal fans - 95% of them are already familiar with this one, and for those who are not - well, you may dislike it, the metal genre itself nowadays is so diverse that is extremely narrow minded to say "if you like metal, you will surely love this", but it's certainly worth investigating. At the end of the day, this one is recommend for everyone.

"Paranoid" (the title song) is soooo overplayed that I can't stand it anymore, besides, it's the worst song on the album. "Rat Salad" is somewhat unnecessary drum solo surrounded with hard-rock-blues-scale riffs (like LED ZEPPELIN's "Moby Dick" but not nearly as good). If you're a Beavis and Butt-head fun, you will probably know the main theme from "Iron Man", this one is too overplayed as well, but the song in its entirety is great, a seed for BLACK SABBATH's further multi-part songs, their (tiny?) piece of proggyness.

"Electric Funeral" is another good one; here the wah-wah pedal was used for the first time (?) not as a pretencious device for extensive blues soloing (I'm referring to HENDRIX of course), but as a effect that sound really...doomed. Wah-wah in metal. Great. I'm familiar only with one more song from that period doing the same thing (QUEEN: "Great King Rat").

I see I mentioned almost all the songs on the album, well, here's the rest: both "War Pigs" and "Fairies Wear Boots" are BLACK SABBATH classics, "War Pigs" being really great (for my taste).

The album is not a masterpiece, in my opinion, but it's really good. For both relation to prog and for the quality and enjoyment music-wise that is four dark stars.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An Important Milestone for Black Sabbath

The band's self-titled debut album was released in February 1970 and the success of the debut album was followed by the release (UK) of second album "Paranoid" in September the same year. The title track, released as a single in advance of the LP, hit the Top Five in the U.K., and the album went to number one there. Released in the U.S. January 1971, again preceded by the title track, which made the singles charts in November; the album broke into the Top Ten in March 1971 and remained in the charts over a year, eventually selling over four million copies, by far the band's best-selling effort. (Its sales were stimulated by the belated release of one of its tracks, "Iron Man," as a U.S. single in early 1972; the 45 got almost halfway up the charts, the band's best showing for an American single.).

Initially, this second album was about to be titled as "War Pigs" which was the song about the insanity of the Vietnam war. Unfortunately, just before they completed the album, they realized they were one song short. When the band went out for a drink Iommi said that he had an idea in terms of riff. So when they went back to the studio, within 25 minutes they wrote another song "Paranoid" added to the album. This song would later become the band's trademark as it's simple and classic. I personally like all songs featured in this album.

The band members drank, took psychedelics, and would eventually turn to cocaine, but heroin was a drug that scared them - and they put it under "Hand of Doom" (track 6 of this album). "Iron Man" is of course one of the band's trademarks especially with its appearance in "School of Rock" movie when the riffs and power chords were used to teach the student who wanted to rock.

"Paranoid" remarks an important milestone for the band as it was successful commercially and after this album, when the band returned to United States, they became headliners. They played at Fillmore East with Rod Stewart opening. As the crowd was so anxious to see their heavy metal favorite band, they booed Rod Stewart to get off stage to be able to see Sabbath on stage. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Three and a half stars is as good as it gets on this second outing from Black Sabbath. A gut wrenching incisive collective of exposed raw nerves that creates Paranoid. Argued by some quarters as the best Black Sabbth with the established ubiquitous four piece line up. It is a fine piece of studio material with healthy dollops of the sneering ' War Pigs', the drug induced title track and the demonic ' Iron Man'. And that excludes the emphatic epic ' Hand of Doom'. The artists were beginning to truly flourish on this second album and the maturation process was well under way. Highly recommended to most metal/prog enthusiasts, Paranoid is a must have solid piece of work. Oh, and their second studio album inside a year, not half bad either!!!
Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars This is Halloween night and I thought it would be an appropriate time to review a BLACK SABBATH record. That has to be one of the worst album coveres ever ! If they had taken out the guy wearing the bike helmet and pink tights and left the dark forest it would have worked perfectly. Anyway I don't know how many times I drove around listening to this cassette being totally paranoid. That seems like a long time ago though.

"War Pigs / Luke's Wall" opens the record with a stinging attack against those Generals and politicians who promote war. Although totally different musically from "Us And Them" by PINK FLOYD the lyrics have some common ground. This is BLACK SABBATH though, so we get lyrics like "Day of judgement God is calling. On their knees the war pigs crawling. Begging mercy for their sins. Satan laughing spreads his wings." This song is dark, heavy and haunting. And it's freaking amazing when the song kicks in. Ward is incredible, while Iommi just sets the song on fire with his guitar playing before 4 minutes. And check out Butler as well. I love the guitar playing during the "Luke's Wall" section to end the track. "Paranoid" does have a lot in common with LED ZEPPELIN's "Rock And Roll" doesn't it. This is a flat out, pedal to the metal rocker ! A 3 minute head banger. I used to dream of RUSH covering this song back in the "2112" days. Can you imagine with Geddy screaming and Peart going postal on his drum kit ? How cool that would have been.

"Planet Caravan" features dreamy vocals on this spacey song as percussion,bass and gentle guitar play on. SABBATH goes psychedelic. "Iron Man" opens with drones as Iommi comes in with those famous monster riffs. Processed vocals from Ozzy. This one smokes once it gets going.The instrumental interlude 3 minutes in is fantastic ! It comes back later before 5 minutes and it's even better. "Electric Funeral" has a drugged out vibe to it. The song does take off 2 1/2 minutes in before reverting back to the original melody. I can see where ALICE IN CHAINS got some of their sound from. Along with a hundred doom metal bands. "Hand Of Doom" is really an anti-heroin song. Check Ward out ! Iommi then lets it rip. Nice contrast between the mellow sections and the full out attack. It becomes more upbeat 2 minutes in. Instrumentally this part recalls RUSH's debut record. We get back to the original melody after 5 minutes. "Rat Salad" made me think "Ladies and gentlemen ! The Bill Ward show !" "Jack The Stripper / Fairies Wear Boots" along with the first two tracks are my favourites. As a matter of fact over the years I have been known to out of the blue sing "Fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me. I saw it, and I saw it with my own two eyes." I know, I know.This one has some wondrous guitar melodies early as drums pound away. I love the rhythm after a minute. Nice guitar to end it as well.

Sure this album along with LED ZEPPELIN's "IV" and "Dark Side Of The Moon" have all been overplayed, but that doesn't diminish in my opinion how freaking amazing they all were when I first heard them. 5 stars and watch out for guys in pink tights.

Review by 1800iareyay
5 stars Black Sabbath's debut introduced the world to the down-tuned, monstrously heavy sound of metal. The debut was an eclectic mix of blues, jazz, and the hardest rock that had ever been made (it's still hard to top). For the follow-up, the band honed their sound into a taut beast that ushered in an entire genre. Paranoid takes all of the disjointed elements of the eponymous debut and combines them so each song is a terrific mix of styles. How they managed to do this in the same year as their debut is beyond me. Ozzy Osbourne , though not an overly impressive singer, is one of the most identifiable vocalists of all time. Bill Ward and Geezer Butler are one of the tightest rhythm sections of all time, and Tony Iommi is the king of the riff.

Paranoid is packed with rock standards. The album opens with the air raid sirens and sustained chords of War Pigs, Black Sabbath's greatest song. A scathing indictment of the military leaders that send young men (and later women) to die for dubious causes. Every member puts in a great performance, and the lyrics are, unfortunately, just as relevant today as they were back in 1970. The title track deals with the effects of drugs on the perception. In a time where songs focused on how drugs opened the mind and led to religious experiences, Sabbath talked about what happens when the trip goes bad. Planet Caravan is a psychedelic number that seems to balance out the last track, showing both sides of the drug experience. It's an airy number that takes you by surprise after the crushing heaviness of the first two tracks.

Next comes what is almost certainly the most identifiable song in all of heavy metal. Iron Man is responsible for more bands than just about any album ever made. The song builds from the demonic chord to the timeless riff, and it gains speed for the solo and ends grandly. Electric Funeral is the heaviest song yet, which is nothing short of impressive. The apocalyptic vision of the future sounds like the foundation of both The Terminator and The Matrix franchises. Hand Of Doom is a terrific tune that deals with the evils of heroin. It alternates from soft to hard and features killer performances from Ward and Iommi. This song goes sadly unnoticed amongst all the gold here, and it's one of my favorite Black Sabbath songs. Rat Salad is a neat little instrumental that is kind of like Zeppelin's "Moby Dick" in that it's a drum solo with a few blues chords to introduce it. Fairies Wear Boots has several perceived meanings. Some argue that is a comment on skinheads, while the band claims it was inspired from a drug trip where one member of the band (can't remember which) actually saw fairies wearing boots. Either way, the song is enjoyable and a fitting way to close the album with some great melodies.

This is undoubtedly the greatest heavy metal album ever made, though it's not very progressive. However, it's massive influence on all of heavy rock makes it an impossible album to underrate. While Sabbath would make some great albums after this, this will forever remain the high water mark of their career, as well as metal.

Grade: A

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars What's with the lame album cover?

I can't imagine how they figured it'd be a good idea to put some guy on the cover with a costume that looks like it was made by 3rd grade students. The first album had a pretty cool cover but they must have lost a bet with this one. In any case the music far exceeds the less than perfect album cover. This is one of those studio albums that became so popular it almost became a greatest hits package on its own accord, it's like the "Rumours" of the 70s heavy scene.

Sabbath created a great unique sound based on their ability to create riffs that were scary first and foremost. They built their image around this sound and every one of their tracks in this mold tried to sound more evil and ominous than the last. Tony and Geezer laid down an infinite supply of these horror riffs, they just seemed to be able to churn out one right after another. This was driven by Bill Ward's incredible gut level drumming and topped off by Ozzy's completely unique voice and presence. The lyrics would generally appear dire and horrific and put the perfect public image on this band. More important though is that this band did rock and rock well for many years until they were done in by cocaine and alcohol and later by pointlessly continuing to spurn out garbage with different personnel (post-Dio) and the eventual pathetic reunions when bank accounts were getting low. The Sabbath formula did not change a whole lot during these glory years, they milked their sound for all it was worth with usually decent results. Everything through Sabotage is at least respectable and this one is definitely good but I can't see how Sabbath would be essential by any stretch. This is one of the best to check out for newbies and a fun listen on occasion.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Black Sabbath´s second album Paranoid is one of the biggest classics in heavy metal history. I wouldn´t consider Paranoid to be a progressive rock album, but the inclusion here on Prog Archieves is fully deserved as they are the creators of a new genre and therefore in nature very progressive.I´ll rank Paranoid up there with other classic metal and hard rock albums like Iron Maiden´s The Number of the Beast, Metallica´s Black Album and AC/DC´s Back in Black. Albums nearly every heavy metal fan has in their collection. Kind of evergreens when talking heavy metal. Paranoid was just the first evergreen album in the genre.

Black Sabbath has developed and refined the style of music they started on their debut album. Power chord guitar riff based music with a powerful rythm section and a distinct vocalist in Ozzy Osbourne. The songs on Paranoid are all heavy metal evergreens. They have been covered by nearly every metal band out there.

The album starts with the doom laden intro to War Pigs. The pace is fastened after the intro though and we have one of the most classic breaks ever in a song with Bill Ward´s hi-hat the only thing playing. When Ozzy starts to sing all hell breaks loose. It´s just such a great song and the anti-war lyrics are of course very symphatic even though they are a bit naive.

Paranoid is the next song and the fastest song here. A great classic heavy metal tune that I never get tired of. The lyrics deal with paranoia and is an early example of a favorite lyrical theme in heavy metal.

Planet Caravan is a really mellow psychadelic song. Ozzy´s voice is distorted and sounds very stoned. This is a perfect variation from the more heavier tunes on the album.

Iron Man might have the most recognizable guitar riff in history ( the only competition is the riff from Deep Purple´s Smoke on the Water IMO). Again Ozzy´s vocals are distorted when he starts the song in a robotic voice. Great song and a perfect end to side 1 of the original LP.

Side 2 starts with Electric Funeral which is a really doomy song that has kind of a heavy funk section in the middle. The vocal lines are very simple but commanding at the same time. I really enjoy this song.

Hand of Doom is a great song too, with lots of heavy guitars and lyrics about heroin abuse. Kind of funny when you think about the drug abuse many of the members would later become the victim of.

Rat Salad is a short instrumental which serves as a vehicle for a Bill Ward drum solo in the middle. A nice little tune.

Fairies Wear Boots is a personal favorite of mine. Very melodic and with some great lyrics about pot smoking and the experiences you can have while being stoned.

The sound quality is very good. It´s a very powerful production. The music is not very complex though and it shouldn´t be to difficult to make a good production here.

The musicians are all good. Toni Iommi´s guitar riffs and solos are all classic material and the rythm section of Geezer Butler and Bill Ward are very strong. Ozzy isn´t the most gifted vocalist ever, but his delivery is distinct and powerful. It´s all delivered in a kind of casual sloppy fasion that suits the compositions very well.

To me this is a sure 5 star album. The significance of Paranoid can´t be measured it´s too big. This is wonderful music and instantly recognizable.A true classic. When the only thing I can complain about is the extremely ugly cover there is nothing to keep me from giving Paranoid 5 stars.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars I have a bias for this album because it was one of the very first albums I ever adored, well as much as one can adore something material (I would never care for a CD more than say a family member). Sure, the production is crap and Osbourne isn't as commanding of a vocalist as he would be on SABOTAGE, and on the surface, it looks like an ordinary rock album. Where's the prog?

There's a mystique about this album that gives this album a prog essence. The subtle intricacies that ''War Pigs'' provides are just sublime; it starts in a shuffle, but sharply picks up speed in the nearly a capella verses and leads into superb guitar work of one Tony Iommin, the MVP of PARANOID. Very prog is the spacey ''Planet Caravan'', where the drumming sounds almost mystical and the guitars are very jazzy. Black Sabbath are one of those rare groups that can load their songs with a bunch of riffs and still have compositional merit as ''Iron Man'', ''Hand of Doom'' and ''Fairies Wear Boots'' can attest to (although these songs don't shove 50 riffs into 5 minutes).

Black Sabbath fit the prog related category moreso on their mid-seventies efforts than here, but there are some progressive tendencies here. If anything, this should be in the essentials of prog rock simply to provide relief from too much prog.

Review by Petrovsk Mizinski
5 stars While the debut contained one song that I would call metal, the rest of that album was really an electic mix of blues, hard rock and jazz elements, but always via hell. Paranoid is a somewhat different beast and arguably just as influential, if perhaps even more so than the debut. If the debut contained the one song that defined heavy metal, then it's fair to say Paranoid as an album sharpened that definiton to that of a sword, yet it still had that fairly eclectic mix of styles present on the debut. Another thing I find very remarkable about this album, is that it was released the same year as their debut, a whole 7 months later, and for any band to be able to release something of such brilliance in such a short period of time, is nothing less than a astonishing achievement. Ozzy Osbourne once stated in a feature of Guitar World Magazine that the music of Black Sabbath reflected the fact they came from a polluted, dreary and dismal town in Birmingham. I could certainly feel this in the first album, but Paranoid is even more bleak and demonic sounding.

War Pigs has always been my favorite Sabbath song. It fails to follow a standard song structure, which has always added to the excitement and emotion for me, as well as having some fantastic lyrics and of course, incredibly tight song writing from Tony Iommi Despite it's length, I can't find a moment of this that isn't exciting and interesting to listen to. Being a guitarist myself, I always got chills down my spine listening to the first guitar solo and the way that Iommi overdubbed another guitar part into the solo. The outro, named Luke's Wall, is a stunning climax to War Pigs, with some very effective riffs. Usually by the time the song ends, I don't feel like I've sat through a nearly 8 minute song, it's just so captivating and exciting it almost seems to rush by.

I guess Paranoid is one of those songs that has been overplayed throughout history and will continue to do so, but I cannot dislike this song because of that. It's simple and it's over fairly quickly and nothing musically outstanding here, but I love the lyrics and that straight forward chugging riff courtesy of Iommi was a massively influential heavy metal rhythm guitar model for many generations of metallers and of course, I can imagine it will no doubt continue to inspire many more metallers out there well into the future. I've realised Planet Caravan was always a song that divided people, but personally, I love this song so much. So atmospheric and pyschedelic sounding, with Ozzy's voice being somewhat muffled and distorted, but this only adds to the brilliance. When Iommi's jazzy solo comes in, we're taken on another journey until the end of the song. Iron Man has another one of those instantly recognisable riffs, and while not the greatest song on the album, the outro was a real highlight for me. It's slightly reminiscent of Luke's Wall perhaps and has one of my favorite guitar riffs on the album. Electric Funeral is very doomy sounding and we get the slightly contrasting fast and funky section in the middle. Very cool song, and very awesome lyrics as well. We have an anti Heroin song, called Hand Of Doom , which is a very dynamic song, with a quiet verse and very loud chorus. We have a very lengthy middle section, which I remember caught me off guard the first time I heard it. Another very doomy song and very powerful too. Rat Salad is a very jazzy song and also features a drum solo showing Bill Ward's prowess. A cool little number, and the fact it's an instrumental is a nice touch to the overall feeling of the album. There is much despute as to what is actually about, but to me, it doesn't matter so much, because the song is so good anyway. Lots of different moods and feelings going on in this song and another top notch and highly emotive outro.

This album, along with the first one from Sabbath, have been simply massively influential on so much music, from metal, to stoner rock and more. Unlike Led Zep and others of the era, I simply cannot stop listening to this, it's just that amazing to me.

Review by ClemofNazareth
5 stars Is Paranoid the mother of all metal albums? Who knows, that’s one of those arguments that has no real answer. For sure it’s been enough of an influence on a couple of generations of metalheads since that it probably qualifies as one of the best-known metal albums ever though. And there are most likely people half my age or less who know the album as well or better than I do, even though I grew up listening to it.

Hard to believe it’s nearly forty years old; seems like only yesterday Ozzy was belting out the anti- warmonger lyrics to “War Pigs” and singing about the fractured life of the “Iron Man”. But the days that followed when fundamentalists crushed and burned thousands of copies of the album and decried Osbourne as the anti-Christ seem like a lifetime away. Some things age better than others.

Beyond all the social strife these guys caused back in the day there lies a pretty damn good album. Tony Iommi’s heavy riffs and Geezer Butler’s thudding bass were not standard rock fare at the time, and I think some metal and heavy rock fans today fail to appreciate how innovative this album was at the time. Just about every track is a classic, and even today we can relive “Iron Man” whenever we pick up that crappy plastic axe and play Guitar Hero.

“Paranoid” and “War Pigs” are just as well known though, and “War Pigs” was still a major party song when I was in high school more than six years after the album released, even though by then the likes of Elton John and Hall & Oates were kings of the airwaves, and Starland Vocal Band was winning a Grammy. Go figure.

Musically I think Fairies Wear Boots is probably the most original tune on the album, although there is certainly no shortage of fans who would disagree. About the only track that hasn’t worn all that well over time is the heavy psychedelic Planet Caravan, although even this is a better composition than the majority of metal or psych I’ve heard released in the last ten years or so. The rhythmic guitar and funky percussion makes for an incredible high on a quiet summer evening sitting outside watching the sunset. Not the scene the band likely anticipated it being played in, but it works nonetheless.

This is a classic, without a doubt essential to just about any record collection. Is it a masterpiece though? Tougher call, but not all that tough for anyone over the age of forty or so. A five star album in my mind, and since this is my review that’s what I’m going to give it.


Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Rat Salad Surgery

After the totally groundbreaking debut, the band already started to develop further with this second effort. In some respects this is perhaps better than the debut, but not in all respects. Overall, I find this a bit less enjoyable than the debut and the follow up, but its still great. And a classic.

With the first album, Black Sabbath took electric Blues, Jazz and Rock and created a brand new sound that was to become highly influential on all of Rock music. But while the sound of the first album, fresh and groundbreaking though it was, still stuck relatively close to the influences. There were moments on that first album where the band played Blues Rock with some Jazz influences rather than the Heavy Metal they were in the middle of creating. With Paranoid they ventured further away from their Blues background and injected more speed and precision into their playing while still retaining most of the heaviness of the debut. The opening number, War Pigs, is a good example of this positive development.

The title track speeds things up further and is definitely the fastest and shortest song the band had done up to that point. It is also the simplest song and is possibly my least favourite Black Sabbath song ever. It predated the emergence of Punk with many years but it is almost a Punk song! As often is the case with progressive and Prog related bands, it is when they strip away all the complexities of their music that they have hits! Black Sabbath is hardly a band that had any genuine hits, but Paranoid is probably as close as they came to a hit song. Almost everyone has heard this song even if they are not into Heavy Metal or Prog.

Planet Caravan slows things down considerably and is very different from the rest of the songs. It is a wonderful song that reminds me somewhat of Camel and is one of the highlights of the album for me. Iron man is another song that many people recognize. It is not my favourite but it is much better than the title track and both these songs along with Electric Funeral and War Pigs soon became mainstays of the band's live set for the rest of their long career.

For me the second half of this album is by far the best half. It is also here that we find the most complex and progressive songs. The slow, heavy Electric Funeral is probably the closest they come here to the style of the debut album. But it is with the complex Hand Of Doom and the short instrumental Rat Salad that the album reaches new levels of brilliance. However, my very favourite track is the excellent closer, Fairies Wear Boots!

I have been a Black Sabbath fan for ten years now and I know the band's discography very well. Paranoid is not one of my favourites, but it represents a clear progression from their debut towards the masterpiece Master Of Reality and beyond. I see Paranoid as something of a transitional album between two even greater albums and as such slightly overrated in relation to those.

Still, an excellent addition to any Prog Collection!

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I felt this classic record being a real letdown after the magnificent first album, which I consider as a masterpiece of rock music. Many of the songs here lack the imagination and feeling present in that album, and songs like "Paranoid" and "Iron Man" are in my humble opinion really dull rants when compared to the adventures in heavy bluesy rock scales the band is capable. There are some structural ambitions in songs like "War Pigs" and "Hand of Doom", but I don't like them as compositions so much. The freshness seems to be lacking, and the compositions appear like been written to slightly duller listening audiences. The only really great song here for me is the ethereal "Planet Caravan", which holds an interesting and beautiful psychedelic feeling in it. Hopefully my humble opinion about the record is not a problem to anybody. Many seem to enjoy it, and that is of course just great.
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After excellent ( and very successful) debut album Black Sabbath continued to work in similar key.

Second album is similar to debut, but is much more better structurised, cleaned from jazzy drumming and rhythm breaks. Generally, using similar ideas and musical raw material, much more "rock" album was recorded.

Sound is still quite acoustic ( not that muddy pulsation as in some later albums), you can perfectly hear all instruments' playing. Ozzy control his voice better, and all music sounds more mature.

Two songs are absolute classics - "Paranoid" and "Iron Man ", but in fact all the album is equally strong, no fillers.

I prefer their debut as much more inventive and different album , but believe that "Paranoid" should be placed in their album's Top-5 for sure. And I think it had a big influence in many heavy metal bands formation for decades after it was released.

Let say 4,75.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's hard to give Sabbath's sophomore effort anything less then 5 stars but I will give it a shot! In many ways it confirms and sometimes even tops the excellent debut, but in the second half of the album it feels a bit disjointed and even hurried.

The opening tracks need no introduction, both War Pigs and Paranoid are metal monuments, and rightfully so. War Pigs for its epic ambitions, originality and outstanding song writing and execution. Geezer Butler worms his way through all crawling war pigs here, Ozzy still has that morbid guttural tone in his voice, Bill Ward's tribal drumming is a pagan feast on its own and Iommi is his awesome self.

Paranoid must be the best rock song under 3 minutes ever. Period. Such power and atmosphere with so seemingly simple means. Amazing. Planet Caravan will be less known to the average metal fan but it's an almost kraut rock alike experimental ballad with muted percussion, eerie sound effects and Ozzy's voice processed through a vocoder to make it even more morose. A psychedelic moment from Sabbath.

Iron Man would be laughable if any other band would try it but they pull it off. One simple riff and Ozzy just singing along with it. It has a short break and a big ending but it's a tad too long really. The similar Electric Funeral works better for me. Another riff right out of Iommi's bottomless treasure box and Ozzy wining along with it.

Hand of Doom is where I loose touch with the album. Hard to say why, the bluesy bass riff is great and the performance edgy and focused but somehow I rarely listen to this track. I think the change of pace around minute 2 doesn't work for me, too much like it's another song starting, even though the second change around minute 3.40 is great. Rat Salad is bit awkward. A drum solo on a studio album? Wasn't that a Led Zeppelin thing?

Luckily they kept one masterpiece for the end. Fairies Wear Boots is one of Sabbath's most remarkable songs ever. It's like Led Zeppelin looking right into the hollow eyes of doom. Big 4.5 notation for this masterpiece.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Paranoid" is the classic album and one of the milestones (if not THE milestone) of heavy- metal sub-genre. Dark menacing sound of bass, distorted threatening guitar riffs, stomping wild beat of drums and bleak "doom 'n' gloom" themes of war, destruction, evil side of humanity and drugs abuse made a blueprint of what was to become one of the more popular genres of rock music, equally praised by fanatical followers and critically dismissed by press and art connoisseurs.

In that sense, "Paranoid" can be considered a sort of "proto-metal" work, a highly original and fundamental effort that set the path but differed from later bastardization and industrialization of the majority of metal products and their banality. After all, 1970 was the era of progressive rock and many an album reflected certain number of "prog" elements, so "Paranoid" was no exception. Mega-hit title track and "War Pigs" are perhaps the best example.

It is hard to point any weak song on this album. The overall sound and track listing is excellent even with a slightly muted and hazy production. I only had minor objections toward "Iron Man" and "Hand of Doom". The former was apparently inspired by a comic book and sounds really juvenile, albeit with an immortal guitar riff, while the latter is somehow unremarkable and a bit too long. All that remains is a classic and I would like to highlight especially two overlooked songs: a psychedelic, almost space rock ballad "Planet Caravan" and excellent closer "Fairies Wear Boots".

On par with excellent debut LP, with slightly more focused songwriting and less jamming.


P.A. RATING: 5/5

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars As someone whose experience islimited to the metal bands following in Sabbath's wake, I came to Paranoid with fresh ears and an expectation for anachronism; however, while Paranoid's sound is very much a relic of its days, the dark energy, vibe, and style maintain a strong appeal to those who can appreciate some good old fashioned, bluesy-doom.

The group's infamy as a template for heavy-metal is, I think, probably deserved with Paranoid, which features wonderfully crushing, tuned-down riffs and ominous chords throughout. "War Pigs" is a powerful opener, complete with brooding effects, tempo changes, vocals, and song structure; a great, somewhat complex tune. "Iron Man", "Hand of Doom" and "Faeries Wear Boots" follow suit, giving the listener an iconic set of songs which showcase the band's dark signature sound. Moreover, the instrumental performances are excellent, with Iommi's guitar leading the way with scary-sounding sustanis and inventive solos; the rhythm section is quite good as well, with Butler's bass standing out as a power force for the group's emphasis on the bottom-end. The surprise atmospheric "Planet Caravan" is a thoughtful highlight as well.

The overall effect will please anyone who enjoys dark blues or metal music, although one shouldn't compare Sabbath's metal to modern followers, who up the ante in terms of aggression and intensity. Paranoid is mostly laid-back, gloomy, and occasionally rousing-- never intense or explosive.

There are a few things which keep me from scoring this one higher though. "Paranoid" and "Electric Funeral" fail to impress, being straight forward, dated-sounding rockers. Also, some of Ozzie's drug inspired lyrics take away much of the seriousness in some songs, making it difficult for me to connect with them.

These minor complaints don't do much to mar this classic though. An icon of its times, Paranoid is a worthy listen today by all fans of hard rock. Four stars rounded up for historical significance and vintage appeal.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars Were I actually a Black Sabbath fan, I might give the "best album" title to Master of Reality for its introduction of the superheavy guitar tone, or to Sabotage for its prog-metal leanings, or to the debut for various reasons. Well, I'm not, so the mainstream whore in me naturally gives the nod to the closest thing Black Sabbath ever made to a normal "classic rock" album. I don't worship this album as much as a lot of people do, especially since I get tired of listening to it midway through the second half, but it's definitely the most "refined" Sabbath album I've ever heard. The riffs are all classic, the instrumental passages are relatively short and to the point (the mistake on BS is not repeated), and it stomps and clomps like nobody's business. The blues-pop elements are basically gone, which makes me a little sad (they were a cute diversion, after all), but I don't really mind when I'm listening. As far as the band's "masters of midtempo headbanging" shtick goes, this is danged near top of the line, almost resembling a greatest hits package by itself.

Ironically (or "naturally," given that this happens with me a lot) it's the two songs that deviate from the standard pattern that I enjoy the most on this album. One of them is the title track, a magnificent speedy rocker that would sound more like Deep Purple than Sabbath if it didn't sound so dark at the same time. It's certainly also one of Ozzy's finest moments as a vocalist; he didn't even know what the word "paranoid" meant before the band wrote the song, but his singing matches this state of mind perfectly. Add in a really neat fuzzy tone to the mid-song guitar solo, and you have one of the very best examples of proto-thrash.

My second favorite, then, is the oft-forgotten and overlooked "Planet Caravan." This one isn't even close to rock, much less hard rock, which I guess is the most obvious reason fans aren't usually huge on it, but I for one seriously dig the vibe of the song. I think of it as Sabbath getting back to their "pothead roots," so to speak, as Ozzy sings through a 'watery' voice filter over a moody, spacey background until Tony breaks into a very soft, jazzy solo. Believe it or not, this was, for the longest time, my favorite Black Sabbath song (which I guess proves once and for all that I'm totally missing the point of Black Sabbath, but hey, I've admitted that already), and I still have a very soft spot in my heart for it.

The rest of the album is five conventional Sabbath stompers (fine) and a drum solo (ehn). To the credit of "Rat Salad," the whole piece is only about two-and-a-half minutes, with the actual solo lasting much less than a minute, which makes it far better to my ears than "Moby Dick." That said, how excited can you expect me to get about a piece where the biggest compliment I can give it is, "It's shorter than a similar piece that sucks"? So ignore that and stick with the other pieces, which are largely the crux of the Sabbath legend. "War Pigs" is most infamous for being the track where Butler's lyrics rhyme "masses" with "masses" (!), but that shouldn't obscure its various positive aspects. The crisp two- chord pounded bit between each of Ozzy's initial lines gives a neat intense effect, the simple riffage that pops up later works well, the solos are good enough, and the climactic 'jam' holds up well in comparison to that of the last album's title track. The first side also contains the ultra-infamous "Iron Man," one of Beavis and Butthead's songs of choice for air-guitar and headbanging. Is the riff stupid? More or less. Are the lyrics stupid? Oh goodness yes. Does it rule? Yeah, it rules.

The second half contains three more similar pieces that I don't find as amusing, but are nonetheless good enough at what they do. "Electric Funeral"'s main riff was another of B&B's favored songs (it's amazing how many Sabbath songs I knew from B&B even before I ever heard one of their songs on the radio), but that's not really an insult, and the introductory riff is neat too. And hey, it's got a neat midsection where Iommi starts playing off of his own riffage, bouncing back and forth from one riff to the other, and Ozzy is chanting the title in all its ridiculous glory. Let's hear it for quality unintentional humor!

"Hand of Doom" and "Fairies Wear Boots" round out the album, and they're nice too. "HoD" is most notable for being largely based off a cool introductory bassline, alternating the bass/drums-only parts with full fledged "rawk" arrangements to decent effect, before speeding up a bit to try and provide the illusion of multiple parts in order to justify the 7:10 run-time. As for "Fairies Wear Boots," well, it's got a lot of nice riffs, and a decent bluesy feel in parts, and all the sorts of things you'd expect given what you'd have heard on the album to that point. Whee.

Basically, "Rat Salad" aside, there isn't a bad track on here, and that's enough for me. I don't find myself with much of a craving to listen to it very often, and I definitely find my attention starting to drift when I'm about a half hour into it, but that's just my problem. If you think you would hate Sabbath, this is probably the best place to go to change your mind.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Iommi's Killer Riffs, Ozzy's estranged vocals, welcome to Sabbath's best album

A definitive metal album in any sense of the word and quintessential Sabbath from start to finish with their best line up. This has no less that 3 of the classic metal songs in metal history; War Pigs, Paranoid and Iron Man. But the rest of the songs are excellent too namely Electric Funeral, and Hand of Doom. The lyrics, power riffs and vocal delivery are the blueprint of all things metal. Ozzy has a fantastic voice here and blasts a massive delivery on every track. Who can forget his powerful delivery on War Pigs? "Generals gathered in their masses, Just like witches at black masses, Evil minds that plot destruction, Sorcerers of death's construction, In the fields the bodies burning, As the war machine keeps turning, Death and hatred to mankind, Poisoning their brainwashed minds, Oh Lord yeah!" Then we are treated to the simplistic yet killer riff from Iommi which cranks seriously with a great bass and drum rhythm. It is simply brilliant. Paranoid of course is one of the greatest metal moments with Ozzy giving it everything as that riff blazes away. Every metal guitarist should know this and it is easy to play once you get the hang of it. I love the way it ends with Ozzy singing: "And so as you hear these words telling you now of my state, I tell you to enjoy life I wish I could but it's too late." Many critics attacked the song believing it stated to 'end your life' but Ozzy was more optimistic than people gave him credit for. Planet Caravan is a psychedelic Sabbath track that feels out of place but it is the sheer audacity of the band to produce this among all the metal that makes it a true curio. I don't mind this at all and it feels bizarre and ethereal. Ozzy's psyched up phased voice gives it a creepy trippy style.

Iron Man is certainly my favourite Sabbath song and the way it begins with distorted monster vocals users in a masterpiece of metal. The riff is doomy and unforgettable, and the lyrics are sung in time to the riff augmenting the atmosphere; "He was turned to steel, in the great magnetic field, When he travelled time, for the future of mankind, Nobody wants him, He just stares at the world, Planning his vengeance, that he will soon unfurl." Easy to play once again but such a brilliant combination of chords that Iommi cemented his reputation as a master of the power riff. The guitars sound like an iron giant creeping forward with massive stomping feet. The way the time sig changes in the middle is masterful. The lead break is inspired with fretmelting finesse. The ending speeds up and changes time sigs again and it ends on a massive freakout of guitars. Absolutely essential listening.

Electric Funeral is doom metal in its earliest form and a great song with sleak guitars and innovative lyrics; "Robot minds of robot slaves lead them to atomic rage, plastic flowers, melting sun, fading moon falls upon, dying world of radiation, victims of mad frustration, Burning globe of oxy'n fire, like electric funeral pyre."

There is an anti Heroin song, the guitar heavy Hand Of Doom , and this features Ozzy preaching aginst substance abuse; "Now you know the scene, your skin starts turning green, Your eyes no longer seeing life's reality, Push the needle in, face death's sickly grin, Holes are in your skin, caused by deadly pin"

Rat Salad is intriguing with a metal meets jazz vibe. The drums of Bill Ward are given the spotlight as he is allowed to bash out for a while solo. This instrumental chugs along nicely and the guitars shine once again. Geezer Butler's bassline here is terrific.

Fairies Wear Boots/Jack the Stripper ends the album and Ozzy has a memorable style on this with some driving guitars and lead solos that strip down wallpaper. The band were delightful in full flight and this album provides a massive spark for their fire. They were unsurpassed progenitors of metal and this may be one of the most influential albums along with Deep Purple's "In Rock."

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars I'm not a huge Sabbath fan, but I do like to point out to classic rock fans--you know, those who believe Led Zeppelin is the best rock band in the history of the universe--that I think Sabbath's first two albums were every bit as influential and of similar quality to Zep's. And just like Zep, Sabbath moved past an interesting and creative debut album, tightened the screws, and delivered some music for the ages.

Paranoid, War Pigs, and Iron Man are all radio classics, and probably deservedly so. However, tracks such as Hand of Doom and Jack the Stripper are just as good in my opinion, though I'd never have known if I'd just listened to the radio. Looking back, it's amazing that I can still dig these tunes given how simple they really are--and how much I love the complexities in most music--just as much as when I was a kid. Solid guitar, very nice bass, and largely competent vocals and drums.

None of these guys are virtuosos, either in playing or songwriting, but they were all on board with creating some classic heavy metal anthems on this album. After this, Sabbath really falls off the radar for me, but for now I'll give my proper respects for their contribution to rock with Paranoid.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I'll get straight to the point; Paranoid is in my opinion a letdown compared to the amazing debut album and the release that would follow. It's still a decent Heavy Metal classic but outside of having all the biggest hits of Black Sabbath's early years there's just not enough of much else to help the music not to lose some of it's energy towards the second half of the album.

I like the idea of the band mixing up moods and styles this time around but can't help the feeling that they loose the perfectly balanced groove that was so clear on the debut album. Clearly, Paranoid is an album of individual moments and not a complete album experience which poses quite a concern for me since I generally prefer a complete album experience instead of hearing a few hits. I've also never been a huge fan of War Pigs or Iron Man, both of which I've already heard to death. The title track is a different story since it's short and very sweet experience.

Planet Caravan is a track that never made much sense to me. Placed between Paranoid and Iron Man for a possible purpose of adding a calm moment right before the Iron Man riff storms in and blows the listener away. This does work in theory, but practically it just ruins the whole mood that the album has been building up to this point. Electric Funeral is another track that I love almost as much as I hate. The buildup and the riffs are quite decent but the hopscotching vocals just never worked for me as I guess that they're suppose to. Hand Of Doom is a long track giving us the first signs of experimentation but the end result just isn't all that memorable. Rat Salad is a quite unnecessary composition that sounds more like a jam that the band recorded spontaneously in the studio and just added in to mix in order to shake things up even further. Fairies Wear Boots brings the album to a surprisingly effective ending which unfortunately fades when the rest of the record is taken into the account.

I really don't care if I offend anyone with my remarks since this type of sloppiness have gone on unnoticed for too long and just has to be pointed out to anyone who has a biased outlook on this release. Fortunately things would get a whole lot better with Sabbath's next release that showed exactly how a great album complete album experiences should sound like!

***** star songs: Paranoid (2:47)

**** star songs: War Pigs (7:55) Iron Man (5:53) Electric Funeral (4:47) Hand Of Doom (7:07) Fairies Wear Boots (6:13)

*** star songs: Planet Caravan (4:24) Rat Salad (2:29)

Review by Starhammer
4 stars The one with the fluorescentninjatrafficwarden...

Sabbath's second outing not only went on to become a cult classic, but also a founding father for the entire metal genre.

The Good: I will admit I haven't always liked this album. In fact I used to hate it. Having being introduced to Black Sabbath through their Dio era recordings I found the vocals here be crude, and the songwriting mundane. However, after revisiting it several times it quickly started to grow on me and now has reached the stage where I would put it on par with Heaven & Hell! The A-side features more classics than you can shake a stick at, as well as some diversity in the form of the Camel-esque Planet Caravan. Whilst the B-side is admitting not as strong, it still holds its own and there isn't a weak track in sight.

The Bad: At times Ozzy's singing can get a little too grating. Oh, and the cover art looks like it was drawn by a toddler on LSD.

The Verdict: Over 40 years old and still as fresh as a titanium daisy.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Black Sabbath's second album of 1970 still heavily features the doom metal sound that they had already perfected on their debut - unleashed with devastating effect in War Pigs and Hand of Doom - but the selection of songs this time around are more varied, proving that the group weren't just a one-trick pony. Never has a quickie throwaway single been as influential as the title track, which set a precedent for speed metal in proving that crunching heavy metal riffs could be played fast to good effect. The trippy space blues track Planet Caravan proves that the band were paying attention to the experiments then underway in the progressive rock genre, and also acts as an interesting interlude between the speed metal of Paranoid and the doom metal of Iron Man.

The band even prove they have a sense of humour on the closing track, Fairies Wear Boots, which as well as taking a pop at skinheads who'd hassle the band for having long hair also prefigures the more light-hearted odes to weed and other illegal substances that would make appearances on Master of Reality and Volume 4. The inclusion of this song at the end of the album is actually an inspired choice - after treating the listener to doomy visions of war, nuclear holocaust, and heroin addiction, perhaps something to lighten the mood is essential. And I don't think the band were ever more adept lyrically speaking than on this album; Hand of Doom, in particular, is an insightful and eloquent look at the end of the hippy era and the effect this disillusion had on many at the time.

On balance, it's hard to say which of the Sabbath albums from 1970 is the superior one. If I absolutely had to choose one, some days I'd probably go for the debut, simply because it chooses a particular mood and then nails it perfectly. Then again, other days I'd go for Paranoid, simply because it is more varied. Both, I'd say, are equally essential to any metal collection, unless you are absolutely averse to slow playing in your metal. The only qualms I have about giving it five stars is that right now it has an over all rating of "4.20", and if you know your weed culture you know just how appropriate that is. ;)

Review by friso
4 stars Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970)

When taking in to account this cornerstone of the heavy metal genre was released as early as 1970, it can be stated this really is a special offering. Black Sabbath embraced the riff- based approach to accompany the heavy styled song-writing and the guitar chords sound low and pompous. Don't expect to hear that harsh shredding sound of modern heavy metal, the amplification of the time would not have allowed such sounds. Black Sabbaths style could be seen as a logical next step. Bands like the Blue Cheer, Vanilla Vudge, May Blitz and Led Zeppelin already cleared the way for the maximum heavy approach to develop in the early seventies. It still remains a mystery why the real boom of heavy metal took place in the early eighties, but I guess that punk, prog and disco slowed the development of decent heavy metal some years.

With Paranoid the band reached to stardom. Whilst the record still features the ground- braking sound of the debut, it also has attractive song-writing that even resulted in success in the charts. 'Iron Man' and 'Paranoid' became signature songs of the band, though 'War Pigs' shows that the band was also gifted with extended song-writing capabilities (that remind me a bit of the more daring songs of Uriah Heep). The vocals of Ozzy are iconic and it's good that his high pitched vocals fill the spectrum, where other metal bands would be plagued by the emphasis on only the low spectrum of both vocals, guitars and rhythmical section. The guitars (often you'll hear more then just one) of Tommy Lee are original whilst the rhythms section succeeds in creating a heavy back-up.

It's a bit strange that the band settled with the amateurism when it comes to the cover artwork. The debut looked beautiful and this silly photo makes me skip this record way to often.

Conclusion. Enough said about this early metal classic, it's very attractive for fans of the metal genre as well as that of seventies heavy rock (Purple, Zep, Heep, etc.). As prog- related I can give this four stars, the record hasn't much relevance for progressive rock itself in my opinion. I would rather point to early works of Judas Priest (like Sad Wings of Destiny) for such pleasures. Four stars for this one.

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A wise man once said "music is like a sandwich, in that each slice and condiment adds to a cohesive whole to be consumed by the listener". I can't really argue that statement, I mean he was, after all, wise. The last time I saw him was about three months ago yelling profanities and shaking his fist at a fire hydrant, but the point still stands.

The reason I bring this up is that he reminded me of the guy swinging his sword on Paranoid's cover. Same facial hair and similar attire but without the weaponry and armor. The album itself is a crazy bugger, but within the stomping madness there's plenty of smart commentary and even words of wisdom. "War Pigs" and "Electric Funeral" focus on the insanity of war and global obliteration. "Hand Of Doom" is an eerily effective warning about heroin abuse (and coming from these guys, that's saying something). "Iron Man" was probably written as a violent revenge fantasy, but it certainly brings up the stupidity of mass culture's penchant for intolerance. Finding social commentary concerning the rest of the tracks is a bit of a stretch, although "Fairies Wear Boots" is a fun mockery of skinheads and maybe "Rat Salad" could be an indictment of the restaurant business if you're the dude on the album's cover.

The music itself ditches a lot of the blues and jammin' from the debut for a more full on barrage of a metal assault, which makes sense since 1970 itself was leaving behind a lot of bands stuck with a 60's vibe. "Planet Caravan" is no doubt a psychedelic ballad, but even with its trippy-based lyrics, the song comes across as quite a gloomy and haunting interlude between the chugging rage of the title track and the bombastic crush of "Iron Man". As ridiculously influential as this album is, most metal bands years and decades later aping the early Sabbath blueprint wouldn't dare add to their album a full fledged ballad without some sort of crescendo into heaviness. I will say there are some brave acts that do, and they are better off for it, since it adds depth and some much needed variation to a sound that can get monotonous for an album's length.

Debating what the first true metal album is will go on until the world explodes, but I would argue that this just may be the most influential. The title track alone takes Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown" and pumps it up with a heavier guitar sound and turns it into a grim world view beast. Pretty much like what a lot of the speedier underground metal bands did much later, you know, the bands whose members didn't look like poodles in colorful spandex.

I have to admit that I pretty much hate Rat Salad. The little guitar solo early on is pretty sweet, but then the drum solo kicks in and I look at my watch. I understand the need for it in 1970, in which that year's biggest selling hard rock album was Led Zeppelin II. "Moby Dick" was already becoming a concert staple for the Zep, and Sabbath probably assumed that they needed one too. Great. I also have to admit that I've heard this album so many times since my relative youth that it's hard to get any rush out of this album except for maybe "Planet Caravan" and "Hand Of Doom", although "Fairies Wear Boots" was my favorite for awhile. It swings! I won't take the overplaying of this opus into account for my star rating, but I never cared for sloppy drum solos, so it's basically almost a masterpiece.

Within the Land of Prog, VdGG, King Crimson and I suppose Egg each put out two notable and in some cases fantastic releases in 1970, but concerning the rock world in general, Black Sabbath unleashed a one-two punch that year that cannot be denied, and formed a genre that hasn't let up since. Good work guys.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Paranoid' - Black Sabbath (9/10)

Barring the fact that the album was released a damned decade before metal was in full swing, Sabbath's 'Paranoid' was, and is as solid an album as they come. Although the self-titled debut may have had more of an immediate impact, Iommi and company would focus in on their doom innovation, a decision setting them further apart from the hordes of UK blues rockers. It's not often that an album is still relevant forty years after its release.

Considering how iconic 'Paranoid' is, it seems redundant to dwell on general information regarding the album. Suffice to say, taking into consideration that 1970 was the same year Deep Purple recorded 'In Rock' and the year after Led Zeppelin recorded 'II', Black Sabbath took a more downtuned, heavier approach to rock music. British rock was opening itself up to a more distorted sound in general, but Sabbath weren't afraid to sound ugly. A familiar blues style can be heard in Iommi's crunchy lead work, but the use of tritones, or 'evil' sounding riffs was what gave the band their then-unique take on rock music. The lyrical content somewhat fittingly either contends with the concept of war, or nightmarishly drug-fuelled adventures. As a respite from the doomy riffs, 'Paranoid' is fleshed out with some sounds of 60's era psychedelia, as best exemplified by the spacey, jam-oriented 'Planet Caravan'.

The first side of the album is a hit parade of some of the band's best-known tracks. 'War Pigs' sets up the rest of the album perfectly; a gloomy overture introducing Iommi's gritty guitar tone and some of the best riffs on the album. 'Paranoid' and 'Iron Man' are both instantly memorable tunes that have earned their due as rock radio staples. My favourite cut from the record would have to be 'Electric Funeral' however, opening the second side on an even darker note. From its signature psych-doom riff to lyrics about the apocalyptic existence of mutants in a post-nuclear city, it perfects the heavy darkness explored on the first side. The rest of 'Paranoid's later half doesn't feel quite as memorable as the first, however. The musical tightness never lets down, but 'Hand of Doom' and instrumental afterthought 'Rat Salad' feel a little less vital than the rest. Luckily, 'Fairies Wear Boots' wraps things up on a rocking note, closing with an epic lead melody that seems to foreshadow the future sound of Iron Maiden.

'Paranoid' is not quite perfect, but it's fairly close, especially considering that the sound of heavy metal was still so young. At the very least, it deserves its status as a classic. With memorable songwriting, evocative lyrics and some of the best riffs ever written, who could ask for more?

Review by Chicapah
4 stars I remember being weirded out by the cover of Black Sabbath's debut LP when I first saw it. The macabre image of a pale specter in a graveyard along with the band's dark name was more than enough to keep this still green-behind-the-ears, dyed-in-the-wool Baptist boy from wanting to know what their music sounded like. Then, sometime in early '72 while living in Denton, Texas I moved into a house on the outskirts of town with my band's sound tech, Gordo Gondolf, and our roadie, Malcom Patterson (R.I.P.). Malcom LOVED Black Sabbath, especially their "Paranoid" album. My bedroom was right next to his and he would play it loud and often. I, on the other hand, was into Deep Purple at the time and, in order to drown out the roar coming through the separating wall, I would play my copy of "Machine Head" at full volume. This probably drove poor Gordo out of his gourd but his room was at the other end of the house and maybe the metal battles between Malcom and I didn't bother him all that much. Anyhow, whenever I hear the name Black Sabbath that's what comes to mind and it's not a bad memory to revisit because despite our differences in musical tastes Malcom was a good egg and fun to be around. The point is that, other than the cuts played on FM stations, I never really heard his favorite group's songs past the first few measures and certainly never considered them progressive. But the older I get the more interested I am in rock & roll history and I finally decided it was time to listen to "Paranoid" with an open mind.

The disc begins ominously with "War Pigs/Luke's Wall" wherein the band sets up some dreary aural scenery beneath a wailing siren before vocalist Ozzy Osborne bursts in like a lightning bolt. I'm always taken aback by the excellent quality of Ozzy's singing as evidenced here where he has to fill up a lot of open space. Say what you want about these guys but they had a unique style all their own and since that's one of the core definitions of prog rock I now concur that they belong in our hallowed genre's halls (more so than many others, I might add). Wearing headphones, I was intrigued by how they took advantage of the basic two-channel stereo pan technique in their mix to broaden their sound, something that's a bit of a lost art these days. "Paranoid" is next and my opinion is that these fellas took what I term "riff rock" to a whole new level. While they aren't exactly my cup 'o Lipton and never will be I do respect their authenticity. They played what they heard in their heads and they were in complete agreement about the mood they were trying to create. "Planet Caravan" is next and I was shocked when I heard it. It owns a quasi-Moody Blues atmosphere with Ozzy singing through a Leslie speaker cabinet to conjure up an other-worldly feel. The song is performed with remarkable restraint and Tommy Iommi's guitar solo borders on jazz as ghostly piano chords create a dense backdrop. It's a very engaging track that caught me completely off guard and it's by far the most impressive song on the album.

Ozzy growls through an electric fan as Tommy's guitar drones menacingly to begin "Iron Man." To call this number "heavy" is to do it an injustice because it's unbelievably gargantuan in scope. (Malcom used to blast this tune first thing in the morning just to bug me.) Again, nobody in the biz was doing rock this way in that it had such a minimalist attack. To embellish it would've ruined the aura so they were happy to leave well enough alone. Kudos to Iommi re: his ability to double his guitar tracks with such precision. Not easy to do. "Electric Funeral" is another riff-based rocker but the wah-wah effect on one of the guitars gives this plodding number a different hue. Their sudden leap into the shrill bridge section is jarring and then they return to the original theme to finish it out. Geezer Butler's bluesy bass line starts "Hand of Doom" in a subdued air but then they crank it up for the chorus. As they did in the preceding track, they change gears midstream and go running off into curious detours. It's kinda like they combined 3 or 4 song ideas into one. "Rat Salad" is an instrumental that most likely was written in the studio one day while they were waiting for Ozzy to show. It surely came in very handy in concert because drum solos were mandatory in that era and this gave their stick man Bill Ward a vehicle in which to hog the spotlight for a few minutes. Thankfully, he doesn't wear out his welcome here. They end with "Jack the Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots" that starts out as a high-spirited instrumental before morphing into a metallic rocker rumbling over a semi-shuffle beat. Osborne's vocal is sufficiently devilish and they sound like they're enjoying themselves. It's apparent to me that they owe a lot to Cream for inspiring their means of delivery but they do so with a lot more abandon than Eric, Jack and Ginger did.

"Paranoid" was recorded just four short months after the release of their first LP and it only took them six days to complete. That left little time to over-think the music and it worked to their advantage because its "spareness" is what gives it such an unorthodox, raw flavor. Call it the genius of the uncluttered mind. It certainly tapped into a hungry demographic because even without the help of a Top 40 single the album rose to #12 in the USA and sold over 4 million copies. While you won't find any of these tunes on my personal playlist I do have a better understanding of their appeal and look forward to hearing where they took it from here. They are without question the godfathers of metal and they started a ball rolling that hasn't slowed down since. They were true innovators and that earns them an extra star in itself. 3.5 stars.

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

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by The Crow
4 stars An essential album in rock music history!

But also not a perfect one, of course. For that the sound and production should be better, and the overall songwriting stronger. Don't get me wrong, there are true classics in here, but also a pair of fillers which not deserve the status or masterpieces.

Black Sabbath forgot a bit their blues-rock roots in this second release and they increased the importance and weight of the riffs, achieving this "heavy" and sound that together with albums like Deep Purple's In Rock would plant the seed of heavy metal.

War Pigs starts with sirens and heavy guitars, which introduce one hell of a riff and vocal melodies from Ozzy, who sings a critic and apocalyptic text with dark passion. The riffs salad towards the end of the song is just magnificent! Just like Paranoid, another milestone from this album despite its repetitiveness. Sadly Planet Caravan comes with its boring psychedelia, making a true setback, which vastly dismisses with Iron Man, maybe the best song in the whole record and with the riff in Black Sabbath's history. And there is a lot of riffs in Tommy Iommi's career!

Electric Funeral is together with the song Black Sabbath the birth of doom metal, mixed with some very heavy passages towards the end. It's also a pleasure to hear how the stoner rock was born with songs like Hand of Doom, despite being not so remarkable like other classics from this disc. Rat Salad is forgettable in my opinion, despite the grandiose Bill Ward's efforts on drums.

Fairies Wear Boots, like the previous track bring back the style of the debut album, constituting a solid ending for Paranoid.

Conclusion: Paranoid is one of the best albums from Black Sabbath. Is not my personal favorite, but I recognize the sheer importance of its heavy riffs, slow hard passages and accelerated rhythms in the creation of heavy metal, doom metal and stoner metal. It has three outstanding songs, three very good ones and two just passable. Excellent overall and maybe not so important for prog, but necessary to understand modern rock music.

Best Tracks: War Pigs, Paranoid, Iron Man, Electric Funeral, Hand of Doom.

My rating: ****

Review by Kempokid
5 stars This will be my 100th review on this websitek, so I took a bit of time trying to think of what I'd want to do for such a milestone, eventually settling for this album. The reason for this is that this was one of the 3 albums that originally got me into music in the first place, along with Iron Maiden's Number Of The Beast and Dio's Holy Diver. Of these three, this one definitely holds up the best for me, being highly consistent while also musically and tonally being the strongest. Many of these songs are quite catchy and all around very accessible for fans of rock or metal, but also clearly sowed the seeds for future doom metal bands to further expand on this genre and provide so many of the overwhelming behemoths that came onto the scene later, making it important as well as awesome.

The album starts off with War Pigs, one of the better songs here, starting off with slow, droning guitar chords before the song begins speeding up, highlighting Ozzy Osbourne's vocals, which while not great, really fit the overall sound presented to us. The song eventually speeds up slightly more, and introduces an awesome, groovy riff, occasionally pausing to showcase a drum fill, before kicking back in, all around being a great time, culminating in an outro that keeps crescendoing and speeding up as a riff continuously repeats, bringing in a powerful sense of urgency, all before completely hitting its peak and dying down immediately. Paranoid is the song that everyone knows from this album, and for good reason, as while it's not the best song on the album, it's certainly the one that sticks in the mind the most. The faster pace of it combined with riff after riff, each sounding near perfect, the vocal melody and memorable lyrics on top of this, make it easy to see why this song became so popular. The song is a prime example of how simplicity can be so effective, and it lays out the building blocks for other bands to then expand upon it in the numerous covers there are of it, ranging from the thrashier Megadeth version, to whatever the hell The Dillinger Escape Plan did to it. Planet Caravan is probably one of my favourite songs on the album, despite the fact that it sounds nothing like anything the band had ever done before, or since, but the gentle, spacey atmosphere accentuated by the filters put over the vocals make this such a relaxing, psychedelic track that carries me away in a similar fashion to Rainbow's Catch The Rainbow.

Iron Man is this album's other massive hit, with what I consider to be one of the most iconic riffs in all of metal, being simple, but heavy and absolutely menacing, while simultaneously being really cool and catchy. The way the song speeds up and throws in a guitar solo is also a really cool aspect of the song. Electric Funeral is definitely my personal pick for highest point on this album, being the most doom oriented, and heavy song of the lot, with a really gritty riff and a remarkably unsettling, droning vocal line. The sudden transformation from this into the fast paced bombardment of energy from all fronts is really what sells this song for me though, especially in terms of that incredible bassline. Hand Of Doom is once again, another great song, easily the most ominous and dark one the album has to offer, having some really quiet sections with a creeping bassline, Ozzy's vocals, and little else. The way these then escalate and become so intense is what really sells this song for me though, the power and panic behind it, while still maintaining a relatively slow pace is nothing short of amazig in its execution. Rat Salad is a short instrumental track that mainly serves as a showcase of Bill Ward's drumming ability, filled with fills before eventually a short drum solo, all around being pretty cool. Fairies Wear Boots closes off this album well, with an intro with elements fading in and out, weaving between one another and flowing from one riff to another, especially impressive to hear on a good pair of headphones when they do this between the left and right ear. The song then becomes a catchy, bluesy number with fun, memorable lyrics referring to seeing things while being high. While it's one of the more repetitive songs here, there's really no denying that it works in its favour to create an infectious song all around, and a decent closing track.

There's a pretty good reason why this is considered such an essential album in metal, not only was it an extremely early example of the genre (some say first, others say Deep Purple did it beforehand), but it holds up really well even today. The songs have great riffs and some really great atmosphere, backed up by some good variety in the form of songs such as Planet Caravan and Fairies Wear Boots. This is an album that I feel like most people calling themselves metal fans have heard, and if not, get onto that, not to mention the fact that it would be a pretty great entry level metal album in general, as nothing is particularly challenging to listen to here, and everything sounds absolutely great. I can definitely see how this was one of the albums to originallly get me into music in the first place, since I still see such value in it.

Best songs: Planet Caravan, Hand Of Doom, War Pigs

Weakest songs: None

Verdict: An excellent metal album that hits all the right notes and is simply excellent. While not reaching the same sort of heights as some other albums in the genre, this is nonetheless an extremely good album, and and absolutely essential one to anybody even slightly interested in hard rock and metal.

Review by DangHeck
4 stars Masters of Early Heavy Metal (quintessential, really, of course) and Masters of Groove. Exemplary, and just amazing, as this and the first album were forerunners to a movement of music that rapidly sprouted out of the acid, psychedelic and blues rock scenes. Just as Progressive Rock was coming about (out of notably similar scenes and genres), and as Psychedelic Rock and the Freak movements across the world were slowing in popularity and thrust, Heavy Metal was.

Really, as to be somewhat expected from these excellent musicians (in Tony IOMMI, Geezer BUTLER and Bill WARD), there are clear Progressive Rock elements throughout this album. I remember when I was looking for (early) Prog- adjacent bands and albums, Black Sabbath understandably came up plenty. I then of course think about Rick WAKEMAN's feature on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, three years after this, on "Sabbra Cadabra". Plenty of true-blue Progressive songs throughout their catalog (but I'm excited now, years after hearing a lot of it for the first time, to hear it, I hope, with new ears).

Sure, we have the longform opener and Heavy Metal necessity/classic "War Pigs"; but we also have forays into Jazz Fusion on "Planet Caravan"; spooky, ominous and, to me, cosmic oddity on "Iron Man" (the warbled, distorted, creepy opening with "I am Iron Man" and the theme of a time-travelling killing machine(?)); and other forays into what I can only describe as a very dark, occultic Psychedelia (that Acid Rock inspiration). Another favorite track unmentioned thus far is "Rat Salad". And possibly the most progressive track on the album is the two-part closer "Jack the Stripper [haha] / Fairies Wear Boots"; not that it's a favorite of mine from the album though, really.

Near-essential Heavy Metal and Rock album. Prog-heads welcomed! Not quite as good, to me, as their debut.

True Rate: 4.5/5.0

Latest members reviews

2 stars Probably the greatest part of Black Sabbath´ s group of fans prefers this second album when compared to the first one. This was exactly my position until I started to be interested in progressive music and heard some of its main bands. Great hits are here, and last time I went to an Ozzy Osbo ... (read more)

Report this review (#2768755) | Posted by Antonio Giacomin | Monday, June 6, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Looking from the perspective of 1970, Paranoid must be considered as (Heavy) Prog album, and according to what Ozzy Osbourne once said in a interview, that's how it was meant by the Sabs themselves. The music is not as complex as some other bands' from that year but it's surely very innovative and t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2533086) | Posted by David_D | Thursday, April 8, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Paranoid, Black Sabbath's second album, besides being probably the best work of the group, is one of the cornerstones in the gestation of heavy metal. With a raw and harsh sound, the hallmark of the band, in just over 40- minutes the demonic and furious guitar riffs of Tommy Iommi flood the entir ... (read more)

Report this review (#2455702) | Posted by Hector Enrique | Monday, October 12, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Band Who Progressed Beyond Prog Rock: 9/10 Following BLACK SABBATH's unexpectedly revolutionary debut (but harshly criticized by contemporaneous critics), the band crew wanted to continue exploiting their mojo releasing yet another state-of-art unpredictably heavy album only a few months ... (read more)

Report this review (#1765748) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Monday, July 24, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars REVIEW #11 - "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath (1970) After achieving success with their debut album, Black Sabbath immediately got back to producing a new album. With very little material at their expense, the songs on their second album were either quickly written, or built off of improvisation. St ... (read more)

Report this review (#1649507) | Posted by ProgMirage1974 | Saturday, November 26, 2016 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I'm not the biggest fan of Black Sabbath. Admittedly, I got into metal around the end of the 90's, and by that time Sabbath seemed a bit dated to me. I was all about the rising nu metal scene, as well as the thrash metal bands which were still hanging in there (just about). Of course, I gave Sabbath ... (read more)

Report this review (#1473352) | Posted by martindavey87 | Wednesday, October 7, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Everybody is bloody good in this album! I mean, the riffs are so dark and strong, the bass and the drum have an awesome chemistry, letting Tony float in the solos and letting Ozzy sing the powerfull lyrics. War Pigs is a piece were we see the dynamics that are going to apear in every song on the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1261816) | Posted by arthuredson | Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I avoided this album when I first saw it due to the cover which did nothing for the album imo. I also didn't really enjoy the quickly written title track. Today I'm still not enamoured with the album cover although I've learned to enjoy the title track. I see this album as an advancement on th ... (read more)

Report this review (#939115) | Posted by sukmytoe | Thursday, April 4, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After the sucess of their debut album 'Black Sabbath', Ozzy and the boys just kicked ass with this album, 'Paranoid'! This is a very good album, it's essential! The album starts with 'War Pigs', a song without metaphors, very direct and very proggy. Then you get to 'Paranoid', a faster and h ... (read more)

Report this review (#780649) | Posted by ThrasherPT | Sunday, July 1, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Paranoid" is known as one of the most influential heavy metal albums ever produced. This was recorded only a few months after their first album but it's another very solid effort and different in many ways. The guitar riffs are very simple but more memorable and with more egde, the lyrics are o ... (read more)

Report this review (#600169) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Saturday, December 31, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Whereas Prog Archives rankings are, in my opinion, about right, I don't think MMA's rankings, which are in their relative infancy, are right yet. One thing that is spot on though is that Paranoid is the top proto-metal album. For me it was definitely the first metal album. This was the CD I to ... (read more)

Report this review (#520434) | Posted by bassgeezer | Sunday, September 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Black Sabbath is mostly considerd to be the first metal band. So, this band may not be progressive in the usual point of view, but is by creating the standards for metal important for the development of later progressive metal bands. Black Sabbath sounds slow - very slow in comparison of 80' me ... (read more)

Report this review (#510590) | Posted by the philosopher | Sunday, August 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Only three stars? Yes. This is a progressive rock sight. I will review it as a progressive rock album. If this were a metal site, this album would get five stars, but it is not. I selected three stars because in the eyes of a prog fan, it is a good album, but it is not essential to listen to it. ... (read more)

Report this review (#483948) | Posted by thesleeper72 | Saturday, July 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 10/10 After introducing dark tones and obscurity to the prematurely rising "heavy metal" on their impressive debut "Black Sabbath" (1970) -it's enough to realize of it just by checking the terrifying album cover-, this astonishing group formed by apparently insane but amazingly instinctive ... (read more)

Report this review (#459195) | Posted by Mattiias | Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Probably the greatest part of Black Sabbath´ s group of fans prefers this second album when compared to the first one. This was exactly my position until I started to be interested in progressive music and heard some of its main bands. Great hits are here, last time I went to an Ozzy Osborne ... (read more)

Report this review (#434536) | Posted by HarryTon | Saturday, April 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've had this album for a while now, and I only got around listening to it. I've never been a massive fan of Sabbath, but I do like them enough, they do have some amazing songs. But aside from that, I have to be a little critical. I respect what this album did, and it really is a stepping st ... (read more)

Report this review (#354770) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Thursday, December 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am Iron Man! I was introduced to Black Sabbath at an early age, by my dad, even though I did not know it yet. I just dismissed it as my dad's 'oldies' music, but since then I have grown to love them. One of the albums he played the most was Paranoid, so it was only fitting that this should ... (read more)

Report this review (#352937) | Posted by The Block | Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of my favourite bands of all times and one of their most celebrated albums. An instant classic in the metal community, although Toni Iommi discards that terminology. For him Black Sabbath os a heavy rock band. This album proves that the canterbury influences off their previous band are all bu ... (read more)

Report this review (#325732) | Posted by unarmedman | Thursday, November 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After an excellent debut album, Black Sabbath pumped up the iron (Iron Man, to be correct). This album is a true metal classic, but also the first true prog-metal classic, as the complex playing and lyrics are not your standard bluesy affair. The album has a number of great songs, that range ... (read more)

Report this review (#318295) | Posted by Jazzywoman | Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars BBC TV ran an hour long program about the recording and the featured songs on this album, Black Sabbath's second album. All band members were interviewed and Tony Iommi also showed us the riffs on the main songs here. An excellent TV program well worth the TV license fee. So I dusted of this a ... (read more)

Report this review (#317769) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, November 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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