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Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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4.12 | 771 ratings

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5 stars Coming off the successful tour to support "Volume IV", Black Sabbath went right back to the studio to begin their new album which would become known as "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". However, continual life on the road and excessive use of drugs had left the band exhausted, so they all took a well-deserved, yet short hiatus. When they came back to the studio, the band experienced writer's block. The band decided to go back to the UK and record in the same place that other bands (including Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple) had successfully recorded, at Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire, England. Amazingly enough, that did the trick. The band rehearsed in the dungeons and scared the crap out of each other, and that seemed to be the impetus that got them over their writer's block. Tommy Iommi suddenly found the main riff to the title track and things just came together after that. In 1973, the album was released to the eager public and once again, the band released another amazing and highly influential album.

The album starts off with the multi-tempo and progressive sounds of the title track, dark and heavy, yet extremely inspired. This track inspired the rest of the album and the topics that would be covered by the songs. The use of synths and other keys would even be more noticeable in this album, and at this point, these were used very effectively. All of the synths and keys were played by various members of the band on all of the tracks except for "Sabbra Cadabra". Most everyone knows that Black Sabbath was able to convince Rick Wakeman to bring along his mini-moog and piano for this track, and Wakeman was happy to oblige and was paid in beer. Wakeman by the way, was a bit put off by the album Yes was working on at the time (in the same studio apparently) which was "Tales from Topographic Oceans". Wakeman's contributions to that track gives it the extra professionalism it needs and a nice, complex accompaniment adding to the dynamic quality of this album.

Speaking of dynamic quality, the instrumental "Fluff" in which Iommi plays all of the instruments except for the bass, is the most beautiful instrumental the band would ever create. This is a track that tears at the soul and still maintains the dark, somber tones of the album. The combination of the acoustic guitar and the harpsichord is simply exquisite. The addition of the string orchestra in "Spiral Architect" also adds to the dimension of the album and brings the album to a very logical conclusion, still dark and heavy, but the orchestra literally drags the listener out of the depths of the rest of the album.

Most of the tracks on this album are excellent and the ones that are slightly weaker ("Who Are You?" and "Looking for Today") aren't really that weak. It's just that there is so much ingenuity and genius musicality to the other songs that, if there has to be any weaker tracks, it would have to be them. However, all of the tracks fit and deserve to be on this album and contribute to it's greatness. The album is a metal masterpiece and is very deserving of the accolades and praise that are heaped upon it along with the claims of inspiration from artists that came after and the entire genre of music that would result from Black Sabbath's best years. However, the waters were beginning to feel a bit troubled as drugs and endless touring continued to take their toll. Fortunately, the band would still find it in them to pull out another masterpiece album following this one before everything came falling down. 5 enthusiastic stars.

TCat | 5/5 |


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