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BLACK SABBATH

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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

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

Changing their name to Black Sabbath, the group started getting gigs all over the country, and recorded their debut album in two days. This self-titled album is now one of the most influential albums ever in rock's history, especially the eponymous track, with its bell-and-thunderstorm intro, its huge descending riffs and gloomy fantasy lyrics. The group went on crazily-scheduled tours and quickly managed an international fame with the star system lifestyle including heavy use of all kinds of drugs. With their second album "Paranoid", Sabbath consolidated their aura and success, with a highly impressive and very different sound to anyone else around, great interplay and grim lyrics, and almost didn't include the title track, which would go on to be their only #1 hit on either side of the Atlantic. One of the reason of the group's success is their "Satanist" image, which attracted all kinds of freaks (we are in the aftermath of Manson and the Tate murders), but th...
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ParanoidParanoid
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$5.00
$4.80 (used)
Black Sabbath (180 Gram Vinyl)Black Sabbath (180 Gram Vinyl)
Limited Edition
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$17.49
$22.09 (used)
Master Of RealityMaster Of Reality
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$9.25
$13.99 (used)
Vol. 4Vol. 4
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$5.00
$5.18 (used)
Sabbath Bloody SabbathSabbath Bloody Sabbath
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$5.00
$4.29 (used)
Paranoid (Deluxe Edition)(2LP 180 Gram Vinyl)Paranoid (Deluxe Edition)(2LP 180 Gram Vinyl)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$27.50
$21.97 (used)
SabotageSabotage
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2016
$6.46
$6.56 (used)
The Ultimate Collection (2CD)The Ultimate Collection (2CD)
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2017
$13.71
$13.09 (used)
Heaven And HellHeaven And Hell
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2008
$10.08
$13.00 (used)
The Dio YearsThe Dio Years
Rhino/Warner Bros. 2007
$5.30
$1.95 (used)
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BLACK SABBATH discography


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

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

4.22 | 859 ratings
Black Sabbath
1970
4.30 | 953 ratings
Paranoid
1970
4.05 | 744 ratings
Master Of Reality
1971
3.86 | 620 ratings
Volume Four
1972
4.08 | 735 ratings
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1973
3.98 | 557 ratings
Sabotage
1975
2.75 | 387 ratings
Technical Ecstasy
1976
2.95 | 368 ratings
Never Say Die!
1978
4.03 | 550 ratings
Heaven And Hell
1980
3.47 | 389 ratings
Mob Rules
1981
2.77 | 311 ratings
Born Again
1983
2.58 | 218 ratings
Seventh Star
1986
3.16 | 210 ratings
The Eternal Idol
1987
3.20 | 230 ratings
Headless Cross
1989
3.17 | 210 ratings
Tyr
1990
3.11 | 275 ratings
Dehumanizer
1992
3.27 | 180 ratings
Cross Purposes
1994
1.91 | 179 ratings
Forbidden
1995
3.56 | 162 ratings
Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know
2009
3.76 | 295 ratings
13
2013

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

2.94 | 90 ratings
Live at Last
1980
3.41 | 131 ratings
Live Evil
1983
2.93 | 29 ratings
Cross Purposes Live (CD + VHS)
1995
4.21 | 109 ratings
Reunion
1998
3.94 | 82 ratings
Past Lives
2002
4.14 | 36 ratings
Live at Hammersmith Odeon
2007
4.19 | 47 ratings
Heaven & Hell: Live from Radio City Music Hall
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Neon Nights . 30 Years Of Heaven & Hell . Live At Wacken
2010
3.63 | 8 ratings
The End - 4 February 2017, Birmingham
2017

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

3.41 | 15 ratings
The Black Sabbath Story - Volume 1 1970-1978
1991
3.73 | 15 ratings
The Black Sabbath Story - Volume 2 1978-1992
1992
1.86 | 29 ratings
The Last Supper
1999
3.50 | 18 ratings
Never Say Die
2003
4.50 | 4 ratings
Inside Black Sabbath with Tony Iommi
2003
2.81 | 12 ratings
Cross Purposes Live
2003
4.56 | 9 ratings
In Concert
2004
3.75 | 4 ratings
Total Rock Review
2006
3.87 | 27 ratings
Heaven and Hell: Live from Radio City Music Hall
2007
3.75 | 4 ratings
Children Of The Grave
2008
2.71 | 8 ratings
In Moscow
2008
4.60 | 5 ratings
Madman Alive in Athens
2008
3.90 | 10 ratings
Classic Albums: Paranoid
2010
3.45 | 20 ratings
Live. Gathered in Their Masses
2013
3.67 | 6 ratings
The End - 4 February 2017, Birmingham
2017

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

4.05 | 5 ratings
The Best Of Black Sabbath
1971
4.00 | 4 ratings
Attention! Black Sabbath
1973
5.00 | 4 ratings
Pop Giants: Volume 9
1974
5.00 | 3 ratings
Reflection
1975
3.12 | 39 ratings
We Sold Our Soul for Rock and Roll
1975
4.67 | 3 ratings
Attention! Black Sabbath Volume 2
1975
4.50 | 4 ratings
Children of the Grave
1976
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Best Of Black Sabbath
1976
5.00 | 2 ratings
Paranoia
1976
4.67 | 3 ratings
Star Gold
1976
4.09 | 13 ratings
Greatest Hits
1977
5.00 | 4 ratings
The Singles 1970-1978
1978
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Best: The Ultimate In Heavy Metal
1983
5.00 | 2 ratings
Collection Vol.1
1984
5.00 | 2 ratings
Hand of Doom
1984
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Sabbath Collection (original)
1985
1.48 | 4 ratings
Blackest Sabbath
1989
5.00 | 4 ratings
Black Sabbath
1990
5.00 | 3 ratings
Backtrackin'
1991
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Black Sabbath Story
1991
4.67 | 6 ratings
The Ozzy Osbourne Years
1991
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Ultimate in Heavy Metal
1991
4.25 | 4 ratings
Iron Man
1992
4.50 | 4 ratings
Iron Man (Alternative Version)
1994
2.06 | 8 ratings
The Sabbath Stones
1996
4.71 | 7 ratings
Under Wheels of Confusion 1970-1987
1996
4.25 | 5 ratings
The Originals
1996
5.00 | 2 ratings
Black Sabbath 1970-1987 Digital Remaster
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
We Sold Our Soul To Rock 'n' Roll, Vol.II
1996
4.50 | 4 ratings
The Collection
2000
4.50 | 4 ratings
The Singles 1970-1978
2000
3.79 | 20 ratings
The Best of Black Sabbath
2000
4.56 | 9 ratings
The Complete 70's Replica CD Collection 1970-1978 (boxset)
2001
4.67 | 3 ratings
Rock Champions
2001
4.67 | 3 ratings
The Best of Black Sabbath
2001
4.73 | 11 ratings
Symptom of the Universe
2003
4.53 | 17 ratings
Black Box (The Complete Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978)
2004
5.00 | 5 ratings
Selections From - Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978)
2004
5.00 | 3 ratings
Black Sabbath
2006
4.50 | 6 ratings
Greatest Hits 1970-1978
2006
5.00 | 2 ratings
Rock Giants
2006
3.74 | 23 ratings
The Dio Years
2007
5.00 | 2 ratings
Audiobiography
2007
4.80 | 10 ratings
The Rules of Hell
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Iron Man: The Best of Black Sabbath
2012
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2017

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

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

BLACK SABBATH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 13 by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 295 ratings

BUY
13
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by omphaloskepsis

5 stars Black Sabbath Blasphemy. 13 is my favorite Black Sabbath album ever. There, I said it. 13 = bad ass Black Sabbath. Tis sad, Bill Ward chose not to attend the electric funeral. However, Rage Against The Machine's drummer Brad Wilk hooks into Geezer Butler's berserker bass , riding an exorcism of bazookas and eyrie thunder. Ozzy, the parodical son returns, delivering his best vocal performance since Sabotage. Tony Iommi cranks dozens of fat vintage thick riffs. The man is a riff- monster! It's Alive!

The material is primo and Butler's lyrics ripen like pomegranates smoldering in hell. In the twilight of life, Butler's meditations unearth cursed death fetishes, graves and tombstones yawing, beckoning, inexorably dragging your life, my life toward annihilation, " Is this the end of the beginning? Or the beginning of the end?" Heaven and hell unleashes impending doom as Iommi and Butler weld black diamonds and blood rubies onto their iron man, heavy metal crown. 13 sounds like 1972 yet, it sounds fresh. Catastrophic doom and destruction abound. More hooks than a Hellraiser movie marathon. Iommi's addictive riffs and Ozzy's vocalizations get in my head and I can't get them out!

1. End of the Beginning- Witches sway to a Walpurgis Night doom dirge , Iommi rips out a raw nerve, guitar solo, foreshadowing the accursed 13.

2. God is Dead- Geezer strains Nietzsche through a murder's guilt grater. Riffs crank, caught between Wilks gloomy funeral percussion and Iommi's creepy silky guitar picking. What undead lich resurrected Ozzy from reality tv hell? God maybe dead but Ozzy still kicking...hard-

"Blood on my conscious and murder in my mind. Out of the gloom I rise up from my tomb into impending doom Now my body is my shrine

The blood runs free The rain turns red Give me the wine You keep the bread..."

3. Loner- Most bands would spread all these riffs out over an entire album, an entire career! But not Tony Iommi. The man continuously packs four or more killer riffs into a single song over and over again and again.

4. Zeitgeist- Favorite Black Sabbath slow-mo acoustic song ever! Melodic hypnotic drums. Soaring gorgeous vocal. Beautiful sad guitar lead. Shivers down my spine crescendos.

5. Age of Reason-

"Mystifying silence Talking Peace on Earth. We should judge each other For ourselves not what we're worth.

Sustainable extinction, A fractured human race. A jaded revolution Disappears without a trace.

Always felt that there'd be trouble. Mass distraction hides the truth. Prozac days and sleepless hours. Seeds of change that don't bear fruit."

Hydra fanged bass riffs and guitar crescendos sucked into the mouth of a rhymical Ouroboros.

6. Live Forever- "I don't want to live forever. But I don't want to die" Can you empathize with how Geezer feels? Ozzy's sincerity bleeds through. Convincingly, Ozzy makes the song his own. Classic Sabbath galloping wraith rhythm section... charge!

7. Damaged Soul- Bluesy Ozzy dirge crawls across broken glass. Electric cables stripped of insulation. Harmonica. "I don't mind dying cause I'm already dead. Dying is easy. Living is hard." 13 is a sobering album.

8. Dear Father- Iommi is amazing! Listening to Tony makes me realize how anemic other heavy metal guitarists are.

"DearFather, forsaken You knew what you were doing In silence, your violence Has left my life in ruin, yeah"

And the albums ends...Thunder, rain, and church bells ringing. Full circle.

 Technical Ecstasy by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.75 | 387 ratings

BUY
Technical Ecstasy
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Up until 1977, Black Sabbath came across as a band that had control over their sound. They had been inspiring bands since their beginning and would eventually inspire a whole new genre called heavy metal and its many sub-genres. So what happened that turned many of it's fans against them in September of 1976? The answer to that is more than a simple single reason.

The band's 7th album was ill fated from the beginning. Black Sabbath had put out 6 amazing studio albums before that, and it looked as if they could not make a mistake. Their music was not only loud and dark, but it was also better than the norm with many progressive elements. Most of their tracks had multiple melodies and themes. The band was not afraid to change and experiment with their established sound and that made their music exciting and innovative. Sure, they had that reputation of creating the music of the devil, but to them, that was just an aspect of a few of their songs that dealt with dark subject matter, drug use, war, and mental health just to name a few subjects. In order to prove that they were not just a one-trick-pony, they even wrote songs dealing with spiritual matters and more positive subjects as proven in the album "Master of Reality", but the fans loved the dark and heavy sound, so that was almost always retained. But in those heavy tracks, the band explored the softer side of music too, and did it very well.

It seemed all was going well for this band. But then, their 7th album was released. "Technical Ecstasy" was a surprise to everyone, and most people didn't take it very well. People still wonder why there was such a sudden change in their music and the quality of it. First of all, the band had just gone through several legal battles that seemed to plague the album "Sabotage", and they were quite tense about that. Of course, there were drug problems galore. The world was also changing their music tastes with punk music, pop music, disco and new age with heavy use of electronics and synthesizers. Tony Iommi started to think that maybe the band was becoming outdated, that their music wasn't relevant anymore, and he thought a change in style was in order. Strangely enough, back then you couldn't just put out a heavy metal album like you can now and know that people would but it, as Iommi has stated. Also, around this time, Ozzy was considering leaving the band, and actually did during the tour of this album, though he came back to record their next album. The band recruited vocalist Dave Walker from "Savoy Brown" to take Ozzy's place during the tour and they actually wrote some songs with Walker.

Iommi's biggest concern during this time was the sound of the band and trying to make them not sound out of date. He thought the band needed to sound more like "Foreigner" with their more commercial sound. He could also see that albums like "Hotel California" by the Eagles and "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac were selling like crazy. He was also affected by The Eagles who were recording "Hotel California" in the same studio (who, incidentally, had to postpone recording sessions because Black Sabbath's recording sessions were too loud and they couldn't hear themselves). Anyway, this all led to Black Sabbath experimenting with new sounds which they weren't necessarily equipped to play well.

The album cover took many by surprise too. This looked so different from anything else the band had put out. It had that cartoon-y look and was colorful, not dark like past album art. The designer, George Hardie, said that he was trying to make something that reflected the title, so he used the technical part of the title to be represented by robots. The Ecstasy part had to have something to do with love, so he made a female and male robot, passing each other on opposite escalators and squirting mechanical fluid at each other, as robots would probably do if they fell for each other.

The band consisted of their original line up of Ozzy Osbourne on lead vocals, Tony Iommi on guitar, Geezer Butler on bass and Bill Ward on drums. Joining them was Gerald Woodroffe playing keyboards who also played on "Sabotage". He also went with them on tour, but performed offstage.

The album started with "Back Street Kids" which was still guitar heavy, but more commercial sounding, sounding a lot like other heavy bands at the time, using repetitive melodies with pop-like sensibilities. Half-way through, there is a distinct synth sound which sounded totally out of place in their music. The song itself was quite forgettable and the guitar hook was too bright. It still had a nice guitar solo, but it was accompanied by a distracting, high-pitched synth. "You Won't Change Me" gave some hope as it had that darker sound with a heavy riff and a thick organ sound. The rhythm was slow and dense which reflected back to their trademark sound from the past. I can imagine the fans were a bit disappointed with the opening track, but had some hope when this track started.

"It's Alright" was written solely by Bill Ward. The band wanted him to also sing this track, but he didn't want to offend Ozzy. However, Ozzy was all for it, so he did. The song was also released as a single and Iommi wanted to use it because he wanted the public to see that everything about the band had changed. The song is a ballad and sounds very much unlike anything the band had done before, mostly led by piano. Even on this album, it sounds completely out of place in the entire Black Sabbath catalog, especially placed after the previous song. "Gypsy" begins with a very upbeat and almost danceable drum pattern and an organ that sounds more like a "Deep Purple" track. Even though it has a repetitive guitar riff, it feels so much lighter than most of the band's songs, and definitely has a pop feel to it. You can also hear a definite "Foreigner" style with the repeated piano chords pushing it all along, it almost copies the "Cold as Ice" riff in its stripped down form. At least there was a good guitar solo in there.

"All Moving Parts (Stand Still)" is about a transvestite that is elected as president of the United States. This is really bad, and sounds like the beginning of hair metal than anything else. It still has the guitars, but they are lightened up quite a bit and the synth parts don't fit in well. The best part is the funky bass line, but nothing else works on this track. As one critic said at the time, "Rock 'n' Roll Doctor" sounds like the band trying to imitate "Kiss" even down to the cow bell. There is a bad honky-tonk style piano in there too. The guitar riff is also very cliché. It's bad!

"She's Gone" is another ballad. It is thick with orchestral effects. It probably would have worked as a nice ballad on one of their earlier albums, but on this album, it just gets forgotten mixed in with sub-par material. All alone and taken out of context, however, it is a lovely piece, but it lacks a bit of depth that previous ballads by the band had. The last track is the longest on the album. "Dirty Women", according to Iommi, is about the many hookers that Butler had seen around Florida. The song is ruined by the bad synth that backs up the chorus. It's probably the 2nd best track on the album, after "You Won't Change Me" and has some excellent guitar work, but it still lacks depth in it's melody and themes. The instrumental melodies are also a bit repetitive, and even though it has a sudden change in tempo towards the middle, it's not enough to save the album. At least it ends on an okay note with this song, but by now it's all a lost cause. It doesn't help that Ozzy's vocals sound brassy in the last half of the song.

Yes, the album is as bad as they say, especially since the band had set the bar so high on previous albums. If this was any other band, it still would have been a 2 or 3 star album. That's how bad it is. The band's signature sound and attitude was missing here, and it definitely was missed by the fans. It was going to be hard for the band to return to it's glory days after this mess. It's true that Iommi had quite a dilemma in trying to make the band relevant, and if only he could have seen the future, he wouldn't have bothered trying to fit in with the current sound. This probably would have been a completely different review. There just isn't that much on this album that will keep you coming back.

 Paranoid by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.30 | 953 ratings

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Paranoid
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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.

 Technical Ecstasy by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.75 | 387 ratings

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Technical Ecstasy
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

2 stars And suddenly, all the magic was gone!

The drugs and internal problems that the band achieved to manage in previous albums finally appeared in Technical Ecstasy, a record full with mediocre songs with just a few acceptable moments like the energetic Back Street Kids, which also contains some fine keyboards, and the good stoner riffs of The Gypsy. The rest is just boring and forgettable.

The production is fine and the band plays acceptably, but that was not enough to save this bunch of uninspired and irrelevant hard rock songs, with a style far for the heaviness and spectacular riffs of milestones like Paranoid, Master of Reality and the far superior Sabotage.

Conclusion: Technical Ecstasy is, along with Never Say Die!, the worst album of the first Ozzy era. A bland attempt to make their music more accessible, commercial and easy for the ears, but fails in every one of these goals.

For fans only!

My Rating: **

 Sabotage by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.98 | 557 ratings

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Sabotage
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The last great album from the first Ozzy Osbourne's era!

This time, with the help of producer Mike Butcher, they created a very solid album which supposed a little return to their roots after the more commercial and bland Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. The sound of the album is fantastic, especially the Iommi's mammoth guitars and the playful Butler's bass lines.

The drugs and alcohol problems that the band was suffering at that time had not affected the quality of their music yet and Sabotage deserves to be remembered as another seminal record, obligated to understand the heavy metal explosion at the end of the 70's.

Best Tracks: Hole in the Sky (pure Black Sabbath heavy metal!), Symptom of the Universe (along with Queen's Stone Cold Crazy, this was one of the first thrash metal riffs in history), Megalomania (one of their most progressive, catchy and incredible compositions) and The Writ (another seminal track for the development of Stoner Rock)

Conclusion: despite not being so relevant these days, Sabotage is my favorite Black Sabbath album after Master of Reality. Not so pompous and commercial like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath but far more progressive and complex.

Sadly, after Sabotage the band entered in an unstoppable downward spiral.

My rating: ****

 Black Sabbath by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.22 | 859 ratings

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Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by The Jester

5 stars Review # 97. Black Sabbath's dark image (that would follow them forever), started here: On Friday the 13th of February 1970 with the release of their first self titled record. On the cover, we see a picture of an old house which seems to be abandoned, and a pale figure dressed in black at the front. The whole cover is like a picture that was taken from a horror movie. (The house on this cover was a windmill, situated somewhere on Thames river). In the original version, the cover had a gatefold with an inverted black cross and a poem written on it.

But let's move on and take a closer look at the songs here: The album opens with the famous Black Sabbath. Rain falls, thunders strike, and the sound of the church bell ringing setting up a dark and gloomy atmosphere, before the heavy sound of guitar and bass hit you in the stomach like iron. Ozzy with his odd voice sings about 'a figure in black' which points at him. (The lyrics of this song are based on a nightmare Geezer Butler had). One of the most "bizarre" songs ever recorded, which became a "must" in all their concerts during their long career. Next, comes the song N.I.B, in which the lyrics are written from the point of view of Lucifer. The song Behind the Wall of Sleep was inspired by the American writer H.P Lovecraft and his story with the same title. As for The Wizard, it was inspired by the wizard Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings books, written by J.R.R Tolkien. The songs Evil Woman and Warning are cover versions of some old Blues songs.

According to Tonny Iommi, the band recorded the album in just one day. They went to the studio, played all the songs live, recorded them and left. The only 'luxury' they had, it was that Ozzy was singing from another booth. Upon its release, the reviews that Black Sabbath received, varied from bad to terrible! My opinion is that the critics and the media of the time were unable to handle such album because it was something they were listening to for the first time and they had no idea how to react to it. Here are a few examples: "It sounds like a very bad version of Cream", or "It is like Vanilla Fudge playing a tribute to Alister Crowley". Despite the bad critics, the album sales were not bad at all! It reached at No. 8 at the U.K charts, and at No. 23 at the USA charts. With the passing years, the critics started giving better and better reviews, until it gained its position as one of the most important and influential albums in the history of Rock music. After all, let's not forget that Heavy Metal has its roots exactly on this record! (And the rest of the Black Sabbath's albums that followed)... But I still don't understand why a site like PA includes bands like Black Sabbath. Not that it bothers me though... I have been listening to them since I was 14 years old, so I literally grew up with their music. Impossible to be objective! 5 stars!

 Tyr by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.17 | 210 ratings

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Tyr
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars "Tyr" is the 15th studio album from Black Sabbath which was released in August, 1990. During this phase of the band, Tommi Iommi was still the lead guitarist and the only original member of the band, but was backed up by lead singer and lyricist Tony Martin, who would end up being the 2nd longest running vocalist behind Ozzy Osbourne. He has contributed to 5 studio albums, but not in sequence. Cozy Powell was the drummer and in charge of production on this album. He would contribute to 3 studio albums, however not in sequence. Of course, Powell's name was well known in prog circles as having been the drummer for "Emerson, Lake & Powell" "Rainbow" and several other hard rock and heavy metal bands. Geoff Nicholls was the band's keyboardist and had been for a long time, from 1979 to 2004 (he passed away in 2017). Neil Murray was the bassist, and this would be his first time recording a studio album with the band having replaced Laurence Cottle. The line up is the same as it was for "The Headless Cross" released previously in 1989, except for Murray who is the only new member in the line up for this album and would return for the recording of "Forbidden" in 1995.

All of the lyrics on this album were written by Tony Martin. Iommi said in his biography that he didn't want to have dark lyrics as was the case in "Headless Cross" and wanted them to be more subltle, not so dependent upon evil and the devil. The band decided on naming the album after Tyr, the god of single combat and heroic glory in Norse mythology. This influenced fans to call this a concept album, but bassist Murray said this was not the case as the lyrics are only loosely connected and not always about mythology.

"Anno Mundi" starts off the album with a somewhat mellow sound with processed harmonies in Latin and a simple guitar arpeggio. After a verse, the first guitar riff kicks in supported by synths and Martin's vocals. Tony's voice is similar to Whitesnake's lead singer David Coverdale, and the music is somewhat similar to that style, except for a bit heavier. That influence could come from Murray, who also played for Whitesnake during their most popular years. There is a bit more of a progressive element to this track and it has been said that this was probably Black Sabbath's most progressive album.

"The Law Maker" has a much faster tempo and sounds almost like something from the years that Ronnie James Dio was lead singer. In fact the vocals sound similar to Dio. It is standard fare. "Jerusalem" has a marching style rhythm to it but continues with the same style of popular heavy metal as the previous track.

Next is the longest track on the album, "The Sabbath Stones". This one starts with a slow, repeating guitar and drum riff and Martin begins singing over it. Percussion and bass join later with a darker and heavier sound in this slower track which soon mellows out when the 2nd theme starts. The pattern of interchanging themes is established: heavy, then mellow. Martin's singing is more believable on this track. A new theme with a faster tempo comes in later with more vocals which lead into a good guitar solo. This track, like the first one, is progressive lite.

Next is the short, atmospheric, mostly synthesized track "The Battle of Tyr". I'm not sure what it's trying to accomplish other than being a set of synthesized chords. This kind of flows into "Odin's Court", as a thematic suite of sorts continues. This one is also somewhat short, but features vocals and stays quite mellow all the way through. It's a nice melody that could have developed into something, but it is too short to do so. This also flows into the last part of this "suite" in the heavier, yet quite standard "Valhalla". This one again reminds me of the Dio years. These are the only interconnected songs on the album. So much for the concept album theory.

"Feels Good to Me" was only included on this album because it was intended to be the single. It is a slow ballad in the style of most heavy metal ballads. The band has recognized that it has nothing to do in relation to the style of the other tracks saying it sounds out of place. To me it sounds quite typical, just a track to be forgotten along with the other intended hits in the "heavy metal ballad junk yard of Bon Jovi copycats".

The album ends on "Heaven in Black". It starts with a rolling drum solo before quickly kicking in with a forgettable riff. This one is more up tempo, but again is reminiscent of RJD years.

I don't know where people get the idea that this is Black Sabbath's most progressive album, as there are only two tracks here that could be mildly considered progressive, but they are so lite when it comes to progressive elements that you really have to pay attention or they will slide right by you. It's true that they are the better tracks on the album, but the bar for being unique is set quite low. To me, this doesn't sound very different from any of the other heavy metal bands out there trying to popularize heavy metal which only end up sounding a slight notch above the hair bands of the 80s. I don't really hear anything special about this album that would make it stand out from the many other typical metal bands. And this is definitely very far away from being Progressive metal. Move along folks, nothing to hear here.

 Black Sabbath by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.22 | 859 ratings

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Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is where Black Sabbath begins, and hence the first really metal album. Hard to believe this little record that was rather inconspicuous would have such a long lasting effect on the music world, not only with heavy metal, but also progressive metal.

Again, we have an album that has been reviewed so many times, that if you haven't heard it, you feel like you have. By the way, if you haven't heard it, then you need to understand that it is extremely influential. Even though the boys had a lot of room to grow from this album, and grow they did, it is near perfection and it also set the bar. Of course "Paranoid" the next album, raised the bar even higher, but before this album, one would be hard pressed to find an album that was as heavy as this one.

The title track is considered the first doom metal song, and the way it starts with the sounds of a storm and a tolling bell, then suddenly a very hard and heavy riff that is not easy to forget. Imagine yourself in 1970 and hearing this, and wondering what level of Hell you would find yourself in when it was over. Then, throughout the album, the heavy dark music doesn't really let up much. It invades the senses and makes you want to bang your head.

Of course, through history, Black Sabbath would be known for their infectious riffs and dark music, but they would also be innovative, not settling on just being a loud band, but also producing music that would continue to challenge, change and surprise. Even with the heaviness, there is an abundant and effective use of dynamics, meter changes and multiple melodies within each song.

All of these things are apparent, even in the first album, which comes across as rather raw and somewhat unpolished, but that only makes things better. Yes there would be better albums to come, but it is hard to replace this one as being the thing that would kick start an all new genre. Black Sabbath's debut album is 100% essential. Not quite yet a masterpiece, though, but that would come along in the next album. But it is still an album that should not be missed.

 Volume Four by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.86 | 620 ratings

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Volume Four
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars "Black Sabbath Vol. 4" was released in the middle of the heyday for Black Sabbath, but it was at a time when the drug use was at its peak, and was also the beginning of the contention among the original members of the band. Osbourne, Iommi, Ward and Butler were at their creative and performing best during this time and just pumping out one heavy metal masterpiece after another. This album also saw the band beginning to experiment with their trademark sound.

"Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener" starts out the album with the trademark heavy sound, dark and memorable riffs and ever changing melodies and meters within the song. The track is a mid-tempo track at first but at times speeds up in different sections. The 2nd part of the track starts around the 6 minute mark, which shows a faster rhythm and the guitar taking the lead, with some mellotron (sounding like an organ) added in the background. This section is instrumental and fades out after 8 minutes.

"Tomorrow's Dream" was the single from the track and fits into the normal time for a single at just over 3 minutes. It is still heavy and has the same feel as "Paranoid" and "Sweet Leaf" from their previous albums, but has a section in the middle where things slow down. The single itself did not do very well as it failed to chart anywhere, probably because it was too heavy for most radio stations.

"Changes" is that beautiful ballad that most everyone knows by now. For the fans back when this was released, it was an interesting surprise to hear Ozzy singing alone with a piano and mellotron, and nothing else. It is a vulnerable and heartfelt song, one of the band's most beautiful. The music was written by Iommi and the lyrics by Butler while Ozzy hummed the tune. Iommi taught himself to play the piano part for it and the song was written. The lyrics are about Ward's recent breakup with his wife.

"FX" is a short experimental and psychedelic track that uses mostly percussive sounds made by the guitar by throwing various objects at it and adding an echo effect.

"Supernaut" is another fan favorite that returns to the classic Sabbath sound. An amazing and memorable riff with Ozzy singing at the top of his range. This track was a favorite of Frank Zappa's. You can understand that with the awesome guitar work done by Iommi here especially at the instrumental breaks. One of the breaks features a point where the loudness breaks down and you get a percussive section before it all returns again.

"Snowblind" was originally supposed to be the title track, but the studio didn't want to get into any trouble with its reference to drugs, so the album title was changed to Vol. 4. However, the track retained its title. Again, it is another fan favorite, with a great chugging riff that always stands out among Sabbath's best. This one, like the first track, features changing rhythms and themes, similar to most of the tracks on the "Paranoid" album, keeping things interesting throughout. Later in the track, when the song returns to the main theme, you get more mellotron and strings added in before Iommi breaks into another amazing solo. Everything works together flawlessly.

Next we have fairly short tracks. "Cornucopia" returns to the stark heaviness of the "Paranoid" album, specifically "War Pigs". Even though it is under 4 minutes, the tempo, meter and melody still changes, yet it is still developed well enough to be considered a great track. "Laguna Sunrise" comes next, and it is another beautiful surprise. An instrumental mostly performed by Iommi on acoustic guitar. Mellotron and strings add a lovely texture to the track. "St. Vitus Dance" is a quick but heavy track, but not as memorable as it tends to get swallowed up in the other amazing tracks on the album.

The final track is the combined "Under the Sun/Everyday Comes and Goes". This one starts out heavy and slow and then suddenly changes to a faster tempo when Osbourne's vocals start. A repeating riff keeps driving things forward. The bridge of the song is actually the 2nd part of the title and many copies of the album have it titled as "Under the Sun (including Every Day Comes and Goes)". The track is good, but seems like a weak one to end the album with in that there isn't a lot that is memorable here. I think it would have made a better impression to end with "Snowblind" and put this track in its place in the line up. But that is a minor issue.

Overall, I still find this album to be one of Black Sabbath's best, even better than "Master of Reality" which I find to be the weakest of the first 6 albums. I still consider it a masterpiece, even when the album ends on a track that isn't as impressive, because the rest of the album is powerful and even has a good variety of styles on it. The band still hadn't lost their edge, and in my opinion, wouldn't until after "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and "Sabotage".

 Master Of Reality by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 744 ratings

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Master Of Reality
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by SonomaComa1999

4 stars REVIEW #11 - "Master of Reality" by Black Sabbath (1971). 07/09/2018

Black Sabbath's first two albums were massively successful commercial hits, with the latter "Paranoid" being considered the greatest heavy metal album of all time in some circles. Over the course of one year the quartet of Ozzy Osborne (vocals), Tony Iommi (lead guitar), Geezer Butler (bass), and Bill Ward (drums) had gone from a local blue-collar rock act out of the West Midlands to the forefront of the burgeoning rock and roll scene alongside Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.

1971's "Master of Reality", the band's third studio album, was also its shortest to date, lasting only thirty-five minutes and featuring six songs with two acoustic interludes. However, it would also stand as the band's most commercially successful album for over forty years, eventually being topped by the band's final album "13". This is one of the most influential albums in rock history, especially for heavy metal, alternative rock, and stoner rock; Iommi, who had lost parts of two of his fingers while working in a factory pre-Black Sabbath, had long struggled to find a technique which would allow him to comfortably play his guitar. He eventually was able to reduce the pressure on his fingers by downtuning the strings of his guitar to make them more soft and bendable. The result was an unintended stroke of musical luck as Iommi's guitar tone was now deep and roaring, a range that had only hardly been heard of by the dawn of the seventies. If heavy metal was not birthed by the band's self-titled debut, it had been chiseled out of stone and presented to an audience thirsty for blood.

Butler down-tuned his bass guitar in accordance with Iommi's new sound. The opening track "Sweet Leaf" exposes us to this once-radical maelstrom of noise. Although his simple guitar riffs mesmerized rock fans around the world on "Paranoid", they had a new edge which was unparalleled. Following the sound of the guitarist coughing after taking a draw of a joint, we are introduced to the formal beginning of the stoner rock genre. As the title may indicate, this song describes the bands love for cannabis. Ozzy's voice remains largely unchanged from "Paranoid", and still works very well with the rest of the music. Otherwise, this is a rather typical Sabbath rocker with a memorable riff, powerful lyrics, and a strong guitar solo. The band uses the same formula for the follow-up "After Forever", which is the album's track which discusses religion. One big misconception among the public (especially evangelicals here in the States) is that Black Sabbath was made up of "satanists." This could not be farther from the truth, as all four members of the band are self-proclaimed Christians; main lyricist Geezer Butler is a Catholic and wrote this song as a response to those who had falsely accused the band of worshiping Satan. The lone single off the album, it never matched the success of Sabbath hits such as "Iron Man" or "Paranoid" and consequently has gone under the radar despite being rather underrated. Following this piece, we are treated to a very short Iommi acoustic interlude titled "Embryo." Lasting only half a minute, it serves as a bridge to the classic "Children of the Grave". Considered by Butler to be "the most kick-ass song we ever recorded", it is hard to disagree as the thumping bass rhythm of this song is purely orgasmic. Throttling the bass, Iommi and Butler play alongside each other to create a sheer wall of noise which cannot be matched. While the lyrical themes of this song are not as overt as themes such as "War Pigs" or "Hand of Doom", this is another anti-war song penned by the band. This is one of the most iconic Black Sabbath songs, and is a staple of their live shows. The end of side one features a locked groove which repeats the album title in a whisper on the original LP; while this effect is obviously lost on CD and digital reissues, it is a cute little addition to finish off what is a very powerful first half of the album.

The album's second acoustic piece leads off the second side. Titled "Orchid", it is a minute longer than "Embryo", while still retaining largely the same theme and purpose; to provide a soft entrance into what is a looming and heavy main track. This time we are treated to what I believe is one of Sabbath's most underrated songs in "Lord of this World." Starting off in similar fashion to "Children" this one more prodding and less frantic. I believe the stoner rock band Sleep made a fantastic cover of this song some time in the 1990's; in fact, many of the stoner rock bands have made covers of each song on this album (minus the interludes), owing to the fact that this album was responsible for the birthing of their genre. Given the breadth of the Sabbath catalog, "Lord" often gets passed over, but if you have never heard this piece despite listening to the band on a casual level, I advise you to give this album a quick run-through just for this tune. Sabbath brings forth next a mellow reprieve from the metal, something that would become a recurring theme in the band's early discography, in the form of "Solitude". Similar in style to the much-loved "Planet Caravan" from Paranoid in its psychedelic themes and the fact it is a love ballad, it is nowhere near as popular as its successor, despite finding itself onto an episode of the TV series Supernatural. I did not find any problem with this song, and actually quite enjoyed it among first listen. Sabbath does a pretty good job at track listings, namely in juxtaposing songs so that you are constantly kept on your feet. Finally we reach the grand finale in "Into the Void", another classic heavy metal tune. The band uses apocalyptic and science fiction themes for this one, detailing humanity's exodus from a destroyed Earth and its journey to a new colony on the Sun. I find it funny that songwriters often choose the Sun as the new home of humanity - the title track from Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" album details humanity abandoning Earth for the sun as well - even though Mars or Venus, let alone an Earth-like planet in some distant galaxy, would be a better choice. All scientific gropes aside, this is a very heavy song, and is probably the most fitting track to conclude this very short album. It is also the longest at just over six minutes.

Let me set the record straight, if we were on metalarchives instead of progarchives, "Master of Reality" would get an easy five-stars, maybe somewhere bordering my fabled 100% review. However, this album is by no means progressive except in the sense it furthered the genre of rock in general. While an argument could be made for the band's first two albums to be included in the prog canon, there is simply no route for this one to fit in with the likes of Yes, King Crimson, or Rush. That being said, it is still a wonderful addition to your prog collection, as is the case with any of Black Sabbath's early work. While music critics lambasted "Master of Reality" upon its release, it has long stood the test of time, and now in the 21st century everything about it, from the musical content to the text on the album cover, has been immortalized and honored. Apart from the forgettable interludes, every track on this album is solid, from the much beloved "Children of the Grave" to the underrated "Lord of this World", and everything in between. In fact, even the album's short run time works well in its favor to avoid wearing the listener down. This album gets the highest rating it can get without being five stars, at a four-star (89% - B+) rating here in the prog community. Play this one loud, and under the influence of that "Sweet Leaf"!

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

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