The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

My Life With Black Sabbath

with 3 comments

About the same time my brother was bringing home KISS’ Dressed to Kill, he was also letting me hear Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. The mid-70s were very influential on my becoming a metalhead. Here’s how Sabbath breaks down for me.

Black Sabbath – 1970
This is still one of my favorite Sabbath albums, in the top 3 even. The haunting vocals of the title track are awesome as is the use of the Devil’s tritone chording. NIB is the only song I wish I would never ever hear again. Perhaps radio overplay killed it for me. I don’t really remember liking it that much as a kid either. Ozzy’s voice is clean and has a raw quality to it.

Paranoid – 1970
I catch flack for this all the time, but I really don’t like this album in general. Maybe hearing it all the time growing up killed it for me, I don’t know. Paranoid, Iron Man and War Pigs make me want to puke. Radio overplay again maybe. I guess it’s really those 3 songs that kill this one for me as I do love Planet Caravan, Electric Funeral and Hand of Doom.

Master of Reality – 1971
Sabbath is really starting to hit their stride at this point. Other than Sweet Leaf, I adore this album. The downside to this is that it is starting to make me hate Ozzy’s vocals. One of the things that has annoyed me about him all these years is that he always seems to have to do stuff between normal vocal parts, i.e. “alright now”…”can you hear it”…”yeah”. And it may not be so much what he says, but the frequent nature of it and his annoying whine. But damn, Children of the Grave, Into the Void, After Forever, Lord of this World. Doom! DOOM!
8/10 (blame Sweet leaf for bringing down the score)

Volume 4 – 1972
This is not a bad album overall, but I rarely ever listen to it. I don’t know why that is. Even Changes doesn’t bother me. I have no favorites on this one. I can’t praise it but I can’t dog it out either.

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath – 1973
This is a great one beginning to end although Ozzy’s whiney voice really gets on my nerves. Spiral Architect and National Acrobat are definitely my faves.

Sabotage – 1975
Damn man. That’s a lot of metal from 1970 to 1975. Anyway, this is another one that I rarely listen to. Hole in the Sky and Symptom of the Universe are definitely my faves. There are no stinkers on here.

Technical Ecstasy – 1976
I sometimes like this one and I sometimes hate it. I don’t listen to it often, but I don’t think it sucks. This is definitely an experimental one for Sabbath and I like seeing bands try to stretch their limits a bit. It didn’t really pan out for them here.

Never Say Die – 1978
This was a nice recovery for Sabbath. The title track is great. Overall it’s not a great album, but it has a few shining moments.

Heaven and Hell – 1980
Ladies and gentlemen, Ronnie James Dio. Having heard plenty of Rainbow up, I was familiar with Dio and always loved his voice. This album is brilliant. Sabbath got heavier. This is another of my top 3. There are no bad songs on here. There aren’t really any average songs. It’s just awesome any way you slice it.

The Mob Rules – 1981
Oh man. Things got even better. How is that possible? Don’t ask questions, you doofus. Just listen to the album…over and over. Simply brilliant. Too bad Ronnie left after this one. This is my favorite Sabbath album. My top 3 rotate around sometimes and H&H falls out only to be replaced by the next album on the list…
11/10 (yes, I said 11)

Born Again – 1983
This seems to be an album that people either love or hate, no in betweeners. I personally love it. The addition of Ian Gillan was nice even though his vocals on here are pretty erratic. Trashed is perhaps my favorite Sabbath song ever. The first time I heard it was on the K-Tel metal compilation Masters of Metal (which also featured Rainbow and DIO). Other than the production, this is a great LP. The songs are very weird and very dark.

Seventh Star – 1986
WTF? I never liked this one in general. No Stranger to Love is OK but this just isn’t Sabbath enough for me. Yeah, I know, this was to be a solo album for Tony. Glenn Hughes’ voice annoys me. I don’t like his Deep Purple work either.

The Eternal Idol – 1987
Enter Tony Martin. This is a pretty good album all the way around and I always felt Tony was a good substitute for Dio. The Shining is awesome. It’s not a brilliant LP by any means but it’s worthy of several listens.

Headless Cross – 1989
This is definitely a step up from The Eternal Idol. The addition of Cozy Powell doesn’t hurt. This is a great album beginning to end. I still kick myself in the ass for not going to see this tour when it rolled through Norfolk. Thankfully, I do have that show on CD. Tony Martin sounds awesome on here.

Tyr – 1990An often overlooked album by metal fans. It’s nowhere near the caliber of Headless Cross but it does kick some mighty ass…well, except for It Feels Good to Me. Sorry, that song sometimes makes me nauseous. By the way, Mr. Martin…nice hair. Haha

Dehumanizer – 1992
I’ve never physically owned this one until 2007. Letters To Earth, Sins of the Father, I, Buried Alive. I really wish i hadn’t waited to bother with it. It rocks!

That’s it for me. I never bothered with Cross Purposes or Forbidden.

Written by The Metal Files

December 19, 2008 at 7:36 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Born Again is a steaming piece of dog poop at best. Volume 4 is perhaps their heaviest of the Ozzy era. I like Heaven and hell and Mob Rules a lot, but not more than the prime Ozzy stuff. Tony Martin was a decent singer, but none of those albums were really Sabbath in my opinion. My favortite album is probably Sabbath bloody Sabbath though. It’s a great combination of heaviness, sludge and just enough oddness to make it interesting.

    Metal Mark

    December 20, 2008 at 5:11 pm

  2. Thats right…of all the great shows you went to I still have this one up on you..
    Well is was a good one and meeting both Tony’s and Cozy was a memorable experience..
    One of only 8 shows in the US for that tour..

    Steve Athey

    April 2, 2009 at 11:32 am

  3. Black Sabbath is a standout album because they’ve done nothing like it since. And it is very good. I *love* NIB.

    Paranoid is where they define themselves as a druggie/stoner band. I think that brings down my appreciation of the album. I can’t – and don’t want to – relate.

    Master of Reality is like a Priest album. It’s a bit poppy, shallow, and the songs are short. Maybe they were after radio airplay.

    Vol. 4 is a major change in direction. I think of it as a progressive album due to weird timing changes and other progressive-ish qualities. Supernaut is a piece that never should be forgotten for as long as listening to music continues to be a human passtime.

    Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is Vol. 4 part II. The progressive qualities continue, but the pieces are much improved. National Acrobat is phenomenal and Spiral Architect anticipates Sabotage.

    Sabotage, unfortunately, has filler. Am I Going Insane, for example, could have been something else; there’s only 8 tracks on those old albums, and *that* was the best they could come up with? But the transitions between songs and the overall style of the album marks the pinnacle of the OzzY Sabbath era. The Writ is, maybe, the most underrated song in hard rock/heavy metal history.

    Technical Ecstacy is Sabotage part II. I love it and consider it to be terribly underrated. But, like Sabotage, it has filler. And like Master of Reality, it’s a bit poppy. But on a sunny spring day, played loud in the car, it’s a hell of a mood lifter/maintainer. And Gypsy is a great song. It’s Alright is awesome (pretty cool to be sung by Bill Ward; a nice change).

    Never Say Die is tough. Boring. A failed experiment. Two standouts though: A Hard Road and Swinging the Chain (the latter sung by Bill Ward). Never Say Die is good, but Speak of the Devil is the album upon which it really shines.


    April 28, 2009 at 3:24 pm

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