Black Sabbath

Pure evil (except for all those Christian songs on the third album).
*special introductory paragraph!
*Black Sabbath
*Master Of Reality
*Vol. 4
*Live At Last
*Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
*We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll
*Technical Ecstasy
*Never Say Die
*Heaven And Hell
*Mob Rules
*Live Evil
*Live At Hammersmith Odeon
*Born Again
*Seventh Star
*The Eternal Idol
*Eternal Gillen: The Eternal Idol Demos
*Headless Cross
*Cross Purposes
*Cross Purposes Live
*Tony Iommi: Iommi
*Heaven & Hell: Radio City Music Hall Live 2007
*Heaven & Hell: The Devil You Know
*Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell-Live at Wacken
Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward got together in 1969 and pretty much invented heavy metal. I mean - you can point at Led Zeppelin and Blue Cheer all you want, but when you get right down to it, Black Sabbath were, by a huge margin, the heaviest band of the early '70s. No finesse - just loud stupid brute force. Okay, a little finesse; they had some pretty ballads, too. But not a truckload! This was pothead music for non-hippies. Eerie horror movie lyrics, endless guitar solos, and an axe tone that puts to shame Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, and all them other "grunge" wussies. And Ozzy's helium vocals sounded pretty great, too. Don't judge him by his cartoonish solo career. The man did a fine job on these early records, guy.

Sabbath weren't a perfect band, by any means. Sometimes the thundering riffs weren't exactly memorable, sometimes Ozzy's vocal style was a little weak (he often sang the exact same melody that Iommi was playing on the guitar - not too bright), and, of course, after the fourth album, they basically turned their backs on heaviness altogether. Still, every one of their first six albums deserves a place in your special collection and heart. After that, it got a little iffy, then Ozzy left and Tony started replacing everybody but the mailman (not always with unpleasant results, as it turns out!).

Black Sabbath - Warner Brothers 1970.
Rating = 8

Like seemingly every other band formed between 1963 and 1972, Sab's roots were in the blues, which is why their debut sounds like a slightly heavier re-recording of Led Zeppelin's debut. Regardless, sounds great. Ozzy's voice has a strange low quality to it that we would never hear again; I still wonder what it was. Do you think that when he reached puberty, his voice got higher? Hmmm.... And the mix is supersharp - everything's loud and clear, and there's lots of reverb, so it sounds fresh and live. Also, there's some harmonica and a little bass solo and oooh! Have you heard the song "Black Sabbath?" It's a spooker! Starts off with scary thunderstorm noises and church bells, then the eerie melody comes in and Ozzy sings about Satan and ends each line with a desperate cry of "OH NO! NOOOOOOO!!!!!" Fantastique ditter.

In fact, the whole record album is real good. Chop full of tasty licks. Lick full of tasty chops. Full of chops that taste good when you lick them. This is before the guitar turned into a substitute vacuum cleaner, so Tony is actually playing lots of distinct notes, which might bug you a little; you know, the ten-minute guitar solo on side two, for example. But please understand; Tony was actually a talented guitarist. Just listen to a lousy guitarist - oh, I don't know...Greg Ginn of Black Flag, for example. Listen to Greg Ginn try to play a fifteen-second solo, and you'll realize how difficult it is to continuously hit good notes. And Tony pulls it off for TEN MINUTES!!!! I'm not exactly an advocate of guitar solos - generally they bore the Nuge out of me. But I like how the one on here has a slight delay on it in one speaker, so you kinda hear it all twice. Neat effect. Neat record. The heaviest blues record ever made up to that point (and possibly ever, but I wouldn't know). Ask for it by name!

Reader Comments (Kent Johnson)
I've never read anything that means so much to me, that is so close to my heart. I feel exactly the same way you do. I love the first album, Im only 17 and I can't get enough of it. These guys (and led zeppelin) are the reason i picked a guitar up in the first place. Doesn't anyone understand us? Iommi doesn't play the guitar. He makes it sing, and sing its little heart out. To tell you the truth, the reason I came on this page was to find guitar music for the solo you so fondly speak of during "warning". In the book i have, it cuts short of the reverbious funk blues part that makes my heart beat to the melody, so I'm on a mission to find it. (Lars Tangmark)
This album is by far their best! The production is marvelous, even though it was recorded in two days! This record contains the most evil blues music ever recorded. "Behind The Wall Of Sleep" is a song straight from hell and "Warning" is sheer hard-rocking voodoo. This album leaves you feeling cold and satisfied. Don't forget, it was released on Friday the 13th 1970. (Steve & Kelly)
The first Sabbath record came at a time when people were sick of the peace rock and bubblegum music of the 60's. The album brought mysticism and occult topics into mainstream music. The original album cover if you open it all the way up is an inverted cross, adding to the band's dark reputation. Easily one of the ten best records ever. (Marcelo Silveyra)
Only eight out of ten? For Black Sabbath? The album is easily one of the best heavy metal albums of all time and revolutionized this music. It does not sound like a heavier retake on Led Zeppelin's first album, but it defined Sabbath as a force to be reckoned with. And please, please, don't forget to mention "NIB". This is not meant as a "thought" to put up with, it's just an incentive for you to reconsider.
I am only 21 years old, but I've been listening to Sabbath since 1981. The first record I ever bought was Sabotage, the tiny oasis in the barren desert of late 70's Sabbath. Their debut, though, is my favorite, due mainly to Iommi's and Butler's mastery.
I have heard over two thousand Metal albums and this is the only one that is truly EVIL. Nothing comes close, nothing ever will. I don't think they even meant for it to be truly EVIL and I don't think the same guys on the same days doing the exact same thing could produce this album again. (Andreas Nilsson)
What's best with Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath is that the guys are so cool that they open with the heaviest song ever (With lyrics about Satan!). That it was released on Friday 13th doesn't really make it worse... The World must have been shocked!
You hit it all right on the money, the record kicks @$$ and people like are why they made it, i have to say "the wizard" is one of my favorite songs of all time, keep on rockin' in the free world man (Rod Peart)
Having been a Sabbath fan since the mid seventies, I still consider this to be their masterpiece. I first bought this album in 1975, then the cassette, hell, I even had it on 8 track. (although I could not play it in my parents car. Still don't know why they wouldn't let me).I have now got it on CD and still consider it THE classic heavy metal album. (Glyn Ford)
If Aleister Crowley had made an album, it might have been like this. truly dark without been cheesy.
The first Sabbath album is just so good. My favorite song on that album has got to be "N.I.B." That song just sends tingles up and down my spine, especially that solo. This album is a must in anyone's cd collection. (Michael Rohm)
I have to agree with everyone else here.. this disc is very dark, and one of the very few "dark" records that isn't one bit cheesy. Any wanker that tells me how "spooky" Marilyn Manson is should listen to this album. Marilyn Manson isn't fit to be mentioned in the same sentence as stuff like Alice Cooper, Sabbath, etc.. whom he is so blatantly ripping off. Now that my rant is over..I first heard the opening tune, "Black Sabbath" at a friend's house. Even to this day, this damned CD still freaks me out. I'll never forget coming home with the CD a few years ago, on Halloween (how fitting, eh?) and being totally freaked out by this disc. This is truly a classic. The only song that doesn't really do much for me is "Wicked World" so I wonder what the song on the UK release, "Evil Woman," sounds like.
I've always thought that people must have freaked out when they heard the closing riffs of the song "Black Sabbath"... the build-up to it is just so tremendous: "No.. no... please... no", and then they just launch into it. Great song by a great band..... (Michael King)
Black Sabbath is THE finest blues metal album of all time, Led Zep's efforts notwithstanding. The guitar tone is AMAZING, especially when you consider that this album was recorded on two cross-linked 8-track recording machines in 1970!

All three instrumentalists in this band can play! That's amazing when one considers all of the bands recently who have made it big, with NO good instrumentalists....(Bush? No Doubt? Hanson? Sean "Puffy Daddy/Twinkie" Combs?)

All you budding bassists out there: Check out Geezer's playing on this album. I bet you wish YOU could play that well. Especially drool over the wonderful intro/solo to N.I.B. Maybe the American version calls it "A Bit Of Finger". But I have no way of knowing, as you will find out if you care to read on.

Here's a tip for all of us unfortunate Americans who have to put up with Warner Bros. being the crappiest record company this side of the lake: Scour your local indie stores for the Import version! Not only does it have the fantabulous "Evil Woman" (which was a cover of some band in Minnesota that noone's ever heard of, name of Crow), but it has seperate tracks for "Behind The Wall Of Sleep"/"NIB", and "Sleeping Village"/"Warning".

Warner Bros. was apparently wanking off when they made the American version of this fine disque, so apparently a CD that should have at least 7 (if you discount the lack of "Evil Woman") tracks, only has 5. Duhheeello? Comprende? Muy Bien. And, while you're ranting at WB for not remastering/re-releasing Black Sabbath's catalogue (the RIGHT way), tell them they have a crappy TV network too. By the way, the British import resides on the "Essential Records" imprint of Castle Communications, Catalogue # ESM 301. Good luck, and good hunting!
The sound is incredible, and probably accidental. I don't think Ozzy & co knew anything about recording in those days. Who was the engineer?
Clearly the original bluesy, jazzy, heavy as you note in your introduction Sabbath were the alternative to the flower power "get together", "Califonia Dreamin" hippy bullshit for the time. Thank god for this album and all of the excellent music that followed. Specific standout tracks - "Warning", "THe Wizard", strangely enough the single from this album "Evil Woman" is the worst track and brings down the quality a notch. No one is capable of creating an album like this anymore!!!!!
i think you're quite right with the remark that you can forget all post-ozzy sabbath stuff...but thats a problem of the 80ies...everything from the 70ies became sort of "spocky"... the delay you mentioned is NOT a delay, it is just Tony "trying" to double his own solo with another...he fails in some parts... but i mean : nothing's more boring than rock music played perfectly!!! Sure, you should try to get it right, but loads of the old stuf gets its magic from mistakes, wether it is the guitar (hendrix, too!!!), the drums (listen to all along the watchtower, the intro!), or some fucked up singer "trying" to get it right! lately they called it punk...but it's only the same rock'n'roll since black bluesers "tried" to get their songs straight!!! bye and hail satan!!! *dirrrrrrty laughing*

Unidentified High School Student Using His Teacher's E-mail Account
you suck the biggest dicks in the world you fag black sabbath is the start of heavy metal you fuck face . you don t now good heavy metal when you hear it............. (David)
Just read your 'Sabbath reviews. You're gonna have to stop knocking Mr. Greg Ginn there!!!! (Richard J. Ungrodt)
Out of all the Sabbath albums, the first three are still the best (although all of them are at least decent and most are incredible). This album is closest to the bands blues roots, and is one of the best albums of all time. 8 on a 10 scale? What were you thinking? (Andrew T. Luehring)
These four guys stumbled on the greatest vision for heavy music and Sabbath vol. 1 and their other albums to follow will forever remain the classics!!! SABBATH FOREVER!!! (Matt Runyon)
This album doesn't sound like anything else out there. Bands that were influenced by Sabbath and/or ripped them off generally copied the next few albums. Even the band has never returned to this sound. For those reasons, I can never get sick of this one. It merits at least a "9". (James L. Tichenor)
Ive heard ppl claim that Iommi's soloing is horrible. These ppl are obviously both stupid and ignorant... this album features some of the most inventive and heavy bluesy rock soloing. Plus it just kicks ass. Their signature song is probably the only "scary" song they ever wrote.
It is interesting that nobody here has noticed that the intervals used in the title song on Black Sabbath is an octave and a tritonus interval. In the old ages it was considered to be "the Devil's interval", and it should be avoided (like parallel fifths, which are standard in heavy metal nowadays). (By old ages I mean like before 1700 or so). I don't think that this is a coincidence, Iommi must have known about that. (Xavier Fabriano)
Ahhh.....the song "Black Sabbath" scared the hell out of me when I first heard it (at the tender age of fourteen). I don't listen to Sabbath so much anymore, but does this album bring back memories! In response to "J.S. Bach"; I doubt that Iommi consciously knew of the "interval diablique" other than what he heard in movie music (they took their title from a movie, I believe) and that interval has been so ingrained into popular culture, that I don't even think most people are even aware of it's roots. By the way, Bach used parallel fifths, also. :) (James L. Tichenor)
In response to the above postings on Black Sabbath's song Black Sabbath:

Yer damn skippy Mr. Iommi knew he was using the tritonus scale on this masterpiece. I read a review not long ago where Iommi was talking about the band's early shows gigging at bars and how people would come up to him after the show and ask him just what the hell he was playing to create such an eerie, disturbing sound on Black Sabbath. And I'll be damned if he didn't say in this interview that he was using, what were, to his knowledge, old scales that probably hadn't ever been used on the guitar before. Sabbath, it would seem, and Iommi in particular, were instrumental in bringing in parallel fifths and a whole barrage of off-kilt and slightly displeasing octaves into the world of rock. I have no doubt in my mind that Iommi revolutionized guitar in the rock and metal world. Put it this way, and not to say that i like them that much or anything, but who do you think influenced Slayer more- Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin? Both were heavy bands, both legendary. But Sabbath is clearly the one with the forbidden aspect to their music- what with all those satanic and occult lyrics and the unnerving chord progression of their signature song. Like others above mentioned, they set a standard for creepy and really eerie music without seeming cheesy with this song that even they didn't ever really live up to again. I suspect their influence can be felt in less obvious places. The torch is now being carried by bands like Bahaus and Sonic Youth, and while they might not even admit it they would be less than honest if they said this song had no impact on them whatsoever. Anyone who sets out to scare or produce a gloomy atmoshere with music owes something to this band and this song. Thanks for letting me ramble about this, it means a lot to me. (Dominic King)
What a better way to start your career than having the first song on your first album being titled after the band and that particular song being the defining Black Sabbath song? I don't know if that just made sense but who cares. By far their most raw album, one of their only flawless albums in terms of consistently good songs (even if it is lacking perhaps just one more song). "Black Sabbath", "N.I.B." and "Warning"are amoung the heaviest songs they did IMO and are classics (along with "The Wizard", "Behind The Wall Of Sleep" ) - thats basically the whole album so that says enough in itself as to how groundbreaking and memorable this piece of metal is. Sounds awesome on LP, especially the opening couple of minutes of "Black Sabbath" with the rain beginning.

The first and classic debut for the legendary heavy-blues masters. This album defined their sound and started what was to come after. Definitly one of the best heavy albums of all time. The bass and guitars sound much more advanced than a band that just started ought to. One of my favs by them. (Roland Fratzl)
Fantastic debut. Released on Friday, February 13, 1970, and the world has never been the same since. Along with Alice Cooper, this was the final nail in the coffin of the hippie era. It's really overwhelming just how influential this album has become since that fateful day over 31 years ago now! No one sounded like this then, and no one has ever sounded this way since...the style of music is completely unique to these 4 individuals. It's amazing how rare bands like this are where one change in personel would completely change the sound, no matter which member. Man, just think of how many entire genres spawned in this album's wake! Those fuzzy, sludgy guitar riffs...nobody plays the way Iommi does! So many people have tried to copy him, but his style is so distinctive. I agree that he may not be the best lead guitar player; in fact, I often find his solos kinda flat and unimaginative, but I wouldn't hesitate to say he's pretty much the best and most innovative rhythm guitar player ever, to this very day! Have you heard his solo album from 2000?? It's amazing, and further proof that his well of impressive riffs is bottomless. And Ozzy actually sounds pretty cool singing in a lower register than normal's creepier! I always thought Bill Ward is one of the most underrated drummers ever...he has such an unorthodox style...he doesn't seem to play anything simple or the same for even two bars in a row, and that makes him so interesting! And any goth who tries to deny the influence this band had on that genre is a complete interloper who knows nothing! Anyway, awesome album, but it does get weaker towards the end...I think the 10 minute wankfest is almost unlistenable...why didn't they just write another song or two instead?? Still a 9 out of 10 though.
The opening title track is downright fuckin'spooky! Ozzy is one demented sonofabitch.I love how the album opens with the rain and thunder and that guitar sounds like everything real heavy metal is supposed to sound like.The rest of the album rules too.N.I.B. is a song written to Lucifer himself fer chrissakes! Can't think of too many albums that sounded as evil as Sabbath's debut. I give it a 9.
In my opinion this album should be a 10. Does it get any better than this classic recording? I think everyone in Sabbath is great. Ozzy has one of the doomiest voices in the world, Geezers basslines are filled with melody, heaviness, and virtuosity and Ward has the coolest, most out of the box drumming style and whats their to say about Tony Iommi? The man is a genius! I feel that the best song on here by far is the one that no one seems to refer to as the best, "Wicked World". The lyrics and playing on that song are incredible! Also the title track, "The Wizard" and "NIB" are just plain awesome. I think the thing that sets rocks most under rated guitarist from the most of the other 70's palyers was his scale choices. Notice how on "NIB" when he "runs" out of pentatonic licks he plays out of the natural minor scale whereas like Page would play out of the major scale. Very creative and very cool!
Very great debut album. And also the start of heavy metal! The title track, "N.I.B" are classic songs that are most well known from here, "The Wizard" is a great song with harmonica courtesy of Ozzy, and "Behind The Wall Of Sleep" and "Wicked World" are a few of my personal fave Sabbath songs. "Warning" is incredible, its 15 minutes long, and i actually wish it was longer, i could sit there and hear Tony riffing and soloing all day, his approach is just amazing, and the guitar sound and stereo speaker effect is just perfect. This is probably the album id give the 10 to, i love it. (Michael H.)
Have you ever heard Ozzy Osbourne speak? His voice is nice and deep. You have heard other singers speak and sing, like Ronnie James Dio and Axl Rose? (Robert Chaundy)
The original, and best (in a pre-modern kind of way). Some call this album boring, but it is just surrounded with and filled by an aura that brooks no argument - a knotted wintren forest tale Grimm. Scary?? I think so!!! This is the sound of a bunch of deadbeat Aston layabouts being given six hours in the studio, and creating a legend - you don't hear that every day. So young, so untrained... so brilliant. These riffs have been recycled so many times it's not true, but they still launch that shiver right into your backbone, up and down until you can't stand it and throw on some A-Ha... my word N.I.B. is awesome. Sleeping Village is the aural avatar of the spectacular, spellbinding cover, and to my mind defines Sabbath a lot better than their rather leaden title track. Ozzy's voice just sounds so deep and menacing here... if he'd only captured the moment and saved it for future records.

It's been pointed out before, but no music ever sounded like this before February 1970, and no music, least of all Black Sabbath's, ever got near it again. Their greatest artistic moment by a long way.

Amadeus is one great film, though.
cmon, Mark. Give it a 10. (JM)
All round, I think this is my favourite Sabbath album, although I believe there was much more life in the band yet to come. There is a desperation, a power and darkness that is not present on any of the band's successive recordings. It's interesting to think what might have happened if Sabbath had been around only long enough to record this album, then all had perished in some bizarre accident. I think the impact of this one album alone was enought o change the face of rock music forever, and anyone who denies that is a fool. This is the blues twisted into something morbid..the birth of metal and so much more besides. The production (or lack thereof) is the best Sabbath ever had, really, and the dualed leads of Iomi are unmistakable. This is also the only album ozzy sings on where I actually think he has a cool voice. I can't stand his high pitched wailing, but this sounds absolutely great...much more emotional and yet understated..except of course for that "oh noooooooo!"...which never fails to chill me. I think every song on here is fantastic, except perhaps "evil woman", which is a boring cover and seems rather lifeless. "Wicked World", is great though...I'm not too sure why the original british pressing doesn't include it. (Glenn Wiener)
The opening title track is one spooky piece of music. What a mood setter. The other tracks are pretty good as well. Wizard is a little repetitive with the harmonica but this record is certainly groundbreaking for Heavy Metal fans. (Hossein Nayebagha)
That first song is about the only one that fits the dark image that is displayed on the cover and all. It's good stuff but far from the best stuff Sabbath did, the solo on "N.I.B" is what makes the band less cool than they should's just too gloomy, yet it's one of their trademarks, so it makes me think of my younger years. The best tracks are "Warning", "The Wizard" and "Sleeping Village". (James Rowlee)
This has to be one of my all time favorites !


But as I tired of bubblegum music and started to enjoy the musical side of er music then I really started to enjoy this 10 out of ten on the best of the best musical album !

Black Sabbath never reached this form again even with Paranoid and that has to be a one of a kind never again moment . (Mike K.)
This took me a while to get into, partially because it didn't immediately gratify with rumbly low-ended guitar tones like master of reality and volume 4, partially because the soloing was wankier than I was used to, and partially because Ozzy's voice just sounded so weird when it was actually relatively low. But after time it revealed itself to be a really cool dark and evil sounding take on the blues metal genre that was springing up at the time. The title track is the main classic (hey, I think black sabbath are technically the only band to ever have a "title track" to a self titled album, come to think of it), but that superlong warning medley thing is up there too. I like the part of the 10 minute guitar solo where the rest of the band completely drops out of the picture for a while. Like Iommi got so excited soloing that everyone else left the room, smoked a few joints, made a few phone calls, sacrificed a goat, played a quick game of scrabble, and came back to find him still trying to squeeze as many notes out of the thing as possible. Lyrics are terrible though. I mean you sorta have to ignore the lyrics to listen to this band to begin with, but I'm glad they never tried rhyming "easy" with "diseases" again, and don't even bring up every single line in "the wizard", although musically that's still a cool sounding song, with the finest Ozzy Osbourne harmonica soloing ever recorded. Add half a record/dot/red eyeball of death for me.

Oh, and I'm too lazy to look at which album it's under and go and write a seperate comment or something, but the guy claiming your inabilty to properly judge black sabbath because the words "spooker" and "fave" are in your vocabulary is kind of ridiculous. But I suppose that's what you get for electing to use both words in the very first black sabbath review and then shrewdly electing to save the Burzum jokes for when you get to doing a David Bowie page. (Mark)
When I was 10, my 15 year old brother stayed up late one Saturday night to watch the Joan Crawford schlocker "Strait-Jacket". I awoke at 12:30 Sunday morning to find him huddling into my twin bed. When I asked just what the Sam Hill he was doing, he said the movie scared him so much he was afraid to go back in his room. Okay, I thought, I gotta see this next time it comes on.

Come the following summer, me at 11, turns on the Creature Feature hotly anticipating the return of Mommy Dearest wielding an axe. I made it as far as the prologue and grisly opening credits before I SMACKED off that TV, ran up to my room without touching a step, and "slept" the remainder of the summer with a light on. Remember this was a movie made late 50s, early 60s in good ol' B&W. Not a drop of blood splattered across the screen in that short ten minutes or so. But William Castle was so good he scared the bejesus outta ya without any of that Freddy-Michael-Chucky-Pinhead slop that passes for scary these days. The power of suggestion.

Fast forward to me at 14. Same older brother has borrowed Black Sabbath's debut. I heard o'these guys, so I snatch it and lay it on the BSR and pop the headphones on another late Saturday night while a Severe Thunderstorm raged outside. I got as far as "Oh no, no, no please God help me!" and SMACK! off goes the stereo and I spend another several nights with the light on.

When rock wanted to be scary, it worked best on the same level as the "B" feature at the drive-in. Coarse, grainy, but I'll bet the farm there were some shitty movies in your past that had a scene or two you'll NEVER forget. Same with the Sabs. Very coarse, grainy at times, but for a band that debuts with a chord progression some call "Satan's Triad" and vocals that sound like a character from Poe trying to scratch outta their coffin, it works. They never rubbed your face in it like some of the gothly stuff out now. Remember, this was before videos became a viable industry, so there was a lot of music out there with a Theatre of the Mind quality. And right here you got it. Alice Cooper's "Killer" album does the same thing.

Oh, by the way, I have never listened to the rest of this LP. I think. Although there may have been a time in '80 or '81 when I was at this guy Varmint's house. Varmint usually had some awesome MJ, and I may have made it through the album then. My life from age 17 through 22 is a tad hazy, so I can't say for sure. Although I'm sure part of my life involved trysting with Cheryl Tiegs. That I know for sure. (Ian Galley)
Top Album. I picked it up off the scratty market for only £1, (gatefold vinyl, first pressing), and thought I'd found a great investment. Problem was that a part of the run-in groove was chipped off, rendering it a bugger to play. Once the album starts spinning you have to summon up all the concentration you can to lower the stylus so it hits the first note, or your stylus is fucked. Still thats more fun than pushing a ripped CD into a CD-ROM and screaming at the computer as it constantly fails to read the very data it previously burned onto said disk. Damn this technology, I'm getting out my wax cylinders! Can't say I've any authority on the Sabbath but this is a very good album, without the usual metal cliches (bar said bass solo) and it's not too long, so you feel like flipping it over and playing it again. (Eric D. Miller)
What can you say about this album that hasn't already been said.... I like Led Zeppelin and all, but this is the first true metal album, and history will reward Sack Blabbath for that. And it was recorded live... neat. 9/10
Maybe this release was considered spooky in the U.S. (where i'm from by the way). But the people in England already had Screaming Lord Sutch and the "horror rock" thing . just a thought.

As far as heaviness and guitar tone. "the nile" from pink floyd was just as heavy .

Not to take anything away from Tony. I love his work and creativity. but there are like hundreds of varieties of apples and the world eats like two.
This album is a 10. NOTHING like it before or since.
I only want to write a review bout this album, because I feel they sorta played the same trick over and over again on the next view (without putting their work down, because i really respect Sabbath!). But what the band slightly suffers from, and comparable bands that did the early hard rock/ bluesrock thing is that it becomes somewhat tedious to listen to it too much nowadays... Since i'm not much for masturbating guitarsolo's or hammond organs (actually hate the bloody sound!), there is only so much of these early bands i can take (meaning ledzep, deeppulple and sab). But i always reserve a warm spot for black sab, because they at least knew how to really rock! And they had a howling mad singer as a frontman instead of some whining hippie (shoot fuckin hippies please if you see any).

I like this album the most because it offers some kind of possessed-like diabolocal quality. The title track is easy their best track ever and it is able to haunt the living bejesus outta you! I haven't seen robert palmer (or is it plant?) come up with anything this dark yet or those fossil frogsters of deeppulple. This is insane dark and unsettling shit! But the rest of the tracks (while stuck together like glue on the original record) also have this gloomy and evil quality about them. This sounds like a band ready to fight! And ready to scare the pants off the masturbating "staring at their lavalamps" flowernerds reading tolkien, big friggin' YAWN!! Technically it is also very high standard, maybe only surpassed by master of reality (which is their second best). But master of reality doesný quite have the vindictiveness of the debut. They just didn't catch that evil vibe anymore on their later records.. shame. Maybe the best follow-up to this record is The Blizzard of Ozz by the Ozzmaster himself! Not so bluesywoozy, but aggressive and beyond the grave evil! I give it a big 9 out of ten!
I thought Id add to the expansive list of yaehoos that had something to drivel about Sabbath.Most of these nerds never heard Black Sabbath when they first come out.There was no Metallica or anything like it.Just these guys who were so heavy at the time it was spooky.Iron Butterfly , Captain Beyond , Deep Purple and Zeppelin and Uriah Heep was about as heavy as it got and then there was Sabbath who seemed like it was music that welded your head together as well as just plain tripped you out,they were unique .The music took you places if you just listened to it and I was never one to pick apart musicians or the music as I was there to listen what someone else could do for just listenings sake.Black Sabbath has long been a band that survived in a business of wretched radio wars because the music was what kept it apart from commercialism.Record stores were the norm then and when a Sabbath LP came out I bought it.Anyways to keep this short and sum it all up Black Sabbath kicked music on it ass then and everything came after it.Just give them their dues and call them the originator of heavy heavy metal or just plain Daddy !Without them there would be rock and roll but aluminum would be as heavy as it got.
Nice site, Mark! You're now officially my favorite album reviewer!

This one gets a 6/6 from me. Normally I'd give it a 6/8, but I don't count cover songs, given that I don't even bother with them (Evil Woman and Warning are cover songs here). Unfortunately, the 6 original songs put together are only rounded up to 28 minutes, but for a debut album the boys did a fine job (much better than Zeppelin's debut, which was boring for me).

I think something great about this album is that via a much heavier and gloomier dynamic the band were able to enforce the feel and groove ethic of traditional electric blues and deliver it so differently than any other rock bands have ever done: Not just lyrically and atmospherically, but in such a modest yet pounding, dark, more rhythm-oriented fashion. Through a creepy, mythical atmosphere, Sabbath were somehow able to find a new groove in blues, and when I listen to this record, I often tend to forget the blues influence even exists. Of course, interestingly enough, they would go real deep in the blues on Technical Ecstasy (awesome album, btw), but that's a ways down the road. A pretty basic concept is present here, but they were on the perfect path with the new atmosphere and dynamic, and in the process came up with a pretty heavy sound. In addition, their deep artistic growth (one that would shine well on later releases) was already starting to open up here, with those soaring, emotional bits and pieces in many of the songs (the intro to Behind the Wall of Sleep is a great example, as is the powerful Sleeping Village). The use of basic rock grooves to leave room for the harmonica in Wizard is also impressive.

You're right, though: Ozzy's voice is very different on this one. Maybe it just fit their style better at the time. But not only does it sound deeper, but more from the throat AND nose! To be honest, I found it more funny than scary the first time I heard Ozzy's nasal cry of "OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" in Black Sabbath.

At any rate...Best song would have to be Behind the Wall of Sleep. Great album, but in my opinion it's their least greatest studio album, and relying on covers for 2 of the songs doesn't help it so much as it could be helped. At any rate, Paranoid would be a good sign of growth.

Peter Morgan
I really can't understand how anybody can refer to this album or for that matter vitually anything in this genre as scary.

If you want scary music beg borrow or steal a copy of Jerry Lee Lewis live at the Star Club.I remember after listening to the killer in full cry in that sleazy German night club a few times I stared to think that maybe those American bible preachers were right all along and this really was the music of the devil.

On the other hand Sabbath and indeed the entire Heavy Metal genre is nothing more than kitsch, not scary in the least.

Add your thoughts?

Paranoid - Warner Brothers 1970.
Rating = 7

An overblown theatrical take on the themes and sounds we heard on the first album. Hasn't aged amazingly well, honestly. I've always hated the obnoxious funk rocker "War Pigs" (later covered by Faith No More and Alice Donut), plus "Electric Funeral" is to "Black Sabbath" as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is to Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, and "Rat Salad" is pretty much a drum solo.

On the upside, the title track is a stutter-metal classic (later covered by The Dickies), "Iron Man" (later parodied by the Butthole Surfers) is a hilariously stupid tale about a superhero who seeks revenge on the human race that shunned him, "Planet Caravan" is a pretty ballad with really dumb bong water effects on the vocals (later emulated by the Beastie Boys and Pavement) and "Hand Of Doom" is a slow groovy anti-drug anthem (later mentioned in a speech by Jello Biafra).

On the "?" side, the final verse of "Fairies Wear Boots" is as follows:

"So I went to the doctor, see what he could give me
He said 'Son, son, you've gone too far.
Cause smokin' and trippin' is all that you do.'

I know this is considered a classic heavy metal album, but most of it just sounds dumb to me. Sabbath may have been dumb, but they didn't usually sound so dumb.

Reader Comments (Peter Williams)
okay. i came way late to black sabbath. i don't have much of a metal tolerance in the first place. i heard this a few times and although the lyrics are really, really, really stupid, which usually means that i can't listen to things, i like it anyway. in fact i just bought myself a copy at a truck stop in rural georgia so i could listen to some real rock and roll on the way to savannah. i also got a pretty cool tom t hall greatest hits package at the same time. back to sabbath, i agree that they invented the whole metal thing and that all those jerks were trying to sound like ozzy and robt plant until that vedder guy came along. some even switched mid stream, can you say mad hatter there marky? i don't know why this stuff is so influential, i think they just took it to an extreme before someone else could. i'm sure it had all too much to do with smoking a lot of pot and wanting to get laid but i guess you could say a lot of the same about any band in the late 60's. i do not subscribe to the theory that black sabbath were in any way subversive or revolutionary, just a rock band that had some volume behind em. (Tim Reyes)
Paranoid is the first and only Black Sabbath album I have ever heard. I love it. It is my favorite album of all time. I am very anxious to hear their other albums. (Dave Weigel)
This is an exceedingly overrated record. Most critics claim that it's the best/only good Sabbath album, and that just ain't true. Of their first 6 albums, this is the worst.

But I'm writing mainly to address one point--what is it with these non-existent songs? Examples--the wrapper of Paranoid claims that the record inludes such songs as "Luke's Wall" and "Jack the Stripper". But where the hell are they? As far as I can tell, "War Pigs" segues right into "Paranoid", and "Rat Salad" leads to "Fairies Wear Boots". And on the compilation We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'n Roll, it includes a "War Pigs" that is no different from the version on Paranoid! This is a bit hard to explain, but if you've heard the albums you know what I'm talking about. If you ask me, Paranoid has 8 tracks.
all right, i may be only 16 and wasn't even alive when sabbath was in their prime but i do know you were too hard on this album, "electric funeral" is superb as is "war pigs" and "hand of doom", every song except "planet caravan" rules and thats all I have to say about that. (Michael Rohm)
Paranoid is not as good. Black Sabbath (the album) was very dark. This isn't a bad record at all, but it isn't as good as Black Sabbath. It's amazing how much Ozzy has changed. When I first heard this disc, I seriously wondered if it was indeed Ozzy, as I had only heard his solo stuff by this point! "Hand of Doom" is very very cool, and I love "Planet Caravan." Pantera's version sucks. "Electric Funeral" was cool, although the voice near the end of the song repeating, "Electric Funeral! Electric Funeral!" was really stupid. "Fairies Wear Boots" is pretty good though. "Rat Salad" has a cool name, but since I'm not one for drum solos, I usually skip over this. "Iron Man" was rather cool but since it's constantly played on the radio, it gets real old real quick.
Don't forget that Beavis and Butthead covers "Electric Funeral" in almost every episode of their show!
"fairies wear boots" is about a bunch of skinheads who beat up the long-haired "hippies" of sabbath so they took revenge by calling them a bunch of faggots....SO i was told...

...but when i read the lyrics i get the impression that it is only a normal rock'n'roll song about too much drugs...not???? maybe i just don't get it, my english is not that good... (Thomas Rickert)
Your commentator Peter sounds like he has been smoking the kinds of product he is accusing Sabbath of smoking! Overall, Paranoid is a bit overrated, but since it codifies the first heavy bluesy slab-bath into the first true metal record, well, we can forgive. Can't we? Can't we all just get along? Planet Caravan is the best song though, much better than the piano ditty on Vol. 4, and when I record Vol.4 on tape for the car, I put Planet Caravan in Changes' place! I am so clever! Vol.4 is simply the best though. The best. None better, none heavier. And that is that is that. Who needs drugs when you have Vol. 4? I could go on all day about Vol.4, but I'll save it till I actually get to your review. And there was much rejoicing. (Casey B.)
What is wrong with most of you people, This is the best black sabbath out of thier first 6 albums, and is one of the best heavy metal albums of all time! Sure Black Sabbath their first album was very gloomy and excellent but this one is better, all the riffs are highly memorable and exciting on this album, this is probably their most heaviest sounding album too. Some of you say Vol 4. is the best, but no way, although it is a good album it is their worst one from their first 6 albums. Mostly because its a letdown after Masters of Reality and sounds much sludgier and less heavy.

But anyway this is the first Black Sabbath album to get, but all the ones from the first album to sabotage are good to great all in their own ways.

Good stuff, and the only band that was singing these satanic kind of lyrics in the early 70's (Tim Vaughan)
Take away the commercially successful "Iron Man" and "Paranoid", and this is still the band's best album. It is supremely listenable all the way through. Set it and forget it.

This represents Sabbath at the top of its game: Iommi's painstakingly masterful and inventive guitar playing; Bill Ward's spare but steady drumming; Geezer Butler's sublime bass work; and Ozzie's best vocal effort ever. These songs are crafted, not thrown together in the studio at the last minute. It's inspired work.

"Paranoid" is heavy, but not lumbering. Ward and Butler keep stoking the fire all the way from "War Pigs" to "Fairies Wear Boots". Every song is a keeper, with no dumb-as-dirt ditties that mar other albums (like "Sweet Leaf"). "Iron Man" might have stupid lyrics, but the opening guitar riff is classic stuff. Shifting tempos, different time signatures, even some syncopated rhythms ("Fairies") find their way into the album. The production is surprisingly crisp (although the bass drum is a bit bloated on the song "Paranoid") and the instruments are mixed just right. "Planet Caravan" is wonderful, bongwater vocal effects notwithstanding.

I love this album. Even though I bought it 15 years ago, I still listen to it quite a bit. Hard to believe this was only their second album. My significant other calls it "wife repellent". (Dan Streb)
Why is everyone dissing "Rat Salad"? My opinion might be subconsciously biased since I play drums and I like to jam to the solo and all, but I think the guitar melody is really cool. Don't you, Mr. Mark Prindle, understand that drums are really cool instruments? Where else can you bang the shit out of something and get paid for it? But you call Rat Salad "well... it's basically a drum solo". And for Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick" from The Song Remains The Same, you said "How many things can you do with a drumset? TWO?". Now I'll agree that the 12 minute Moby is really boring and tedious, but "Rat Salad" sounds just fine. So does "The March of the Rotten Vegetables" from the Flaming Lips' Zaireeka. So does just about anything Keith Moon did in his long tenure with The Who. (Check Out the freak out at the end of "My Generation" and the solo right before Roger screams in "Won't Get Fooled Again"). Quit knocking drums. God this paragraph sucks. (James L. Tichenor)
I'd just like to say that this was the album that introduced the holy heaviness of the Sabsters to my ears. It took some getting used to. This album, despite what ppl have mentioned above about good production, has a hugely implosive, dark feel to it. Sure, its not heavy at all compared to their later stuff, but it kicks the holy bejeezus out of Zepellin, even tho Ward isnt as hard a hitter. Everyone else has praised the classics. id just like to throw in my two cents for "fairies". its a great song, and id say it has more than just a passing resemblance to tool's brand of poison in terms of structure. Anyway, keep worshipping lucifer. (Dominic King)
If you asked anyone who Black Sabbath was, chances are they'll only know them through this one song about being paranoid or something. Sabbath's radio album - hey, they needed to get coverage some way and contains three of their most well known songs, "War Pigs" ", "Paranoid" and "Iron Man". I must confess, this was the first Sabbath album i bought after seeing it in a "50 Albums which changed rock guitar" article in, funnily enough, GUITAR magazine.

Very different to the album preceeding and following it (and not as stong as those two albums). I've always thought "Planet Caravan" was rather boring but now that i've read quite a lot of you praising it, i'm gonna have to give it some more listens. "Hand of doom" rocks, while "Electric Funeral" and "Fairies" are good but not great.

One thing i must say though is that "Rat Salad" is a complete rip-off of "Moby Dick" no matter how much you die-hard fans want to pretend it's not.

8/10 (Craig Regala)
Sabbath pretty much rolled out the carpet for a new heavy treatment and they mean more and more to me each year for the music and the ripple effect, (doom/stoner/desert bands flow the continuum). plus carducci riffs on this a bunch in his "rock and the pop narcotic" esp., how critics hated 'm or had to wiggle and jiggle to qualify liking the stuff. "hand of doom" was the 60's that the media wants us to ignore (just like Larry Clarks book Tulsa or Alice In Chains "rooster"). Even from my first punk band we never ditched this stuff (or AC DC) cause its the elemental language we needed to be other than a retro band. (H.V.C.)
In the rock and roll genre, there are two sides. The fun rocking side has made some incredibly decent tunes, and has also made rock and roll so damn popular. The danceable, happy, "down on the corner" side of rock can kick ass. It's great, it's memorable, everyone loves it.

But what will always be superior over everything else in rock is the evil side of rock. The Black Sabbaths and AC/DCs and Rolling Stones. It always makes for the most EARTH SHATTERING music that a human being can perceive. The evil part of rock and roll will be what really scares our moms and grandmas, and will always be the music that makes us think. Evil rock will be accepted by the greatest fans of rock, but will never be accepted by the establishments (MTV). EVIL ROCK RULES OVER ALL OF US. AND OVER EVIL ROCK, RULES BLACK SABBATH. The name alone is more evil than anything you can think of at the moment.

Yet I only own Paranoid. I'd review it, but it's 3 am (evil time). (Alex Temple)
As I understood it, Luke's Wall is an alternate name for War Pigs, and Jack the Stripper is an alternate name for Fairies Wear Boots. Yes, it has only 8 tracks. (Jason Paiva)
Actually, those "stupid" lyrics for Iron Man were written about Vietnam vets who were returning from the war and being ignored by the public, even though they risked their neck for them. Don't forget to place lyrics in the context of the time when they were written.
To end the controversy, both Luke´s Wall and Jack the Stripper are no other thing than names for the instrumental segments of War Pigs and Fairies Wear Boots.

Now, about the album itself, I find it overrated. I love it, in fact I have Sabbath´s 6 first albums on a pedestal, but I think Vol. 4 is just the best!!! (read the address, fucker)
I just finished a Halloween stint in a Black Sabbath cover group doing tunesfrom the first two albums of this GODZILLA of a band. A few things: Hendrix used tri-tones in 'Purple Haze' before Black Sabbath did. The lyrics are NOT 'satanic'. They were written mostly by Geezer on the first couple albums and to me, represent visions of evil-doers getting whatthey deserve handed to them by Satan. I don't see an advocation of 'doing'evil in ANY Black Sabbath songs. If you disagree, find a fan page and actually READ THE LYRICS instead of picking up only on the word "satan" outof LOTS of other interesting verses. It seems these kids were probably subjected to Catholic school and in their own Dungeons and Dragons-way illustrated some pretty crazy Catholic guilt/drug-induced visions of the waymankind wars with itself and fucks each other over. I don't think EVIL describes them - they appear more as messengers of the impending doom we associety bring upon ourselves, rather than people who encourage EVIL behavior. Haven't you ever listened to 'Wicked World' or War Pigs' and heardthe lyrics?

I feel Paranoid is not quite as good as the first album because it's a bit less cohesive, but the songs are no less epic in scope. Please, be careful that you do not allow bands who've covered Sabbath originals like 'War Pigs' to taint the greatness of the songs as they were ORIGINAL heavy metal 'epics' in all regards. There would be NO Metallica(for better OR worse) without this band and these tunes. It's too easy for many of you to discount BS's contribution to Rock after hearing 20 years' worth of poor imitators. Realize and remember that THEY did it ALL FIRST. They built the fucking ROAD. You may diss 'Rat Salad', but it's an instrumental that is perfectly in line with the kind of 'jazzy' stuff they did live as segues into different songs. Look on Napster for 'sabbath live 1970' to see what I mean - be sure to get the live war pigs version from that year for alternate(and BETTER) lyrics than appeared in the final version.

For the confused:
'Jack the Stripper' is the outro to 'Fairies'
'Luke's Wall' is the outro to 'War Pigs'
Sabbath is the root of all metal. I must agree with Mr. Hatchet. In interviews, Butler admitted that Sabbath never condoned involvement in the occult, but instead warned against it. The inverted cross, etc. were part of the record company's 'gimmick' to sell Sabbath. In fact, it appears that they were harbingers of the doom that befalls mankind for following empty lies that promise power and acceptance, but give enslavement and destroy potiental (a'la a record company)! In fact, nearly all of their material fits into a traditional Judeo/Christian worldview: Lies are lies; Truth is Truth. Man is evil and flawed; God is perfect and Holy. However, satan found a weakness and a way to end this 'movement'. As their drug use increased, the art and the message suffered. By the end of the 70's, the devil had effectively ruined a great band and decimated their usefulness as God's messengers, who were shouting a rather loud warning about the true nature of man (as opposed to the late 60's notions of man's innate goodness) and horrible consequences of us choosing evil over good. We all fall, we all can be decieved. Thank God, their early music still remains for us to enjoy, rock out to, and reflect upon. Heed the Warning... feel free to check out my Sab-influenced rock at (Roland Fratzl)
I actually think this album is way overrated. Maybe it's the constant overplay that it gets on the radio that has turned me off this material over time. I mean, that's exactly what ruined Led Zeppelin for me. Yeah, "War Pigs" is a great bombastic tune and probably the only true anthem these guys ever wrote, but I find that a lot of this material is just too simple, musically. That's probably why it's such a popular album caters more to the lower common denominator...simple music for simple people. If you notice, most of popular mainstream music is the kind of stuff which is very obvious and doesn't require further thought or analysis; that's definitely the case here. Don't get me wrong, it's still a fine album that's well produced and has distictive, powerful playing throughout, but that extra ingredient is missing that made the debut and subsequent albums a's easily the most dumbed-down Sabbath release of the original line-up. "Paranoid" is ok, but again, way to many people worship this song for reasons I don't understand...I wouldn't even place it in their top 20 best songs. "Planet Caravan" is a refreshing change of pace with it's laid back, ambient style, the type of which they should have done more of. "Electric Funeral" is a death march that has a real evil riff straight out of hell! Too bad Ozzy's vocal lines match the riff note for note...otherwise a very good song. "Hand Of Doom" is probably the best song here, a vintage epic with many sections, great melodies, riffs, cool drumming, and dark lyrics (as usual) about drugs! Cool! "Rat Salad" is a big waste of time though. I always skip that one. I'd rate this about a 7.

Oh yeah and "Iron Man" is also not as great as everyone says. Distinctive riff, but man, simple, simple, simple!!! The lyrics are pretty lame too...what can I say, it has all the ingredients necessary to be a "it" song.
One word--------Overrated.
This is easliy the best and probably the most popular because it perfectly combined melody with aggression. "War Pigs" is one of my personal faves because like the song "Paranoid" it is melodic and the lyrics are some of the Sabs best lyrics. I love how they bring up those darker topics (Satan, the occult) along with discussing one of mans evilest habits, war. And "Fairies Wear Boots" is light years ahead of its time in terms of guitar riffage and same goes for "Electric Funeral". All in all this album deserves at least a 9. (Robert Chaundy)
Compared to the debut album, this sounds about as dark and menacing as the Monkees; the production is wafer-thin and the lyrics a stunning disappointment after the likes of Sleeping Village and N.I.B. (although if you imagine the Iron Man as a Vietnam vet it becomes slightly easier to take him seriously) And whereas the dark musical wonders on Black Sabbath were rooted deep in the gnarled trees of a haunted forest and the brooding menace of an ancient mill, Paranoid is feebly represented by some comedy character brandishing an orange sword. Oh for Storm Thorgerson or his like.

But whilst people who hail this as Sabbath's finest album are clearly silly 13 year-olds, people who write it off as an embarrassment are just as wrong. Iommi's riffs are red-hot, and Bill Ward's drumming is the stuff of jazz-metal heaven. Ozzy is all over the place and Geezer generally a beat or two behind the rest of the band, but two out of four ain't bad.

Do enjoy Planet Caravan, though, because it's really very brilliant in its snail's-pace-bong-water way, and as the title track takes from Communication Breakdown, so Fairies Wear Boots gives to For Whom the Bell Tolls... nice stuff.

Welp, only reason id agree that this is an overrated record is 'cuz people say its Sabbaths' only good record, which is undeniably bullshit. People also neglect or fail to give any attention to the 5 other IMO superior Ozzy Sabbath albums as well, which just aint right. But who gives a fuck? Critics and the like are morons anyway, and why should you blame the band for years of mindless, incessant radio airplay? So anyway, let me digress from that and say that this is a kick ass fuckin' record. No bad tune in sight. "War Pigs", the title track, "Iron Man", the beautiful "Planet Caravan" are all classic songs, and the others like "Hand Of Doom", "Fairies Wear Boots", and "Electric Funeral" are just as good to me. "Rat Salad" is probably my least fave song on here, but its still a nice Sabbath jam. Overall, a 9/10. (JM)
A disappointment after the second album, although technically I was exposed to this one first. Ozzy's voice is still cool for the most part, but the music seems to have aquired a certain irritating repetitive quality. Still, there are enough great songs on this album to make it worthwhile. In fact, the only tracks that really piss me off are "paranoid" and "iron man"..which incidentally are both "hits" and thus it's possibly the fact that they're so overplayed that gets to me. "Iron Man" has a boring riff though, and the way Ozzy's voice simply duplicates what TOny's playing..god damn, it worked ok with "N.I.B" but this is really overkill. "Paranoid" is just not that great of a song. it just seems to pass by without really making itself noticed, and maybe that chug chug chug riff was considered groundbreaking in 1970...hell, I've no doubt it was...but it just induces boredom in me, particularly since Sabbath themselves have so many better tracks. "Fairies wear boots" is an underrated song that keeps getting trapped in my head, and "War Pigs" is just as good as it's made out to be. Henceforth, Ozzy uses that "dual effect" or whatever it is on his voice more and more, which really agravates me. James Hetfield has the same problem on the old Metallica stuff, although he simply doesn't have a strong enough voice to do without it, probably. But what the hell am I talking about? I don't fucking know. Paranoid...well, probably the worst of the first six, for me..but still, worth owning. (Hossein Nayebagha)
Yeah the lyrics are dumb as they always were, or more correctly LAME. The riffs are good and this has the stronger tracks that the first album lacked; "Planet Caravan","Hand of Doom" which are my favourites plus "Iron Man"..."War Pigs" is a good track if you ask me, the lyrics are terrible but the rest is all good rock music...I've read later that the song was supposed to be called "Walpurigs" but they changed it because they realized they had a satanic tag over them. War Pigs in turn was supposed to be the title of the album according to the liner notes of the CD version, but they sold out to the Vietnam war. Well legally I guess they couldn't do much since the record companies usually control everything. Master of Reality is the real deal with Black Sabbath and the reason why this band is so important historically, I just wish I hadn't written that dumbass comment on it about three years ago. (Rob Raymer)
cmon folks this album is the ultimate in classic metal. this one goes on about war, drugs, mental problems, rednecks and nuclear fallout. riffs are classic and ozzies lyrics are GREAT!! "treating people just like pawns in chess, wait till their judgement day comes yeah" thats good shit! besides since when is metal supposed to be cerebral? lol
Its easy to get carried away with track listings, but I think this one had Sabbath perfect note for note. From songs to production, I feel this is their best. The first 4 Sabbath records are perfect cover to front, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath(some of Sabbaths best, dont get me wrong) is mostly great(my opinion), and Sabatoge is alot of peoples favorite. Those first 6 Sabbath records are awesome, basically. I think Iommi did his best soloing work on this record(Paranoid). His playing with the intermingling of Geezer/bass is so interesting every time I pull this cd(tape is from early 80's, all yellow and old)out. I always really liked the flow of this record. Reminds my of playing Defender and Stargate at 7-11 on a Tues afternnoon. (Michael)
Remember this was 1970 during vietnam they were from england

they were having a hard time swallowing the hipocracy of this war and wrote what they felt about it they were also introduced to new and interesting drugs with newfound money here in the states and they wrote about that, every song on this album makes perfect sense for them at the time, and of course iron man is about guys returning home from vietnam, and getting shit on by the people in the country they wer serving, how could any one put the song down lyrically unless they knew that, and if you new that then you would know how good the lyrics really are led zepplin had misty mountain hop same thing, all in all good album and war pigs first true heavy metal song ever in its wntirety other bands have touch on metal during a song or two but not all the way thru the song like war pigs did, and this album is as good today musically as anything today

just my rambling here thanks for the space. and i must also say that i have never found anything sabbath did to be evil every song seems to represent satan as someone to stay away from.
I think this is a pretty damn good album. War Pigs isn't great, you're right, I actually like Cake's version if you've ever heard it..but it doesnt really make it a GOOD song. Paranoid's amazing, Planet Caravan is even MORE amazing, but my favorite song is by far Hand of Doom. I just can't get enough of the beginning, when those drums kick in. Damn, just a kickin beat all around for that song.

Add your thoughts?

Master Of Reality - Warner Brothers 1971.
Rating = 9

This is where the guitar suddenly becomes a fuzzy earth rumble. How Mr. Tony acquired a tone like this as early as 1971 I don't know and I don't need to know, but holy jesus and larry chain, is this one heavy friggin' album, which is strange considering it's also one Christian friggin' album. Did the PMRC ever read these lyrics? How would they react to a bunch of long-haired potheads singing "Could it be you're afraid of what your friends might say if they knew you believe in God above? / They should realize before they criticize that God is the only way to love?" Or how about "Your world was made for you by someone above / but you chose evil ways instead of love?" Or what about "Leave the Earth to Satan and his slaves / Leave them to their future in their graves / Make a home where love is there to stay / Peace and happiness every day?"

Why in the world would the heaviest music ever made have lyrics like these? Heavy heavy hymns, mister. Good riffage, too, plus some gorgeous acoustic stuff. Another heavy metal classic. Now, the stuff doesn't necessarily KICK ASS - like I said, it's pothead music. Real slow and heavy. If you need a modern-day reference, listen to any stoner metal band. It just sounds so darn cool to have such a remarkably low fuzzy noise emanating from your stereo speakers! And the melodies are catchy, too. And what more could you ask for? I mean... besides lyrics that don't revolve around some ridiculous fictional character?

Reader Comments (Gene Trosper)
Like the old Cheech and Chong skit "Let's make a Dope Deal" said...Black Sabbath made me see God (well, almost) and this is the album that did it!

Alongside Vol 4, this is their HEAVIEST album ever made...It makes your stereo sink through the floor. It is also perhaps their most depressing album. It was once said a nurse in Britan committed suicide to this album in the 70's and a People magazine review of this album remarked that it should have included razor blades in the package!

I think I spent nearly my whole teenage years squirreled away with my buddies smoking pot and listening to this album. It still has a life changing effect on me to this day! It is definitely my #1 album of all time (the first Sabbath album being my #2 fave album). (Mike Jackson)
This is one of the quintessential (forgive me on the MTV album description) albums of all time. "Lord Of This World" and "Into The Void" justify this album's creation alone. It is NOT a Christian record in any way, shape or form. What it is though, is an album influenced by drugs. Anyone who has smoked too much pot in one sitting will tell you that their thoughts often turned to wonderment of a supreme being.
A true masterpiece. Songs like "into the void", "lord of this world", "sweet leaf" and "children of the grave" are HM classics. The soothing "solitude" and the little gem "orchid" (instrumental) balance the whole proceeding. Ozzy and the boys are in great form. MOR should find a place in every collection. They keep the ball rolling with Vol 4 too!!!!!!!!!! (Marc Kovac)
I did not notice the lyrics until you highlighted an excerpt. As far as dying is concerned, this boobifies the fun bonus of listening to Black Sabbath: boiling in a lake of shit for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever.
this is their last great cd, the rest is a downhill ride, every song kicks ass wether or not i agree with the lyrics i like 'em, by the way, all these crappy bands rippin' off sabbath's music suck, i may be young but that doesn't stop me from saying new music bites. (Siwel Eckleman)
Yes this is one of the heaviest albums of all time, and one of my favorite (as far as HM goes) But I would have to disagree with the lyrics... I think they were being overly-sarcastic... Go Sabbath! (Thomas W. Campbell)
I've always been amazed at the heaviness of Sabbath's Sound. But it never occurred to me how Iommi achieved it (besides his obvious talent). According to his recent writing in Guitarworld (Check it out) they downtuned the bass and guitar starting with Master of Reality by ONE AND A HALF STEPS. Thus the low E became a C#, etc. etc. Not only was this easier on Tony's injured fingers but it got him that great sound! When other people thought "Smoke on the Water" was heavy, those in the know only had to turn to Iommi/Butler/Osbourne/Ward for the real thing. (Michael Rohm)
Master Of Reality is of course, very heavy. It shocked me to hear the Christian lyrics though. I'm sorry, but this album doesn't look at "a supreme being" - it clearly has Christian lyrics. I wonder if the lyrics were a joke to see how religious folks would react to the band's newfound "faith." In any case, I think most religious folks hated the album, hated Black Sabbath, and claimed it was "blasphemous."
You don't HAVE to smoke pot to like the album!
Master of Reality rocks - to hell with Deep Purple, Blue Cheer, Led Zeppelin, etc etc etc. "Into the Void" has to be the mosty underrated song of all time - a classic riff, solo, rhythm section you name it its here. "Solitude" is tremendous - a true classic!!!! (Rod Unterreiner)
It's amazing how poignant and meaningful a song can be when thoughtful lyrics are meshed with intense heavy metal mayhem! "After Forever" is Sabbath's greatest song ever. That bass line freakin' KILLS!!! Add the soaring guitar riff on top of it and you got heavy metal nirvana (NOT the band!). Of course the other songs kick ass as well... (Jon Poirier)
My LP still smells like incense and bongwater...I think I'll frame it.

Furthermore, I don't believe that I read the above review correctly. Christian music? The line "would you like to see the pope on the end of a rope, would you crucify christ?" ("After Forever") does not justify christian music. Although the following lines to the song are included in your review. Do you believe they are really serious?

Pothead music? What the fuck is that? Sure a joint can heighten the music, as with any music. We are talking about Sabbath, and bottom line the music speaks for itself...

Master Of Reality is and always will be a reference for heavy bands (heavy metal is not an option). Sabbath is Sabbath...the one and only. (Thomas Rickert)
The fact that music this heavy and evil is saddled with lyrics so moral and Christian is just the most delicious irony. It's absofuckinglutely perfect, so perfect that it couldn't even have been cognitive. No, they, like all true geniuses, just stumbled on it. Like over a gravestone or something. And the irony!!! You could run a major powerplant with irony like that. Hook up the cables!

Look here Prindlesticks. Master of Reality should also be master of your grading scale, i.e., a ten. Jacko that's a facto. And, I don't understand all this bit about Sabbath being slow. All critiquers wanna say this. I don't get it. Sure, the riffs are lumbersomely brontosaurian often and hugely, but that doesn't equal slow. Children scoots along, and so does After Forever. In fact, After Forever just slams. Others are more midtempo. My theory: the bass-heavy, woofer-chowin' sound and the lurch of the riffs gives the creeping death impression of slowness. I mean, you want slow, listen to St. Vitus. You will understand then what a misunderstanding of the slow=heavy aesthetic can wrought. Otherwise, though, good review overallwise. My question: how come the cd remastering of this particular record makes it sound like it was recorded in a shoebox? My 20 year old vinyl version sounds 20 times better. Well, maybe not 20. But still, what gives?
Black Sabbath has long had a reputation for being some silly pothead satanic band. Of course, the four Sabs wouldn't turn down a spliff (see the lyrics to "Sweet Leaf"), but to condemn their music as satanic pothead fodder is silly.

This album is sobering (written after a long Sabbath tour), in more ways than one. It's the first real sign the band has a flexible range (heavy rhythm crunch on "Children of the Grave" versus the sweet flute ballad "Solitude"), especially Iommi's composition skills and Ozzy's delivery. Also, it's a pretty intelligent album - lyrically and musically (especially when compared to the relativley monotonic Paranoid). It combines the best of two worlds - strong simple intense music with clever arrangements and honest delivery. This album represents Sabbath's "happy medium", something they hovered around and never really pinned down again afterwards.

For all you witches and militant atheists, this album is a dissapointment, because it proves that both Iommi (who soley wrote the pro-Christian "After Forever") and Geezer Butler (Into the Void, Lord of this World) don't spend their time peeing on crosses. Of course, an intelligent person will realize that the only satanic thing that you can link to the Ozzy era Sabbath is the inside of the first album, which the band didn't see less approve of until it was in record stores, and it was too late (they didn't even hear the final mix till then). The CD issues don't have it anymore. What kind of a satanic band wears right side up crosses anyway?

Mostly what's evident in this album is Sabbath's direct inheritance from the blues tradition - a depressed man on this unhappy earth who yearns for a better world, "after forever", played on a dark minor musical scale. Led Zeppelin doesn't get it so deep and true, regardless of how many more varied blues licks Jimmy Page can flash in a second with seventy different distorted guitar sounds
I discovered this album in 1981, when I was a senior in highschool and all the kids in the shop classes were playing Black Sabbath while they stank of the finest dope this side of Bogota. My mom told me I couldn't have any Black Sabbath albums in the house (I had em all by graduation) and I showed her the lyrics to After Forever. She never said a word about em anymore. I like to think that they were well intentioned potheads. (Casey B.)
This album rules, especially "After Forever" with the funny lyrics. The guitar tone is a little fuzzier on this album than Paranoid which influenced the heavey Metal sound as we know it.

Why does it say that "solitude" is 8:08 long, and "into the void" is 3:08 long.......when the void song is actually a whole minute longer than solitude. Major misprint.

You'll never hear a better bassline and riff than you'll hear in "After Forever". This album kicks ass so I give it a 9... just a shade under the Paranoid Album. (Tim Vaughan)
I'm surprised to hear some folks say Master is their best. It's a shock to hear this album after the rockin' Paranoid. They sound tired and the playing is uninspired. I think the low point is "Sweet Leaf", and I can't believe they put it up front. "Solitude" would be great, but the vocals and guitar are mixed too far back and it just sounds flat. The playing is so sloppy on "Lord of This World" that I laughed out loud the first time I heard it. After the long "Paranoid" tour, it seems like they just mailed this one in. I wish they had rested for a few months. It sounds like Spinal Tap. (James L. Tichenor)
Ahhh... Master of Reality... not my favorite album, but lets just all admit now that this puppy here is one of the few albums in existence that is heavier than thou while being catchier than thou at the same time. I start to dislike Ozzy's singing more and more as the band progresses. His voice must rise an octave each album or something, and its really noticeable here. There are moments where he just comes of sounding like a bad joke. I wish i could have slapped him. He ruined some kick fucking ass Iommi riffs with helium vocals. Ozzy- higher doesnt equal heavier dammit!!!
I had a plug of wax about the size of a pencil eraser removed from my left ear last week and now I think this album kicks ass. Go figure. I still hate Sweet Leaf, though, and the tap-tap-tapping in Children of the Grave is annoying. I wish I could graft the version from Tribute in there instead. Sacrelige! Rock on, dudes. (Darryl Alan Baker)
Although I'm not into drugs I love the song "Sweet Leaf." It's my favorite song on here because it's the least gloomy-sounding one. (James L. Tichenor)
Okay, i can see i have to educate some people here- or at least enlighten them with what i believe to be what Sabbath intended on this awesome fucking album. Looking back on it, i love this album even more than before. As to the above post, yes, that double bass drum was recorded terribly on Children of the Grave and i think Sabbath realized this sometime after the album's release which is why a better, faster, more kick ass live version of the song appears on the very next album... Vol. 4. As to the mention above that you don't have to smoke pot while listening to this album- true, but let me make a little addendum to it. And this goes for all you ppl who don't like Sweet Leaf. Why? You're not smoking pot when you listen to it. That song is made for weed if ever i heard it. It's up front on the record because if your smoking reefer it's the perfect hook. It's catchy, heavy, repititious (easily accesible for potheads) and the whole goddamn song is about pot. Coincidence? HAHAH!!!! Sabbath obviously was fucked up all the time. Come on now, wasn't it mostly due to drug related problems that Ozzy got kicked out?!?! ANyways, keep tokin and keep loving Sabbath. (Hossein Nayeb)
Pot music ? what the fuck is all that about...this is THE MOST IMPORTANT ALBUM in the world of HEAVY MUSIC. No,not "Heavy Metal"... i wish people would stop call this band "Heavy Metal"..'cause this band has more in common with bands like Soundgarden,Monster Magnet,Life Of Agony,Pantera,Alice In Chains, Kyuss etc. thos bands are not Heavy Metal... they're actually heavier than Heavy Metal, which is defined by cheesy so called metal bands such as Judas Prieset and Iron Maiden.

This album is just sooooooooo...tasty. It's fuckin' amazing how the riffs still sound fresh... well atleast like it's from the early 90's.This album has made way for soooo many heavy bands... Kim Thayil ( of Soundgarden) has credited Buzz Osbourne and Tommi Iommi for the Drop D tuning... and if there's any album that is typical Drop D metal, it's this i just wonder... is this drop D or not ? in The Eternal Idol's Black Sabbath Page, the tuning is DbGbBEbAbDb... but in my opinion, it should be DbAbDbGbBbEb ... i mean that's what would be logic for an album that has songs filled with heavy power chord riffs.And i've been able to play all the riffs on my Drop D+half step tuned guitar.

This album is Grunge Metal if you ask me... (Melvins,Soundgarden,Alice In Chains,TAD,Kyuss etc.) anyway,it's certainly not Heavy Metal... Black Sabbath is not a Heavy Metal band. (Dominic King)
What a master album this one is. Sorry, i must apologise, someone hit me in the head now. Cheers.

I don't know about everyone else's copy of this album, but mine sounds really different from the first two. It's a sound that Sabbath didn't manage to capture in my opinion. It's really quiet, treble-wise which makes it incredibly heavy. All these faggot-arse bands today (Korn, Shit Bizkit, Kid-fucking-Rock!) who think they're heavy are kidding themselves. Playing the drums extra loud and turning up the guitars does not make it heavy. This album contains some of Sabbath's best songs (and if you don't agree with me, trust me, listen to them again and you'll see the light). What are they? : "After Forever" , "Lord Of This World", and "Into The Void". Simply the best guitar riffs ever made. Case closed. Any comments, disputes, praises for this reviewer will be received without any prejudice.....well, not too much prejudice. (Sean Harris)
I like this one a lot. I think Paranoid will always be my favorite, because it was the most memorable to me when I was young, but I really find the Christian lyrics to be the ultimate laugh. I mean, on satanists who listen to metal and think they're all scary and intelligent. These guys rocked and they believed in religion. Good for them. Riffs on this album are the most ripped off anywhere, I think. And yet it has pro-God writing--which is the coolest contrast on the stereotypical "metal is evil" theme ever.

Right on, Sabbath. And "Into the Void" is just fabulous. Buy it and love it. (Richard Burger)
I just wanted to say that the first time I read the lyrics to Sweet Leaf, I thought it was about homosexuals. I think I liked it more as a gay song than as a pot song... Also, I've read that PMRC-ish people actually have read the lyrics you cited, and passed them off as sarcasm, but it's never been a concern for me. (James L. Tichenor)
I don't think most of the metal heads into Black Sabbath realize how vast an influence this music has had over the past thirty years. This single album has probably influenced more good musicians than ozzy, pantera, deep purple or iron maiden combined. Their influence has spread far across the border of metal. This particular sound of Sabbath was assimilated into so many different types of bands and music, and continues to influence the best. The list is staggering, even as far as more recent bands are concerned: Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Bongzilla, Queens of the Stone Age, Melvins, Soundgarden, Tool, Nirvana, Black Flag... And countless other acts out there playing now, and could well be coming to your town this month. (Jason Adams)
As Christian rock goes, this beats the hell out of Stryper (maybe literally). I don't quite get the vagaries of the morbid-pothead-hippies-for-Jesus philosophy espoused here by the Flab Four, but who can help but bang their little head to the slooooooow metal of "Lord Of This World" and "Into The Void". I like the prissy fake Renaissance music too.
Master of Reality is the be-all-end-all of heavy rock. It would be my 'desert island' album. Jesus Christ is all over it, and that's mostly why it has had such a long-term impact. Truth stands. Lies fall, eventually. Even the pot-worship tune, which alludes to their 'Achilles' heel', has Truth in it: 'and left me wanting you and your kind'... Weed is a gate to harsher drugs. Those things were the tools that destroyed our favorite band. I'm no better; I've fallen for the bulls**t lie of 'opening my mind'. This is a lesson to all of us, especially artists. If you want to see what drugs do to your creativity and potiental, compare this album to 'Technical Ecstacy'. Enough said. If you wanna, hear my songs at (Roland Fratzl)
Now this is more like it, sluts and studs! Sabbath has come into their own and made a truly remarkable album from start to finish with no weak spots anywhere!! The earthquake rumbling, molten magma sloth-like devilishly distorted riffs pouring off every track is unbelievable! Fuck all the advances in technology made since 1971...nothing even close to this heavy has been recorded ever since, by anyone!! It's not just the tone that is impressive, but all these riffs are some of the best they ever wrote, and by god, there are-a-plenty of them! Despite all this insane heaviness, the Sab's never made the mistake of sacrificing melody and songcraft, something which cannot be said of their ccountless imitators. Now that's talent! This also seems to be one of those rare albums that actually gets better as you go along, and never lets up in the intensity, except for a few short intros, and the great spacey ambient "Solitutde", a great song with nice whispered vocals instead of the usual banshee wail and a flute, like Jethro Tull (which Iommi actually was a member of briefly in 1966!)! Just listen to "Lord Of This World", what a groove!! "Into The Void" is another multi-part crashing riff fest! And "Children Of The Grave" actually sounds industrial before there was industrial! And it's all produced so unbelievably raw, which gives it such a more powerful effect! This is one the best albums in history. 10 out of 10.
his is Sabbath's heaviest and best,if you don't have it,you shouldn't call yourself a Black Sabbath fan.
What could be more Christian than "would you like to see the pope on the end of a rope" and "Will you still sneer when death is near and say that you may as well worship the sun" only a true understanding of pagan holidays like easter and christmas would a true Christian understand. Those so called holy days are only exposed through a reading of the bible, something a catholic would never do. How Black Sabbath ever got a record contract is a miracle in itself.
This album NEEDS to be a 10. "Children Of The Grave" rules! That riff where the bass keeps playing C# and the guitar plays a couple of power chords has been so ripped off by so many bands. "After Forever" is one of their most creatively thought out songs. I for one don't think that the "Christian" lyrics were sarcastic. Geezer has always said how much he respects Jesus Christ! The lyrics from "Black Sabbath" warn against messing around with witchcraft! They were one of the most misinterpreted bands ever, so many lyrics have been pro religion and anti- withcraft and millions of satanic, potheads thought they were pro stan when they were very much the opposite. This is just the album where they put those thoughts into the most blantant lyrics. Oh yea, the solo in "Sweet Leaf" rules! (Eric Farsad)
God rocks, satan is shit, and the guys from sabbath know it. All you satanic bastards can burn in hell (Robert Chaundy)
Gruesomely overrated (thank you the one man with the nerve to point this out). The fact that Tony Iommi has discovered a cool-as-anything guitar sound cannot disguise the fact that many of these songs are as poorly written, not to mention poorly played, as anything prior to Never Say Die. After Forever is the only stellar moment: a track so gloriously heavy, catchy and funny it should have been a number one single all over the world. And as for the Christian sanctity or otherwise of its lyrics... I humbly contend that although 'Would you like to see the Pope on the end of a rope?' would work perfectly as a rightly anti-catholicism cry for freedom, it is more likely to be a criticism of aforementioned evangelists. Tony Iommi is, after all, an Italian.

Anyway! The rest of this album leaves enormous amounts to be desired. Sweet Leaf is dull and discouraging, not entirely unreminiscent of Rainy Day Women Nos 12 & 35, and Lord of this World is played with an almost unbelievable degree of carelessness. Likewise, the deeply ordinary Into the Void would barely have been noticed had it appeared on Paranoid, and Solitude is a poorly-mixed mockery of what should have been a great metal ballad. Embryo, however, is a stunning little piece, and clearly the daddy of such delights as Laguna Sunrise, Fluff, Don't Start (Too Late) and Air Dance.

I love these guys a great deal - how could anyone not have a soft spot for a bunch of Brummies who, by their own admission, could 'barely write their names, let alone music'?? To coin a phrase, you don't need to be a genius to be a genius.

And I would like to say that, although I listen to Sabbath albums very infrequently these days, I find myself whistling and/or humming their fantastic tunes almost all the time. That is probably the greatest tribute to their crazy abilities - the catchiness they created knows no true equal. (JM)
At first, I didn't much care for this record. It might have had something to do with the scratchier guitar tone, or perhaps the fucking annoying leadoff track, "after forever", which is an irritating song, even without christian lyrics. "Sweet leaf"" is also a song that really doesn't move me that much, and this coming from someone who smokes pot semi-regularly. However, upon further listens I started to realize how much more there was to this album. There is a certain thin quality to the guitar, yeah, but there are more bass frequencies on this album and an overall heavier sound and riffage. "INto the void" is one of Sabbath's greatest songs. THat verse riff is so simple but so crushingly heavy. "Children of the grave"...evil! "SOlitude" is a good song, although it doesn't quite have the impact it probably should. Listen to Cathedral's cover of said song to get an idea of what it really should have sounded like. "Lord of this world" is a great, powerful sludger of a song that lurches and shuffles a long in an ungainly manner but manages to work beautifully. You can still hear this kind of influence strong and rampant in bands like EYehategod. This is, lyrically, the closest the band got to the whole "hippy" thing, I guess...even though they were always viewed as being separate from that whole movement. Finally, to the person who said Sabbath wasn't heavy metal...they may not have been, but they certainly were the first and most influential band to the entire metal genre. Thrash metal, doom, stoner rock, and yes, heavy metal all owe a debt to this band. Judas Priest started a scant three years afterr Sabbath and probably owed more to Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin on their first co uple of albums, but Maiden sure as hell were a very sabbath influenced band, like it or not. So what if priest and Maiden don't put out g ood records nowadays..neither does sabbath, and I"m sure you won't be arguing with that. (Timothy Herrman)
The first time I ever heard a Sabbath record was when I was 13. Master Of Reality was that record. Getting stoned with a friend and ransacking his brother's (who DIED in Nam) record collection. WHOA, man ... MAN, what the fuck IS this, was my first reaction. It sounds like what demons in hell would dance around to while torturing the newly arrived souls at the kettle. Sounds like it was recorded in hell, or a vacuum cleaner. This IS it! Time to set fire to all those Styx and Yes records, time to set fire to your neighbor's dog, because this is the shit that will stay with me for the rest of my life not no Roundabout Grand Delusion piffle, or no mutt named 'Archie'. This will make you a MAN, MOTHERFUCKER. I AM a man. Time to rape that little prick tease in science class because I AIN'T GUNNA TAKE NO SHIT BECAUSE I LISTEN TO MUDDERFUCKIN' BLACK SABBATH, SLUT!!

Then you listen to 'Solitude' and feel remorse. Then comes along 'Into The Void' (starting with those little twinkling bells) and then that... urge starts creeping up... AGAIN. I clearly state this song as the origin of thrash.

This record ain't no heavy metal, this is the blues...not no BB King, BLUES. More like, I'm going to kill my - fucking - self, but before I do I'm taking what's rightfully mine before I exit this fuckin' SHITHOLE, BLUES.

Then we put on his brother's copy of the first Montrose record and all was happy again. Vrooooooommm..... Bad Motor Scooter. (Paul Stevens)
yeah, I always had the sabs down as good catholic boys gone naughty. The crucifixes, the references to christ in the lyrics and the general preoccupation with the apocolypse and doom. It's a real shame that they let messrs Dio, Gillan et al write their own lyrics, it kind of ruined the mystique.. I like the idea that Ozzy didn't understand what Geezer and Tony wrote for him, he just kind of auto-cue read them in his tortured squeal. Wonderful. (Alain Leost)
The heaviest and the darkest. “Sweet leaf” and “Children” are my favorites. The slow one is good IMHO : the flute doesn’t ruin ”Solitude”, they don’t try to sound like JS Bach on it. “After forever” is spreading the ( christian ) news fast and furious. Well this Christian revelation is not a surprise : so much words of peace and doom before.
I like every note played on this record. What a sound! Especially, Tony Iommi. My second favorite next to Paranoid. I love the cathedral funhouse sounds on Children of the Grave and the sci-fi-ness of Into the Void. Good production of sounds, where did this production go to when vol. 4 rolled around? Hear any drums(low) on Under the Sun? I do like the vol. 4 sound, as it sounds pretty unbridled, but they neutered the drums and bass in parts. If Iommi is craked to 11 then why not the rest of the instruments?I havent heard the "power sounds" re-release of vol.4, have to hunt that down. Master of Reality on power sound re-release sounds awesome. I love that foggy 1971 guitar fuzz.
Sound: Put simply, Master of Reality is a deep, atmospheric, fuzzy, sometimes spooky, very well-crafted heavy metal masterpiece. Never has an album had a general atmosphere that felt so unexplainably deep, from the fuzzy low-note riffing to the echo and reverb to Ozzy Osbourne's clean, British, man-in-glass vocals. The guitars are so damn fuzzy, but in a good way! They mostly keep a very strong, rifftastic technique I like to call the chug-link: Tony Iommi has that nice GRUNG-chugga-chugga-chugga style to his fuzzy toned bluesy guitar, and then does a nice burning slide (sometimes a sliding solo) to link one series of these sorts of riffs to another, and most of the time it goes to a different note (just listen to Into the Void to see what I mean). The riffs are heavier than Marty McFly's mentioning of monstrous misfortune, but they still keep a nice bluesy groove to them, helping bring out the melancholy in the songs whether the melodies sound urgent and soul-troubled (After Forever, Lord of This World) or dark and suspenseful (Children of the Grave, Into the Void). The drums are still as rock solid as they ever were, but while they keep the right beat and have the nice classic Bill Ward touch (which is building a tower of funk-beated cymbal taps until banging out clips and slams unto the solid drums to give a banging effect), they can sometimes go off on an unpredictable rant and yet still keep the right beat, striking at just the right moment with a rattling platter of snare smashing. On the other hand, there's still some swinging riffs cradling from one note to the other with some nice jamming hooks, being on average supposedly more catchy than on The Album or Paranoid, but with a lot more ingenious texture to boot. Aside from the heavy and bluesy melancholy, there's also the sad and adrift Solitude and the ranting acoustic instrumentals Embryo and Orchid. My only complaint with this tasty burger is the beginning track, Sweet Leaf. Funny pot-based lyrics, very swinging, but so damn dragging and repetitive! But in general, the whole album is chock full of slow, heavy, grooving power, and is an album that no heavy metal enthusiast should be without.

Lyrics: As one might already be able to tell from the sound formula on Master of Reality, the outcome of this bad boy was dramatically affected by each of the band members having smoked pot... For better or for worse. So the first notice is how obvious this effect had on Sweet Leaf ("Straight people don't know what you're about/they put you down and shut you out/you gave to me a new belief/and soon the world will love you, sweet leaf/oh yeah baby"). However, Black Sabbath can spin a flax tale of scary fiction that controversies over society, contempt and cruelty without having to rely on politics, as seen in the likes of songs such as Children of the Grave ("Revolution in their mind, the children start to march/against the world in which they have to live/and all the hate that's in their hearts/they're tired of being pushed around and told just what to do/they'll fight the world until they've won/and love comes flowing through") or Into the Void ("Past the stars in fields of ancient void/through the shields of darkness where they find/love upon a land a world unknown/where the sons of freedom make their home/leave the earth to Satan and his slaves/leave them to their future in their grave/make a home where love is there to stay/peace and happiness every day"). Still, there's also the preachy Christian lyrics as in After Forever ("When you think about death, do you lose your breath, or do you keep your cool?/would you like to see the Pope on the end of a rope, do you think he's a fool?/well I see the truth, yes I've seen the light, and I've changed my ways/and I'll be prepared when you're lonely and scared at the end of our days"), but there's definitely no denying the deep sadness and aloof ambience of Solitude ("Oh, where can I go to and what can I do?/nothing can please me, only thoughts are of you/you just laughed when I begged you to stay/I've not stopped crying since you went away"). It can be said here that Black Sabbath aren't afraid to delve into honesty and preach, but their knack for illustrating darkness in humanity with deep stories takes no prisoners and makes for an exciting listen.
i think this album is great. I think good old ozzy put the lyrics in for a reason too, and for all you atheists out there (im not) ozz had religion and he believed in god (it was just in the ocult)

I hope your job troubles are ending. I will pray for you to get good work and good pay. Meanwhile enjoy my review of the best Christian rock album – Master of Reality:

Master of Reality is my favorite Black Sabbath album. As many have noted the unusual use of pitch, tempo and tone by Toni Iommi and Geezer Butler create a beautiful wall of sound that reminds me of nothing better than an old tramp steamer pulling a World War I battle cruiser out of a harbor and into open sea. This contrasts with Ozzy’s keening and waver thin expression and Bill Ward’s rim-shot drumming style. The music mostly lurches forward in a staggering, if not crawling, manner, which is brought to momentary stasis with such acoustic gems as “Embryo”, “Orchid”, and “Solitude”.

The result is a journey through what can be called one of the finest concept albums ever made. High praise indeed, but for me the album stands the test of time and every time I listen, I find something new. This is a quality few bands are capable of. While not grouped with the progressive bands of the time, Sabbath do appear as fellow travelers in this record.

The album starts with “Sweet Leaf” the only Sabbath drug tune which seems to recommend drugs. The previous album’s “Hand of Doom” was strident in its denunciation of heroin and the Volume 4’s “Snowblind” seems more of an empiric description of the effects of cocaine, neither praising nor condemning the drug. More important, the lyrics tell of one gaining further insight: “You introduced me to my mind”. Mary Jane brings enlightenment, “ a new beginning” and that is the reason for the praise by the singer. But there is another element too. The world by and large doesn’t understand or appreciate the drug and this leaves the singer feeling isolated, albeit with the assertion that the rest of the world will one day appreciate Ms. Mary Jane as does the singer.

This alienation continues with “After Forever”. Here we take a left turn as the alienation now a spiritual one. The singer makes it clear that open expressions of belief in God can lead to rejection by others. As the larger world rejects pot, so the hip world rejects Christ, leaving the singer trying to assert the awful reality of rejecting Christ in the face of apathy and rejection.

“Embryo” not only provides a dramatic pause, but the very name suggests a new birth or start. This comes to the fore in the most direct and straightforward rock song of the record, “Children of the Grave”. Here the alienation is boiling over as the “children” reject world society and express a desire to change things or die trying. Given the context of 1971, what with riots over Vietnam and the Weatherman Underground group, the song has a place in time, but the song’s lack of specifics (we do not know who the children really are or what specific goals they have) and the errie outro suggest something far stranger and removed from reality. The outro also suggests that the children were defeated and that they are now really of the grave i.e. dead.

The album closes the side with “Orchid”. In addition to being another pause, the song’s title evokes the idea of a sweet smelling flower, like something at a funeral or gravesite. The band then lurch into “Lord of this World”. Here Ozzy takes on the persona of satan and describes in clear unambiguous language how he has the world in thrall. The sin in people leads them to satan: “you turn to me in all your worldly greed and pride”. This is the root of the world’s corruption, the same corruption which sent the children to their grave. Those who survive this onslaught have but two options: complete alienation “Solitude” or a new start off the earth “Into the Void”. In “Solitude” the lyrics are nihilistic in the extreme: “my name it means nothing, my fortune is less.” The hopeless ness of the song is accentuated by the flute, the trip to hell made more dire by beautiful notes. The alternative is the most rocking song on the album, in which, taking their cue from Magma it seems, Ozzy sings of leaving earth, “to satan and his slaves” and finding a new home off world. The space program was still vibrant and people were still catching the greatest trip, 2001: A Space Odyssey” in the cinema. Here Sabbath in one song capture the essence of Magma’s albums, which also involve leaving a polluted and corrupt earth for a new home on another planet.

So we are left with a world which refuses to see the wonders of Mary Jane and Jesus Christ and instead turn to satan, murdering their children and forcing the remnant into desolate nihilism or outer space.

If only Captain Kirk were here!
Time to use a cliche: Hi! Mark, I'm Patrick...from New Zealand(!!!) and I am a long time reader first time 'adding thoughter.'

I was just breezing through you site as I sometime do, and saw this: 'How Mr. Tony acquired a tone like this as early as 1971 I don't know and I don't need to know'.

Well, I'm going be to a know-it-all and tell you anyway. it's probably got a lot to do with how Tony tuned his guitar. I think he tuned all the strings down about two tones; So the Es become Cs, A to F and so on.

Fairly good album too, Sabbath isn't a favourite of mine but if I ever want to mindlessly have my head pummelled, I'll listen to them.

Add your thoughts?

* Vol. 4 - Warner Brothers 1972. *
Rating =10

More like Volume Ten! (as in...loud...). As heavy and dense as Master Of Reality, but with more songs and moods. It doesn't hit you over the head like the last few (the band sounds like the drugs are getting to them a little - very very densely packed stuff without tons of personality), but somehow, as a whole, the record comes across very well. Ozzy has finally learned how to sing against the guitar melody, which improves the simple songs ten-fold, and Tony sticks lots of little side riffs into each song, which'll help hold your interest as the guitar tone buries your head in the floor.

"Supernaut" (later covered by 1000 Homo DJs) is the best song on here, but all of the others are worthwhile, too. They put a lot into these, even if it seems like all they're doing is playing the same slow chords over and over again. Listen close and you shall hear clumps of talent creeping through. There's even a piano ballad on this one! And it's good! And there's another gorgeous acoustic instrumental lodged in the middle of four piles of sludge on side two, too, to listen to too. You?

So why do I call this the best Sabbath record? Mainly 'cause it doesn't sound at all stupid or dated, and it's only boring if you're not really paying attention to it. The band sounds smart and creative, and ever so heavy! There's pop. There's rock. There's drone. And there's Ozzy! Don't expect it to make you bang your head. And don't be prejudiced against it 'cause it's heavy metal. Just turn it up really loud and try to imagine how people in 1972 must have reacted to this sound. The songs are extremely catchy, but heavy as a dang anvil, too! Just give them a chance and they'll make you a very happy young man. Even if you're a girl right now.

Reader Comments (Squatch)
I am a huge Sabbath fan and this was my favorite. Play it loud and it takes me places. (Marc Kovac)
That "FX" crap makes this release incapable of achieving a 10. It is obvious that Sabbath was just a 9 and below band, especially if you are a raving asinine who lets other people's review units influence your waking thoughts, like me. Geezer Butler Candlestick Bitchass Baker Maker. (Tony & Sharon)
Here's the proof, cocaine can create great albums. The best Sabbath album with phat tones and an excellent vocal, they should have quit while they were ahead at this point.
don't play it loud, in fact don't play it at all, it sucked, it was way too sacreligous and the guitar was out of tune the whole time (Rod Peart)
Volume 4 is a close second to Sabbath's original album as being the best released. I must agree that "FX" is a load of rubbish, but fortunately the rest of the album compensates for this.
Hi nice person! Vol 4 is definitely their best record! I love master too, but its all about VOLUME 4!!!!!!!! I'm in a thrash band that covers "children of the grave". I really enjoyed your page. Have a nice day!
This is the Sabs' Sgt Pepper.
The most moody Sabbath album yet. So many feelings coming through all the songs - "Laguna Sunrise" is a standout, "St. Vitus Dance", "Supernaut". - so much is happening on this record. THe opeing riff to "Wheels of confusion" and "Snowblind" are classic sounds that should be all over the radio!!!!!!
This album blows me away every time I listen to it. Sure, ok, "FX" sucks, but mercifully it is only about 40 seconds, and in my opinion it builds the momentum for "Supernaut" really well. I admire "Changes", but I consider it a lull in the album, and the chorus line ("I'm going through changes") is the most trite piece of garbage I ever heard...but the rest of the album makes up for these shortcomings. MORE than makes up for them....every other song kicks illegal amounts of ass. Is "Supernaut" the best on here? It certainly does rule, but I love the happy little instrumental "Laguna Sunrise" to death, and...well it's pointless to list standouts, because they all are! Man, back in those days, Sabbath sure knew how to make an album. All of their first 6 rocked, and this is my favorite...this time I agree with you, Mark. Good review. (Vincent Hedrick)
This record kicks ass and is one of my favorites. "Wheels of Confusion" is by far the best track. All the songs kick ass except "FX". I usually skip over that one when I listen to it.

"Laguna Sunrise" is their best instrumental song. (Thomas Rickert)
This is it. It. It, it's it, said it to It!!! None better. None heavier. Metallica sound like wusses in comparison. Singing with clenched teeth and martial rhythms doesn't equal heavy. This record is proof. It's proof of anything and everything. The black hole that sucks in and excretes the 70s. Only two other records approach it: Led Zep's Physical Grafitti and Sex Pistol's Never Mind, but for very different reasons. And I'm not going into those reasons now.

This record is the black hole sun. Obviously cocaine-fueled, there is nowhere to go after this. Its heavy, its psychedelic, it's its own darklight gravity well. Words fail. The louder this album goes, the better. The drums crashing in Wheels can send you over the edge if you listen with your third ear and see with your third eye. The crushingly heavy opening chords, a bowel loosening C#5, of Under the Sun can, well, crush. Words, man... they fail. They got us the wound and will get us well again, if you believe it. Same for Vol. 4. It will give you the wound. And if you believe it, it will get you well again. You will just have to listen to it over and over again, for the rest of your life. Getting better all the time now!! Getting sick and well over and over again never was/is so good. Eat it up, yum, as it sucks you in and pulls you under and gives you life as you drown drown drown in its cornucopia of life.
Best Sabbath album of all. Words to live your life by!! (Casey B.)
Vol. 4 is a good album though not as kickass like Paranoid and Master of Reality. The reason for that being is this album isnt as powerful sounding or inventive as those two. "War Pigs", "Hand Of Doom", & "Electric Funeral" all have great musical twists, great guitar solos, and a heavy tone. Those You'll find on Paranoid. Master of Reality is more of the same! Now back to Volume 4. Their are some awesome and good songs on here, but none as in your face and breathtaking as the latter. The guitar is just more sludgey-sounding and the riffs not quite as memorable. Boogie metal. But their are some great songs on here and the material is a little more diverse such as "Changes" being their first piano ballad, and "Laguna Sunrise" an acoustic ballad, plus a few hard rockers inbetween, the norm. I'll give it a 7 out of 10. (James L. Tichenor)
I can see why ppl love this Sabbath album. Under the Sun is without a doubt the most excrutiatingly heavy song of the 70's, Supernaut is supercatchy feel-good rock, and Tomorrows Dream is haunting. But i just dont see a consistency in this album. Maybe you have to be all coked up to get it i dont know. this is the last "good" sabbath album in my opinion. The rest is downhill from here. (Darryl Alan Baker)
Black Sabbath lyrics are known for being kinda hokey, but "Changes" is ridiculous! The lyrics are horrible and they ruined a lovely little ballad. (Xavier Fabriano)
Volume Four is about as dull as its title... (Tom Marschal)
Nooo! No way... FX DOESN'T suck. I get lost in it anytime. It's so cold and so familiar, like watching some strange insect crawling on some planet you've never heard of. And after all it's just Iommi fooling around with some fucking tape echo. Totally unclear. Unbelievable. What does suck indeed, is this ballad attempt Changes. I think Ozzy was like, I've written such a nice ballad, if it's not on the record, I'm not going out to buy the next lines... One important thing that sets this one apart from everything and what nobody has seemed to notice: the universe of guitar sounds. Before this one it was like one record, one guitar sound. But on Vol. 4 the sound even changes within one song (Wheels). What an idea. (Garry Katz)
One of my favourites, too. The thing you neglected is its ONLY weakness is that it's easily one of te worst mixed albums ever. It would work better if it had anywhere near the sound of H+H, probably their best produced album.
This is the album that made me a believer, essentially because of "Wheels of Confusion", which is a truly jaw-dropping monster song and the best they would ever do. Following that tense speedy passage mid-way thru when that gut-wrenching bulldozed Deep Purple-contorted riff comes in right before "Lost in the wheels of confusion..", I get chills down my spine. (Christ that was an unwieldly sentence) Just listen to it and it's obvious why this band owns the term Heavy Metal. It sounds like several songs patched together, which helps because it moves infinitely more than the likes of "Electric Funeral" (which deserves credit for birthing Pere Ubu's brilliant "30 Seconds Over Tokyo". And that's all). The only thing that brings "Wheels" down is the so-so end-jam. This is also significant as the first place Ozzy started coming up with consistently inspired vocal melodies (witness "Cornucopia", the second most brilliant song here) rather than "Iron Man" la-la-la. Dumb-assed exploitation doesn't come any smarter to paraphrase Meltzer or maybe Christgau (namedropper? me??). "Changes" - terrible. "Supernaut" - awesome. "Laguna Sunrise" is lovely - sounds like a Celtic instrumental by Richard Thompson of all folks!! (Duane Zarakov)
what's so bad about FX? stuff like that is really cool. (Roland Fratzl)
Still a great album, but a definite let down after the power and fury of Master Of Reality. In quite a few parts it seems directionless, almost as if they couldn't decide how to end the song. "Wheels Of Confusion" is like that, being over 8 minutes long and just aimlessly wandering in parts. And for the first time, a few of these riffs sound sloppy and (gasp!) a tad generic! I find that the album does not get off to a very good start. "Tomorrow's Dream" is really nothing special, "Changes" is a shockingly bad ballad that sounds like a 5 year old wrote it, and "FX" is pointless noise which is a result of fucking around in the studio while high that is embrassingly unimpressive. But suddenly, look out!! "Supernaut" is a fast, stomping rocker with the first great riff on the album, and indeed one of Iommi's best. The song is a bit too long and a tad too repetitive to be truly godlike though. "Snowblind" is the album's high point...awesome riff, vocal melody, groove, etc. "Cornucopia" unleashes an absolutely monstrous sounds like the devil speaking to you! "Laguna Sunrise" is a nice, dreamy acoustic instrumental that reminds one more of Yes than Sabbath (well, not that complex, but the style, dammit!). "St. Vitus Dance" would be real good if not for the weird country-ish riff Iommi had to throw in there just before the start of each verse. "Under The Sun" ends the album on a high note; slow, plodding, evil, heavy...sounds like a leftover from Master Of Reality. This is a weird album...not bad, not great. It often sounds sloppy and unispired, and man, you could cut the cloud of weed with a knife in the drug induced haze that seems to enshroud this record! A low 7.
Hmmm...I have this disc,but hardly ever play it,when I'm in a Sabbath mood I usually pop in MASTER OF REALITY. I don't know enough about this one to comment,but Sabbath fans seem to love it.
"More like volume 10!" indeed. Thats pretty much how i describe this album in one phrase usually. Very heavy album, albiet slow and plodding, but still kick ass if your paying attention, like Mark said. And if your not, songs like "Supernaut", and "Snowblind" will grab you by the throat and make you anyway! "Laguna Sunrise" is a beautiful acoustic instrumental as well. Iommi really should of done more of these, he was really sweet with the acoustics. And whats with everyones gripe with "Changes"? OK, i can understand how people think it sounds rudimentary or pedestrian to people, but jeez it still sounds beautiful to my ears. Im glad they've done it, they should of done more ballads like this. As for "FX", yeah its pointless, but its so short! Nothing to get your blood boiled over. Overall a definate 9 cuz my 10 goes to the debut. (Robert Chaundy)
Better than Master of Reality, sure, but bogged down by a whole array of new problems, and not ten material (hint: Sabotage is). Iommi is just too awesome for words here - has a man with so few fingers ever come up with as many blinding riffs on one album? (hint: NO) The other guys aren't doing much at all though. Too much coke, boys! Naughty! The dry-roasted mix is rather taxing on the ear - even though this is a very diverse record, still everything sounds curiously the same - no light or shade, and no real colour either. Crap cover too. And the 'lyrics' are just terrible - none of these songs has any meaning at all (apart from Snowblind)!!

The playouts of Under The Sun and especially Wheels of Confusion are, however, the blisteringly jaw-dropping pinnacle of Sabbath's career full stop. Rock on! (Hossein Nayebagha)
That instrumental,acoustic song is all but gorgeous, it's the useless track of the album. It's one of those "soundtack" songs...which is those that are so crappy that they sound like music fitted to be in a film, for the simple fact that they're not good enough so you count 'em off as "real" music. As for the rest you're right on most things, but enough with all the "heavy metal" talk already, basically it's metal and it's heavy...but it's barely "heavymetal", I'm sure the band would have been thought of more as classical rock if not for the dark image and everything. There's some stuff that would later be picked up by bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, but there's also the side that I think should be appericiated most...which was fortunately was picked up by Kyuss in the early 90's.

It IS as a whole the best album they've made; they simply play better...but the classic is Master of Reality- that's the one with the right sound and the more Sabbath-esque riffs, so maybe you should have given that one a ten too and put the *'s on it as the best one. (Geoff Bishop)
First off to anyone that thinks this is when "it started to go downhill" is fucking insane! Christ this album kicks my ass, then kicks it again! Wheels Of Confusion is part of what I consider to be the 'holy trinity' of 'epic' Sabbath tunes (Spiral Architect and Meglomania being the others). Tomorrow's Dream is a good solid track, nothing more nothing less. Changes took me a long time to get used to, 'cause when you're 12 like I was when I first heard this album, I couldn't appreciate ballads coming from Sabbath. The lyrics might not be the most original, but over time the piano became very beautiful to my ears in this tune. Also, lovely vocal melody from the Ozzman! FX is what it says, and I find it pretty trippy! Then comes the back to back punch of Supernaut and Snowblind. Supernaut has the title of best riff on the album, while to my ears Snowblind takes the cake for best solo (the 2nd one) Cornucopia like Tomorrow's Dream is a good solid tr! ack, nothing more nothing less. I agree with those that say Laguna Sunrise is the best acoustic instrumental Sabbath ever did! Gorgeous! Unlike a lot of people I love St Vitus' Dance and Under The Sun. The former has this cool bluesy folksy vibe that I can't describe for shit, but still a vibe I dig. The latter. If you think this album ain't heavy listen to Under The Sun. If you don't think that opening riff is the heaviest thing Sabbath had done up to that point, those are Black Sabbat records you got pal, not Black Sabbath.(Lame joke but not Ultra lame cuz that's an actual band for those who didn't know) All in all I do have a slight prejudice to this album, since it was the first album by them that I heard, but it isn't my favourite one. That goes to Sabotage. I fully agree with the 10 though! (Alain Leost)
You must have it if you like the Ozzy era, but not as good as the first three and “Sabotage”. A bit pedestrian sometimes. The slow titles are useless and so solemn that it can only makes you laugh. “Snowblind” and “Supernaut” are worth the buying. Have you heard the 1000 Homo DJs ‘s cover of “Supernaut”? Better than the original! (Sam Davenport)
Oh yes, you can just picture the clouds of cocaine that surround this record. This is a debauched, sun-kissed, drug-whacked monster of an album. It's my favourite out of all their records that I've heard [everything up to about 1980 and bits and bobs from then on] and boasts some of their most classic tracks. Wheels of Confusion-classic. Supernaut-classic. Snowblind-classic. St. Vitus Dance-classic [rare opinion I know but I LOVE it when the heavy riff comes in at the chorus]. The others aren't too bad either. I see people moaning about FX, for fuck's sake it's only a minute long! Changes is fine, though I prefer Solitude. Tomorrow's Dream and Cornucopia are decent. Under the Sun is HEAVY.

This retains the heaviness of Master but throws in a little more variation. It's waaaaaay better than the overrated Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and it's also overlooked. I'd say this is their most underrated album [Sabotage is underrated as well but more people seem to go on about that one], and also their most interesting, along with Sabotage.

10/10 on a good day but otherwise 9/10 because it does have its weak spots. The 10 would go to Master as that is more consistent but damn it man, this one's my fave.
SV DANCE=what a great riff!
The Complete sounding Sabbath Album.It is a combination of the first three Lp's with much improvement and versatility. Production wise, it's superb. They finally miked Bill Ward's drums

so they aren't heard as a background instrument, like they sounded on Masters of Reality.You can actually feel the sound of his cymbals crashing.Tony's guitar playing is his most versatile yet, and even Geezer gets to show off his piano skills on "Changes".My boy Ozzy finally sings with some passion and restraint in his vocals. The first three albums were excellent in their own ways, this one sees the band expanding."Wheels of Confusion" or is it "World of Confusion"? anyway, it totally kicks ass as an opening number. Tony uses his trademark Gibson as the main guitar, but infuses an acoustic guitar and a guitar that sounds like an organ in the instrumental jam near the end of the song."Tomorrow's Dream" becomes reality to me" as Ozzy remarks in one of their best songs ever recorded. One of the best riffs Tony ever laid down comes from the track "Supernaut" which also features some extra percussion and acoustic guitar effects during the song and then they return to the bombardment of heavy rock. Side two kicks off with the cocaine anthem "Snowblind" and its heavy metal thunder throughout the tune, especially the tempo change in the middle. Two of my favorite cuts on the album are rarely mentioned by anyone and I can't believe it., they are entitled "Cornacopia" and "St.Vitas Dance".both are excellent and Ozzy really gets into his vocals. "Laguana Sunrise" is an acoustic number that sounds eerily similar to Led Zeppelins' "Rain Song" with its string arrangements added.

Overall, I think this album is the best one for the money, more variety, more songs, better drums, and better Ozzy. (L. Stephen Kelly)
This time you failed me, Mark. Black Sabboth was *THE* band of my youth, the one that made me a hard rock fan forever. Volume IV was one of those albums I purchased the week it was released. While playing it, I kept asking myself, "This is BLACK SABBATH?" When I buy a Sabbath Album, I don't want to hear a stinking piano, and the LAST thing I want to hear is Ozzy Osbourne trying to sing with it. At the time I bought it, it was a big letdown after the life-changing Paranoid and Master of Reality. Thirty some odd years later, nothing's changed.
I know why you really like this album more than 'Master'. Where master is surprisingly Christian, this album has lyrics like "don't need religion, don't need no friends" and "I don't want no preacher telling me about the god in the sky." Not to mention that it's overall way more nihilistic as opposed to the hopeful 'eliminate the world of all its evils message of the last one'. Hee, hee. Yeah, it's their best! But "Changes"? You don't find that a little corny?

Add your thoughts?

Live At Last - 1980.
Rating = 8

WE LOVE YOU!!! EVERYBODY PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER!!! I have the flu so write your own fuckin' review.
Reader Comments (Marcelo)
Very cool album, but the sound quality is poor. If you are looking for a Sabbath live album, I recomend try this one.
If I remember right ,the sound sucked but the songs were good. (Neil T. Wiger)
This album had a really mud grey tone but it still sounds great. Tony and the boys play an excellent swinging medly during Wicked World and close it up with a baggy drum toned blur version of Paranoid. Bill Ward even has a live drum solo. Very good album despite the boxy tone. Buy it you want a better live Sabbath album than Reunion grab Live At Last. Just my opinion. Reunion wasnt all that bad but Live At Last has that "proto-metal" spirit that only the Ozzy era Black Sabbath can pull of! Because of the tone I'll give 4 out of 5 stars. If it had been recorded with today's or even better yet yesterdays good sound equipment I'd give it a 5.
Not sure if this album was authorized for release at the time, it always seemed like a bastard child in the catalogue to me (especially with that ridiculous cover, but Sabbath somehow seems to have had some of the best album covers: "Black Sabbath", "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"; and also the worst "Paranoid", "Sabotage"). Definitely worth a listen of you like live albums. The band is real tight and Ozzy sounds great for the most part.

I would recommend instead picking up the more recent 2xCD "Past Lives" on Sanctuary though. Disc 1 is "Live At Last" and then disc 2 has some decent quality recordings from the Paris 1970 TV special (the footage of which is often seen in Sabbath documentaries - incredible stuff - portions available on the Sabbath Story DVDs) and also side one of Sabotage performed live just before the album was released (which totally blew me away - Hole In The Sky, Symptom Of The Universe, and Megalomania live....never heard any of this stuff live before....)

Add your thoughts?

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath - Warner Brothers 1974.
Rating = 8

Someone must've called 'em boring, 'cuz this don't sound at all like the last four. There are bits of heaviness every now and again, but the tone is a lot brighter, darn it. It's more like normal mid-'70s hard rock - a little funky, a little bluesy, a little overblown - kinda like Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, but not as instantly memorable. These songs take a little getting used to, but they are good. I can't guarantee that fans of the first four will dig this, 'cuz it doesn't sound like the same band, even in terms of songwriting, but speaking as a music fan, I really do think that these are good songs. They're hard and guitar-oriented, and they kinda remind me of Nazareth (ooh, that wasn't a very strong endorsement, was it?). There's even an ELP-sounding synthesizer song on here! 'Sup with that?

Say! Here's something I've been thinking about that I'd like you to consider for a brief moment. You know how Soundgarden used to be really heavy and now they're showing "stylistic range?" I think they're just trying to copy Black Sabbath's entire career. You just wait. They'll start to blow (I mean...even more than they do now), then the singer'll quit and they'll keep going without him, then everyone else will quit and the guitarist will just keep replacing 'em, churning out worthless records for decades and decades. You just wait! Let me close this review by reiterating that this album, although not anywhere near as threatening as its title and cover suggest, is still very much worthy of the Black Sabbath name. Even though it sounds more like The Who.

Reader Comments (Michael P. Bentley)
This just has to be the best Sabbath album ever made. Why? Because they decided to use keyboards for the first time. Which keyboard player did they choose? Only the BEST one they could get at the time. Rick Wakeman of course! It seems he had a few spare moments between YES albums and solo albums and needed a few bob. Anyway he gave this album its distinctive sound compared to earlier efforts. By the way Sabbath was the very first band I got into as a youngster. "After Forever" just blew me away when I first heard it. Then later I discovered YES, but that's another story. I still had a soft spot for Sabbath though, but when Ozzy quit that was it for me.
Well, that bold Soundgarden prophesy didn't really pan out, did it Mark? They pulled one over on ya and quit! Good for them, I say. (Claes Ask)
BEST album ever made.

"" (Mary Margaret Durazo)
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is their best album by far. I didn't like this one at first, but after a few listens I began to appreciate how sharp the arrangements are. There aren't really any heavy songs on this one, mostly great lyrics and sharp guitar riffs. The keyboards are a nice touch especially on "Who Are You?". (David Straub)
Heheheheh.... congrats on predicting Soundgarden's disintegration. Can't wait to see Chris Cornell biting bats' heads off! (John Maitland)
Great album, The best Sabbath money can buy!!
get the keyboards out, they suck and they ruined this album.
For this one, I think they were too busy patting themselves on the back for trying new instruments and sounds to actually bother to write good melodies. These songs go nowhere (with the exception of "Who Are You", which is tolerable), and the title track makes me want to vomit because it is so overrated. Why would anyone want to listen to this garbage when they could put on Volume 4 or Paranoid?
Personally I like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage the best. These two albums flow and have to be taken as a whole rather than by their individual songs. Whoever said there are no heavy songs on this album should listen again to the title track. Tis is probably their heaviest uggliest song outisde of the Born Again album.. Bruce Dickinson does a nicely dramatic version on the Nativity in Black tribute album. I wish Sabbath would have stuck in this direction.
If you turn off the stereo after the first two tracks, you have a great, powerful, memorable album. Otherwise, it just gets kinda mind-numbing. There's nothing really bad about the other songs... they're just not very memorable. Well, I take that back... they're not the least bit memorable. I've listened to this record countless times, trying so hard to get into it, and I still couldn't tell you how most of this crap goes. Still, "A National Acrobat" is one of the most impressive songs they ever recorded, even with that weird 70s thing they do near the end of it. And that counts for something, I guess.
Way too pretentious, although "A national acrobat" rules!
Mark, you did a good job of reviewing this was some of the reader responses that prompted me to write a comment. I must defend one of my favorite albums...all I can tell others is, please, don't listen to these people saying stuff like "the title track is underrated" (it kicks ASS) or "these songs are not the least bit memorable" (a completely false statement if you actually give the album a chance) or "the keyboards ruined the album" (in my opinion, they may not be the greatest addition to the Sabbath sound, but certainly didn't hurt! And I love Wakeman from his Yes stuff). The moral of this story? Don't listen to people who don't know what the hell they're talking about ... well, perhaps that is too harsh....the REAL moral is....BUY THIS ALBUM! One question, sort of rhetorical, before I call it a day...does it sound to anyone else like "Spiral Architect" is Sabbath's way of making a Tommy-esque song? (Vincent Hedrick)
This is the weakest one out of the first six. But it still kicks ass. The title track blew me away. I was dissapionted the first time I heard this but after a few listens I discovered that it was a pretty good record. (Thomas Rickert)
Good review, except for the Soundgarden comparison, which would be good except they done broke up and ruined the analogical careerism you had going there. Ah, it was just too good to be true. (Casey B.)
A different sound for Black Sabbath, but still great. It takes a little while to get used to it but once you do the melodies stick out. "A national Acrobat" is one of the best on here, and their are still plenty of other memorable riffs on here. But there is more melody in this album than riffage like the previous albums. Not as gloomy either and they put a touch and dash of synthesizer here and there. I'll give this one an 8 , have to agree with Prindle on this one (James L. Tichenor)
a pretentious piece of shit that i actually kinda like now, Sabbath bloody Sabbath, i will still maintain, is the downfall of their holy heaviness. the title track kicks ass, the first time i heard the big change it blew me away, but ozzy ruins it with helium soaked vocals goddammit!!!!!! Also, anyone who likes Yes or that damn keyboard song on this album should be shot in the fucking head. Thats the worst sabbath song ever ill wager. Anyways, this album should appeal to diehard sabbathers and anyone whose into campy schlocky 70's stuff. (Darryl Alan Baker)
"Am I Going Insane (Radio)" is the second-worst Sabbath song I've ever heard. The award for Worst Sabbath Song goes to "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath." In fact, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is one of the worst songs I've ever heard from any band. (Tom Marschal)
Okay, Prindle, You might do think that these are good songs, but these aren't good songs. In fact these aren't songs at all. And for a record without songs on it I can only give a 4. By the way, is Rick Wakeman still alive? He should have a date with Lucifer.
That Soundgarden comparison wasn't very well-thought out was it Prindle? Oh and uh, they didn't blow, they ruled. And so does Black Sabbath! This collection of experimental Sabbath rocks righteously and unconventionally. (Pekka Pesonen)
Ok, This is in my opinion the best Sabbath-album. Songs are really good and the keyboards fit well there. Rick Wakeman actually plays only on one song, "Sabra Cadabra". *****10/10***** (Dominic King)
This is supposedly Sabbath's quintessential record, their Sgt. Pepper, their Dark Side of the Moon. I dunno about that, but it's definitely fucking good. What were these guys made of, man? That bloody Iommi makes me so mad everytime i pick up my guitar to try and think of a new riff. He made so many amazing riffs. How did he come up with them? All you guitarists will hopefully identify with me on this matter. Once again, the album starts with two awesome songs. "A National Acrobat" is one of Ozzy's and Iommi's shining moments. Fluff is a most bizarre Sab composition, but fits in nicely. "Sabbra Caddabra" is one of the most rockin'songs they ever did (well for the first three minutes or so). "Killing Yourself To Livk" rock. Plain and simple, it is Daniel Johns (of Silverchair fame) favourite Sab song and and you can see the strong influence. "Who Are You" and "Looking for Today" are two of their most poppy songs and are, well, different....but still good. "Spiral Architect" is another masterpiece. Nice to hear the strings incorporated. Gives it a mature quality.
I feel that this wasnt their greatest album but Sabbath Bloody Sabbath has some good stuff on it. SBS and A National Acrobat are great. (Roland Fratzl)
Great turn around! With Volume 4 they sounded like they were starting to lose it, but this time the Sabs go experimental and deliver a treat of a record! This release always seems to be controversial; some say it's the band's high point, while others say it was the beginning of the end. The songwriting is the most ambitious yet, and it's amazing! The structures are much more complex, lots of vintage multi-part songs with abrupt tempo shifts, great riffs all over the place, great drumming and bass, and awesome, poppier vocal melodies courtesy of our fave madman (well, he wouldn't become one until the 80's)! It's just so much more interesting to listen to than Volume 4 or Paranoid. Their talent not only as musicians shows here, but also as arrangers, writers, and for showing a dimension to their sound which not been explored up to this point. Even the cover artwork is the best one yet, with it's spooky satanic imagery! BOO! "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is regarded by many to be their finest song ever, and while for me personally it's impossible to pick their best one, it definitely comes close...listen to the ultra cool heavy riff make way for an acoustic one, and back and forth like that while Ozzy wails away a great melody before the song shifts into another section with a thundering riff and some bongo drums! Awesome! "A National Acrobat" has always struck me as one of their finest moments...just listen to that groove; it's almost hypnotic and kinda funky...almost! Endlessly intersting playing from all the members. "Sabbra Cadabra" is a fast song for once, and while it starts a tad flat, all the mulitude of different sections that it morphs into make it a fascinating track by the end. "Spiral Architect" is by far the closest thing to a pop rock song they'd written up to this point, but the melodies are so engaging! And this track even incorporates strings for the first time to great effect, even ending the song with audience's a very nice way to end the whole record on a more upbeat note for a change. I only have two complaints about this record. One is that "Who Are You" is a weird stab at prog rock, even using keyboards and synthesizers playing the main riff, played by none other than Yes' own Rick Wakeman. Gotta give them credit for embracing the latest technology though, after all, 1973 was fuckin early for sounds like that, but the problem is that the electronic stuff not only sounds very dated, but the actual melody is painful to listen to. The other complaint is that Ozzy sings the chorus in "Looking For Today" way too many times towards the end, making it almost nauseating...they could have trimmed a minute off that one. Otherwise, great album that sacrifices the blunt power, heaviness, and darkness of the earlier output but more than makes up for this with far superior songwriting and musicianship. An easy 9!
Yeah,now this is more like it, most songs are good,especially Sabbra Cadabra and Looking For Today,even through in some synth on the ballad Who Are You (which is also good). an 8.
I really enjoy this album. The heavyness is indeed toned down here, but the songs are so great! "Fluff" is such a beautiful acoustic instrumental, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is catchy as hell, with a great riff, reminicant of other classic Sabbath songs like "Iron Man" and "N.I.B", "Spiral Architect" is very nice, great melodys, "Who Are You" is an awesome Prog tune, just great stuff! I really enjoy the keyboards and the other shit they added on this album. Very very deserving of the Sabbath name, should be in the same list to buy as all the other classic Sabbath albums. 9/10.
While "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath'', "A National Acrobat" and "Looking For Today" are in my mind quite memorable the rest of this album just doesn't stick in your mind the way the first four albums do. The thing that really messed up this album was that bizzarre flowery/ Led Zeppeliny vibe in a lot of the songs. But with out a doubt the title track is just a work of genius! Everything comes together in this song. Melody, lyrics and that is one of Iommis most melodic solos. I find it a musing that the album contained some of their most mellowest riffs EVER while that outro riff to the title track is their most brutal riff with Ozzy."A National Acrobat" is a kick ass tune also. I don't think this album was their highest point or the start of the end, I just think I'd rather listen to Sabotage! (Robert Chaundy)
Forget 'Black Sabbath' - this is the welcome debut album by the Tony Iommi Rock Opera Experience, and although Sabotage is greater, this is catchy, entertaining, original - generally very nice indeed! The overcooked sludge section brings the otherwise fine title track down, but the rest does not suffer from misplaced heaviness. Spiral Architect is one of my favourite Sabbath songs of all, and as for Fluff... nice of REM to cover it!! (Everybody Hurts, I mean) (Geoff Bishop)
The release of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath would mark the bands fifth million seller in a row, an impressive feat by anyone's standards. Now on to the album! Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is a great album! It shows Sabbath trying to grow, by (as everyone knows) incorporating keyboards into their sound. This album is a mix of hard rock/metal, and it sounds fresh (if a little bit dated in parts due to the keyboards). The album starts out with the title track, and it is a classic! Great performance by all on this one. The same could be said about A National Acrobat one of the stronger tracks on the album. Check out Tony's overdubbing on the main riff. Freakin' cool! Next up is the instrumental Fluff. Meh. Not the worst acoustic piece Tony wrote, but not the best. Sabbra Cadabra is more of a hard rockin' track and here the keys/synths work very well. Solid track. Killing Yourself To Live is the second best song on the album. Great riffs and&nbs! p;vocal melody. Who Are You is the worst track on the album, and the one of the worst tracks on any of Sabbath's first six albums. Sure it may sound radio friendly for Sabbath, but Looking For Today is another great track. Great lyrics on this one! Very prophetic, considering the here today gone tommorow nature of the music biz. If Sabbath thought it was bad then, it has only gotten worse. The final cut on the album Spiral Architect part of what I consider the 'holy trinity' of Sabbath tunes. Epic and ambitious, This is Sabbath at their most progressive (up to this point). Incorporating acoustic guitars, synths, strings, etc. Check out the last verse, I love how the strings weave in and out around the vocal. It adds a nice touch of drama to the track. Overall not Sabbath's best but not too far down the list. 8 out of 10.
Good record. Not their best in my opinion, although it contains classics. The title song is famously great, A National Acrobat is great too. I love the continuing riff/groove of it. The guitar and vocal fades sound great, classic Sabbath. Sabra Cadabra is another great song. When the band hits that riff, the main Sabra riff, after Iommis starts and Geezer catches up, it just sounds completely twisted. That Sabra Cadabra riff and the little Iommi chirping licks behind it, one of my favorite Black Sabbath parts of all time. The band sound so "on" on that riff. Enter joke about substance use like coke or something. Good rythmic stuff by Black Sabbath. Then they kind of jam on for a minute and a half. Thats good to hear them stretch a little, I guess. Killing Yourself to Live is another good song. I like the middle part when Iommi is playing that lick with Ozzy singing behind it. Good flourishes by Iommi, too on that song. I dont really dislike or like too much Living for Today, and Spiral Architect(some good guitar, though). The production, by the band themselves, as I always heard(?), doesnt seem as "clear" as, say, Paranoid, but the "compression" sound of the production, it goes well with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Its just the way it was...

It seems that Soundgarden obtained the same type of sound(compressed?) when they did their last record by themselves. Thinking along those lines.....Sabbath and their sound/writing...its hard to underestimate them in rock history, even with a basically superior band like Zeppelin around. My opinion. Get the "power sounds" version of the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. I think they did those mixes in 1996...something like that...
April, 1974. I am watching ABC TV's In Concert broadcast of California Jam. I am 14 years old, ready to graduate 8th grade and go on to high school. I am watching the segment featuring ELP, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. OK, by now I am very familiar with Smoke on the Water and Lucky Man, but these four dudes come on and play Killing Yourself to Live and I am blown away by this thick sludgy sound that neither Zeppelin or Purple have ever created. Something clicked, and I went out and bought Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Still sounded heavier than anything else at the time, and with great variety and moods. First Sabbath album, and still my favorite. I went backwards with their releases and really kinda found a "sameness" to all their previous albums. SBS did not have that. Neither did Sabotage. Those 2 are still my favorite Sabbath albums. Although the thing that ruins it for me on Sabotage is the damn fruity part in The Writ with the harpsicord section; really ruins a great song.

Add your thoughts?

Sabotage - Warner Brothers 1975.
Rating = 8

Not heavy, but rockin'! Sounds similar to the last album, but there's more to bang your head to - especially the slow crapkicker "Hole In The Sky" and the quintessential heavy metal song (and I mean quintessential - without this song, there would probably never have been an Iron Maiden or a Metallica or a Slayer or a Deep Blue Something) "Symptom Of The Universe." It's just your basic three-chord stutter rock, but it's played at such a level of dark intensity and head-thrashing upper-midtempo speed that it just does something to my elbow every time I hear it. I think I might be stupider than you.

The rest of this album is epic stuff - really long songs with a bunch of different parts - they're good, though; they show development and diversity in a very Led Zeppelin-like manner. You could argue that this mainstreaming of the Sabbath sound over the last two albums was the worst thing that could possibly have happened to them, and I would agree with you if it weren't for the fact that these songs are still very good, even though they're not nearly as heavy as something with the name "Black Sabbath" on it should be.

Reader Comments (Marc Kovac)
"Symptom" is the best song Sabbath ever recorded! Purchase this album used, for I have found second handed copies to be plentiful for *some* reason. (Thomas W. Campbell)
I saw the Sabotage tour (one of the first concerts of my life) and will always remember them opening with "Hole in the Sky". A great song, though I'm not sure what it means. I think it's about a prisoner. Later, I hear, they started opening with "Symptom of the Universe" and using "Supertzar" on tape. By the way, Leslie West opened that show. A good time was had by all.
"Symptom Of The Universe" might very well be the first thrash metal song ever recorded (if you skip the acoustic part). (Tom Bagley)
I bought Sabotage for $2.99 at Mr. Sound back in 1977 when I was about 12, and it really did blow me away. I also found it sorta depressing, but to this day I regard it as my fave Sabs album, probably just for nostalgia's sake. The only other record I had at the time that came close to this in terms of putting across a real crrreeeeepy-ass "evil" feeling was probably B.O.C.'s Agents of Fortune, and it seemed even more "evil" because they didn't put any band photos on their covers (so I had no idea that they were just a bunch of cute little midgets). The increasing amounts of fuzz on Tony's guitar on each successive verse of "Megalomania" still sets all the rats in my dungeon a'cowerin'... (Michael King)
I purchased this album after having read this review, not expecting the usual Sabbath heaviness. It IS very heavy, but it's more NWOBHM heavy than Vol 4 heavy. I wonder if this album or SBS were the inspiration albums for bands like Diamond Head. "Hole In The Sky" kicks "tree bippy", BTW. (Jon Poirier)
Sabotage commercial? Sabotage came from a different planet. This is not music. I don't know what it is, but the print on the cassette wore out about 10 years ago. (Alligator)
Black Sabbath isn't my favorite group at all but I still like some of their songs, the best as for me is "Megalomania" from Sabotage, next goes "Super Tzar", "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", "Iron Man" and some more. Their best album I think is Sabotage. (Vincent Hedrick)
This is the best one with ozzy. This one kicks the shit out of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

"The Writ" kicks ass and so does "Megalomania" and "the Thrill of it All". All the songs kick ass except for "Supertzar". Anyone that thinks this one sucks should be shot. This, Vol 4, and Paranoid kick ass. The only thing that sucks about this one is that you can't get the song "Blow on a Jug" on the American Cd version. Its only on the Record and the import version. (Thomas Rickert)
Sabotage should be a ten. It's fucking great. Great songwriting abounds, especially the epic Meglomania. The only thing rotten in Sabmark is 4 minutes of crapola called Supertzar. I mean, just where were Sab's collective heads embedded on the day they recorded, much less made the decision to include, that embarassment? Other than that, this record shows how a great band in decline can whip out that final swan song that stuns, that slays, that evokes once more the divine muse that we may give ear worship to it. Or something like that. (Casey B.)
Quite different than Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, there is less synthesizer and longer songs. Their is mostly epic songs that change tune that have lightening fast riffs. This sounds like it influenced thrash metal like iron maiden & other bands, most bands of the mid 70's didnt use those kind of riffs like that. I wouldn't say this is commercial at all, its a dark album with lots of minor sounds and it can be mindnumbing. "Symptom of the Universe", "megolmania", and "the writ" are all pretty cool and I'm sad to hear that after this album they took a turn for the worst. I've only heard the first 6 and thats all i intend on buying unless someone else has the other albums and i listen to them at their house and like em. "supertzar" isnt that bad by the way, it fits right on this album with all the epic stuff. 7 out of 10. (Andrew T. Luehring)
Sabotage IS their swan song with Ozzy!!! This album kicks some mean fuckin' ass!!! That's all I gotta say about this one. (Tim Vaughan)
Sabotage is at least 10 years ahead of its time. Sounds like the boys are smoking less, snorting more, about to jump out of their skin with creativity. Great playing, great production, killer songwriting — droppin' it heavy all the way through. Iommi's shining hour. Overall, the band's best and most influential work. The opening to "Hole in they Sky" is what it's all about, ya'll. (James L. Tichenor)
I just have one thing to say. Symptom of the Universe. Without it there is no thrash metal so all you fags who listen to thrash and hate Sabbath need to take a little history lesson. (Xavier Fabriano)
Sabotage is definately the most under-rated album in their catalogue, which is a shame. It's kind of forgetten as well. Some of it sounds like they've been listening to mid-period Genesis a la The Lamb Lies Down ("Supertzar" and "Am I Going Insane" come to mind). This definately shows a lot of instrumental advancement. And just when everyone thought that Tony Iommi had no taste, he does a short piece that could only be described as "20th Century classical guitar." Don't forget the cocktail jazz outro of "Symptom of the Universe"! (Dan Smith)
This was the first Sabbath album I ever owned. I bought it in 1975 at the age of 15. I spent hours in my room, listening to this album over and over through the headphones - it blew me away! There was absolutely nothing like it back then - NOTHING. To this day, it's still my favorite Sabbath album. It's the album I judge all other Sabbath albums by, and so far none can match it! It's musical craftsmanship, lyrical content, sheer kick-axe riffs, heck, even the album cover have yet to be matched by the band - or any band for that matter! It's Black Sabbath at the pinnacle of their careers. If you look at the previous five albums, you see a band in search of an identity - They found it here! All the best stuff off those albums combine into this one - it's the cream of the crop - and, unfortunately, it was all downhill from here, as drugs completely destroyed the band.

I have to strongly disagree with all those who dis "Supertzar". The first time I heard that song, I was euphoric! The distorted guitar, the minor key riffs that rip your throat out, are in such sharp contrast to the inherent beauty of the choir! Brilliant! This is what metal music should be - sweetness and innocence, contrasted with raw aggression and brutality! I strongly applaud Mr. Iommi for having the guts to put this song on the record! If there has to be a throw away song on the record, I'd nominate "Am I Going Insane (Radio)" since it was an obvious attempt to pacify the record company's request for a "hit single like Paranoid", but it's still a cool segue into "The Writ".

And, you people who say that Sabbath is not "heavy metal" don't realize that they WERE heavy metal until all those spandex, girlie, "hair" bands came along and "stole" the genre in the 80's. In 1975, they called Sabbath and a handful of other bands "Heavy Metal", and none were as heavy as Sabbath. It always amuses me when I hear someone say Motley Crue or Def Leppard or some other inane band is "heavy metal", when they're neither "heavy" nor "metal"!

Also, for all the satanists who think that Sabbath is "their" band - Wake Up! They've never been satanic. Although they mention Satan in their lyrics, it's always in the negative. The satanic image was created more by the record company than by the band.
The best Sab album ever. Songs like "Symptom of the Universe", "Hole in the Sky", and "Am I Going Insane", speak for themselves. Metal Gods at their finest.
As Tony the Tiger would say, it's grrreat! "Hole in the Sky" is my favorite Sabbath song. I don't know how Prindle can describe that song as slow. God it kicks ass. And I'm in complete agreement with Mr. Prindle that thrash as we know it could not exist without "Symptom of the Universe" having come before it. Those two alone make this album worth owning, but you get other kickass tunes like "Meglomania" and "The Writ" too. Bonus! Easy 9. (Roland Fratzl)
God help me, but I think that this just might be Sabbath's finest hour. I know, I gave Master Of Reality the 10 rating, and this one loses that coveted 10 by just a hair. But who knows, tomorrow I might feel differently and think of this one as the 10...either way, this one is a must have. Sabotage is the perfect amalgamation of all the sounds that make vintage Sabbath an exhilarating listen. It beautifully weaves together the relentlessy heavy crunchy grind of the early works with the more mature, complex, experimental arrangements and pop sensibilties of the previous studio effort. Everything from sheer diversity, grand bombast, pop, eerie dark themes, and bonecrunching heaviness are in abundance here. Even the flow of these songs is perfect...this is the only Sabbath album that I feel takes me on a journey into a mysterious world when I listen to it. It's also one hell of a pissed off album, stemming from their troubles with a swindling management at the time. The cynicism throughout seems to have really energized the band in the making of this record, like they had something to prove big time, and boy did they ever a John Wayne knuckle sandwich! It's just so angry! And the most aggressive album of their career! Have you ever heard Ozzy scream at the top of his lungs so much on any other album of his career? The passion that comes across is totally electrifying and sends chills up my sphincter! "Hole In The Sky"; what can I say other than this is a criminally overlooked opens the album with a power and fury not heard before! What makes the material so much more invigorating is that they play everything a lot faster here, giving you that sense of urgency and's like a aural blitzkrieg! Some people would argue that with this release the mighty Sabbath laid the blueprint for thrash metal in the 80's, in particular with the classic track "Symptom Of The Universe", and I ccouldn't agree more. But wisely, nothing here is simple or straight's always challenging the listener. Midway through "Symptom" it turns into a really cool acoustic jam, which is totally unexpected....I love surprises like that! "Megalomania" is an awesome 9 minute epic track that starts slow and eerie, like you've been transported to some mysterious place, before it gains steam and builds into a hard driving fury! Oh and the production of this album is superb...everything sounds HUGE! "Supertzar" is another epic instrumental track that even makes great use of a full orchestra and choir! If early Sabbath was influenced by the blues, this one sounds more like it was influenced by dark orchestral, maybe even classical, scores. Everything sounds symphonic in proportion! "Am I Going Insane (Radio)" is a short poppy number (with keyboards!) that still sounds twisted and angry, keeping in theme with the mood of the album overall. The album comes to a close with perhaps the finest song they ever wrote; another 9 minute epic called "The Writ". It starts off with some devilish cackling and the music itself with a forboding motif that sounds like it's under water before it explodes! And Ozzy sounds positively possessed! There are several major different parts to the song, like a story unfolding. There are so many cool arrangements here, like even a harpsichord! Man is this ever amazing stuff. Just a magical album which shows Sabbath's true power in every category. Easily one of the best albums of the 70's, if not all time! A definite high 9, if not 10 out of 10.
Another real good one,Symptom Of The Universe is the best song here in my opinion followed by Megalomania and The Writ,these guys had some good songs in their day.
This one makes Sabbath Bloody Sabbath look like pansy music. Ok so no one can deny that Sabotage does sound a lot like its Sabbath Bloody Sabbath yet it rocks harder and for whatever reason is just better. But what I like about this album that is similar to SAS is that there is more singing. Now I am a lead guitar player myself and I do love solo and riffs a lot (Especially Tony Iommis) but I for some reason I am drawn to the sound of Ozzys voice and Sabbaths lyrics are better by far than Led Zeppelins or Deep Purple or Kiss or any other 70's band. Anyways this album is very different than the others. A lot of people treat them like AC/Dc or something and act like they have been doing the same album over and over but this one shares little in common with "Paranoid" and " Black Sabbath". Also I think that many of the soon to be metalheads/ thrasher were listening very closely to "Sympton Of the Universe" and "Don't Start (To Late)". "Sympton" set the stage for many different types of metal in that one song. That E to A# riff that sounds so evil, that riff where Ozzy just screams "Yeah", that almost classical sounding third riff and that folky/ jazzy outro were four very different riffs that influenced in different ways headbangers everywhere. (George M. Jaet)
I believe I still have an original casette tape but would prefer to find a cleaner version. I was sorely disappointed when the Sabotage CD was released and it did not contain one song off the album. The song was a short diddy, "Blowin a joint, everybody come on blow on a joint, be like me I'm blowin a joint, I want you to blow on a joint, everybody ?...". Does this song exist as mp3, is it contained on a release of a CD? I remember that the onset of the "Just Say No" and Ronald Reagan's drug policies, they came out about the same time CD's started to take off. This song was dropped, probably for marketing reasons. I don't care about waging a freedom of choice campaign, I appreciate the nostalgia, but it is one of my favorite free speech comments. Do you have any information? Please reply to Thanks. (Eric Ericson)
Sabotage. To some, one of their heaviest, to others, the beginning of the end. I mean, what do you do after you record Sabbath Bloody Sabbath? This album represents the last "classic line-up" great album. Now to me, I like Technical Ecstasy & Never Say Die that followed it, but they just didn't compare to Sabotage. Sabotage is actually a lot rougher in recording & performance than Bloody, and showcases just how diverse Sabbath actually was, comapred to the subtleness of its previous record.

But let's concentrate on the main eight songs that make up the sixth release. As far as Sabbath album openers go, Hole In The Sky is one of the best. Starting with a tune-up plus yell from Ozzy, this is one of the most energetic songs in their catalogue, plus it showcases that after six years of recording & touring together, Ozzy still had it (be it, this Sabbath album might of been the last for Ozzy's vocals at such a peak). Not to mention it had one of the coolest Iommi acoustic instrumentals on any Sabbath album, being Don't Start (Too Late). Opus Metal Classics also come to mind on this album with the side closers Megalomania & The Writ. Both are over eight minutes long each, and grow such an atmosphere between the two, that one just can't listen to either's first two minutes alone without going to the jammin' end. Also to note, this album, considered by most, to contain the last hit songs by the original line-up, being Am I Going Insane (Radio) & concert staple Symptom ! Of The Universe. While Insane tends to be on the commercial side (hell, with a subtitle like Radio that should tell you something!), Symptom is pure aggressive classic Sabbath. With incredible speed and tempo changes, it's no wonder why Sabbath started using it to open most of their shows between 1975 thru Ozzy's depature in 1979. And speaking of openers, Sabotage also gives us Supertzar, the hellish instrumental track that sounds like the soundtrack to Purgatory, trying to figure out which way to go, either Heaven or Hell. This track was used to actually open the shows before the got on stage for many years, until being replaced with Mob Rules' E5150 in 1981 (A little trivia here: The "hidden" track at the very end of this album at the end of the original pressing of Sabotage is called "Blow On A Jug", a short ditty in response to a performer who performed at an all-day concert Sabbath was part of. This performer was the highlight of the whole show simply because he came o! ut with just a jug and started blowin'! If you have the American CD ve rsion of Sabatage you don't have the hidden track, it's only on the album & cassette version. I do think it's on the English remaster though, but I'm not sure...). Which leaves us with The Thrill Of It All, another great cut from the album which like the others on Sabotage, showcases each member in his own way.

To me, Sabotage is Black Sabbath's quintessential album. This album is pure raw Sabbath from beginning to end. Where previous albums tended to be one way or another (Paranoid seems more on the heavy side, while Sabbath Bloody Sabbath on the mellower), Sabotage fits perfectly in the middle. It's a perfect swan song of the classic albums of the original line-up (with Technical Ecstasy & Never Say Die following it, but with not the great same results). In this reviewer's eyes, this is Black Sabbath's finest moment with Ozzy Osbourne, everything from it's outstanding production, Iommi's crunch at his best, Ozzy's vocals stretched to the limit, as well as some of the best performances by Geezer & Bill, this album should be as much a must-own as albums like Paranoid & Master Of Reality. And as historic.
I think Eric has hit the nail on the head. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best Black Sabbath album, and only a very little doubt that it is the best by a comfortable margin.

The drugs these guys were taking seem to have played a pretty important part in their musical development. Master of Reality was hampered by the fact that cannabis was turning them into retards, and Vol. 4 by the fact that table top-loads of cocaine were firing their productivity but not their creativity. They found a happy, if somewhat subdued, medium on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. On Sabotage, coke is again king, but it catches them at just the right moment - it amplifies their creativity, as opposed to making them run on empty.

By SBS, they seem to have realised - or have Tony realise it on their behalf - that they had to put some imagination and variety into their songs rather than just finding heavy tones and playing with them. They could never quite play with the speed of Deep Purple or the magical aura of Led Zeppelin, so they had to find their own niche, and that niche was highly structured, thematically varied rock opera. Geezer was clearly neither able nor willing to write several albums' worth of 'conceptual' lyrics, but looking back, this is obviously a very good thing. The lyrics on Sabotage are easily among the best in Sabbath's songbook, but not handicapped by being strung together in any sort of bogus narrative. For all these songs' complexities, there is a strong, pure thread of sheer rock'n'roll running through them. In other words, a near-perfect balance is struck. It's remarkable!

As well as marking Black Sabbath's zenith, this record eloquently advances the case for Tony Iommi to be considered a minor musical genius. I don't know if Pete Townshend or Roger Waters paid Sabotage much attention, but they ought to have done, because it did

several things that they... well, that they couldn't, frankly. Sabotage thinks outside the Sabbath box in a way that most other bands couldn't emulate. In some ways, this isn't a successor to all their previous work, it's an album by a completely different band with the same members. I don't know where or how they came by some of these ideas - listening to the dumbness of some of their earlier records its hard to comprehend how they could be responsible for epics like Thrill Of It All and Sympon Of The Universe.

Others have sung the music's praises above, so I won't.go over old ground. But the happy fact is that this is the best music Black Sabbath wrote, filtered through the best production Tony Iommi ever managed. Every song feels like a lttle (or not-so-little) masterpiece, laden with fascinating detail, but always with a strong melody too. The one track that seems to come in for regular criticism is Supertsar, but to my mind it is one of the most brilliant things on the whole album. Straight out left field, of course, which is probably why some folk can't handle it, but unquestionably powerful, momentous, hypnotic and thoroughly original. Heady, classic stuff.

Truth to tell, they never made another really good record after Sabotage. A few were good-ish, a few were passable and most were thoroughly rotten.There is a (substantial) part of me that thinks they should have called it quits after Sabotage. As it is, their reputation is immense, but if they had bowed out after this masterpiece they would have gone down in history as genuine musical legends.

Every so often, remember to raise a glass to Sabotage - a memorable, watertight prog-metal-opera album is not something that comes along every day, especially decades before the genre is even supposed to exist.

Ten! Ten! Ten! (Alain Leost)
Tremendous ! The only Sabbath album where you can’t make the difference in some of the songs. Heavy and fated and sometimes happy and the next minute mad. Forget Hawkwind, drop out the Pink Floyd, this one’s is for you. 9 ( once again the slow track is a filler ). (Gregory Kurtz)
You guys are wrong. Supertzar adds to the eerie feel for a perfect album. (Geoff Bishop)
Fuck this album RULES! The best original linup release, and Black Sabbath's crowning glory. This combines the previous album's progressive elements with Sabbath's trademark heavier then elephant tits sound. Track one is 'Hole In The Sky' and it is one of Sabbath's best lead-off tracks. A heavy pulsating riff throughout the song will command you to bang your head. Great playing by Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward, and a killer vocal by Ozzy Osbourne! The next song Don't Start (Too Late) is a cool classical sounding acoustic piece played by Iommi, and It's my favourite of all of Iommi's acoustic pieces. It serves as a GREAT introduction to the proto-thrash of 'Symptom Of The Universe'. GOD DAMN! THIS song is FUCKING AMAZING. All the riffs played by Iommi are INCREDIBLE, and some of the heaviest he ever came up with! I agree with everyone who says that you can see where bands like Slayer and Metallica got inspiration for a lot of their material ! from. Back to the song, I love the acoustic interlude during the second half! Awesome contrast to the first part of the song! The fourth track Megalomania is my favourite epic song that Sabbath has EVER done. The intro is fuckin' creepy, especially Iommi's guitar playing and Ozzy's haunting vocals! I love the way Ozzy's vocals fade into the start of each verse in the first part of the song! Obsessed.. Obsessed.. Obsessed.. Obsessed.. Obsessed.. Obsessed! Halfway through the song Iommi plays a KILLER riff that the band rock out on for the duration of the song. Ozzy's vocals sound ABSOLUTELY POSSESSED during this part of the song! GREAT SONG! The following track 'Thrill Of It All' is another KICK ASS tune! I love Iommi's intro riff in this song! A lumbering heavy-as-shit riff is then played into some cool leadwork from Iommi, into a KILLER groove! The band sounds tight as hell! Another GREAT track! 'Supertzar is up next, and it's an interesting song. ! The riffs played by Tony, and the choir makes for a very classically i nfluenced gothic type sound. I personally think it's mood fits the album perfectly. 'Am I Going Insane'(Radio)' is obvioisly a stab at a more commercial sound, but it still rocks pretty damn hard! Overall it's got a nice rocking Iommi riff, and a good, solid perfroman by eveyone in the band especially Ozzy. The song ends with some evil sounding laughing and moaning and it sound pretty cool, and the sounds continue into the final track, 'The Writ'. An evil sounding bassline from Geezer, is played and then the whole band joins in, with Ozzy sounding MENACING! That right there is my FAVOURITE vocal performance by Ozzy Osbourne EVER! This is another epic song, and it is AMAZING! This is the final "Classic" album by the original Sabbath lineup, but in my opinion the following two albums "Technical Ecstacy' and 'Never Say Die' are also worth picking up. Those two albums are just not as strong as the first six classic ones. 'Sabotage' is HIGHLY recommended, and it is the BEST Black! Sabbath album EVER! It shoulda got a 10!
Get all the first 6 Sabbath records. Paranoid is their best and you ALL KNOW IT.... (Geoff Bishop)
Actually, no. I don't know it. Paranoid is not Sabbath's best album. (L. Stephen Kelly)
That this was the first Sabbath album not to go Gold or Platinum right away makes it the most underrated. It's as if the Sabbath is back from their Vol IV vacation in full force, doing what they do best: No nonsense, teeth-jarring heavy metal. Excellent album.
When Sabbath recorded this album, they were recording their first legal stuff since Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Duh. But, BUT, when contract issues were eventually solved, the Sabs were pissed, and this release is the product of their vitriol. Fortunately they were angry in a very productive way. Knowing that, take it for what is is; heavy and sometimes energetic. Except "Am I Going Insane" , and even that's okay.

I miss Volume IV too, and yes, this is the last great Sabbath album. They're so pissed off here.
This is probably my favourite Black Sabbath album tied with Master of Reality.If anything, I think Mark underrates it a bit. He was right about these songs being epic - but what importantly elevates this album is that these songs are not progressive or complex like the previous album, the emphasis is always on rock. Looking at some of the other user comments, I get the feeling a lot of people who listen to it give up with songs like "Megalomania" in the first few minutes, and never get to the incredible rock song that occupies the last six of the nine minute song. Overall, I think the record is the perfect mix of trippy/psychedelia and hard rock. Nothing on here is as doomy or sludgey like on the last three, but it's heavy in other ways - Symptom of the Universe is one of the fastest Sabbath songs yet, but it also has a cool, acoustic slow outro for some reason. "Thrill of it" get incredibly cheesy as it goes, but it was like, 1975, and here Black Sabbath are playing a differently influential, faster metal.
This album starts with the most unholy quadrinity (?) of metal ever. Unveiled to a group of 15 year olds in '75, Hole in the Sky, Don't Start Too Late, Symptom of the Universe, and Meglomania all had my friends and I scratching our heads in disbelief. Was this a newer, more amazing Sabbath? How could some band we knew outdo themselves? Well, they did, and never returned to this amazing sphere of existence. Too bad. The pinnacle. They were never the same ever again, although what was to follow wasn't exactly trash. This was the LP where they shot their creative wad.

Add your thoughts?

We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll - Warner Brothers 1976.
Rating = 9

This should have been the greatest Black Sabbath album ever. A double-album compiliation of stuff from the first six albums? How could they possibly go wrong?

How indeed. Well, let me start by saying that what's here is great, no doubt about that. But the song choice is very, very bizarre. Why does it contain 35 minutes from the first record, but only two tracks from Master Of Reality? And more disgustingly, why does it only have ONE TRACK APIECE from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage? Where the hell is "Hole In The Sky"? And "Symptom Of The Universe," for Christ's sake? And how the hell could you have skipped over "Supernaut"? Man alive. Explanation, please? Everybody already owns the debut album; we don't need to hear it again here. My only guess is that maybe it was difficult to locate the first album in 1976, so they decided to give people a break by including most of it in this collection? Anybody? Does anybody know?

Anyway, so yeah -- what's here is great, but what's missing is very disturbing.

Reader Comments (Vincent Hedrick)
I tottaly agree with you. They should of put alot more songs on that one. They should have made this one a double cd instead of taking out "Warning" and "Laguna Sunrise" to make it fit on one cd. Hell, who needs "Warning" anyway. The whole first album is practically on this album. (Douglas Swalen)
This may explain why the song selection was so bizarre. This release was pushed out by Warner Brothers totally unbeknownst to the band until it came out.

Add your thoughts?

Technical Ecstasy - Warner Brothers 1976.
Rating = 6

In my original reviews, I totally wrote off this album, having only heard it once and remembering it as being really darn lousy. Truth is - it's not bad at all. It's definitely the least inspiring of any album sporting the name "Black Sabbath" that was released before Orwell's 1984 found Mr. Iommi surrounding himself with scabs and using the name anyway, but there's honestly not a bad song on it. No great ones, either, unfortunately, although the dark keyboard tune "You Won't Change Me" comes close. Basically, there's no clearcut problem with the record as a whole; it's just that the individual songs aren't as well written as they were on the previous six records.

Say! Let's go track by track for no good reason at all - "Back Street Kids" has some kickbutt music, but the lyrics are even stupider than usual, and Ozzy's treated vocals are way too loud in the mix. "It's Alright" is a decent Beatles ripoff, but it's just that - a Beatles ripoff. "All Moving Parts (Stand Still)" has a hip bouncy disco part but the rest of the song is boring. "Dirty Women" starts off with a topnotch riff, but ends up with the band playing "25 Or 6 To 4" for three and a half minutes. "Rock 'N' Roll Doctor" is a dumb little blues-rock thing; not terrible, but not very necessary either. "She's Gone" is interesting in that it's a slow ballad, but that's the only way in which it's interesting. And "Gypsy" - well, it's okay. Rock on! Don't write this off entirely; if you're a fan, you'll find a lot to enjoy here. They've got lots of different synths and things going on, but the mix is still guitar-heavy, which is nice. It's just, like I said, not as good as the others.

Reader Comments (Brett Whisson)
Technical Ecstacy rips! Especially "Dirty Women"! Ignore at your peril. (Lars Tangmark)
DON'T ignore Technical Ecstasy! There's a lot of crap on it ("Rock 'N' Roll Doctor," "She's Gone," "It's Alright," etc..), but there is "Backstreet Kids," a bloody nasty, uptempo, booze-and-amphetamine-tribute to rock'n'roll living. One of the best songs of the 70's really! Equally glorious are "Gipsy," "All Moving Parts," and "Dirty Women." There's plenty of tragedy but not a lot of blues. (Mattias Eriksson)
Technical Ecstasy is a great album. "You Won't Change Me" and "Gypsy" kick ass!! But the song "She's Gone" really sucks!! (Enzo Foglianese)
Technical is a jewel; fuck off, you do not understand god. (Matt Terwillegar)
Technical Ecstasy was perhaps the shittiest Sabbath album ever ("Featuring Tony Iommi" album excepted). Boring, dumb-shit lyrics, snoozing guitar, etc. Geezer must have been constipated on this one. Definitely the low point on Ozzy's career. Some fucked-up god, Enzo!

"" (Mary Margaret Durazo)
I don't like Technical Ecstasy very much, but "Back Street Kids" is one of their best ever. It kind of reminds me of Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" with Ozzy pronouncing every syllable on the chorus. "All Moving Parts (Stand Still)" is also good, but most of the others aren't too good.
This is a great album, I grew up listening to Sabbath and this album seemed a natural progression from the earlier albums. Two songs on side 2 are very ordinary but that leaves 6 with something great to offer which is pretty good for any album. There are great solos, great riffs, some interesting lyrics (showing a more mature attitude, not just Sci Fi, doom and gloom which is great but hey they had to move on!). I've just bought the digitally remastered version and I'm enjoying it all over again. (Martin)
Technical Ecstasy is not their best, but certainly not their worst. There are some great moments in most of the songs. ("She's Gone" is certainly a poor effort). This in not a super heavy album like the previous, but it does mark a progression both lyrically and musically. I play guitar and find some the riffs quite interesting to play. "Gypsy", "Dirty Women", "All Moving Parts" have supurb riffs in them. The soloing from Iommi is defenite progression. This album takes longer to get into, (as do most great albums) and this one is well worth the effort.
Sabbath's grooviest album cover. Looks like the album could be from Genesis or Yes. This album sounds the least like Sabbath (excluding post 84 stuff) and is a must have for Sab fans. Their least understood album? I get a kick out of "She's Gone". It shows off the Ozz's crooning sentimental side which we would become more familiar with over the years. Check out these lyrics "the silent emptiness of one sided love". Ozz you want me to get you a kleenex!
Technicle exstacy is one of thier best albums. From "dirty woman" to "she's gone" all are great

Don't listen to these people, it kicks ass! As if "you won't change me" dosen't rule? Shut Up! Get this album, it kicks serious butt!
Technical ecstacy is the worst album with ozzy.
You are completely clueless on this one. Try listening to it again in an unbaised fashion. "Gypsy" ,and "All Moving Parts Stand Still" are great tracks, The solo at the end of "Dirty Women" and all of Tony's guitar work are quite good and the ballads are a different direction for Sabbath "It's Alright" and "She's Gone". THe lyrics to those two are heartfelt and beleiveable and show the sad side of the band at the end of a long road of touring, recording, drugs, failed marriages, relationships and the tensions within the band. A confusing, distraught album that represents the period the band was moving through! Don't judge what you don't understand! (Thomas Rickert)
Yeah, Technical Ecstacy is substandard. I listen anyway, I even kinda like, but I would warn others to be wary too. The Bill Ward tune, though, is so unbelievably bad that it is simply a band highlight, one of those cases where judgements reverse and you realize that its simply great! Many might disagree here, but so what. Solipsistic sweepisms are what it is all about.
Right on! It was horrible. Any superfan can find gold in a piece of granite. The truth was, it was 1976, the coke was kicking, and the senses were not. This is the worst lp of the Ozzy era. Hands down the worst. To all those who find merit in this lp, you are Black Sabbaths greatest asset. I feel stupid for even copying the cassette. the worst. (joshwa)
the only problem i have with this album is the lyrics are stupider then usual. other then that it is a good album and not bad to start of with for your first black sabbath album. the songs blend well allot better then they did with sbs (Jim Coghlin)
I agree with an eariler reply by "root@swinburne." I also grew up with Black Sabbath and at the time this album seemed like the logical next step. There was no internet then, or underground radio stations that I knew of, and virtually no regular radio station in my area discussed or played Black Sabbath. I grew up being the only Sab fan on my street. I never knew that Technical Ecstacy was supposed to be "shit" until I bought my computer, disvovered usenet, and began reading all the trash talk. It is a fantastic album, even if it moves away from the dark themes of Sabotage. "Dirty Women" alone is worth the price of the album, but it is not the only great song on it. The only track I really don't like is "Rock 'n Roll Doctor." And "It's Alright" isn't really a Sabbath song. Otherwise, it's another great Black Sabbath album. (Roland Fratzl)
Do not under estimate this album!! It's an overlooked classic that should be held in the same high regard as the first six albums. It's not really worse than the "classic" stuff, just very different and a logical evolution of the band if you observe how they changed which each album. Yes, for this release they pretty much drastically changed their sound, and you won't find any of the heavy dark riffs or dark themed lyrics and imagery here. The focus was on songwriting and trying to further push the limits of their arrangements. As the liner notes suggest, this is their "rock opera", with all kinds of arty riffs, complex structures and dense was the most ambitious album yet and while it doesn't always work, most of the time it's great! "Back Street Kids" is a terrific galopping rock song with a weird guitar sound that almost sounds electronic! "You Won't Change Me" reminds you more of the older style, but there's lots of layered keyboards on that one, and they don't even sound gay the way you'd expect! "It's Alright" is a pure Beatle-esque pop song! Who would ever think they could write music like that? And with the drummer singing, who actually has a very nice voice! "Gypsy" is another great unorthodox song with many different parts and lots of different instruments. "All Moving Parts" has a cool funky vibe to it; another surprise! "She's Gone" is a very depressing ballad with great use of strings, though it would have benefitted if Ozzy had more quietly whispered the vocals like on "Solitude", because he sounds a bit out of place over the mellow musical accompaniment. "Dirty Women" is another epic track with tons and tons of great hard riffs. The only real stinker here is "Rock 'N Roll Doctor", a generic blues boogie song that you would expect from Ted Nugent or Foghat...Sabbath just sounds totally out of place playing in that style. It's the worst song the original line up ever recorded and makes you wonder why they would stoop to tackling such basic material when their potential is so much higher...maybe they were trying to show diversity; anyhow, that one sucks the bag. One other thing that does bother me though is that the lyrics are allround quite a bit weaker than in the past. I can understand why early Sabbath fans don't like this album because it's such a huge departure, but really, how long could they have continued repeating the same old schtick before becoming a useless parody? And there's certainly nothing generic about this album other than that "Rock 'N Roll Doctor" atrocity; they wouldn't become generic and predictable until Dio joined.
Ozzy's vocals give me a headache on Backstreet Kids. They ruin the song. (Brent Shakeshaft)
I agree on first listening maybe it's not that hot...BUT, I listened to this every night for 3 hours trying to study up for exams. so, with a little blue mist and some focus it takes you to a special place that few albums can do, the secret is a driving tempo to the songs and yet enough range to keep you coming up to breath.

I love this album...the only over one's that come close in terms of memories are Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, vol 4. and Heaven and Hell. Not everybody's cup of tea but no other band sounds like this album, that aren't crap.
This is a great album. The only thing negative is the way it was mixed. Too freaking muddy and the vocals tooo low..
This is the last great Sabbath album, ending a long and fruitful run. God bless 'em!

You Won't Change Me has slamming solos and lyrics that make me wanna cry.

Dirty Women has yet another mega-heavy riff towards the end, and Backstreet Kids mixes sentimental and kick-ass, heavy on the kick-ass.

I don't like Gypsy, but the rest are varying degrees of great.

I saw them in 78 at MSG. August. Van Halen opened for them! (Their first album tour). I had good seats and when Sabbath came out, they were all smiling and happy, then proceded to play an excellent show. When Ozzy came out, the first thing he said was, "Is everybody high?"

That was the Never Say Die tour. Oh well, then Ozzy was gone and I never cared for them after that.

ps- Mark, you dissed Chicago in an earlier review (Sabatage?). Not good. Chicago I through VII contain tons of various styles of creative genius music.

Especially Chicago VII. Except side 4.

Add your thoughts?

Never Say Die - Warner Brothers 1978.
Rating = 7

Although not the easiest album in the world to enjoy (with horns, pianos, disco beats, and more overblown Quadrophenia riffs, this is hardly the Sab de old), repeated listens reveal deeper truths about rock music (if not heavy metal) as a concept and thus open the whole flamin' donut to wild and unscrupulous debate.

In my ears, this is a bizarre mixture of Nugent cock rock riffs and deliberately artsy song stylings. Granted, you might say the same thing about Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and probably should, but I didn't, so let's address it now. The Zeppelinishy riffs tear pages out of the book of my life (the shaft-shakin' intro riff to "Swinging The Chain," the hip-hoppin' bass groove of "Junior's Eyes," the smiley smile optimistic glee of the title track - all huge hits!!!), and the chamber hall cathedral overdrama of the totally out of character "maturity suite" on side two (made up of the Steely Dan lounge of "Air Dance," the piano-glorified Zep rip "Over To You," and the hornsy frenny of the instrumental "Breakout," which inspired a fine Atari 2600 cartridge) sorta balance each other out so you don't get terribly bored with either. The rocker "Shock Wave," for example, is just not very good. The sixty-two-parted "Johnny Blade" is a bit much, too. Still, it's gobs more inspired than anything I can remember from Technical Ecstasy, and thus a welcome comeback from our heroes o' ol'! Then Ozzy quit.

Reader Comments (Dan)
Let me first thank you for devoting time for this web page. It is very honest and informative. I decided to give my opinion after I read up to and through the Never Say Die segment. This is because I don't consider Black Sabbath to be Black Sabbath without Ozzy. Anyways, I agree with certain things and disagree with others.

I don't want to argue over drug use. But you label Sabbath listeners by saying that Sabbath was a band for non-hippie pot smokers. Anyone can enjoy Sabbath if they smoke or not. You make it sound like people who smoke and listen to Sabbath are just a bunch of do nothings. Well, look at the music today. Rap, Grunge, what is this shit!? I would much rather be considered a pot smoking idiot that listens to Sabbath then a wigger homo rapper gangsta. Don't get me wrong. Sterotypes can often be true. Just don't label. Leave that to the liberals.

It is so hard to rate Sabbath's albums. I have heard so many opinions. For example. This is the 1st time I have heard that Vol. 4 was their best album. I personally don't think there is a "best" Sabbath album. Their sound changed often, but remained consistently good. It seems to me that you thought the band got worse as time went on. I don't think that was the case. With any other band, yes, this would be the case. But not with Sabbath, and especially not with Ozzy. He is the last person that would sell out. I think their sound was more raw in the beginning, as with any band. But I don't feel that Never Say Die was any worse than Volume 4. More commercial, maybe. Selling out for a cheesy sound, no way. I will agree with you on Technical Ecstacy. This was Sabbath's worst effort, but still is not that bad, just way too slow at points. I don't know about you, but I think Bill Ward is an awesome singer. I personally like Sabotage as one of their best. Anyone that thinks this album got too commercial or has a pussy sound to it can come to me. This album is amazing. Do you think anyone can match the screaming session by Ozzy at the end of "Am I Going Insane?" Come on. (Matt Terwillegar)
Bill Ward sings? (Ian D. Macintyre)
Yes, he sings on "It's Alright" and "Swinging The Chain."
Technical Ecstasy wasn't completely pathetic--"All Moving Parts" was cool, "Backstreet Kids," but "She's Gone" was sorry. And hey--why the hell did you give sab a seven for their last ozzy album--Never Say Die. I listened to it once, and ever since it has sat in my tape collection collecting dust.

Bill Ward now has a pair of solo albums--the first is very difficult to find --if you can find it Ward One pleasee email me. Bill doesn't sing on the first one--!!!THANK GODD!!!BUT aahhhhhhzzzeeeeeeeee sings on a few.

"" (Mary Margaret Durazo)
This one is way better than Technical Ecstasy. "Never Say Die" and "Johnny Blade" are some of their best songs in a long time. Most of the tracks are solid except for a few bores. Overall it's not as good as their others except for Technical Ecstasy. (Rod Pert)
This was another great album, my third favourite sabbath production. (Jeff Downing)
My only problem with this album is the rather dull production. It sounds like Bill Ward is playing drums on an empty box! Some great songs,though. "Junior's Eyes", "Johnny Blade", and "Shockwave" are terrific. I enjoyed the experimentalization. They had balls to try integrating jazzy elements. I have to disagree with you about any "cock rock" leanings. In the context of when it was done, it was a brave move. Of course,everyone went to buy the cock rock instead!

This one Kicks too! As if "Johnny Blade" isn't heavy enough to squash any rock at that time? it rulz! Don't listen to them and get it! It's just not Sabbath without Ozzy! Pick 'em all up!
The title track is the best on this album. (Vincent Hedrick)
This record is their worst with Ozzy. The only good Tracks are the title track, "Juniors eyes", and "hard road". No wonder Ozzy left. Technical Ectasy is alot better. (Thomas Rickert)
Yeah, this is band on the wane. Infighting, drugs, abuses, alcohol, perhaps contracts due signed in blood to the God of Heavy that they sold their souls to years before -- whatever the reason, decline reigns. But for most of side 1, decline looks good on them. A Hard Road is especially evocative, a weary happiness that speaks to a hard-won wisdom that nevertheless doesn't improve their lives, only allows them another trip to the well of great songs. Its a song to answer what the hell they were trying to say about us, their audience, in The Writ from Sabotage. Side two, though. Whew. Odors, man, odors. It's all over, isn't it. Over to you, indeed. Over and out, more like. (Anand Basawapatna)
Ozzy did not quit. He was fired because his substance problems really began to hinder the band. Also, in my opinion, his solo albums are much better than any of Sabbath's material since 1975 (Most of the guitarists he teamed up with were more talented than Tony) and he writes the lyrics (Geezer was the principle lyricist). (joshwa)
dont count out this album. The song johnny blade is as hard as any song sabbath has ever done and if anyone disagrees they should think over their opinion.
This could've been Sabbath's Tommy. But when you write numbers in some cold movie theater, and the lead singer is being difficult, it's hardly time for a masterpiece.

If Sabbath were feeling more positive about themselves, this could've been a great record. It has the ingredients of a thematic album - the kickass rocker title track as a theme, the story of Johnny Blade, the sad tale of Junior's Eyes, etc.

The album itself is really original, Sabbath finally proved they could play good old rock n' roll, yet still sound like Sabbath. This is basically a revisitation of Volume 4, using Sabotage production.

Tony really shows his versitality here as both guitarist and arranger. Bill Ward deserves more than a medal for trying on vocals, his voice may not be polished, but it's got a very "Sabbath" quality to it (kinda reminds me of Iron Butterfly's vocalist). The writing is really good ("Junior's Eyes" is amazing), even though songs like "Johnny Blade", "Breakout", and "Air Dance" could've used a little more work (in which cases, Iommi tried to use his soloing and production to save the day - and it almost does).

Oz's departure is verbalized clearly in his last words on the album "All over, over to you...". After a confused jazzy instrumental, Swinging the Chain erupts, and Bill Ward answers "All the songs are history now/We're so sorry, sorry that it happened that way". So am I.

All in all, given the conditions this record was made under, in the spirit of the title track, Sabbath more than perservered. Any fan of hard rock will enjoy this record.

BTW, bill ward's album Ward One can be found on his website, (Ivar Hole Aksnes)
IMHO, "Shock Wave" is one of Sabbath's greatest songs. But their best song is "Supernaut!"

These songs are maybe not very dense, but they are in full-flight. "Shock Wave" fits the N.S.D. album cover perfectly.
Never Say Die is probably one of the least inspired Sabbath albums for a number of reasons, yet it is still a good album, particularly the firstfive tracks. But here's why I think it belongs at near the bottom of the best Sabbath albums list: Everyone raves about Johnny Blade, but what crappy lyrics!! How much more cheesy can it get? (Although the song does stick in your head) The production sucks. Tony's guitar sounds like it's coming out of a tin can, as do the drums. The bass and vocals are well mixed, though. Ozzy is hardly into the album - his vocals leave much to be desired because his level of intensity is at 2/10, maybe it's the dope, but more likely the feud with Iommi is the reason for Ozzy's lack of intensity. I'm glad I bought this one used (Roland Fratzl)
The last one with Ozzy and definitely a weird one. Stylistically, this one is all over the place. I'd say the first half isn't bad at all, but the second half is hard to sit through. "Never Say Die" (the song) is just ok, but not what Sabbath should be's a pretty generic typical 70's hard rock song with no surprises, so naturally it was a hit because people are stupid. You really expect more from these guys than this kinda material, and the chord progression sounds directly stolen from Thin Lizzy's 1976 hit, "The Boys Are Back In Town". And what happened to Iommi's signature guitar sound? He changed it to the point that you can barely tell it's him...not a good idea. "Johnny Blade" is the best song on the album; the riffs and drumming are outstanding, even though lyrically it approaches high camp with it's comic book style. "Junior's Eyes" is another great melancholy song, sung rather touchingly by Ozzy, as it should be, considering I've heard it's based on his father's death at the time. Nice funky bass line by Geezer too. "A Hard Road" is a decent pop number but that's all; "Shockwave" is an ok heavier rocker, but then it starts going downhill. The opening riff to "Air Dance" makes me cringe, even though the song does manage to recover somewhat. "Over To You" is appropriately titled seeing how it's Ozzy's swan song on the record (and soon the band)'s a terrible song! He sounds like he's falling asleep while singing the lyrics which is not surprising because the song is about as boring, generic, and uninspired as it gets. There's a line in the middle somwhere where he sings about "wandering aimlessly"; quite an apt description. "Breakout" is the bizarre jazz instrumental which really sounds out of place, and I simply cannot stand sax solos! They are so ugly and cheesy and sleazy, reminding me of a low grade 70's porno flick with really pig-dog ugly, cellulite assed bitches with disgustingly hairy pussies. ICK! The last song, "Swinging The Chain" is purely abysmal. The arrangements suck, there's no melodies, Iommi's playing is shockingly sloppy, and even worse, the muddy production makes it sound like they're playing behind a wall! Bill Ward makes his last ever appearance on lead vocals on this track, as he adds nothing to the song either. Finally you're put out of your misery when it's over and you can breathe again. It sounds to me like they threw the last half of the album together in about ten minutes; that's how totally shit it is. And people actually complain that the two new songs they recorded together in 1998 for the Reunion album, "Psycho Man" and "Selling My Soul" are not that good?? Listen again! Those are both light years better than at least half of this rubbish. It's so discouraging because at their peak, the Sabs would never even have considered releasing songs this unadulteratedly piss weak. A 5 or real low 6 for this one, and that's being real fucking nice. It actually makes you look forward to the Dio years!
.... How this peice of absolute shit gets a fairly decent rating from EVERY independent review site out there is absolutley beyond me, especially when a thunderous, powerful masterpeice like TYR is constantly panned.

Yes, that's right, I said TYR is a masterpeice, ESPECIALLY in the context of comparing it to Never Say Die, for chrissake.

The production on Never Say Die only influenced one thing, Metallica's St. Anger... in other words, THERE IS NO PRODUCTION! Every instrument is flat and unmixed! Tony's guitar sounds like a kitten purring! The bass cannot be heard even on the BASS SOLO that leads off Junior's Eyes. Ozzy isn't terribly offensive vocally (on the title track, he actually sounds almost inspired) but some of these songs.... good lord... 'Over To You' sounds like the bastard offspring of Frank Sinatra and Led Zeppelin. 'Breakout' has absolutley no point, 'Swinging The Chain' finds Bill Ward (who is actually a great singer, check out his solo offering Ward One) screaming like a bloody lunatic to no avail, and 'A Hard Road' repeats the SAME TWO NOTES for 6 minutes!

In fact, the only good song on here is the one most people despise, 'Air Dance', which is a wonderful, atmospheric peice of lounge-jazz with nice keyboard fills and a decent introductory riff.

Now, compare this to TYR, with it's pummeling sound, godlike drumming from Cozy Powell, Tony Martin's vocal range not yet in decline (as it would be painfully obvious on C.P. and Forbidden) and Iommi churning out some of his finest work. Which two riffs are ripped 'point blank' from earlier Sabbath songs, and which songs are they, Prindle, because I just dont hear it.

Anyways, I'm a first time poster, and I've read this site for quite some time. I love your style and mostly agree with you, but I had to get this off my chest. (Timothy Herrman)
What's with all this negative reaction to this very nice Sabbath album. I don't hear people, well, sometimes I hear voices, but I don't hear anybody gripping about the jazzy thing at the end of Sympotoms, which is basically what they do on 'Air Dance'. Sure this tune don't have no monolithic, kick the homeless guy in the teeth, riff, but it's still a cool song.'Johnny Blade' has some of the most audacious drumming I've ever heard. Listen to that roll shuffle Mr. Ward lays down. Man, that is so innovative. Ya don't hear that stuff on many a Heavy rock song. Listen to those fills he throws in. LISTEN TO 'EM! Tony's riffs are tight as hell and lurching in and out. One of the greatest Sabbath songs ever. Man, I named my first born after this song. He's doing 25 to life, though.

'Junior's Eyes' is also another masterpiece in songwriting. Once again checkout the drumming. The whole melody that Geezer carrries. These 2 tracks and the title song blow away just about everything on 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath'. This is a highly respectable swan song. I'll gladly admit 'Breakout' rather sucks. Ozzy's a drunken neurotic drunk for cutting down this record. (Paul Stevens)
This is personally my favourite sabbath album (and I've got 'em all). It's really diverse, heavy as fuck in some places, mellow and jazzy in others. The tunes are all very good and the arrangements incredible, if not always what you'd expect from the sabs. Other fans seem to hate it for some reason, but personally it knocks the spots off anything that came later, and a lot of what went before. (L. Stephen Kelly)
I've heard so many bad things about this album (see the other 78 million comments), but I *LIKED* this one. As much variation as there is throughout the album, it is still quite clearly Black Sabbath. I thoughth the title of the album was sadly ironic though. Shortly thereafter, Black Sabbath as its original lineup did precisely the opposite -- they died.

Add your thoughts?

Heaven And Hell - Warner Brothers 1980.
Rating = 7

Ooooh! Ronnie James Dio has a cool voice! Kinda the ultimate generic heavy metal screamer. And I mean that in a good way! He hits all the high notes, revels in vibrato, reeks of malevolence - it's cool! Much more professional than ol' Oz, who was definitely no slouch himself, but sometimes sounded a bit... umm... dull. Now then, the eight songs on this record are much more simplistic than we've grown to expect from Tony Iommi and his little friends, but they're not less enjoyable for this; they're just more traditionally hard rock-esque. No weird veerings into cocktail jazz or reverberating earth rumbles - just some kickbutt hard rock, some epic Zeppeliny rambling, and a few kinda overlong pop things. Good, though! Not a huge step away from Never Say Die! in tone, but the whole set-up is much more trimmed down. Predictable? Yes. But it's still some good solid hard rock, and that's no little feat, Mr. Doubter.

Reader Comments (Enzo Foglianese)
One of their best! (Squatch)
Dio's best and an awesome album. Geezer kicks and the whole album rocks. Don't be afraid to crank it!!!
Although I am a huge fan of Ozzy, I still think Heaven and Hell is one of the greatest Sabbath albums ever. It definitely has the best Iommi guitar solos. The solo in the song,"Lonely is the word" is one of the most emotionally moving pieces of music I have ever heard. I feel that most fans of Sabbath only appreciate the early, heavy stuff and can't relate to the more artistic, creative material. Songs like "Heaven and Hell," "Children of the Sea," and "Die Young" are true masterpieces. (Marc Kovac)
Don't buy *this* garbage album! Instead, listen to The Who track "Heaven and Hell" once for every dollar you saved. Sabbath is not Black without "The Oz".
james can go to hell, without ozzy this band bites. (Glyn Ford)
come on dudes! even if you love Ozzy, as I do, you must agree that Dio is a mighty singer. yes, he's a bighead, but he deserves respect. He's technically better than Ozzy. Having said this, however, I must say that Ozzy alone has the true indefineable essence that is really Sabbath, but Dio doesn't suck either. Neither does Tony Martin, he's a good singer too.
I have this on tape. It mostly stays in its case. Actually it's pretty good though. Sometimes Dio's overdramatic singing and cartoonish occult imagery is a little hard to digest. This album is like Sabbath mutated with Rainbow.

It just needs Ozzy to make it good! (Rod Unterreiner)
I don't think anyone could have taken Ozzy's place as well as Dio. He's more melodic than Ozzy ever was, though that's not always a good thing when you're looking for balls to the wall heavy metal. But c'mon!!! "Neon Knights"! "Die Young"! "Heaven and Hell"!!! "Lonely is the Word"!!! I generally end up fast-forwarding to those songs, but man are they worth it!!! I've got over 600 watts of stereo in my Firebird and believe me, these songs will KICK YOUR ASS when you give em' enought wattage!!!! Sometimes I think the hatch is gonna blow!!! Imagine that, low bass in a sabbath album!!! They finally found it on this album -- one of their best productions!

Heaven and Hell: One of the 3 most important records of my life. The other two are:
- Love at first sting (Scorpions) - Bat out of Hell (Meat Loaf)
In the top 10 as the greatest metal albums of all time!!!!! (David Stutzman)
I don't see how anyone can say that Black Sabbath is not Black Sabbath without Ozzy. Tony Iomi wrote the riffs, and Geezer wrote the lyrics. Ozzy didn't write any part of the classic albums, he was only the singer, and Dio is as good a singer as anyone. This record may not have been as good as some of their earlier efforts, but I don't think it has anything to do with Ozzy's departure. (Thomas Rickert)
Dio once said of Iommi, following his split with Sab, that Iommi didn't know anything about the devil. Makes you wonder what they hell these guys talked about while recording, doesn't it. Or not, as the case may be. Cause Dio has nothing interesting to say or sing. He is a dud. Seems he has plenty of fans, though. God knows why. Or would that be Satan knows why? Regardless, Black Diobath is a losing proposition, and I don't care if I am a minority of one, it was over the minute his Ozness left. And, man, Oz' career is no better, just different -- turning into a cartoon may have given him money, and I'm happy for him for that, but that doesn't mean I want to listen in. 1980 is where I head Left of the Dial anyway, so it doesn't matter anyway! Anyway, that's all. (Douglas Swalen)
I'll stick "Heaven And Hell" the song up against anything the band did in their prime with Ozzy. The complexity of that song (well complex for Sabbath anyways) towers over "War Pigs", "Iron Man", and just about any other Ozzy era song they did in my book. That said, once you get past "Neon Nights", and the underrated "Die Young" there isn't a lot there that sounds like Sabbath. (Tony Fernandez)
If Ozzy didn't write anything why is his name in the song writing credits?
The Sabb Four are no more, but no matter. What's to criticize here? Other than some insipid lyrics and occasional lapses into by-the-numbers boogie metal, there is some marvelous playing on "Heaven and Hell" as well as a certain "craftiness" to most of the songs. Oh, and the production is dead-on perfect. It's a landmark 80s metal album.

In addition to introducing a melodic sound, Dio also unfortunately ushered in the stupid, pretentious "Dungeons and Dragons" element into Sabbath's music — which it had heretofore resisted but ironically took to comic levels with some later albums. (See Tyr).

Neon Knights is a straight-ahead boring rocker that Dio should have saved for a Rainbow album, along with Lady Evil, which should have been thrown in the trash. Otherwise, Iommi's guitar playing is more soulful than ever. The band gets into some nice grooves, too, particularly in "Heaven and Hell" and "Lonely is the Word" (where they give a little nod to Stairway to Heaven at the end, and not in a bad way!). Give Iommi a little room to jam and he's brilliant — this album once again proves he was one of rock's most underestimated guitar players. (Greg Bischoff)
Ozzy sounds like an amateur compared to Ronnie. Don't listen to the assholes who put this down, HEAVEN AND HELL RULES!!!!!
I like this album a lot, largely because I really enjoy Ronnie James Dio's voice. That guy has it all, range, emotion, atmosphere, the whole shebang. Any fan of metal should check out his Holy Diver album, it's like this, only about 3 times better. Regardless, this is an excellent album. The main riff to "Heaven and Hell" is mesmerizing. "Children of the Sea" is nice slower, atmospheric track with a great chorus. "Neon Knights" and "Wishing Well" are fine upper tempo rockers. This album is proof positive that an Ozzy-less Sabbath was still a viable proposition. 8, but a very high 8 at that. (Roland Fratzl)
Dio is definitely a good technical singer, but he simply doesn't have the distinctive and instantly recognizable delivery that Ozzy does. Dio is a big wanker, and he was responsible for cheapening the Sabbath sound. Heaven and Hell doesn't sound like classic Sabbath's standard early 80's Dungeons and Dragons metal, sounding like an upscale version of awful bands like Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Saxon, and Venom. That's not the type of company you want to be keeping. Ozzy-led Sabbath was so much more dynamic, experimental, and original. That having been said, this album is about as good as it gets for a miserable genre. Iommi's riffs sound fresh and energetic, and are much better than anything from Never Say Die, even though he often just does silly predictable metal power chords. And there are many enjoyable melodies throughout the album, despite the fact that Sabbath was for the first time now predictable and cheesy. They never, ever, should have allowed Dio to pen the lyrics. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say he is probably one of the worst lyricists I've ever heard. The only way to enjoy this music is to ignore what he's saying. I'm sure he is an inspiration to every zit faced teenaged geeky loser who plays those mystical fantasy based games. Go out and get laid fer fuck's sake. As for that idiot who claimed that Ozzy didn't have a hand in the classic Sabbath sound, stop the flow of shit pouring out of your mouth, bud. Ozzy wrote quite a few of the lyrics too, not just Geezer, and he also came up with the vocal melodies, which I think are slightly integral to the song, you fool.

Anyways, if mindless head banging fantasy metal that isn't innovative in the slightest is for you, then look no further. ROCK ON, MAAAAAAAAN. *makes the hand devil symbol*
Has anybody read George Starostin's review of this album,what the fuck,oh well,what do you expect from an ABBA fan? (Josh Cable)
Ronnie James Dio, a cosmic mistake. All the worst parts of Dave Coverdale (that would be everything except the Zep ripoffs) and Ratt/Poison/Scorpions and all that shit.

Dio. Man, that's just fucking sad. Holy DIVAH. Holy shit what a fucking lameass. And now he's singing for a Black Sabbath album before going on to Rainbow. Why couldn't he skip the defiling of a great band and move on to his own pathetic washed up career? Dio is undoubtedly the Sammy Hagar of 1980, stealing the name and reputation of a classic (and in this case legendary) group and doing a face plant, obliterating three great musicians' credibility in one fell swoop.

An album so cringeworthy that it should be regulated by the government as a health hazard. But not the old Sab heart attack hazard, where your life was in danger and you came away with a few whitened hairs. This is more like a crippled and bitter hazard, no longer trusting the music world for the rest of your life. Aurally raped by a hairy little imp with no talent and no balls. Yea, I mean Dio.

Dio. Nice name... FOR A FAG. It's funny to pretend he actually performed music after leaving Sabbath, because he didn't, and he sucks.

But yea, the rest of the guys are on top of their game still.
Hey some people might not like Dio replacing Ozzy but at least it didn't end up like Hager replacing DLR. If the Sabs had to change, this was the best they could have done.
How bad did it suck for poor Black Sabbath? They stupidly fired one of metals greatest vocalist, found one that was a complete dickhead, put out this crap and while the whole time Ozzy was putting out 2 of the GREATEST, most innovative records in the history of metal, making Sabbath look boring and predictable. (Robert Chaundy)
Overrated or what? The good songs are spaced out just well enough to keep you listening, but the in-between bits are complete and utter clunkers. Neon Knights, despite being a rock and roll celebration of... the police force, is very good, and the title track is an ultra-heavy, ultra-catchy disco spectacular. Lonely is the Word finishes proceedings in a pleasingly Stairway-esque manner, but the rest is a tedious, formulaic, idea-free wasteland. Only the beefy production job saves it from a worse fate.

Don't blame Ronnie too much - blame the whole band for not writing good songs. And then go and listen to some Sandy Denny. (Sam Davenport)
Ok, anyone who thinks this album sucks needs their brains reorganised! This album is in my top 5 Sabs albums of all time! Why? Cos it RIPS! On 'Technically, Its a Pile of Lameass Boring Generic Crap', the band sounded tired uninspired and a bit boring. On this album, the band were REENERGISED. Thats right, they sound so fresh and invigorated! Sure, the styles different but who cares when you have some of the most asskicking tunes Sabbath ever wrote on here! Namely Neon Knights. Children of the Sea and Die young which are the 3 best tracks on here.

In fact I'll go far enough to say that side 1 might be one of Sabbath's strongest ever, as only one tune on here is slightly flawed [Lady Evil]. The cheesiest tune on here is Walk Away but its Ok I suppose.

BUT just because Ozzy had left doesnt mean you should ignore this album! It rules. Buy, now. :)

I have all the Sabbath albums up to about 1980, then I have a few more from the later years, so I'll list them in order of preference and give 'em a rating out of 5.

1.Paranoid-Great album, first Sabbath disc I heard, once I heard Iron Man there was no looking back. 5/5

2.Master of Reality-Why couldnt they have replaced Children of the Grave with something a bit less generic? Then this album would smoke all the way through. 4/5

3.Sabotage-Purely for Symptom of the Universe, which is their most fully developed song IMO. Megalomania annoys me though. 4/5

4.Vol.4-Flawed but good-Snowblind fucking rules and has great lyrics too! 3.5-4/5

5.Heaven and Hell-The whole bad is reenergised here. 4/5. a return to form.

6.Black Sabbath-Drags a bit at times, but The Wizard is soooooooo good! 3.5/5

7.Sabbath Bloody Sabbath-Hmmmm. The songs start off great, but then become unmemorable. 3/5

8.Born Again-At first listen I hated this disc, but now I think Zero the Hero is great, so I like it a bit more. 2/5

9.Technical Ecstasy-Never really sat down and listened to this. Dont want to either from what I've heard. 2/5

10.Never Say Die-I only got this recently, so I havent listened to it fully yet, but it sounds very, very, strange. Jazz, anyone?

11.Dehumanizer-Like Never Say Die, I havent listened to this fully yet, but I will do so soon.

I also have all 3 live albums, but I cant be arsed to rate them here.

PS: IMO, there is a holy trinity of Sabs tunes:

1.Iron Man
2.Into the Void
3.Symptom of the Universe.

Anyone disagree? Comments and thoughts are welcomed. :)
As a long time Sabbath fan, and I've seen all the singers. I have no doubt that Heaven and Hell is the best overall Black Sabbath album. The Ozzy stuff was great in the early days but even the biggest Ozzy fan will tell you the last couple of Black Sabbath albums prior to Ozzy leaving weren't very good. Heaven and Hell was the shot in the arm this band needed. Musically and lyrically it is a powerful masterpiece. It is timeless and stands up to anything Sabbath did in the 70's. I firmly believe that if Ronnie James Dio had stayed in Black Sabbath throughout his career...we may not be talking about Ozzy being the greatest singer Sabbath had. It would have like people mentioning that Peter Gabriel used to be in Genesis, but Phil Collins was more well known. Heaven and Hell was and is the benchmark for Black Sabbath albums of the past. A true classic. (Rob DelMedico)
Roland Fratzl, you just bashed some of the best metal bands ever. I can't take you seriously anymore. Well, not that I ever did. No serious human being would.


whoever said Ozzy was putting two of the best and most innovative metal albums while Dio was fronting Sabbath made me laugh.

WHAT was innovative about Ozzy's first two solo albums? They were basically just simple hard rock tunes with pop hooks. And they weren't landmark albums by any means. Blizzard of Ozz is something I play once in a blue moon and generally only for "Mr. Crowley".

Add your thoughts?

Mob Rules - Warner Brothers 1981.
Rating = 7

Hmmm. Well, what do you know about cranapple? This is kind of a big step away from Never Say Die! Heavy metal! Actually HEAVY metal!!!! Low-end distortion and everything! Cool. It's no Master Of Reality, but these guitars are clearly designed to make the ol' head bang up and down at an often rapid rate. Good for Tony. That high-pitched guitar just wasn't made for these times. And the songs? Just as good as the ones on the last album. Might as well be, since some of 'em are pretty much carbon copies!!!! "Turn Up The Night," for example, is awfully similar to "Neon Knights." But then again, so is every song that Iron Maiden ever recorded, so like, never mind. Truthfully, with Bill Ward gone and all, this is hardly "Black Sabbath," but that's your call. The music is just lovely.

What more do you want me to say? It's just basic early '80s heavy metal! With Dio and everything! "WAAAAHHHHH!" That was my written Dio impression. Actually, it's more of a "WA-AH-AH-AH-AH!" with that groovin' vibrato and all, but I didn't want it to look like he was some sorta stutterer or something. Oooh! I really enjoyed typing the word "stutterer"!!!! I appear to be losing my point.

Reader Comments
Not as good as Heaven and Hell, but some great songs include "Sign of the Southern Cross" and "Voodoo". (Brad Forbes)
This album rocks. Dio kicks some serious ass on the "Voodoo" track. Let's be for real, ALL Sabbath albums (with Ozzy & DIO) WAIL! (Andreas Nilsson)
This album is mostly underestimated, cause every song on it holds very high class. Songs like "Sign Of The Southern Cross" and "Turn Up The Night" are masterpieces! "E5150" is a great opening song live and, finally, I love the drum breaks in "Slippin' Away"!
how you say "crap"
Kind of a scary album. Dio you are an evil evil man!!! "E5150" is a little creepy...sounds like somebody trapped in a sewer with rats and spiders and an electronic sythesizer ; ) "The Mob Rules" is probably the fastest track they ever did.....ohhhhhhh turn it up !!!!.
Okay, I've got the first six Sabbath albums and then Mob Rules. My opinion and let me stress.. MY OPINION is that Dio is really the kind of vocalist that goes better with Sabbath's music. I know, Ozzy is considered the ultimate heavy metal maestro vocalist for Sabbath, but I never understood what was so special about his 'evil scientist' type yelps. Now when Dio sings on Mob Rules, his vocals hit as hard as the music does. Awesome singer, ranks right up there with Ian Gillan, Brian Johnson, and Dan Mcaffertey.
better and a bit darker than heaven and hell. Tony's solo at the end of "Over and Over" is full of emotion. He is the most underrated player. "Country Girl" and "Voodoo" are great tracks. The title track sounds better (rawer) on the Heavy Metal Soundtrack. If there can be any critique of this album is a bit overproduction! Cover art is one of the best Heavy Metal covers of all time! (Kurt Zebley)
This is the first Black Sabbath Album I ever bought, and possibly my favorite. I knew nothing of Black Sabbath at that time I bought it expecting Ozzy's voice. I was however not dissapointed. This mixture of both Dio's and Tony's skills at both perfomring and composing music has never matched up to anything I have ever heard in my life. I have never heard an album that can send me into the fantastic realm of darkness that this one does. I can only say that this album's hits such as the title track, "The Sign of the Southern Cross", and "Falling Off the Edge of the world" have completely and irrevocably changed the direction in my life. I am forever bound to all the beautiful, dark, depressing, and inspirational music of Black Sabbath which I still Believe to be a Christian band. (Thomas Rickert)
Matt Twerlinger accuses you of being unknowledgable because you are "obviously involved in other forms of music." When did that become an insult?! I ask of thee. Not you in particular, Mr. Sprindle; I ask the world, using you as a forum to pontificate upon stupidity when it rears its nasty pointy little head. As it is wont to do, as we can obviously see. (Jordie Wilkie)
What the hell does E5150 or whatever mean? Is it some kind of little play on words or numbers? Is it a joke that I don't get? (Shannon Robert Burge)
In response to Jordie Wilkie's question, The title "E5150" is a bit of wordplay. Just separate the title like this:

E 5 1 50

then change the numbers into Roman Numerals. Heh. Clever, or something. (Roland Fratzl)
They should have called this one "Heaven And Hell 2: The Mob Rules", considering it's almost identical to the last one. Even the flow of the songs is the same! Still, not bad, due to more great riffs and playing, as well as good melodies by Dio. More bad lyrics though. The song "Mob Rules", was also on the soundtrack to the 1981 animated cult film Heavy Metal. I always thought that was a pretty good song until I realized that the guitar riff is almost identical to the one in Iron Maiden's "Sanctuary", which came out a year earlier...just more evidence that by this point Sabbath was no longer a leader in hard rock, but a follower. (Timothy Herrman)

What? Uh... yeah, the album. AL-BUM!Vodoo sucks. Vinny Appice is a shitty drummer, but this sounds just like the drumming on Heaven and Hell? So who's the shitty drummer really if Vinny(hey, why doncha get a real name, what's this VINNY shit, HNUH)is just imitating Bill Ward on the previous record? Considering this is virtually almost the same record but better and worse than...therefore. Will the real shitty drummer please stand up? I thought, Bill Ward did some amazing stuff all the way up to the end of the Ozzy era, but he's rather limp on H&H. So what's the deal? Who's in charge here? Maybe Vinny actually played the drums on the last one, too? Maybe Marty Birch, eh?

Speaking of Mister Birch. The production on this is really BIG! Big and full, like a glass of water in a Surpising enough he produced some great albums by the rather little known blues-rock trio called The Groundhogs. Speaking of little. Dio is a big blowhard, but he's short, y'know? So he's like this little prick. He can wail out a storm, though. He's alright. I'll say this, though, the song 'Country Girl' is really fuckin GREAT. One of the most unique songs in styling of metal in the whole Sabbath catalogue. It's a real nice dirge at a good clip with a beautiful melancholy bridge. I even like the drums. And it's short, too. Nice and condensed. Thanks, man. It makes me happy. Also, the last 2 tracks are really great.

WHY, then, did they not playing any of these songs live? NO, instead, they decided to play a rambling 200 minute version of Heaven and Hell/ Sign of the Southern Cross. That just goes On and On and ON... Oh, yeah, they also chose to play that shit...Vodoo, ooooo...scary. Sorry, wrong record review. This writing style reminds me of someone. Who could it be now?'s MEN AT WORK
Ah, c'mon! Sabbath with Dio still rocked. Definitely not down with the D&D thing, but I'd still take Mob Rules over Technical Ecstasy or Blizzard Of Oz. (Pooch)
it really means" ES150" it is a gibson guitar but I think the record label misprinted it as E5150 I also read a interview with Tony Iommi where he states this, rock on
5150 is the police code for a crazy person who is a danger to self and others, don't know about the E though. Van Halen also did a album by the name 5150.
A couple of years ago I picked up "Mob Rules" for five bucks in the used section of a CD World in Toms River, NJ. Even though I loathe Dio's voice, lyrics, and entire persona, I love the old Sabbath stuff, so I figured, "Hey, what the fuck? I'm pretty sure 'Sign On The Southern Cross' is okay once it gets going, how bad could the rest be?" Admittedly, I'd been at the bar across the street for a few hours pounding down dollar drafts so I was pretty tanked at that point. (This is actually an interesting way to pick up some different used CD's if you have a few extra bucks - just get trashed and go browsin! How else would I have ended up with stuff like Ministry's "Dark Side Of The Spoon" and Ginger Baker's "Do What You Like?" and Ice Cube's "Kill At Will EP" and a bunch of other crap I hardly ever listen to?)

Anyway, I get out to my car, open up the jewel case, and guess what? The CD is actually Steve Martin's "Wild And Crazy Guy." Whaa? I thought about going back in for a refund, but then I thought that maybe this was some cosmic thing (it wasn't) where the disc I got was actually better than the disc I wanted (it isn't.)

So, what's the difference between these two albums? Well, Steve Martin tries really hard to be smart and funny and actually comes across as dull and boring, while Ronnie James Dio tries really hard to be evil and scary and actually comes across as HILARIOUS in a pathetic kind of way. Also, I would love to hear Dio sing a really over-dramatized, over-emoting metal version of "King Tut"! It probably wouldn't even sound out of place on one of his shitty solo albums, which I've never heard but am prejudging because that's the kind of stuff I do with guys like that.

Anyway, I think the real problem with post-Ozzy Sabbath stuff (besides the singers and the production and the other musicians) is that Tony seemed to really dumb down the sound of the band. Where he used to just write great riff after great riff connected by inventive arrangements and wildly changing tempos with Ozzy just doing his thing over the top, it seemed that after the split he started going after more traditional (re:boring) song structures. Like, instead of a crazy coked-out jazz breakdown in the middle of a song, there would just be a few power chords and an actual "chorus." That sucks.

Still, what the hell do you expect when you have a creative, adventerous band and then replace the eccentric but charismatic lead singer that held everything together with a short, balding semi-talent hack? That's right, "Abacab"!

Oh, and "Mob Rules"...

Add your thoughts?

Live Evil - Warner Brothers 1982.
Rating = 8

A fine fine concert album. Let me stop and explain something here for those of you who are afraid to bother with any Sabbath after their sixth album. This later stuff, though not groundbreaking the way that the first few were, is still really good. It's just different, that's all!!! It's not HEAVY and LUMBERING; it just rocks, dude! It wasn't my love for early Sabbath that prepared me to enjoy this era of Sabbage; it was my affection for early Bloodrock and Grand Funk Railroad and Aerosmith and all those great big stupid toe-tappin' dirty evil distortion crunch bands from the early '70s. That's what this sounds like; Led Zeppelin without the r'n'b. In other words, this is Guns 'n' Roses in 1982. If that thought sounds appealing to you at all, I urge you to buy the living evil out of this album. Ronnie wails terrifically on all tracks (although I'm not positive that his delivery really fits the feel of the Ozzy tracks) and the mix is loud and proud!!! No tinniness here! Just the dull heavy groans of rock 'n' roll cocaine addiction.

Reader Comments (Maria Del Fosario B. Trullenque)
Hey. Live Evil is one of the best live albums I've heard. Ronnie on that album is singing a lot!!!!! But the DRUMS are terrible. It SHOULD be BILL WARD. The best Sabbath drummer maybe rock all time drummer!!! Do you have Sabbath live recordings in the Heaven And Hell tour with Bill Ward on drums? If you don't, tell me where I can find.
I wasn't real impressed with Live Evil.

Christopher N. Schurawel
I like the eerie 8 to 10 minute guitar solo by Iommi on the long version of "Heaven and Hell." Iommi isn't the fastest player but his ability to create a mood is certainly unparalled.
Pretty good as long as Ronnie sticks to his own material. This has to be the lamest rendition of "Paranoid" I've ever heard. And also the most obvious audience loop too. Who are they kidding? (Robert L. Best)
I never could understand why a talented lyricist like Ronnie James Dio would even want to attempt singing the old Black Sabbath standards. It is my personal opinion that it was a poke at Ozzy. Ozzy released Speak Of The Devil and proved that those songs are to be sung by him.

The material belonging to Dio sounds great on this album. Dio singing Ozzy is a waste of space and a waste of my money. It sounds as terrible as Brian Johnson singing Bon Scott. As far as I'm concerned, once the track has been recorded and has become associated with that line-up of the band... it should not be re-recorded with another singer - "live" or otherwise.

In other words... the 3 surviving Beatles could always reunite and have someone else "play" John Lennon. Yeah Right... Give me a break. I really think that maybe Dio could have stuck it out with Sabbath for one more album... and then had enough material to release a double live recording. Or, they could have released a single live recording. As it stands... I would have to pay for a double live recording, of which I would never listen to half of. Pass !!!
Love the extra long version of Heaven And Hell when Dio sings GO AWAY ,I'M GONNA BURN IN HELL WITH ALL OF YOU !!! EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU!!!!!! classic! Other than that ,there's too many Ozz songs that he should have left alone. (Roland Fratzl) I was saying, why the fuck didn't they play more songs off the Mob Rules record? Oh, they played that shit, Vodoo..."call me the devil." Call you a midget. How'd ya like that, big shot? Oh, yeah, I forgot Ozzy already did that on the Diary of a Madman tour when he had this midget delivering him vodka onstage and then he had him hung while he played 'Goodbye to Romance' Ya useta be pretty funny Ozzy, what happened? They play Sign of the Southern Cross/ Heaven and Hell suite, sweet. No way, man. They're both are pretty interchangeable. What am I getting a 2 for 1 deal here or what? What is Black Sabbath having a specials night? No, I get 20000 minute long song with a buncha stoned assholes singing along; I swear if I EVER hear another person singing along at a concert I'll.....

Anyway, I really would've preferred an album with just the Dio-era tunes. I saw the Heaven and Hell tour and it was great except when they played the Ozzy stuff, also the guitar solo was pretty much of stretch; seventh inning stretch, like a YAWN. They did have these big flame shooting things to enhance 'Black Sabbath'.I was with Vicky Vicious. Where are you now, Vicky? It's Herms, your Sabbath buddy. Write to me, baby. (Eric Ericson)
Let's state a personal fact first, I grew up on Live Evil. It was only two years old when I first picked it up on pre-recorded tape. To me, that recording was so awesome. It sounded larger than life, and that was due to a couple of things: One, everything from Iommi's guitar to Geezer's bass, Vinny's drums, and of course Ronnie's booming voice, sounded so over-the-top in the audio department. To steal from Spinal Tap, everything sounded like it was turned up to eleven. Did I say everything?

Not quite. And Two, the audience sounded like it was a million miles away. Now this can be perceived as a flaw, but in a way, it enhanced the musical portion of the whole experience. It made the band sound like the were twenty feet tall to the ants they were performing for. Even though the audience probably should of been turned up a little during mixing (soooo many mixing stories of this album, which led to Dio's first departure from the band, that I'm not even going to get into it right now), Live Evil's current & original sound adds a permanent feel that it should always remain. But what about the performance? Brillant. For starters, Dio's vocal interpretation of Ozzy's classics are all acceptable to the harshest original line-up fans. Songs like "Iron Man", "Children Of The Grave", and "Black Sabbath" to name just a few, not only sound updated to the then 1980's audience, but Dio performs them slightly more "over-the-top" compared to Ozzy, making them seem even more satanically atmospheric and up-to-date with their "Heaven And Hell/Mob Rules" song counterparts. Also, Dio's own material with Sabbath, like "Voodoo" and "Heaven And Hell" are far more superior to their studio versions. In fact, the whole band sounds so great on this, with special mention to Tony Iommi himself, due to one of the fattest, heaviest live guitar sounds captured on tape ever! It's just a classic live album in every sense, I mean c'mon, you can't tell me when you first heard the album's opener "E5150", that it didn't give you a slight shrill up your spine, and if it didn't, you're probably dead already!

But getting back to the history, the month this album was finally released by Warner Brothers on double CD, I bought it immediately. It was definately one of my first CD purchases. And I'm so glad I still have it. For you younger Sabbath collectors out there, you may have the one disc Castle remaster version instead. I feel sorry for you. To make it one disc, Castle cut out most of Ronnie's intro's to the songs, cut most of the long audience pauses in between the tracks, and (gasp!) severely cut Tony's guitar solo during "Heaven And Hell"! To me, there was no excuse to re-release it as a one-disc (I tried re-editing it to one disc myself at one time, trimming the audience pauses a bit, but keeping all of Ronnie's banter & Tony's solo and cut/faded "Fluff" and it sounded much better, besides do we really need the pre-recorded "Fluff" on this anyway?), and I were you I'd search for that perfectly sounding (in the first place) Warner version ASAP. In conclusion, Live Evil is one of the most classic live Heavy Metal/1980's live albums ever, with the ultimate in classic stadium rock feel in both performance and sound. To the Sabbath fanatic (like myself) or to even the casual fan, I give the same advice, highly, highly recommended.
I bought this album when it came out. I was about 10 years old and just getting into music and I marched right into Caldor to buy my first double album ever...I was totally psyched. So I go home and I'm playing it and I don't know Ozzy from Dio or anything so I don't realize how crappy it is, and I'm getting all subjugated by Satan and whatnot, just having a good old time, and I flip it over and put on side 4 and the synth drums start and the electro bass and the smooth teenage romance harmonies....WHAT IS THIS SHITE! I wanted to kill. Seems WB used the wrong stamper and my unholy bliss had been mistakenly trampled upon by something that sounded like my older sister's New Edition records! Maybe it was Menudo. The only solace for my pre-adolescent, devil deprived brain was that some little girl's yearnings were simultaneously being overrun by "Children Of The Grave".

Add your thoughts?

Live at Hammersmith Odeon - Rhino Handmade 2007
Rating = 7

This is the problem with running a centuries-old record review site. Did you see how I gave that last live album an 8? Well, chances are good that this new live album is no worse, yet I'm only giving it a 7. "How come did this happen, Mark Prindo?" the world may well ask in confusion and illiteracy. It's simple: I wrote that last review about 52 years ago. Specifically, 12. At that time, my tastes were young and my Dio experience limited. But now that I'm a 37-year-old hag with several decades of non-stop Dio listening to draw upon, Live at Hammersmith Odeon sounds much more cluttered with lesser material and terrible performances. And this very same lesser material and terrible performances probably dominate Live-Evil as well, but it's not like I'm gonna listen to that album again and rewrite the review. Unlike my penis, life is too short.

This CD, compiled from three 1981-82 shows, sounds great. In fact, the music is so heavy and well mixed that it could easily be mistaken for a studio recording. Unfortunately, Dio sabotages almost all of the Ozzy-era material by blatantly making fun of it, singing in an over-the-top EvIiIiIlLLLL voice to differentiate his predecessor's goofy children's music from his own mature metal epics. Thankfully, he does a stellar job on the latter, even on such strange choices as Physical Graffiti wannabe "Slipping Away," unexceptional blues-rocker "Voodoo" and a 14-minute "audience participation" version of "Heaven and Hell."

However, am I a cuckoo bird or was the late Ronald James Padavona (July 10, 1942 - May 16, 2010) like REALLY desperate for attention? Seemingly unable to tolerate Tony Iommi getting any time in the spotlight at all, he pulls such stunts as adding "Whoooo yeah!" vocals to the legendary "Black Sabbath" intro, and improvising nearly an entire verse during the lead-in to "War Pigs". Did he honestly think the song was improved by "Ooo, they'll take you away, make you go, yeah! You die but you tried, yeah! Oh! Ooo! Yeah!"? Because it totally was, I was all dancin and shit.

If you know me, you know that I love counting the number of songs a live band performs off of each of its studio albums. And by "love," I of course mean "obsessive-compulsive disorder."

Black Sabbath - 2
Paranoid - 3
Master of Reality - 1
Heaven & Hell - 3
Mob Rules - 5

Geoff Nichols plays keyboards.

Now here are some funny names you can call birds:

- Ol' Flappy
- Sir Chirps-A-Lot
- Guano Machine
- Tweetie 3.14159265
- Loser Who Used to Live in an Egg
- Jerkoff with Wings (Denny Laine)

Reader Comments

Simon Burgess
Having read rock journo Mick Wall's autobiography of heroin addiction and 80's PR work for Black Sabbath and others, I'd have to say you're probably right about Dio. For years I wrote him off as nothing more than a strutting tool thanks to that book, its only recently that I've considered the notion that might've been quite good at what he did.

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Born Again - Warner Brothers 1983.
Rating = 7

Ronnie's gonnie and Ian is ian. Thus this album's major flaw. Ian Gillan was a master voiceboy for Deep Purple for many a fine year, but his aging grunt/scream just isn't a very attractive instrument, aurally-speaking. The chord sequences are great, though; "Hot Line" and "Zero The Hero" really take advantage of that "repetition" concept, "Disturbing The Priest" claims a crazy weird intro/outro harmonic shiver, and every last one of the others rock like a mofo (even the slooooow title track!). Still, Ian prevails so, unless you like Ian, you might not wanna play it too often.

Reader Comments (Fred Geer)
I was pretty young when I first head the albums Mob Rules & Born Again; nevertheless I still feel that I had a damn solid grip on what good METAL was and is! At the time I was a Judas Priest fanatic (Hellbent For Leather, British Steel, etc). I had given up on Iron Maiden. Metalica, Slayer, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Fear Factory, Deicide, and others would be in my future. I detested Def Leppard, Quiet Riot, Scorpions (later Poison, Cinderella) and other bands whose sole motive for making music was making money, and skrewing teenage girls who would have been better served by going out with someone thier own age (like me!). Anyway Mob Rules has some of the biggest building smashing guitar and bass I have ever heard, and the track "E5ivo" was the darkest! The album Born Again had moments that quite simply gave me the willies! After all I was still very much a kid. After all of this time, I still feel these albums are very cool! Givem a try!
Who ever you are: Your writing style doesn't lend itself to serious analysis & critique of this innovative & groundbreaking metal... Why treat it like it's just a joke? Why bother? To describe the song "Black Sabbath" as a "spooker" & a "fantastique ditter" is really inappropriate... what kind of description is this: "Chop full of tasty licks. Lick full of tasty chops. Full of chops that taste good when you lick them. "???? it's not adam ant or boy george you're talking about here. i don't think you know enough about music to write a fair objective article about serious music. "Neat record" indeed! "nifters"? "funk rocker"? what kind of idiot are you? It's become pretty obvious that your whole setup is a spoof & you're clearly some pansy waif prankster trying to piss off people intentionally... The joke's up, Ronnie James Dio! Busted! Confess, you little wormy asshole!!! hahahahaa! (David Aurand)
I have to tell you that I really like Sabbath more w/out Ozzy than with him. I've never been a big lover of the 60's and early 70's rock-n-roll. In fact, I prefer Ozzy solo much more than his time with the Sabs. Now, that said....I urge you to listen to Sabbath w/Dio or w/Gillen I and Gillen II. Especially Born Again with Ian Gillen. Man, that is a sick, sick disc.....and I love it. "Zero the Hero", "Hotline", "Disturbing The Priest" and "Trashed" are really worth listening to. I had the privilege of seeing the Born Again tour with Ian...and it was fantastic. Dio, regardless of any personal opinions of him, the man can sing....and he does it well. Even Dehumanizer was good with him on vocals.....although it isn't my far.....still worth a listen. (Chris Slenker)
Why do you keep comparing the followers to the inventers? I wouldn't even mention other bands on a Black Sabbath site. Bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Nirvana, Soundgarden, White Zombie and Type O except maybe as a "if you like Sab and have all their albums you might like these."
This is by far the worst Black Sabbath album made ever. Hands down. Never mind the fact that Ian Gillen is as out of place on a Sabbath album as Brian Johnson would be on a Van Halen album. The songs just suck. And the production is a mess. This is a sloppy sloppy album. The best thing about this album is the hilarious review that it got in Circus Magazine when the critic used a Batman and Robin parody ("Holy Tony Iommi Batman!" to do the review when he panned it. (Matt Terwillegar)
Fave album? Fave?? You poppy-assed idiots are talking about hard, thrashing metal. You jerks would have been dropped out of the rock n roll corps back in the 70's. I liked the Beatles, but would never associate them with Black Sabbath. I think all the Sabbath albums have aged extremely well. The only reason I'm even commenting is because of the almost disco-parlence ("Fave" and "Sabs" and "fas"); take your disco lingo and go away. Leave the classic stuff alone. That's it, that's enough! Unknowledgeable. You're obviously involved in other modes of music. (Virginia Wolfe)
I agree with "viix" and "Terwillegar" (if that is indeed his real name). You're not fooling anyone, son. You're more preoccupied with writing a smart-assed comedy act than with writing serious record reviews. If you actually knew how important Sabbath is to music today (and any other day, for that matter), you would pay some respect to the almighty Black Sabbath. Everything they did was copied by current artists, do you hear me! Even their wussy stuff! (in fact, after Ozzy left, they started copying themselves).
Born Again has one of Sabbath's scariest songs, "Disturbing the Priest" with some great screaming by Ian Gillan. (Gary Ott)
Born Again is an underrated album. This album ROCKS! I have to admit it took me a few listens to this album to really appreciate it because the production is bad, but the album does have a certain rawness feel to it that harkens back to the earlier Black Sabbath albums. This album has some terrific riffs. Songs like "Trashed", "Disturbing the Priest", and "Digital Bitch" definitely want to make you play your air guitar and bang your head.

Christopher N. Schurawel
I really enjoyed Born Again when it was released in 1983. It was harder than hell to find on CD until just a year or two ago. I was happy to see Bill Ward rejoin the band on this disk and I also liked the return of the low end gloomy riffs. (Tony & Sharon)
This is an absolutely awful album, the self parody is taken to the extreme, I listen to it whenever I can.
I am a huge Purple fan, and believe it or not, when Ronnie left i said to friends "wouldn't it be great if Ian Gillan joined sabbath?" It happened and I felt like a Psychic. I love this album. Ian just let loose,and i think he was the perfect Sabbath singer for that time! Although it is a very short LP, every song was great. I wish they would have done 1 more album, but i was also glad to see purple get back together to do Perfect Strangers. Talk about a great album. Superior production except for Ian's drums. What a come back album. (Thomas W. Campbell)
"Born Again" is a great song and, rightfully so, was a big hit in England. If the album gets a 7, the music gets a 9 and the vocals get a 5. (Glyn Ford)
I saw Sabbath, if you could call them that, at Reading 84, with Gillan. I like Gillan too, on his own, but this really sucked. Even die hard metal heads were going back to their tents by the time Gillan tried to sing "War Pigs".
I love this album. This is the first Sabbath album I bought at the time when it came out.(hmm is that proper English) Around the same time Ozz put out Bark at The Moon. Ozz was in his Benny Hill with a blonde wig look phase at this time. Born again was and is damn cool - just the cover art alone is worth the price of the album. By no means is this comparable to Deep Purple and perhaps is not very comparable to other Sab albums. The guitar is super distorted, the chords are dirty and Ian is one hell of an intense screamer. Maybe Sab should get him back !!! Deep Purple isn't doing very well these days.
Unlike many other Black Sabbath fans I found Born Again to be one of their best post-Ozzy albums. Never mind that the overall engineering was just about inexusable even for the early 80's, this one seemed to be the one they had the most fun with, at least from the sound of it. At that point, I had already been an Ian Gillan fan and had grown accustomed to his humorously crafted lyrics with Deep Purple and Gillan. Born Again just seemed to be an extension of that attitude.

The sound that Tony Iommi had on this album is very similar to that of the early stuff yet it was as if it were magnified to a large degree. The vocals of Gillan were hilarious and to compound the matter further, the album's cover is just so silly, it's ridiculous. These guys certainly had me enjoying the joke.

This was also the first tour I got a chance to Sabbath on and I'll never forget it. They completely annihilated Quiet Riot, who had just announced that their own album at the time, Metal Health, had gone to number one!!! Sabbath even came out during the encore and played, "Smoke On The Water", which was as unexpected as it was funny.

I'm actually glad that Gillan didn't do another album with them because there would never be any possibility of duplicating the vibe they had on this. Besides, he didn't really belong in Sabbath anyway. Leaving the band to reform the classic Purple was a blessing in itself, as he probably would have trashed his voice further had he stayed.

Peolple can think what they want but this one is Sabbath's funniest effort to date and that alone is enough for me to continue to enjoy it. (Mark Walmsley)
At first I was disappointed with this album because Gillan's singing takes a LOT of getting used to, however, with multiple listens, it grew on me and songs such as 'Trashed' and 'Zero The Hero' stood out. However, it is unlikely to win any converts to Sabbath or Gillan himself and is really only one for the collectors or curious people like myself.
I want to thank Warner Bros. for not releasing this on CD, forcing me to track down the Castle import. A must have.
Despite "Disturbing The Priest" (scary as Hell) and EVIL artwork, this one just didn't do it for me. SABOTAGE and the Dio albums rocked and I sang those songs in college walking to class, but Born Again just...well,...sucked. Ian Gillan did a dud on that one (just like he did on the Purpendicular album for Deep Purple.).
I think this album is one of the greatest Post Ozzy albums of all. It pretty much has it all. Great screaming from Ian Gillian, great guitar riffs, and the perfect sound for what real Sabbath shoulda sounded like. (Roland Fratzl)
Note to Matt Terwelligar: Being into other forms of music is meant as a put down? Ugh, you silly person. Doeesn't get much dumber than that. By the way, disco is amazing. I can shake my hot ass to it, but you wouldn't understand that because you're one of those loser metalheads who doesn't know a thing about rhythm...or anything else for that matter. Lemme guess, you probably don't think Beavis and Butthead is a parody, do you?

And by the way, I'd enjoy any disco record much more than Bjorn Again. Awful album in every regard. Mark, I really hope this is one of those reviews you wrote several years ago which you are now completely embarrassed by.

This album kicks ass! The last really good album Sab put out.I can't think of one weak song on the whole thing.Ian's voice isn't as strong as it used to be,but it works perfectly here. (Robert Chaundy)
Why do people get so precious about Born Again? Do they not realise it is one of the greatest comedy albums of all time? All the way from the cover (the guy who designed it thought it was so bad the band would never accept it) to the ludicrous line-up (members of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and the Electric Light Orchestra at one stage), to the Stonehenge prop that was too big to fit on the stage, to the hilarious music...

...this was Spinal Tap. Can you see Korn or Radiohead giving us anything as entertaining in this miserable 21st century?
Master of Reality was the first record I ever bought and I saw Black Sabbath in '83 at Isstadion in Stockholm, Sweden. I loved Black Sabbath. I even thought Technical Ecstacy was a good album. I was 16 years old and Born Again hadn't been released yet but they played every song from the record except Trashed. Which was kinda weird because no one had heard half of the songs in the set! Really strange. And Bill Ward had been replaced by a stupid-looking man called Bev Bevan from a band called ELO(?) who played a 20 minute solo. Ian was cool though and seemed to enjoy himself and they played Rock'n'Roll Doctor and Supernaut, which was nice. Then a couple of years later Seventh Shit was released and I stopped listen to Black Sabbath until recently and guess what? Master of Reality is still a truly magnificent rock album! Truly, truly magnificent. (Geoff Saunders)
It's not a bad album. But it's not a good album either. Worth a listen though.

Add your thoughts?

Seventh Star - IRS 1986.
Rating = 4

Pbleeaaah. Tony Iommi replaced the entire band and kept the name Black Sabbath for no good reason whatsoever. Well, honestly, the guitar riffs on here aren't bad. You can tell they're Tony, and some of them are honestly catchy. The real problems with this record are (a) the slick overproduction, which sterilizes the Sabbath sound to the point where they would have fit right in on MTV had MTV had any interest in them at all, and (b) A FUCKING HORRIBLE SINGER. Maybe Ian Gillan was hoarse, but THIS guy is a joke. Overblown operatic big hair mid-80s laughable throwaway shitvoice. Completely ruins what could have almost been a decent record. That's the real shame of it. This certainly wasn't the greatest batch of riffs that Tony had ever written, but a great singer like Ozzy or Ronnie could have saved the record. This dude, Glenn Hughes, drags it into the dirt and kicks it in the back of the head. Pass.
Reader Comments
just wanted to add a comment to this album, as no one else has bothered. glenn hughes is from the british bands deep purple and trapeze. he sang and played bass for both bands. amongst certain fans of bluesy, funky hard rock (not metal) he has an appreciative following (apparently he's big in japan). regarding the 7th star album, it would have been better received had it not been weighed down by the Sabbath name. in fact, it was to be tony iommi's first solo release, but the record company insisted he call the project black sabbath. huge mistake! still, when listening to this lost release try to disassociate any sabbath-sound preconceptions you might have and you'll discover several decent 80's rock tunes, though for any but the most fanantic Iommi fan the question would be "why bother?"
Glenn Hughes is one of the best singers in the world. He has a lot of feel in his voice and it´s very "bluesy". Youre review is injustice. (Antti Kuukka)
Although this is not superb as an album, I really like the two first tracks and track 6, "Danger Zone". "No Stranger To Love" doesn't sound Sabbath but it's a fantastic, heavy, slow song - I love it. Glenn Hughes is OK.

Many people say that "this album isn't good because it doesn't sound Sabbath". Phuck, that means that the only good band in the world would be the original Black Sabbath. I can listen to music if it sounds good, even though it doesn't sound Black Sabbath. And still, I'm a huge Sabbath fan! (Mike Harras)
Ok now it's gone from self parody to cartoonish pop metal to some thing much worse....Born Again was ridiculous but it is entertaining as hell...this isn't. It's true this is really an Iommi solo project. A pile of boring goo.. Glenn Hughes is a terrific singer, but on a Sabbath record?...but o yeah this isnt a Sabbath record......I changed my mind, this is a sooperb rekkerd

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The Eternal Idol - Warner Brothers 1985.
Rating = 6

Maybe my taste in music has gone down the shitbowl since I started antidepressants, but for some reason I enjoy the hell out of this record! The singing is a joke, of course, with this silly man trying to sound IMPORTANT like Whitesnake or the Scorpions, but Tony's got some killer riffs goin' on! Also, the production is a lot less slick than the last record, so the sludgy, crunchy guitar sounds more like the early Sab stuff. Too bad Ozzy wasn't around to make this an 8!
Reader Comments (joshwa)
I had a felling you would like this album. You are right about the singing though. It really does blow. Id give the singing a 4,the guitar work a 8, and the sound production a 9. (Jim Coghlin)
This is a great Black Sabbath record, for three big reasons: 1- the guitar work is excellent (as usual); 2- the song-writing is slick and inspired; 3- the singing is spectacular!

What planet are you on anyway? You obviously have no idea how difficult it is to sing the material off The Eternal Idol or you would not dismiss Tony Martin as "trying to sound IMPORTANT." The guy had eight days to learn and record vocal tracks already laid down by Ray Gillen for this album, and he did a phenomenal job.

Go back to school and listen to it again. But take your head out of your ass first. (Roland Fratzl)
A guilty pleasure! I just listened to this one yesterday and I'm still in shock that I liked it a lot more than I was expecting to! I mean, it's nothing groundbreaking or unique really, but it's consistently good from start to finish, featuring much better songwriting than the last 2 albums. And is it just me, or does Tony Martin sound almost identical to Dio here??? Even the music itself reminds me a lot of the early 80's Dio Sabbath albums, except a tad heavier and rawer! Unlike you guys, I don't find the singing to be all that annoying...Martin is no Ozzy but he's quite professional and has a strong voice, and when you consider that this is from 1987, the singing sounds refreshingly restrained (See the next album for real garbage singing!). And Iommi's riffs are very solid and interesting. The production and melodies are great too. It's probably one of the best, if not the best, hard rock album of 1987...I know, that's not saying much because that was a very lean era for good hard rock, but this album is indeed surprisingly strong. It's actually decent 80's metal, and while I'm not going to rush out and buy it, it's probably the only Black Sabbath release worth owning between 1982 and 1997! (Timothy Herrman)
I don't know, man? Tony Iommi was probably getting tired of fucking thirty year-old zonked out coke whores and wanted to open the possibilties of some teeny bopper gash. This is suffocatingly dreary generic loser metal. I certaintly don't blame Mr. Martin soley for this. The whole fuckin' band is pathetic; especially the rhythm section which resembles a Casio sample program. These songs(?) are about as enthralling as any song by Saga. Maybe that's who Tony will get to sing for him next, that Freddie Mercury wannabe from Saga? Or better yet, he shoulda just asked Freddie, considering Queen was pretty much at an abysmal musical level at the time. Just imagine Freddie singing classics like 'Warning,' 'War Pigs,' 'Hand Of Doom' 'Into The Void' and I'm sure he'd rip the fuck outta 'Black Sabbath'. I'm serious. NOW THAT WOULDA BEEN SOMETHING TO FUCKIN SEE!!!Think about it? I'm not knockin Freddie. Y'know, Brian May played an encore with Sabbath on the TYR tour; don't know what song, though.

'Lost Forever' and the title track are somewhat redeemable.

I give Tony Martin a helluva credit for the balls it took to come out of nowhere and get up onstage trying to fill the shoes of some of the biggest fuckin' icons in the metal realm. Fuckin', A , dude! I sure wouldn't ... unless I was drunk
By far the best Tony Martin Sabbath album. Favorite track: "Ancient Warrior." This song kicks ass. I can't be the only one who thinks it sounds suspiciously similar to "No More Tears," which Ozzy wouldn't write for another four years. I wouldn't call the singing "a joke" -- Martin certainly has a generic 80's metal singer flavor to him, but compared to a lot of the other generic 80's metal singers, he's a pretty strong and not particularly annoying one. (And good lord, is he a much better singer -- and much better suited to Sabbath -- than Glenn Hughes.) I wouldn't go as far as giving the record an 8, but definitely a 7. It certainly beats the holy living shit out of Seventh Star.

Add your thoughts?

Eternal Gillen: The Eternal Idol Demos - Bootleg
Rating = 6

Since the day I gave birth to my mother in a sleepy log cabin in Westminster, New Columbia, Massachusetts, I've been hearing braggarts from near and far throwing verbal bombs and death threats at my very soul regarding the existence of a long-lost version of The Eternal Idol featuring superior vocals by a Mr. Ray Gillen. Ray was a member of the Sabbaths for a short period of time, playing some live shows and then leaving them before That Eternal Idol was to be released. He later died of AIDS, which isn't nearly as funny as it sounds. See, dying of AIDS is so horrible that it seems easy to joke about if you don't know anybody that is actually dying of AIDS. Almost like it's fake - like a guy dying of the cooties or something. But it's real. Check Africa on a map and you'll see that 90% of the people that live there have AIDS, and believe in voodoo bullshit that makes them rape little girls (fucking virgins cures AIDS, see. Didn't your primary care provider tell you that?) It's horrible. A horrible, cruel disease. And it killed Ray Gillen.

The point is that I've always heard that these demos are fantastic and so much better than the final version with Tony Martin. Nobody ever mentioned that Ray Gillen sounds fuckXACTLY like Tony Martin. Kinda like spending your life hearing about how amazing The Beach Boys' Smile is, and then having it turn out to sound just like "Little Deuce Coupe." The buildup was unjustified. He sounds exFUCTly like Ray Gillen. Or Tony Danza, whatever we were talking about. Hey - I just read this book called "The Worst Rock And Roll Records Of All Time" by Jimmy Guterman and a lesser friend of his, and I really must tell you -- mainstream humor is NOT funny. This book is NON-STOP mainstream humor - mostly revolving around how bad a song is, and then suggesting a way that the lyrics might react to the bad situation -- for example, something like "America sang 'A Horse With No Name,' and we can only hope that they rode away on that horse!" and shit like that. There wasn't a single chuckle in the book. The authors were completely elitist without actually having any talent or pedigree at all. I was embarrased for them. They wrote like 14-year-olds, with the same generic, predictable sense of humor. FUCK YOU for wasting a couple of hours of life, Jimmy DICKHEADman. And your little friend.

Nah, the book was okay. I enjoyed reading it except for the jokes. The only thing I disagreed with was the inclusion of an REO Speedwagon album. That band has ALWAYS sucked. Why pick an obscure album by a band that was never any good to begin with? It was basically a good book. I apologize for my earlier bitterness.

The GOOD thing about this demo is that the guitar is really really loud and REAL-sounding (it's still pumped through chorusy effects, but it's not all slicked up for radio play like the final version) -- the other good thing is that the drums are in the background, instead of pumped up to 9 billion volumes a second like on the labia-ready radio version you bought. And as I said in the last review (written six years earlier by a younger, less amorous version of me), Iommi was kickin' ass this time around. These riffs are GOOD riffs! Seriously! Imagine them with Dio singing and you've got Heaven And Heck Part III.

But this demo doesn't have "Pimpernel" on it! Can you imagine how kickass Ray Gillen singing that instrumental would have been? "BWEE! BWEE! BWEE-BWA-BWEE!" I don't remember how that song goes.

This disc also features five live tracks with Gillen on vocals. Unfortunately, four of the five are songs that I don't even like ("Sweet Leaf," "War Pigs" and two from the classic Album Before This One - Scroll Up). The other one is "Neon Knights" though, featuring Ronnie James Dio. I just read a book about the history of rock and roll, and although Ronnie comes across as knowing full well that he's a metal superstar, he also comes across as a guy who appreciates his fan base deeply. I hope that this is truly the case and he's not really some prick pretending to care. Also, Paul Simon is a pretentious bore. Ray Gillen died of AIDS. So did a guy in Def Leppard. One of my big-time internal quandaries - THAT I NEED YOUR HELP WITH - is this: Should I tell you when I'm drunk? I always do - I ALWAYS tell you when I'm drunk, as if to apologize for the fractured review I've written. But is it tiresomes? Can you tell anyway? I don't know whethere to tell you or not! I'm drunk. I'm drunk 2 or 3 nights a week with my wife for binge drinking fun. But the other nights I'm sober, because whiskey tastes like a minister's finger. I need your guidance. Should I tell you so you'll realize why my thoughts are so fractured and stupid? Or are my sober reviews just as bad? It doesn't mattttter. Whoa! Finger rested on "t" a little too long there. These are special times for the letter "t". Look at "Italy" - where would it be without the letter "t" - I'll tell you where - IALY! Talk about an asshole name for a nation of smelly mafia douchebags. But there's one good Italian guy. He's a fan of my site, and I'm blanking on his name right now, but he's a kid and he sent me a funny picture of himself. He's a GOOD Italian! Marco Ursi? Who knows. Italians are fine. I'm just telling non-jokes like Don Rickles.

(Hi, this is the ball-and-chain) Who the fuck is don rickles? the dead guy on 3s company? i dont' really give a fuck. i want to talk about how i can see only o0ut of one eye becuse of the jack and how i can't wait for my fuckign FRIED CHICKEN. thank god there's no mad cow in chicken. back to mark.

I'll never let my wife near words again.

Reader Comments (Sean Harris)
According to Vivian Campbell, who's now in Def Leppard (a band of which NOBODY has died of AIDS, Mr. Mark) Ronnie James Dio is a big smiley guy to his fans and a prickish asshole behind their backs. I personally would tend to believe Viv's allegations, myself.
Hey MArk it's me!!! The good italian guy! Name's Nicola, but maybe you couldn't remember it 'cause I always sign "Sick Boy".

Italy's great, you know? I know you where just joking, but I want to tell you that it's really a wonderful place. We have a piece of shit for president (hey you got it too!! how cool, huh!!!?) and people sometimes are kinda stupid (but then again, where in the world people ISN'T stupid?) but it's a really great place. I am from Sicily, and I always (even in my country) see this MAFIOSO stuff everywhere.. do you see us as gangsters? I'm not taking offense, i just really like to know... I'm curious about this...

Also, I drink since I was 12 (I'm 20 now) and I assure you that after a few years of drinking fun, now I just want to destroy anything when I'm drunk... my stomach hurts and I couldn't drink as I did in the past 'cause i would pass out... hey, I drink anything (beer, jack, rhum...) and I do it 'cause I like it (maybe I'm making it seem a bit harder than it really is...) but I'm kind like a rock star type of guy and I have tons of friends who stop me whenever i pass the line... so be careful with that stuff...

Oh My Dear Sweet Banana Eater Lord I seem like old grandpa dispensing advices... shit, it's all those university examinations that fuck my mind up...

Oh, tell us when you're drunk! It's cool!

One last thing: this disc hasn't Ozzy on it.

And this was my review of the Eternal Gillen bootleg.

Add your thoughts?

Headless Cross - IRS 1989.
Rating = 2

If you've ever wondered why '80s metal died such a miserable death, try to sit through this pile of overblown shim. Not that this album was popular, but it sure did sound like every other "metal" band alive. This stuff is wretched!! Dull old by-the-numbers riffs, Mr. Martin doing his finest Dio impression to no avail, and really stupid "threatening" keyboard lines backing up every song. The last song is pretty good (it actually has notes instead of those dumbass chords again), but not good enough to offer up any good reason why Tony Iommi should have been allowed to keep the name "Black Sabbath" after 1983. Bleah.

Reader Comments (Mattias Eriksson)
Headless Cross is in my opinion their 4th best album. Only Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, VOL 4 and Heaven And Hell are greater!!
It's obvious you're not a guitar player or vocalist and are deaf to the fullest extent !!!! If you don't know who Cozy Powell is, you should never review another cd ever !!!

Christopher N. Schurawel
At first I hated Headless Cross but it grew on me. I had an experience where I got stabbed by a knife while listening to the song and had several other experiences which led me to believe the song truly is evil.

The song is about people living in a medieval village around the time of the bubonic plague. The people erected a stone cross on the edge of town hoping that God would intervene and stop the plague. Instead the plague got worse and everybody died. Supposedly this is a true story. To top it off, a storm came and a bolt of lightning struck the monument and split the cross in two.

I like Cozy Powell's in the pocket drumming on this disk. I don't like every song though. I hate the chorus vocals on "When Death Calls". Chorus vocals simply aren't Sabbath. "Devil & Daughter" is cool - if you have ever had a truly evil girlfriend you can relate when Tony Martin howls , "The evil of her nature..... "

Still, this disk isn't a classic. I think they were trying too hard on this disk. It was much better than The Eternal Idol, however.
Need I tell you that Ozzy wasn't a rock-legend either when Sabbath started out?! What the hell has that got to do with anything anyway?! If you're gonna review an album, stick to the facts instead of writing like some sort of spoiled kid who didn't get the ice-cream flavor that he wanted...!! If Martin sounds like Dio to you, it must have been a WHILE since you last heard Dio, cause the last time I heard mr Ronnie, he sure as hell didn't sound like Tony Martin!

So, please, next time you're bored and decide to create a page with record-reviews for the whole world to see, don't embarrass yourself like this - review the MUSIC! Who the f**k CARES if the band has "rocklegends" or not?! Black Sabbath would never have gotten this far if they hadn't changed - and Tony Martin was their step into the 990's. He did a damn good job too, but obviously you haven't listened to his stuff too much, since you chose to review ONE album he's been on, totally forgetting the absolutely awesome Eternal Idol, Headless Cross and not to mention Tyr! Out of the God-knows-how-many albums you listed here, you chose to "review" ONE album with the singer who's been in this band since 1987 (hellooo?!) and then you don't even know what you're talking about. Welcome to the 90's by the way... (Glyn Ford)
i really think you've been too hard on sabbath here. If you forget this is sabbath, it's a pretty good album - its a damn sight better than a lot of other stuff calling itself metal. Ok, it's not a classic, but not everthing can be, but Martin is a fine singer too, very original I think - he doesn't sound anything like Dio to me. I feel sorry for him - he's a good singer who has been overshadowed by Ozzy, abd Dio a bit too. I undersatand that fans who only like the kind of music Ozzy did with sabatth, would not like this kind of rock, but if you like the broader spectrum of heavy rock, uou have to say this is quite good. In a way, Iommi has made his own problems, and problems for the singer by keeping the sabbath name. Maybe under another name, people would have been more positive. (Daniel Reichberg)
Headless Cross is actually a very good album. Not as good as the debut, Sabotage or Heaven and Hell, but still very good. The best song, in my opinion, is "When Death Calls", including a magnificent guitar solo from Queen's Brian May. I also like "Black Moon" although its satan references (found all over the record) are a bit silly. The title track was great as show opener when I saw the band in 1989. The band released an even better album a year later called Tyr. I'm surprised it's not on the reviews page since it is a damn good record!
The sucker that I am. I bought every Sabbath album hoping that it would in some way match up to the early stuff.(this trend finally ended with the Forbidden album) All of their albums have at least a few good tracks, however most of them are not worth getting unless you truly are a fan. Save your money, get the the cool box set of the first 6 with Ozzy on disk and maybe tape a friend's copies of Technical Ecstacy, Never Say Die, the 3 Dio albums and the one Ian album. If you are truly an Iommi fan you'll probably get the rest anyhow..but don't say you haven't been warned.! (Michael Buchbinder)
Tony Martin really sucks. He is the worst singer Black Sabbath ever had. Two tracks are good ("Headless Cross" and "When Death calls"), but the rest is pure crap. Remember Ozzy and Ronnie! (Rod Unterreiner)
I can never listen to side 2 of this album! I just could never get into it. But side 1 kicks serious ass!!!! "Headless cross" is THE definitive 80's (though late) metal tune with the most crushing riff Iommi ever invented (next to "Wheels of Confusion" that is). And Tony Martin's shrieking vocals on "Headless Cross" rival those of Rob Halford's (Judas Priest). That's no small feat indeed!!! Every Halloween I put on side 1 of this album, crank it up to 10, and just get in the mood. Why couldn't they get side 2 to sound as good as side 1.... the world may never know...
to that compuserve-fucker!!!

it's obvious you're one of these 80ies "rockers" with spandex and hilarious hair styles!!!! otherwise you would see headless cross as what it is : spandex music with funny hair styles....masturbating on "how to play it right"

don't get me wrong...i don't stick to looks, but i thanked god when G'n'R came along and put back the vibes in rock (don't forget punk)
I don't see anything wrong with this album,maybe a few weak songs but not nearly as bad as everyone says it is.If you haven't heard this album because you read that it sucks ,I would suggest you go try to find it(it may be out of print)and judge for yourself ,it ain't half bad. (Roland Fratzl)
Black Sabbath shifted to a smaller label for the first time with Headless Cross in 1989, and what we get is an ocean full of shit. The label change really has nothing to do with it though; Tony Iommi simply ran out of ideas, and this album sounds like a bad Sabbath tribute band. This isn't just the worst album with the name Black Sabbath on it (which in itself was a joke by this point), but I honestly think it's one the worst albums I HAVE EVER HEARD BY ANYONE. It's just drenched in cheese, from the unintentionally hilarious cliched operatic glass shattering vocals, to the utterly monotonous drumming (sounds like a drum machine), to the gay 80's keyboards that are way too prominent in the mix, and finally to Iommi's stunningly boring and tepid guitar playing. Suckage in every possible category. One of the biggest mistakes was to allow Martin to unleash his singing; the result is a tendency to wail almost every note as high as possible...this is sickeningly gross to listen to. The production is tinny, and the keyboards sound almost as loud as the guitars! On a Sabbath album! All the way through! Finally, what is most surprising is Iommi's lack of interesting riffs...he plays nothing but really predictable chord sequences that make you want to scream in agony, and most unforgivable of all is the fact that he, as Mark rightly pointed out, plagiarized not one, but two entire riffs from older Sabbath material. One sounds identical to the hard charging riff from "Children Of The Grave", while the other is the same as the acoustic riff from one of the Dio Sabbath songs. This really is pathetic, especially considering Iommi's ability to usually come up with interesting guitar parts. I actually started laughing while listening to this future coaster because I couldn't get over how amateurish the guitar playing doesn't even sound like Iommi playing. The guitar tone is different than usual, and like I said, the riffs couldn't be more uninspired. I actually think that the so-called riffs sound like something a 12 year old Sabbath fan who is just starting out on guitar would come up with.

Bottom of the barrel ass scraping 80's cheese metal, along the lines of Lizzy Borden or Hellion. A total embarrassment. Stuff like this existing causes irreperable damage to the Black Sabbath name and legacy. Then again, maybe not, since thankfully almost nobody knows this crock of shit exists. I think that most people are unaware of the fact that Sabbath continued to release albums after Ian Gillan's tenure in 1983 and the reformation of the original line-up in 1997, and that's certainly for the better.

Mark, can you justify giving this abomination a 2?? Sounds like a big fat ZERO to me.

Add your thoughts?

TYR - IRS 1990.
Rating = 2

JEEEEzus. Music just doesn't get much worse than this, I'm afraid. Did you notice that not one, but TWO of these riffs are swiped pointblank from old Sabbath tunes? Did you notice that track 2 is pretty much the only good song on here?
Reader Comments
Out of the Newer Sabbath Albums, I really liked Tyr a lot and am recommending it. However, when/if you listen to it don't expect Sabbath because Sabbath it is not. I think it's a good album in its own right but is in no way similar to the older stuff.

Something I would like to point out is that the Name Black Sabbath nowadays is pretty much meaningless. They have gone through so many member, sound, and style changes that it's impossible the describe "the modern day Sabbath sound", and there is no way to predict what their next album is gonna sound like.

Every album should be judged as a one-shot album by a band that's only doing one album, and the next album being looked at as another band. (Alex R)
Boy, this album really sucks ass!!. Stick with the Ozzy and Ronnie albums.
What exactly is wrong with your harsh judgements? Do you have absolutely no respect for Tony Iommi's creativity or Tony Martin's awesome concept on this album? It has some very powerful stuff, but of course no one gives a damn, just to blend in they'll say Ozzy was the only true Sabbath... (Jim Coghlin)
Tyr seems to bring out the best or the worst in Sabbath fans. In your case, it brought out your worst review. Next time you write a 'review' please explain yourself when you write sentences like "music just doesn't get much worse than this." I would like to know how I could have possibly missed such a major flaw the first time I listened to Tyr. (Roland Fratzl)
Oh yeah, the fast forward button on my CD player got a real workout with this one too.

A lot of people say that this is the worst album bearing the Black Sabbath name, but I vehemently disagree with that. That dishounour unquestioningly belongs to Headless Cross, the previous (lack of)effort. While Tyr is still a terrible disappointment, I think it's better than Headless Cross for a number of reasons: 1) The singing is not quite as puke inducing, being ever so slightly more restrained (but not much); 2) the production is much better, with everything sounding much more powerful; 3) Iommi's playing is not the listless bore that it was last time...he actually sounds quite energetic this time around, unleashing some furious material, even if this batch of riffs aren't distinctive at all; 4) the lyrics, while still laughably bad, are an improvement as well.

Too bad the story involving Norse mythology is completely wasted by this brainless metal music though. The music does not evoke the ideas and concepts brought to the table in any way, shape, or form. Such ambitious concepts require music that is dynamic, challenging, and adventurous, all of which are qualities that not one iota of Tyr possesses. 2/10. (Timothy Herrman)
I found this disc used in the comedy section; the conceptual comedy section. This still birth excuse for music reminds of the loser metal songs they used in exploitation movies of the early eighties. They use those songs because they're dirt cheap, like the price I paid for this cd. I still put it on when I'm in the mood for a good chuckle. I wonder what those church burning freaks over in Norway thought of this at the time. Maybe it was their sole inspiration for returning to paganistic ideas. An evening with Tony Martin will return you to your roots, eh? Ironic ain't it?

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Dehumanizer - Reprise 1992.
Rating = 6

Not bad for a reunion album! If it doesn't have the weird early-'80s vibe of the original Dio records (the line-up on here is the same one that did Mob Rules and Live Evil), it's at least a heck of a lot heavier and more memorable (probably) than any of the Iommi+whoever records released during the preceding decade. Dio's voice has calmed down a little without turning to crap like Brian Johnson's, so he comes across more like a hip '90s Soundgarden kinda guy than oh, that guy in Poison or whatever.

Most of these songs seem a little too long, but the riffs are okay. Dark without being stupid, with minimal keyboard use and fantastic production. This may not be vintage Sabbath (almost all of the songs are pretty good, but none are amazing), but it's nice to know that Iommi is still capable of creating a thoroughly listenable product when paired with the right people. Which reminds me - "Master Of Insanity" is a rip-off of Led Zeppelin's "Wanton Song." I know you really didn't need to know that, but I thought I'd let you know. "Buried Alive" seems awfully reminiscent of "Zero The Hero," too, but maybe I'm just projecting.

Reader Comments (Rhonda F. Moore's brother)
Black Sabbath is the best fuckin band ever to walk this earth; fuck it - the whole universe.
Anther Sabbath album worth hearing are Eternal Idol (The title track is truly diabolical sounding.). On Dehumanizer, an older, somewhat ferocious sounding Dio sings with true conviction. There's a lot of power here and I've done some intense weight training workouts to this CD. Also Iommi's riffs get closer here to the essence of early Sabbath than any of the post-Ozzy albums. Definitely recommend this one. Unfortunately after this album, Sabbath got back Tony Martin, who is a pretty good singer, but seems to lack charisma and good songwriting ability. One last suggestion: if it was made known through the Internet that there are still many fans who would love to see Ozzy tour with Sabbath, perhaps someone would offer Ozzy enough money to get back with Sabbath for one more album and a tour. It's almost happened a couple of times. (Gary Ott)
In my opinion, Black Sabbath was Black Sabbath only when they had Ozzy Osbourne. You might be able to replace the singer in a band once and get away with it and still be pretty much the same band as AC/DC did when they replaced Bon Scott with Brian Johnson. But when you replace the singer four or five different times along with other members of the band over the years, I think you lose credibility. I still buy Black Sabbath albums only because of Tony Iommi and the incredible riffs he can sometimes come up with. I don't think he gets enough credit when the history of great rock guitarists come up. Sure, he might not be considered a virtuoso like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, etc. but I do admire him for his long career of coming up with a lot of catchy riffs. Even some of the newer albums like Eternal Idol and Headlesss Cross do have their good moments. They're definitely not as bad as some people make them out to be. In fact, I think they're pretty decent.

Concerning all the different singers for Black Sabbath, I thought Ronnie James Dio was the best replacement for Ozzy Osbourne and it's a shame he wasn't in the band longer. Heaven and Hell is a very good album. Mob Rules a good album. And Dehumanizer a good album that didn't get the attention it should have gotten. These later albums with Tony Martin on vocals are too polished. The production is just too clean. Martin is an ok vocalist (though he doesn't come close to either Ozzy or Dio as a frontman) but the rest of the band needs more stability with perhaps more chemistry and dedication to do the name "Black Sabbath" proud. It amazes me that the first Black Sabbath album was recorded in only two days and it still holds up very well after almost 30 years. As for another underrated album by Sabbath----- SABOTAGE!!!

Christopher N. Schurawel
Dehumanizer I think was Sabbath's best album in near a decade. The album combined heavy riffs with good lyrics. I like the opening notes on "Computer God," where Geezer does that little bass thing.... Kind of like saying- "Hey! Geezer's back." If you haven't heard Geezer Butler's new solo project GZR- I highly recommend it. For more info go to (http://www.tvtrecords. com/bands/gzr.html). The record is heavier than you expect and Geezer takes a shot at Tony on the song "Giving Up the Ghost".

I really liked the lyrics on "Letters from Earth". The song had the primitive evil feeling of Black Sabbath's early work. I saw them on tour for this album and they blew everybody away. I still like Tony Iommi and I have all the Sabbath records but the lineup changes have soured me a bit. Cross Purposes was pretty good. Geezer was on that one. For me, every time Geezer leaves, the intensity drops down a bit.
You have far too many harsh judgements about Black Sabbath. Can't you just admit something is awesome music without having to base your opinion on what STYLE of music you like??!! Black Sabbath created a mood no one else did before them. They also have done a lot of mellow acoustic type tracks. SABBATH RULES!!! Not everyone can be as innovative as people like Hendrix and Jim Morrison. It is not a champ or chump situation. There is a middle ground you know! (EARTHDOG)


P. S. HAVE NICE DAY (Stephane Ouimet)
Hey! Earthdog! Learn to type, and, oh! by the way, learn your spelling. I did, in grade school... And look, you take all this too seriously, man, get a life, move away from your parent's house for chrissake! Do something else instead of mindlessly insulting people on the net.
The reason this album failed was because the PRODUCTION SUCKED!!!!! It sounded like it was recorded in an tin barn. EVERYTHING sounds SO thin in the mix that I couldn't believe they released this. The version of "Time Machine" that was on the Wayne's World soundtrack sounded great (It was mixed by a diffrent person) But this album died a death. Had this album had the production of ANY of the Tony Martin albums, Dio would still be in the band and Sabbath would have reached the top of the metal ladder, again. Now Tony & Geezer are sucking Ozzy's dick to get him to revive a band that has run out of options. Fuck it I'm gonna go listen to Live Evil.
Sabbath is the greatest band there is. Iommi was my inspiration and I was fortunate enough to meet him at the OzzFest in Boston this year. He was a cool guy, I had my picture taken with him and he signed the Jcard of my band's latest cassette. (Glyn Ford)
I think dehumaniser is one of the best albums the sabs have done with any singer. It's back to the dirge drone riffs and apocalyptic lyrics - i'm sure Geezer wrote most of the lyrics, although it doesn't specify on the disc. Geezer is very important to Sabbath. (Fleur)
I have been trying to get hold of a copy of Dehumaniser for about 3 years now, ever since my ex-boyfriend burnt my copy.

If anyone knows where I might be able to get a copy, any help would be madly appreciated, even if it is just a recording of a copy!!!
TYR is my fav 'past ozzy years' album!
listen, fella, you obviously have no clue about the greatest band ever, the originators of metal, Black Sabbath. I'm suprised the 'net police let you put up this sight up because it's a damn crime! Iommi is the riff king. Nobody wrote heavier riffs than he did - unarguably. But he is underrated as a guitar player! sure, he's trapped inside the pentatonic scale most of the time, sometimes branching out to a minor scale for the soft songs, but he just wails in these confinements! NO FINESSE? how 'bout taking out your Hanson CD and throwing Sabotage on. That's finesse. I mean, go ahead! compare them with every other damn band in the world. All else pales in the kingdom of Sabbath. Once again, you know nothing about this band, so I suggest you learn some before typing any more bull shit about them. You shall lick Ozzy's toes!
This album sounds very Ozzyesque. I closed my eyes and pretended Ozzy was singing. Dio is great, one of my faves, but Sabbath just ain't Sabbath without Oz.
dehumanizer was a great effort by dio/geezer/tony/vinnie. in fact, dio's strange highways solo lp released a year later sounds a lot like dehumanizer, so he must have contributed heavily to dehumanizer's sound and direction. though i read that geezer came up with the album's concept of examining man's increased reliance on technology. i wonder who was responsible for the lyrics? as there's no mention of rainbows or dragons on dehumanizer, i'd like to think geezer was back handling sabbath's lyrics. who knows? unquestionably the best record to bear the name black sabbath since 1983's Born Again album. my main probelm with the album is that like so many modern releases, it sounds too digital and tinny. compare its sound with Mob Rules from '82 (same lineup) and you'll hear what i mean. it's pretty ironic considering the alleged concept behind dehumanizer (mentioned above). also, truly wretched cover art -- reminds me of judas priest's jugulator mess (american version). (Roland Fratzl)
Dio's back, and the result is by far the best studio album by "Black Sabbath" from 1981 to the present (2001), although that will change soon now that the original and only true Sabbath line-up is once again recording a new studio album! Anyways, it seems that Dio had a lot less input into the making of Dehumanizer. The lyrics are way too good to have been written by him, and the themes are not his style...pretty sure Geezer took over this time. And the first 2 Black Dio albums were faster and more conventional than any of the Ozzy stuff, whereas a lot of the music on Dehumanizer sounds strongly influenced by the classic Sabbath sound. Iommi unleashes positively monstrous, slow, plodding riffs on every song that are heavy as titanium. Awesome riffs. Very, very dark album. Even Dio sounds meaner than before. Some of these songs are just fantastic, completey relentless in intensity. Coulda used more variety though, and the dark mood starts to get a little silly by the end. Pretty sure Dio wrote the lyrics to "I", because they are positively pitiful. Good song otherwise though! The only ones I seem to skip more often than not are "Buried Alive", and "Time Machine", the song featured on the Wayne's World soundtrack! All in all, a solid album if unremarkable, and about as good as you could expect from a non-original line-up of this band, despite the terrible cover! 7/10. (Robert Chaundy)
This is a decent record. I would give it six out of ten. The attitude is right - mean and ferocious where previous albums (like Tyr) had been bogged down in unconvincing mystical hogwash. This is hard-edged music, epitomised by Dio's uncommonly impressive vocal delivery. But the tinny mix does make it a tiring listen, in spite of much good songwriting.

Superior to its immediate predecessors, and no worse than the next couple of albums - therefore one of the high points of post-Ozzy Sabbath.

And the song 'I' is a total ass-kicker, the sort of thing I would have liked to hear this band doing more of.

Speaking of 'I', it features on my latest compilation CD. The complete track-listing runs thusly:

1. Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra
2. Europe - The Final Countdown
3. The K.L.F. featuring Tammy Wynette - Justified and Ancient
4. Ozzy Osbourne - Perry Mason
5. A Flock of Seagulls - Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)
6. Weezer - Buddy Holly
7. Genesis - No Son Of Mine
8. Black Sabbath - I
9. Tatu - All The Things She Said
10. The Jackson Five - I Want You Back
11. Shakespear's Sister - You're History
12. Pink - Don't Let Me Get Me
13. Soulfly - Pain
14. KC and the Sunshine Band - Give It Up
15. Boy Meets Girl - Waiting For A Star To Fall
16. The Who - Join Together
17. 4 Non Blondes - What's Going On
18. REO Speedwagon - Keep On Loving You

It's a great listen, if I do say so myself. A landmark in compilation history. If anyone wants a copy then drop me a line.

Add your thoughts?

Cross Purposes - IRS 1994.
Rating = 5

Decent! Even with Dio gone again and Tony Martin back again, they're going out of their way to make a 90s sounding record. It's really similar to Dehumanizer actually, with a nice emphasis on loud but not slick guitars and a singer who mostly sounds like a human being, having abandoned that awful 80's operatic yell thing. Only problem is that Iommi hasn't come up with a full album of killer riffs. Only about half of these make the grade. Still, that half is really nice -- there are some weird strangling riffs, a couple of really pretty poppish numbers and of course heavy thudding repetition. It's no classic, but it's oodles more listenable than Styrclyr and Headless Dross.

Ha ha! How clever I've been! Like that guy that draws Doonesbury!

Reader Comments (Roland Fratzl)
Hmmmm, this review has been up for years yet nobody has ever commented on it...that should tell you something!

Yes, Geezer is back on this one (a welcome addition after all those useless unoriginal musicians) and the production is quite good, but it's yet another lacklustre album from a band that really had nowhere to go by this point. They had long since become a mere parody of a great band that used to create interesting music. It's not even a real parody of classic Sabbath because classic Sabbath created unique, mature music that wasn't a cliche, while these late-period Martin fronted albums are nothing but a big cliche. It feels almost like Iommi felt he had to adhere to a very limited style to do justice to the Black Sabbath moniker, which obviously was a completely stupid approach to creating music. How can a musician possibly sit in the recording studio year after year, album after album, and be content to toss the same old shit at us that they've already done a zillion times before?? That just simply baffles me to no end. It's total creative stagnation, nothing else, and I simply can't respect that. There's just no logical reason for any of these later period "Sabbath" albums to exist, other than for Tony to pay his rent at the time, I guess. Nobody should be subjected to this crap. On every web site that I write album reviews for, I intend to always give these albums terrible ratings, because not only are they a complete insult to me (as a fan of the actual Black Sabbath band, meaning the founding members), but to the great music given to the world by the combination of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, and Ozzy Osbourne.

To be fair, it's partly Ozzy's fault that this useless shit exists because he didn't sue Tony's ass in the early 80's over the rights to the band name. That point brings me to their reunion: did you know that one of the conditions set forth by Ozzy prior to the reformation of the original line-up in 1997 was to have Iommi sign a legal document that states that the name "Black Sabbath" can never be used again in any form unless it involves the 4 original members?? That's probably the smartest thing Ozzy's ever done, and it prevents us from ever being subjected to all this slime again. I'd rather have no Sabbath at all than have a shitload of gut wrenching albums with a spinal tappian revolving door of no name musicians creating music that in no way is any more dynamic than the material set forth by the countless watered down imitators.

As for this album, just like the last 2 Martin fronted bunch, my emotions ranged from my thoughts either drifting off in boredom, wishing I was listening to something else, barely being able to contain my rage in the face of dealing with such mediocre tripe, and just waiting for the torment to end. There's no reason at all to listen to this, much less own it. 3/10. (Jim Coghlin)
Mr. Fratzel. I think you are missing something in your assessment of the Martin albums: respect. Unwind your shorts for a minute, forget that this is Black Sabbath and listen to the music. If it fails to evoke in you the smallest amount of respect and admiration for the creative and technical abilities of these musicians, it is probably due to an emotional defect brought on by a cloying devotion to the original lineup that blocks you from really hearing anything at all.

I let your comments on Headless Cross and Tyr pass in silence because they were predictable, mindless, and typical of the kind made by a fan with an agenda to serve. But now, here you are again, this time carving up Cross Purposes with, among other things, pointless rambling about being personally insulted by it and about legal documents signed before the reunion. You throw around words like "shit," "crap," and "slime" without supporting them whatsoever with intelligent commentary on the music.

You whine about the supposed creative stagnation of the Martin albums and all that tells me is just how little you know about them. Cross Purposes is nothing like Headless Cross or Tyr. Would it have made you happy if they had tried to re-write Sabotage in 1994 with Tony Martin and Bobby Rondinelli? Or better yet, tried to sound like that ground-breaking juggernaut Pantera? Oh, sorry, you did make it clear that the only thing that would make you happy would be if they hadn't bothered recording anything at all. What a miserable view!

There is nothing wrong with Cross Purposes. It is a very good album. It's not ground-breaking, but what kind of ground were you expecting them to break 25 years later? Leave the ground-breaking to the young and hungry bands that define their own generations.

What Cross Purposes is, is a very fine modern-sounding metal album that seeks to perfect and update an older style and sound. It does a pretty good job of that, even if there are no truly great songs to be found on it. As an album it hangs together well and the musicianship is top-notch all around. Geezer's influence adds a little extra kick, Martin's vocals a little extra class, Rondinelli plays the best rhythms since Bill Ward, and Iommi's sound brings it all together and makes it Black Sabbath.

Since we're throwing numbers around on this page, I'll give Cross Purposes a 7/10. I'll give your review a "low 1." (Eric Ericson)
Here's a review of Cross Purposes Live someone on the Bill Ward Forum asked me about on February 15, 2003,(the first paragraph is the original question asked me):

"...I was wondering what people thought of this (Cross Purposes Live) album....For those who saw the Tony Martin lineup back in the day, would you say that Cross Purposes Live is a good representation of their overall live performance? And how does it compare to Live Evil?..."

Well, to me it would always be the second official live Black Sabbath album (which it is). I bought my copy of this VHS/CD set way back in 1995 & yes, it went out of print shortly after it. Now, I haven't watched the VHS portion of it in years, and I think I remember it is being in black & white too (but I might be wrong on that). If you want it, I've seen copies of the set being sold on EBay, so it's not impossible.

I love the CD of the show. Unfortunately, "The Mob Rules", "Neon Knights", and "Anno Mundi (The Vision)" aren't on the CD version of it (only on the VHS), and there is only one full Dio song, "Time Machine", on the CD. But man, what a great recording! I've heard alot of stories about how Martin was sick during most of this tour (I saw the actual show in Jacksonville Florida), but my ears can't hear it. I still say that Martin performed songs like "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" live better than his precessors did, and it shows on this recording. If you want the track listing, here is the CD line-up of songs:

Time Machine
Children Of The Grave
I Witness
Into The Void
Black Sabbath
The Wizard
Cross Of Thorns
Symptom Of The Universe
Bobby Rondinelli Drum Solo
Headless Cross
Tony Iommi Guitar Solo
Paranoid (with Heaven & Hell Outro)
Iron Man
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

It's a little less than 71 minutes long, but if you can find it, it's a must. The sound quality is very similar to Live Evil, but this time you can hear the audience (?) and Iommi's guitar solo is much shorter. I don't have any other bootlegs from this tour, but I did hear one (forget the name) that had "Immaculate Deception" on it as well, but didn't buy it because Cross Purposes Live was enough for me concerning owning something from this great tour, and that should say something! There has been a bootleg version of just the CD with the bonus studio track "What's The Use" added to it, so you might get lucky there.

As for the VHS portion, I just wish it was re-released on DVD. Unfortunately, it never made it to laserdisc either, so chances of say a Brazilian release isn't likely as well. That's just too bad, I would kill for a pressed DVD of it. So as a fellow overall Sabbath fan, I suggest going to EBay & buying this great album, I myself still listen to it regularly and always enjoy it. Hell, when I was a Radio Disc Jockey in Tampa, I used to play cuts from it, and people would call and say "Who was this great band covering these Sabbath tunes?", and when I told them it was the '94 Sabbath, it made them want to buy/hear the Martin albums! Nuff said!

P.S.:I posted this response to this two days later:

Okay, some more info on this: The other recording that I mentioned before (with "Immaculate Deception"), also from the 1994 Cross Purposes tour, is called "Iron Men" recorded on March 3rd at the Universal Amphitheatre (a two-disc set). Cross Purposes Live was recorded at the Hammersmith in England (but I don't have an exact date). So yes, it is two different shows (I still prefer C.P.L.). Just a little more info on this, hope it helps.

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Cross Purposes Live - IRS 1995
Rating = 6

Many things in life are uncertain, but at least we can all agree on one particular: if it's a Black Sabbath live album you're looking for, you're gonna want one with Tony Martin singing.

Oh sure, Black Sabbath has had other singers in its long and storied career. First there was that snore-inducing "Ossy" stiff in the '70s, followed by the extremely limited vocal range of Jimmy Ron Dio. But it wasn't until the discoveries of angelic voxboxes Ian Gillan and Glenn Hughes that the band finally became listenable. Then finally, at long last, Tony Martin agreed to lead this rough-and-tumble combo to its artistic peak: The Eternal Idol.

Former vocalist for Trapeze, Deep Purple and Rainbow, Martin was a consummate singer with a larger than life personality, so it came to nobody's surprise when The Martins became a reality TV sensation and he died of stomach cancer and rejoined Deep Purple. And say what you will about "actual history" that isn't "a bunch of bullshit I made up," but I think we're all in agreeance that Tony Martin is the Steve Martin of heavy metal.

Recorded on April 13, 1994 at London's Hammersmith Apollo, Cross Purposes Live features the Fab Five propelling its propellers through a set list discographically divided as such:

Black Sabbath - 2
Paranoid - 2
Master of Reality - 2
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath - 1
Sabotage - 1
Headless Cross - 1
Dehumanizer - 1
Cross Purposes - 3

You know what's really wrong with Tony Martin? He's boring. Lacking both the charisma of Ozzy and the operatic vocal skills of Dio, he sounds like he'd be more at home singing for Foreigner or Survivor than fronting the world's pioneering metal band. Sure, if you saw him singing "Into the Void" at karaoke, you'd shout, "Alright! You're kicking my ass!" But out in the real world of singing for a living, he just doesn't have any spark. Honestly, the best thing I can say about his performance here is that he doesn't turn all the Ozzy songs into bad jokes like Dio did.

With such a non-entity on vocals, it's up to the music to keep this thing alive. And luckily, though the guitar is way too quiet in the mix, the set list is bursting with killer riffs like "Symptom of the Universe," "Children of the Grave," "The Wizard," "Neon Nights," "Time Machine," "Paranoid" and "Black Sabbath." "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" should be on that list too but Martin doesn't even come close to hitting Ozzy's high notes, leading one to wonder why they bothered playing it in the first place.

Wikipedia claims that this disc was available only as part of a CD/VHS set, but obviously they've never heard of illegal downloading.

Bobby Rondinelli plays drums.

Now here are some songs I should write about my sprained back:

"My Boyfriend's Back (Hurts)"
"Get Back (Pills, to Relieve the Pain of Your Sprained Back)"
"Back in Black (Because the Heating Pad Caught on Fire)"
"Back in the USSR (Sprains YOU!)"
"(It Feels Like a) Baby (Has) Come (Out of My) Back"

Reader Comments

Shaun Ferguson
This is my review of Black Sabbath's Children Of The Sea Live In Brazil '94 DVD. Thanks so very much for using it as a reader's comment. It is my honor to have my work in any form on your site.

Line Up: Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, Geoff Nicholls, Tony Martain (aka nearly identical to the albums Heaven And Hell and Born Again, just throw in Tony Martin. Notice I mentioned him last).

Songs: Time Machine, Children Of The Sea, BS, a breif but wonderful guitar solo, your usual Paranoid album songs, Headless Cross, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. THE HAND THAT ROCKS ISN'T ON HERE, I KNOW IT SAYS IT IS ON THE BACK BUT IT'S NOT (at least not on my copy). The main riff of the song Heaven And Hell is added onto the end of Paranoid.

Whether this was put out to cash in on Dio's death even more I don't know (containing two songs from that era, and being named after one of those songs), but I do know two things, there are only three reasons to think about buying this DVD,

1: The line up, minus Tony Martin's fuck ups, if Sabbath does have a worst singer, it's him, but he's still actually much better live then in the studio, trust me.

2. It's very hard a find a DVD of Sabbath even by download where you can have Time Machine, Children Of The Sea, and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath all on the same disc. Actually finding ANY DVD right now with stuff from both the Ozzy and Dio eras is nearly impossible right now.

3. Especially Bill Ward on drums, playing Time Machine, a song that he wasn't originally there for. Stylistically Bill Ward is my all time favorite drummer, and he's easily my favorite drummer in Sabbath. He was there for all but 3.5 of the albums they ever made that I liked.

But those are the only reasons, really. Everybody does a great job on here except Martin, whose job compared to at least most of the other sabbath singers is barely passable. Almost every sabbath fan has a copy of those Paranoid singles (War Pigs, Paranoid, Iron Man), and honestly I with they'd left those off and put on other songs Bill played with this version of the band (Children Of The Grave, Symptom Of The Universe, Into The Void, Neon Knights). For those of you who have never heard the song Headless Cross, I'll make this simple: THAT IS NOT AN ACTUAL BLACK SABBATH SONG. IT'S FROM ONE OF THOSE ALBUMS TONY MADE WITHOUT ANY OTHER MEMBERS OF THE ORIGINAL OR EVEN ANY MEMBERS WHO WERE THERE AT LEAST FOR BORN AGAIN. It's a song that sounds like Van Halen's Runnin With The Devil except heavier with my keyboards, sillier lyrics, and crappier guitar. I love Tony's playing but, GOD MAN, know your limits, don't copy Van Halen, let him copy you. You came before him, that's usually how it works. Especially when the only thing you have over him are blues and fingerpicking and having the brains to make more then twice as many great albums as he did. Tony may not have the technical skills VH does but he's certainly written far more "stuck in your head" type of riffs and solos then VH has as of yet.

In fact, from my point of view Tony has at least a few more of those then Jimmy Page and Keith Richards combined once you get to know his real work with the Sabs (1st album- Born Again, Dehumanizer and it's demos (made shitter on Cross Purposes by Tony Martin, the only Tony Martin fronted album that isn't an Iommi solo album, of course The Devil You Know), and this concert is a great reminder of that, but on some of these things the film and music don't always line up. There's also no special features and you can't even see the marker on the screen selection on the DVD except for the song list.

I paid 20 dollars for this fucking thing. It's only worth 9 dollars flat at most. Great songs, even Headless Cross isn't a bad song, it's just really damned insulting and obsurd for Geezer and Bill to play it, great playing from Geoff, Tony, Geezer, and Bill, and not too many fuck ups from Tony Martin, but overall other then that this thing was very poorly put together. Bill's drums on the Dio songs he did on this tour are much better then on HAH, but you barely see that here.

Unless it's for the reasons I specified, don't buy this unless it's cheap. It's not worth 20 dollars, don't kid yourself. Get it at a used place for less then 9 depending on where you live. If you want to here better stuff from this line up, download Live In Argentina '94, even Tony Martin does a better job there and there are far more songs, including the songs I mentioned up there. But no Time Machine. Fuck. If not for that one song I would never have bought this fucking thing. Fuck you, Disc Media. This ends my review.

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Forbidden - IRS 1995.
Rating = 5

Decent! Even with Dio gone again and Tony Martin back again, they're going out of their way to make a 90s sounding record. It's really similar to Cross Purposes actually, with a nice emphasis on loud but not slick guitars and a singer who mostly sounds like a human being, having abandoned that awful 80's operatic yell thing. Only problem is that Iommi hasn't come up with a full album of killer riffs. Only about half of these make the grade. Still, that half is really nice -- there are some weird strangling riffs, a couple of really pretty poppish numbers and of course heavy thudding repetition. It's no classic, but it's oodles more listenable than Tear and Pointless Cross.

Ha ha! How clever I've been! Like that guy that does Pop Up Videos!

Reader Comments (Roland Fratzl)
The awesomely bad album cover already tells you what you're in for: more stupid, mindless metal that tries to sound scary, by the man who created scary metal himself, Tony Iommi! Uh, I mean Black Sabbath....right? That's right Tony, keep being a living cliche.

More by the numbers dark metal...why didn't didn't Iommi just hook up with King Diamond??

Forbidden is just more evidence that Iommi is just not a very good songwriter unless he's paired with the right people, those right people namely being no-names Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, and Ozzy Osbourne.

I made the ridiculously ill adivised attempt yesterday to borrow all of these Tony Martin era Sabbath albums off a friend, and even worse, listen to all of them. Well, lemme put it this way: if Headless Cross was severe chest pain, Tyr a loss of consciousness, and Cross Purposes cardiac arrest, then the so-called band finally flatlined with Forbidden. All four are garbage and pretty much interchangeable. Headless Cross is hands down the most offensive one of the quartet, but the comparison is like swallowing shit as opposed to just licking it. I'm not including The Eternal Idol because against all odds, that one actually turned out ok.

"Hey buddy, wake up! The new Black Sabbath album Forbidden just came out!!!!"
*stretch* "Don't you mean the new Iommi solo album?"
"Uh, I guess! And guess what! It's horrible!"
*YAWN* "Tell me something I don't know."
*rubs balls*

Listening to these albums was one of the most painful experiences I've ever put myself through, and never will again. And it was that bad even though I used the fast forward feature quite liberally!

So bad, in fact, that I had an overwhelming urge to cleanse myself immediately after I finished the ordeal. How did I do this, you might ask? Easy: I threw on Pure Disco 3 and cranked it up...I've never felt so relieved in my life. (Eric Ericson)
I guess the main fault of Forbidden isn't actually the music as it is the production. To put it simply, it sounds like mud. Everything sounds so bassy, much like a fourth generation demo tape, it sounds that low-fidelity. That's what disappointed me with it right off the bat, after the great production sound of Dehumanizer & Cross Purposes, we get that on Forbidden. However, some of the songs on Forbidden were really, really great! Tracks like "Rusty Angels", "Shaking Off The Chains (which sounds like it was right off the Born Again album!)", and "Sick And Tired" could of been Sabbath classics easily, but I always felt they and others on Forbidden were held back due to that "muddy" sound. Also let me note that the track "Can't Get Close Enough", if recorded properly, SHOULD of been a top-twenty Billboard hit, damn that song is catchy! People say that Tony Martin was sick during the Cross Purposes Tour. But when I listen to Forbidden I think he wasn't well actually here. Martin's range for all the songs on the album are really shot, sometimes almost off-key. He just doesn't sound as good as the Martin we remember from Eternal Idol or Cross Purposes, or even Headless Cross (I like Headless Cross too, but not as much as those other two). Not to mention that Cozy Powell's drumming (with all due respect to the late drumming God), sounds extremely flat as well. The album is just missing that dynamic big Sabbath sound we're used to, it's not the individual songs fault, just the way they were recorded.

While I can't exactly remember how short of a time it took them to record the entire album (I think it was less than fourteen days, really!), that speedy finish time didn't work in their advantage like it did way back in 1970 with the very first Black Sabbath album. Also, they had Ernie C, formerly of the Ice-T (who "talked" vocals on the horrible "The Illusion Of Power" title track) album "Body Count" & band, produced the album & quite frankly, shouldn't of even been asked to be there in the first place. He mostly knew rap-like production styles and even though the "Body Count" album was rock oriented, it sounded "muddy" and unprofessional as well.

But let's cut Tony Iommi and his Sabbath a little slack for Forbidden though. IRS Recordings, who originally released the album, wanted to end their relationship with Black Sabbath anyway, this being the last album to fulfill the contract, so they probably didn't give Sabbath much in cash & time to complete the album the way Tony probably wanted. However, I do remember reading somewhere that Iommi wanted to keep this album raw and recording it quickly was it's main reason to get it that way, but I just don't think these results were what he was aiming for.

In closing (finally!), Forbidden is truly a mixed-bag, a couple of dirty diamonds that needed more polishing before being sold. To the die-hard Black Sabbath fans (like all of us), it's a must buy, but to the casual one, tell them to get Martin's Eternal Idol or Cross Purposes first.

Add your thoughts?

Reunion - Sony 1998.
Rating = 9

Holy crappin' piss!!! OZZY OSBOURNE is back??? BILL WARD is back??? GEEZER BUTLER is back??? TONY IOMMI has a mustache???

This is a wonderful, heavy and exuberant double-live album recorded by the four Sabbath boys that started the genre of metal way back in the 60s. And have they lost a thing? Yeah, Ozzy's voice can't quite hit those high notes anymore, but otherwise, fiddle-dee-dee!!! Tony is in exceptional shape, throwing out the heavy-as-bricks riffage in a manner totally belying his age (belieing? Oh, who the hell cares). Tons of classics on here, along with lesser-expected killers like "Dirty Women" and "Behind The Wall Of Sleep." Great sound, great crowd, great tunes, great Ozzy, great album. There are two new studio songs that aren't that great, but who cares?

Reader Comments (Erlend Kveinen)
Yes! The original four finally punch out a record - and a really good one, thankfully. Usually I am no fan of live albums, studio works are much more preferable in my opinion, though, Black Sabbath has made a undeniable quality live disc here. The atmosphere is top notch and the band are in good shape, crunching out the well-known riffs with necessary power and thrill. The two studio tracks are among the best the band has written, especially Psycho Man, man, this is an adrenaline rusher! As a final farewell from this legendary group, I doubt we could have received any better present. Now rest in (musical) peace, Tony, Geezer, Bill and Ozzy. (Roland Fratzl)
Of the the three official live albums that Sabbath has released, this is the one to own. Actually, get the video of this's called The Last Supper. It's quite remarkable when you think that the original line-up hadn't toured or recorded together in about 20 years when this came out...not only does the entire band sound fresh, but their playing is better than even in their peak years of the 70's! This is reflected by the fact that it's a double live album of songs from 1976 and older, released in the late 90's when live albums just didn't sell in big quantities anymore, and it still went platinum! It will blow you away! Everybody is note for note, and even Ozzy's singing is great! On the odd occasion he veers a bit off key or doesn't even attempt to hit the high notes (see "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"), but otherwise he sounds exactly as he did on the records! And Bill Ward's drumming is incredible as well! Who would even suspect that the poor guy had a heart attack during practice sessions for the tour that this album was recorded on?? Now that's a trooper! The only thing I can't forgive is that there is no material here from Sabotage, arguably their best studio album. They also ignored Never Say Die, but that's not exactly a travesty! The two new studio tracks aren't bad! They're a hell of a lot better than at least half of Never Say Die, or anything from 1983 to 1995 (except Dehumanizer). The riffs on "Psycho Man" are classic, and Ozzy sounds great. The only thing that prevents the song from being amazing is the really cheesy sounding shouts of "Psycho Man!" that Ozzy does during the chorus...if they had cut that out and just left the chorus with "angel of deeeeeeaaaaatth, angel of death" it would have been an instant classic. "Selling My Soul" is just ok. None of that matters though because the original four Sabs have finally entered the studio to record their first new album in 23'll be amazing!
Hey, I'm a big fan of almost all Sabbath records, sans, the Steve Martin era, of course, butt, this album is kinda the equivalent to jacking off to the girl that broke your heart. I guess, it might've been pretty thrilling to see, but to listen to this is pretty dull and stupyifying. Hope they DON'T ever record a studio album again if these 2 songs are any signs of what's to come. Give me "Dehumanizer" over these somnambulistic tracks any day. By all means, if you want Sabbath live, get "Live at Last." At least, that's got some real cocaine smack alcohol fueled energy. They should hook up with Halford, again. I recommend a listen to ELECTRIC WIZARD'S first 2 disc for a real blast of Sabbath for the future.

C'MON, GET FUCKIN CRAZY!!!Go back to MTV, you ol' fool. (Rob DelMedico)
great album. Ozzy hits quite a few bad notes tho.

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(Tony Iommi) Iommi - 2000.
Rating = 5

Hey, stop your whinging. I know you're complaining, "Mark! This hain't no Black Sabbath album! It's a Tony Iommi solo album featuring lots of special guests!" Well let me clue you in on a little secret. Get really close to the computer screen so I can whisper this to you:


Having made that clear, let me go on to state that this is the most modern-sounding record Iommi has made in decades - not because he's playing more '90s-style material, but because the songs all feature modernday popular rock singers instead of that Tony Martin hosehead. What's this all aboot, eh? The bizarre thing, howember, is that not only does Tony not Black Sabbathize these singers, but they don't even Theirbandize HIM! Somehow, the combinations of Tony and Various Speciacal Testicles results in...umm....results that sound like popular third party bands! It's almost as if Tony got all these crazy modern-day bands mixed up and wrote songs geared towards the wrong bands! Here's a list of examples for you to share with your entire family, perhaps at Thanksgivingtime:

Iommi + Henry Rollins = Rage Against The Machine
Iommi + Skin = Soundgarden
Iommi + Dave Grohl = Bush
Iommi + Philip Anselmo = Alice In Chains
Iommi + Billy Corgan = A Decent Rock Band With One Really Fucking LousySinger

Read this as they wilt, but one very nice way to read it is that Black Sabbath has had a huge impact on modern-day metal bands, more so than you may hath eve thunk to thine quiff. These songs certainly aren't the finest of Tony's career (and two or three of the riffs sound downright IDENTICAL), but they do a fine job of bringing him to a younger audience unfamiliar with such groundbreaking work as Tyr and don't harm his legacy a tit.

Reader Comments (Roland Fratzl)
No way man! The irony is that this album, which is one of those all too rare albums nowadays that is filled from start to finish with excellent material, sounds more like a classic Black Sabbath record than any of the Sabbath studio records from 1983 to 1995, but I digress.

Iommi took a cue from Carlos Santana and hired a plethora of well known vocalists from the present and the past, with each one adding their own personal flavour to each of the album's ten tracks. What is most incredible, however, is that in combination with Iommi's songwriting, all of them deliver passionate performances that in many cases outshine their own work! When was the last time Henry Rollins sounded as inspired and dynamic as he does on the ferocious opening track, "Laughing Man In The Devil Mask"? An even bigger surprise on this song is that Iommi has updated his guitar style, playing absolutely crushingly heavy downtuned riffs that sound a lot like the typical style nowadays of "nu-metal" bands. While he practically invented this heavy sound and even the whole genre thirty years ago, it is nevertheless an unexpected surprise. But instead of coming off as ridiculous pandering to a younger and hipper audience, it sounds totally natural and genuine, showing that the old master can easily punish the young whippersnapping pretenders to his throne at their own game!

He accomplishes this by never allowing the melodies to be sacrificed in the name of gimmicks. Nevertheless, any fan of his completely unique playing style really would not want to hear a whole album like that from him; one salvo is enough to prove his point, and that's wisely what he did with the album. From the second song to the last the listener gets tossed around in a salad of vintage Iommi riffs.

That's not to say in any way that the rest of the album is nothing more than a nostalgic throwback. In fact, there are many uses of modern production techniques throughout, incorporating loops, samples, and electronic beats on occasion, but being subtle enough that they give the songs a fresh contemporary edge without ever becoming a distraction.

"Meat" features Skin, the female lead singer of British band Skunk Anansie, and she probably gives the best performance on the whole album. Her range and power are in awesome display, and with Iommi's massive riffing accompanying her, it seems they can do no wrong.

"Goodbye Lament" was the first radio single, and features a fired up performance by the Foo Fighters's Dave Grohl, who sounds surprisingly comfortable handling this much heavier material than that of his own band. Once again, Iommi shreds another dark, evil riff that instantly grabs your attention, and features additional guitar parts by Queen's own Brian May, a brilliant virtuoso in his own right, with a guitar sound as unique and instantly recognizable as Iommi himself.

"Time Is Mine" contains more great music, and so far comes closest to sounding like classic early 70's Black Sabbath, but the raspy, throaty bark of Pantera's Phil Anselmo takes much getting used to, especially in the of the previous three excellent displays.

"Patterns" is another great Sabbath style winner, sounding like the musical cousin of "Iron Man". This time the vocals are handled by Serj Tankian, frontman of popular nu-metal band System Of A Down, in another example of better singing and creating melodies stronger than anything that band has ever accomplished.

Ironically, the best song on the album is "Black Oblivion" which features the Smashing Pumpkins mastermind Billy Corgan. And I say ironic because his nasal delivery is not nearly as irritating here, and this song is more dynamic, interesting, and melodic than anything that band ever managed to write. It's a nine minute epic with vintage unorthodox Sabbath tempo shifts and distinct sections, showcasing Iommi's seemingly endless reservoir of memorable riffs making seamless transitions to single note creepy, clean guitar passages, while Corgan's exemplary bass work thumps away along with his boyishly twisted delivery and psychotic lyrics, before the song slowly fades out on an extended laid back blues jam. Simply excellent writing and full of surprises.

"Flame On" has an almost industrial feel about it, and the riffs, while still fine, are not quite as interesting as up to this point. Ian Astbury's (The Cult) vocals are almost hypnotic due to his excellent control and emotion, but the chorus is a tad weaker than you would come to expect...the tension is built up well in the verses, but the chorus itself really sounds like it still continues to build on this and never satisfactorily delivers a melodic conclusion. A very strange break of techno beats occurs in the middle of the song for no apparent reason and never appears again, making a rather gimmicky impression. While it's certainly not a bad song at all, it's guilty of excessive simplicity and repetiton, which is not something typical of Iommi, as any fan of Black Sabbath could tell you.

"Just Say No To Love" is another good song, but not great. Some of the riffs and melodies don't really sound much different than what we've heard before, and the song (with Type O Negative's Peter Steele) feels more like an Iommi guest appearance on a Type O Negative album than the other way around. This is not surprising, seeing how that band is one of the most obviously Black Sabbath influenced ones out there.

Just when it seems that the album has run out of steam, Iommi unleashes an absolutely colossally heavy, sludgy riff that pours out of the speakers like molten lava...and it's no coincidence since on "Who's Fooling Who" he is re-united with none other than Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward, making up 3/4 of the original Black Sabbath!

With Osbourne's unmistakable presence and Ward's ever fascinating off-kilter drumming style, the listener is privy to experience an excellent teaser of what 21st century Black Sabbath might sound like. The power is unbelievable and the way Tony bends the notes and adds vibrato makes the sound so full and monstrous. I swear that this track would not sound out of place on Sabbath's 1971 landmark album, Master Of Reality.

The final track "Into The Night" is a hilarious parody of the gothic metal cliches that were directly or indirectly created by Black Sabbath itself, with an outrageously over the top performance by 80's rock idol Billy Idol! His voice is in top form, belying the fact that he hasn't done anything in nearly a decade, and his high camp approach to the song is refreshingly self-depreciating. It's great to see that they didn't take themselves too seriously to include it on the record. Brian May makes another appearance here.

There you have it; this is just about as consistently solid of an album that you're likely to get in today's unfortunate musical climate, which places an emphasis on a few singles and allows the rest to be filler.

Most people have a pre-conceived notion that solo albums by guitarists are nothing more than self-indulgent, egotistical, hour long technical wankfests with endless soloing; that may be true in the case of players like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, or Yngwie Malmsteen, to name a few, but do not make this mistake about Iommi. Like Santana, he has concentrated here on writing an album of actual songs with a host of different collaborators.

What impresses me the most is the very fact that throughout the whole album there is not a single instance where you get the impression that he's just trying to show off his chops. If anything, his solos are all very short and to the point. He should be commended for this totally unexpected amount of tasteful restraint on his part. The solos never even fully take center stage because they are quite low in the mix in most cases...seems like he was really determined to just write great songs, and he gets my full respect for that.

On a less positive note, I think the album would really have benefitted if it had been more experimental. It shouldn't sound so much like Black Sabbath the way it does...too many of the riffs, while all great, sound similar, all the songs are for the most part slow to mid tempo, and the arrangements are often more conventional than you would expect from him. Some acoustic guitar and other instruments would have been a nice addition, and maybe a stab at different styles. He did it on Sabbath's Technical Ecstasy, so I was expecting at least some of those elements of experimentation here. But these are minor gripes when you hear the power and passion contained here, and we'll forgive him for not mixing things up more this time! It's one of the best albums of 2000 in my opinion. Any Sabbath fan would really love the hell out of this album, and fans of newer heavy music could take more than a few pointers from Iommi on how to do things right. 8/10!
This whole album is like an evil, dark version of Santana's Supernatural. Very kick ass though!

And why didn't Iommi think of this ten years ago? (Patrick Grimes)
Actually, from what I've heard and read, Tony Iommi came up with the idea for having a solo album featuring different singers on it BEFORE Carlos Santana did. However, before Tony got around to making that album he got sidetracked by the Black Sabbath "Reunion" Tour and Album. I, for one, am glad he did. (Roland Fratzl)
This disc hasn't held up too well. Time has corrected the error of my ways and now I'd give it around a 5. Ignore my premature praise in my first comment for Tony's first solo effort. I think I was just so excited to finally hear that unmistakable guitar tone and style again that I conveniently failed to notice (or was in denial) that the material isn't as strong as it should have been from a legendary veteran like him. Are my expectations unrealistic? There just isn't enough variety here; the songs are mid-tempo and predictable, a lot of the riffs, while excellent, sound too similar to each other, and many of the arrangements are just standard metal stuff without any innovation peeking through, unless you count some of the modern production techniques as innovative, despite the fact that they have nothing to do with Iommi's songwriting or playing.

A lot of these songs sound like poor Sabbath imitations. Iommi wasn't reaching or trying anything new here, but rather seemed content to simply coast along on the style that made hiim famous. You know, you'd think the whole point of making a solo album would be to explore musical avenues that weren't possible for him to express in Black Sabbath, but that isn't the case here at all. A number of these songs could be just plain tossed. I still like the Henry Rollins tune, the Skin tune is good too, the Billy Corgan tune is good because of all the changes, the Dave Grohl thing is just ok but nothing special, Serj Tankian's song is a bit annoying, Ian Astbury's song is repetitve and boring, the Peter Steele Type-o-negative imitation is a total waste of time, I hate Phil Anselmo's barking so that song sucks too, but at least Billy Idol's performance is manic and fun to listen to. The song with Ozzy singing is's repetitve and lacks passion from everybody involved. The riff that keeps on beating you over the head is lacklustre, and Ozzy's performance sounds bored, robotic, and sedated...if that's the best three quarters of Black Sabbath can come up with these days, then it's probably a better idea that they don't attempt to write an album of new material anymore. (Eric Ericson)
re: Past Lives

Finally some of Black Sabbath's rarest and earliest live concert performances are released for the first time on a world-wide scale. To the casual fan, it's like receiving these live recordings from the vaults of Hell, to others (like myself) it's just getting better versions of what we've already had for years on bootleg. Still, everybody wins. This 2-disc set is actually four different performances of Black Sabbath between the years of 1970 thru 1975. Here's the dates & locations of those performances plus the songlist:

*December 20th, 1970/Paris France (released on bootleg as "Copper", as well as numerous other titles over the years)
**March 11th, 1973/Manchester England (released in the UK only as Live At Last)
***March 16th, 1973/London England (also released in the UK only as Live At Last)
****August 5th, 1975/Asbury Park New Jersey (released on bootleg from the King Biscuit Flower Hour as well as a title called Heaven And Earth)

1)Tomorrow's Dream** 2)Sweet Leaf** 3)Killing Yourself To Live** 4)Cornucopia** 5)Snowblind** 6)Children Of The Grave*** 7)War Pigs*** 8)Wicked World*** 9)Paranoid***

1)Hand Of Doom* 2)Hole In The Sky**** 3)Symptom Of The Universe**** 4)Megalomania**** 5)Iron Man* 6)Black Sabbath* 7)N.I.B.* 8)Behind The Wall Of Sleep* 9)Fairies Wear Boots*

The first disc has been availible for years as the England import title Live At Last, which was released in 1980 after Ozzy was released from Black Sabbath. This title was never released in America mainly due to not having Black Sabbath's (or it's label & management) consent to do so, sort of like commercially releasing a bootleg. In fact, this recording is one of the main reasons we got the 1982 release of Live Evil in the first place! Sabbath didn't want an album of live material released featuring a past line-up to conflict with the Ronnie James Dio led one at the time of it's release, and quickly started work to record & release a live album of this line-up to show what direction the band was in currently at the time. But the performance on Live At Last (Disc One of Past Lives) is pure Original Sabbath. Performances are great, sound quality for the time is good too. "Killing Yourself To Live" has slightly different lyrics than what ended up on the studio version,! mainly to the track being a work in progress at the time (these performances are from the Volume Four tour, and "Killing" was eventually on the next studio album "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"). "Wicked World", with it's 10 minute plus guitar solo, an uncredited bit of "Supernaut", also has another rare Sabbath gem. Buried within this live opus is what most Sabbath fanatics have called "Sometimes I'm Happy/What To Do", a never studio recorded original Sabbath song, and it's a great one! Even though Disc One is from two different shows of the 1973 tour, you won't really notice the difference, and is the closest to a full concert of Sabbath's on Past Lives.....however, on Disc Two.....

Disc Two is a "best-of" presentation of two different shows & tours and at times, it really shows. But still it's a great collection of live songs. First off, "Hand Of Doom" here (from the classic Paris '70 concert) is one of the rare Sabbath tracks performed live with different lyrics than what appeared on the album (similar to "Killing"), and maybe these words should of been in the studio version instead! Also, it has the complete live version of the instrumental "Rat Salad" on it's end too, but NOT credited on the Past Lives back cover. The other tracks of the Paris performances show Sabbath at it's earliest best, performing for a very small audience while keeping great energy. The New Jersey tracks are a different story. Performed in front of a huge stadium-sized audience, this shows Sabbath at their most powerful. "Hole In The Sky", and especially "Megalomania", are the real treats from this performance, mainly due to the rare amount of times they were ever actually p! erformed. "Symptom Of The Universe" shows Ozzy at his best ever to perform this classic, and later performances he did of it show he never did it live better than here. All the tracks are far more superior to their bootleg counterparts, but it would of been nice to have either show in it's complete, unaltered form, rather than in a compilation set like here.

My main problem about Disc Two lies in the editing of the tracks together. What do you do when you have two shows, one featuring a small, less than a hundred audience members on one side, and other tracks featuring thousands? Sanctuary's answer was to add more audience where needed, faking out the average listener. However, true Sabbath fan's can hear the alterations very blatantly. Songs like "Black Sabbath" during Tony Iommi's opening guitar solo (which was NOT on the studio version, only select live performances), was silent with only the errie playing of the notes. Now there's a real fake-sounding humongous audience cheering in the back-ground at it's beginning that just doesn't sound right there. Also, sometimes you can hear the audience growing very quickly when a Paris track turns into a Jersey one. Sanctuary tried really hard to make this sound like one performance, but they should of left the performance's audience as is, and possibly faded the songs during transiti! ons. In closing though, some have complained about the quality of the sound of the Paris tracks, but trust me, they really have never sounded better, they DID do a good job on that!

In closing, Past Lives is a great first start to bring the rarest live performances to the casual Black Sabbath fan without having to search all over to get the unaltered bootlegs of these four shows. It's worth it, quite enjoyable, and once again shows that when it came to playing live, nobody came close to the Sabbath! (Brian Dickson)
For me the early Black Sabbath has the most character of any band I've heard. I bought a cheap boxed set of their first 3 albums in 1989 and was blown away by them. For some reason the combination of Osbourne's keening voice, Iommi's sludgy guitar, Wards jazz like drumming and Butlers melodic wandering bass all mesh together amazingly well. In fact I say, and flame me if you will, that the original four members of Black Sabbath complement each other more than any other band...ever.

Great so far. But there are some flaws. Osbourne isn't technically the best singer. I do think however that he can have more power than most grant him , eg Hole In The Sky. But his strongest point was the "pleading" quality he could have, well demonstrated on War Pigs. Iommmi isn't technically the best guitarist, although I do find him a gifted *player*, not just riff writer. Bil Ward isn't the best drummer... well you get the idea. Yet it works. They may not appeal to the intellect like some more arty bands. nor do they appeal to the "groin" like more traditional rock & roll. Instead they appeal to something else. And I'm not sure what it is. In classical music JS Bach, Haydn and Mozart are clearly geniuses and their craftsmanship appeals to the mind. Yet Beethoven with all his brooding minor keys often works on a different level to them. Something more visceral. And dangerous. I think in some ways Black Sabbath tap into something similar too, even if it was all an accident. ( And no I'm not saying that Sabbath are in the same league as Beethoven) Okay so I've said that Black sabbath have more character than the Beatles. Sacrilege you say! I didn't say they were better than The Beatles. They just stumbled on a unique sound. And I do mean unique. No-one sings like Ozzy Osbourne whereas Plant imitators are thick on the ground. I haven't heard any other band come up with the same guitar tone as classic era Sabbath. The original lineup is a one off. And as much as a cliche as it now is, their first six albums are a classic riff-fest.

Those are the good points. Bad points are , like Deep Purple, they just went on too long. Sure there are some good songs scattered among the post Ozzy years, and I do enjoy Iommi's guitar playing, but post Ozzy Sabbath is very formulaic. However the worst part is Ozzy Osbourne solo. Again there are a few gems scattered there, but just compare the ultra serious early Sabbath years with the cover art of Diary Of A Madman. Osbourne has turned into almost a clown. And things just get worse. These days the name of Ozzy Osbourne makes you smile, conjuring up images of a mumbling, doddering eccentric Dad. Like Elvis in white tights in Las Vegas, Ozzy Osbourne has become a caricarture. Not all is lost though! I bought "Reunion" a few years ago and again I was blown away. Osbourne's voice is dodgy, but the old magic is still there. I also loved the two new studio tracks. Osbourne and Iommi shuld never have parted.

I'm not really concerned whether Black Sabbath were "technically" musically great. But the classic era Sabbath struck a chord within me a long time ago. Some people dismiss Sabbath as "cartoony", but there's no way that "cartooony" music could have achieved that. In truth I don't listen to them much these days ( but then I don't listen to the Beatles or most other classic rock either) but I respect them for the impact they had on me years ago. Oh, and not even remotely a pothead. ;)
I think you need to leave Black Sabbath alone. They have nothing to prove to anyone, they already have proven themselves to everyone across the world so, they dont need to prove nothing to you.

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Heaven & Hell: Radio City Music Hall Live 2007 - Rhino 2007
Rating = 7

In 2006, with Ozzy busy recording the worst material of his career, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler decided to keep the Black Sabbath touring bandcar going with the help of Vinny Appice and Ronnie James Dildo. You may recall that these gentlemen also performed the drum and vocal duties (respectively, of course - Dio would certainly never deign to beat on a stretched membrane when he possesses the very diaphragm of hellfire) on Mob Rules and Dehumanizer. Dio also sang on the Heaven & Hell album, but Bill Ward played drums on that one; Vinny hadn't joined the band yet. And that's why this reunited Mob Rules/Dehumanizer line-up decided to tour as "Heaven & Hell" and play more songs from that album than either of the ones I just named.

This heavy, well-recorded double-CD captures the band's March 30 performance of six Heaven & Hell, 4 Mob Rules and III Dehumanizer songs, as well as Too new ones recently released on the Black Sabbath: The Dio Years compilation. Dio's voice has deepened over the years, which is kind of a letdown for fans of his classic snarly high notes, but his lower voice is probably more appropriate for the 'hair metal'-leery '00s.

Also more appropriate for today's modern audiences is that Iommi's guitar sounds far heavier, thicker and louder than it did on the original Dio/Sabbath studio recordings. I'm not sure whether this is a result of larger amps, newer distortion pedals, or the producers of the studio albums being a bunch of pussies, but it makes even the radio-friendly Heaven & Hell material sound as powerful and metallic as Master Of Reality or Volume 4. And here's something interesting -- even though the original Black Sabbath recorded lots of slow doomy material, I'd never associated that approach with the Dio line-up. I was wrong; they were slow. There are moments on this collection where I feel like I'm trapped in the slowest car in America trying to climb up the world's steepest mountain on a road made of quicksand.

Did I mention that the car is being eaten by giant flying PIRANHA???!!!!

"After All" (The Dead)"? Slow! "Children Of The Sea"? Great! And SLOW! "The Sign Of The Southern Cross"? EXTREMELY slow. "Computer God"? I didn't remember this one being so slow so maybe they just slowed it down for this show, but either way - S+L+O+P+W-P = SLOW! "Falling Off The Edge Of The World"? SLOW! Then it speeds up though, so only half-count that one. "Lonely Is The Word"? Bartender, make mine a SLOW! Even the two newly-written tracks are so SLOW that you'll want to call them CALE SLOW, not because John Cale is slow but because it's like you're switching the 'A' and 'E' in COLE SLAW, which is a very SLOW food dish.

Synonyms for "slow" that I might have considered using in that last paragraph include: unhurried, crawling, creeping, dawdling, delaying, lagging, plodding, procrastinating, slothful, sluggish, snaillike, and shredded cabbage dressed with mayonnaise.

Obviously, your opinion of this double-disc is going to depend mainly on what you think of the original Dio/Sabbath albums. I gave them 7, 7 and 6, so I'm not surprised that I feel similarly about this one. If you'd give those records a 10, likewise for you; a 3, bonkers for you too.

A 5? Well, I don't know anything about a 5.

But do you even NEED this release? As a 7-level fan of the original releases, I really don't; I have in fact already put my copy up for auction on popular online marketplace Eba. Sure, it's nice to hear the songs performed so much more heavily than before, but Dio's voice isn't as good so I certainly wouldn't replace any of the originals with these remakes. However, if you're an 8- or 9-level fan of Dio Sabbath, you'll probably really appreciate the little differences in approach -- so much so that you'd happily pay 50 or 60 dollars for a CD-R copy from handsome, trustworthy seller 'puppymoose' on Eba. This is both why and how I still buy every Yes live album that comes out, for example.

Good old Yes and their high-pitched singer. You don't hear HIM lowering his voice to please the latest musical fads or the natural effects of aging.

Reader Comments
"Unhurried, crawling, creeping, dawdling, delaying, lagging, plodding, procrastinating, slothful, sluggish". What is this? A HP Lovecraft short story?
Aiyyo PRINDLE, This is as good as it gets without my man GLEN HUGE on vocals! When ya gonna get around to reviewing the OZZY solo joints?

Oh yeah and that DEEP PURPLE! Let me know if I gotta hook ya up!

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Heaven & Hell: The Devil You Know - Rhino 2009
Rating = 8

I'll warn you right now: it's a bit samey.

Furthermore, some will find it dull.

However, I for one am simply astounded and proud that a group of rock veterans this seasoned (e.g. ELDERLY AND SENILE) have managed to create such a slow, dark, heavy, serious and consistent metal album. There is no light on The Devil You Know. From the bulldozer-paced opening dirge "Atom & Evil" to the sludgebucket-speed closing dirge "Breaking Into Heaven," the listener is never encouraged to smile or enjoy life. Christ, even the song entitled "Rock & Roll Angel" is only warm for about two minutes before it shoves your head into a tar pit of metallic sorrow and bitterness. Only two tracks are fast enough to inspire headbanging, and both are placed in the second half of the disc so that your natural happiness has already been ground into dirt by the preceding onslaught of slow-to-midtempo bludgeoning chord patterns, forboding note riffs, tragic arpeggios and accusatory Dio vocals.

1. Innovative
2. Chockfull of Potential Hit Singles
3. The Slowest Or Heaviest Album You've Ever Heard

1. Grim and Menacing
2. Full of Solid Metal Riffs
3. Consistent In Both Tone And Quality Across All Ten Tracks

I'll admit that the classical guitar motif in the first song is a little corny, but once you're past that, there is very little to make fun of here. It succeeds at being completely straight-faced, sober and somber. Certainly there will always be a contingent that is unable to take singers like Dio seriously, but even he comes across effectively on here, just because he's backed by such unceasingly bleak and austere riffs of doom. There really aren't any 'high points' per se, but only because the entire thing is so conceptually and musically cohesive. In fact, it sounds less like a collection of individual songs than a single 54-minute track separated into ten movements. But a good 54-minute track, you understand!

If I wore a hat, it would be off to you, Messrs. Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinnie Appice. I never in a trillion years would've expected such a remarkable artistic statement from you at this late date in your careers. And if some people find it samey or dull, that's understandable but WRONG.

Say! Here's a fun game. Based on the review you just skimmed, see if you can guess which of the following songs appear on this album:

"Popsicles And A Dandelion"
"Bible Black"
"I'm Going To Have A Swell Time Playing Stickball With The Neighborhood Kids"
"Double The Pain"
"Look, Here Comes The Ice Cream Man! Whee!"
"The Turn Of The Screw"
"I Believe I'll Do A Happy Little Tap Dance"
"Eating The Cannibals"
"Adorable Puppy Dogs - Dad, Can We Keep One?"
"Follow The Tears"
"Tomorrow Is Christmas: I Love You, Santa Claus!"
"All I Want To Do Today Is Smile! Smile! Smile!"

Did you guess right? If so, you win a free word! Here it is:


OH NO! Now all the people who guessed wrong are illegally downloading the free word all willy-nilly and it doesn't mean ANYTHING anymore!!! Goddamn you, Lars Ulrich! It was YOU who convinced everybody that only midgets and assholes hate downloading!

Reader Comments
I'll never ever stand that fucking dwarf. I hate him. I really do. "Hoooly Daivaaa'", well, fuck off Dio. But the rest of them is really good on this record, good for them.... Tony definitely has still got it. Too bad Sharon Osbourne will never make a real sabbath reunion in the studio without messing with egoes and money... I guess i'll just stick with the old ones. (Brent "Corpsegrinder" Campbell)
*Dear Mark:

Please tell _fuckhegel@tiscali.it_ he's an idiot. Dio is one of the best metal singers - period. A voice that melds perfectly with heavy, dark music. Ozzy, conversely, can't really sing. A good fit for Black Sabbath’s early music, but not a singer in the true sense.*

* *

*Dio’s body of work speaks for itself: Four albums with Rainbow, five with Sabbath, and a successful solo career – not too shabby. He is somewhere between 60 and 70 years old and still sounds close to what he did 25 years ago. How many other metal singers can boast that? *

* I saw BS on the Mob Rules tour in 1981, Dio in 1986 or so and Heaven and Hell in 2007; his singing was impressive every time *

* Maybe we should base our opinions on intelligence instead of height. Dio would win hands down. At 5’4’’, Dio may be short, but unlike Ozzy, his IQ rating does exceed his inseam length (in inches, not centimeters).*

* I’ve always thought Ozzy’s solo stuff was highly overrated. After Randy Rhoads died the dream was over. None of his post-Randy stuff could compare to Blizzard of Oz or Diary of a Madman, both brilliant albums. *

* People should definitely look up to Ozzy; pissing on the The Alamo, biting off doves and bat’s heads, being a spoiled idiot in general, etc.*

*Why do people love him so much?! I don’t get it. *

* *

*Dio Rules!!*
8 out of 10...hecks yeah, Prind! "The Devil You Know" is a nice return [?] for Heaven And Hell. The band is in great form. Iommi is still king of the riff; the quality of his riffs still remains higher than most peoples' riffs. Appice and Butler are still a killer rhythm section; I love them just amore than Butler and Ward. Dio...where do I start? Well, some younger cats with great voices would be humbled to have their voice so far up front in the mix. Well, Dio is about 140 years old and just tears it up! This man is truly one of the kings of rock and roll.

The mix is powerful and expansive. Everything sounds enormous! The bass is nice and growly. Dio's vocs are right out front like they should be. I dig the drums on "TDYK" way more than on "Dehumanizer". If it were me, I'd boost the guitar two or three decibels at 400-500 Hz to give it more bite (it sounds fine as it is, but it's quite polished).

I'm going to echo the sentiment I have heard around here: not enough tempo variation. This was a problem for about the first two-to-three listens, but after I got to know the songs it's not that big of a deal. Still, a little more variation could have boosted this in my eyes.

"Bible Black" is definitely my favorite track. Very dramatic. "Neverwhere", "The Turn Of The Screw", and "Eating The Cannibals" are probably my next three favorites.

"The Devil You Know" is my favorite 54-minute song of the year! Can't wait until they play my living room on my birthday!
Dear mArk,

Tell Brent "Corpsegrinder" Campbell he's a douchebag. I like Ozzy ten million times better than that fucking idiot dwarf. And that's an OPINION, you cunt. Opinions are assholes, everyone has got its own and everyone of them stinks. You like Dio better than Ozzy? Well, who the fuck cares? I don't. I think Ozzy is a better singer than Dio will ever be, and I don't care if the voice of the dwarf (who is a trained singer, whereas Ozzy isn't) is technically better: I DON'T FUCKING LIKE IT. Learn to respect others' opinions.

"*Dio’s body of work speaks for itself: Four albums with Rainbow, five with Sabbath, and a successful solo career"

All of which I think is shit. The best one are a round 6 because of Mr Iommi and Mr Butler. You think otherwise? Good for you!

"* I saw BS on the Mob Rules tour in 1981, Dio in 1986 or so and Heaven and Hell in 2007; his singing was impressive every time *"

For YOU. I think everytime the guy is jerking off in his head, thinking how good he is... which I actually dont think he really is. You do? Oh my, I'm pleased! Also, I don't give a flying fuck.

" Maybe we should base our opinions on intelligence instead of height"

I think that a guy who judges everything he ever does as "OUTSTANDING" is a perfect fucking example of what an idiot is. Ozzy may not be Albert Einstein, but at least he always doubts himself. You like Dio's way better? Whoa! I'll have fries with that!

"*Why do people love him so much?! I don’t get it. *"

I'll share a secret with you: nobody cares if you don't get it. You like what you like, I like what I like, people likes what people likes. Learn to live with it, it's not gonna change.

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Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell-Live at Wacken - Eagle Rock 2010
Rating = 7

When Don Felder sat down at his bathroom table to pen Heaven & Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001), surely he realized that his title had already been used by Aldous Huxley, John Jakes, Allan Kardec, Emanuel Swedenborg and Dusty Hughes. After all, Glenn Frey had hired all six of them at the s

When Don Felder dipped his pen into the toilet to begin writing Heaven & Hell, surely he realized that every time I saw the book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, I'd mistake it for a book about Ronnie James Dio. How could I not? What other artist (besides Joe Jackson, Vangelis, Meat Loaf & Bonnie Tyler, Devolo, Shin Terai, and Systems in Blue) ever thought to release an album with such a rare and divine title? Not Raekwon or The Who, I'll tell you that right now!!! (Theirs were songs.)

So in a world of multiple and sundry Heaven & Hells flowing east to west and covering every drop of square land in the universe, what makes Dio's Heaven & Hell so special? In a word, they had a lot of great tunes and they used to be called Black Sabbath.

But before we get to that, I'd like to comment on the evolution of Ronnie James Dio's live performance of the song "Heaven & Hell." On the 1982 recording Live at Hammersmith Odeon, he announces the track's climax by shouting, "Piss off! " But on this release, recorded a mere 27 years later, he adultifies the line to "Fuck off!" It's unfortunate that he passed away a few months later because I'm pretty sure the next version would've involved an ass dildo.

Recorded at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany on July 30, 2009, Neon Nights finds the bad boys of rock performing four songs from Heaven & Hell, three from The Devil You Know, and two each from Mob Rules and Dehumanizer. The recording is strong and heavy, and the set list considerably less pokey than that of Live from Radio City Music Hall. In fact, your head will be hard pressed not to bang itself silly to such energetic chuggers as "Mob Rules," "Time Machine," "Neon Nights," "Die Young" and "Falling Off the Edge of the World" (once it gets going). But there's just one problem. And I hesitate to say what it is, for reasons that will be apparent once I do. Nevertheless, it needs to be said.

The late, great Ronnie James Dio sounds like a steaming pile of ass shit on this release. Not only is his voice lower and duller than it's ever been, but it wavers out of tune almost every time he does that wiggly vibrato thing, which is pretty much the entire concert. At certain points (particularly in the atrocious 18-minute slaughter of "Heaven & Hell"), he even sounds so warbly and marble-mouthed that you'd swear he was drunk! Thankfully, he was just dying of cancer.

That last line was facetious, of course. Cancer is never funny (except for the hilarious astrological sign), and from what I understand, Ronnie only lived for six months after he was diagnosed. His poor performance at this show was most likely just age-related: 67 is mighty old to still be wailing the Devil's Music! Plus, he sounded fantastic on The Devil We Know, so maybe this was just an off night. Still, I figured you should know before you click on the Amazon link below and buy the most expensive copy available. Now that you know, please do so.

Scott Warren plays second guitar.

Now here's a bunch of my recent Facebook status updates:

Mark Prindle can't wait to get home and listen to the new 79-minute Spock's Beard CD for review. That band has kicked so much ass since the guy who wrote all the songs quit.

Mark Prindle will henceforth refer to Wikipedia editors as "Wikipedophiles."

Mark Prindle just watched the 1950 film noir "D.O.A." I'll take the Bloodrock version, thanks.

Mark Prindle just saw a forest fire prevention ad on reading "Get Your Smokey On." I'd like to welcome everybody to 1998.

Mark Prindle as a child wrote a hilarious parody of Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield" entitled "Above is a Cattlefield." My lack of Grammy nomination is baffling.

Mark Prindle has 1666 Facebook friends. The 1 is me; the 666 is you, the Satanic hordes.

Mark Prindle would like to thank the following 'artists' for not releasing CDs in 2010: Tori Amos, Madonna, Joni Mitchell, Ted Nugent, Pink, Tool and The Vines. Come on, Weezer. Take a hint.

Mark Prindle just enjoyed the Thai horror film "P". Notice there's no "OOL" in it.

Mark Prindle just watched the original version of "The Blob." The acting was incredible! The special effects were phenomenal! I'm being sarcastic!

Mark Prindle watched the Korean remake of "Black House" last night, and today my lower back is killing me. COINCIDENCE!? NO!!! As "Black House" has nothing to do with lower back pain, it doesn't really qualify as a coincidence. It's simply two unrelated facts.

Mark Prindle and his defective lower back are now flying high on Celebrex (dope).

Mark Prindle is astonished to discover that Rick Dees' "Put It Where the Moon Don't Shine" is somehow not the most hilarious comedy album ever recorded.

Mark Prindle spent his early years thinking there was an insect called a "Shoe Fly." Thanks for nothing, singing kindergarten teacher.

Mark Prindle today celebrates the ten-year anniversary of his adoption of Mr. Henry The Dog. I'll never forget the day we brought home that fuzzy little bundle of joy, nor how he immediately had diarrhea under the Christmas tree.

Mark Prindle is snowing.

Mark Prindle is biting mad at UPS for claiming they delivered a package on Dec. 7th when nothing of the sort occurred. It was a gift for my mother! Now all she's going to get is a punch in the kidney (family tradition).

Mark Prindle would just like to say, "R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

Mark Prindle would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. Unless you're Jewish, in which case Merry Godmas.

Mark Prindle would like to be the first to wish you and yours IT'S OVER! GO TO BED!

Mark Prindle just watched "Spawn of the Slithis," a '70s monster movie with a budget of roughly one dollar. None of that dollar was spent on competent actors, a decent monster suit or a script that makes any sense at all.

Mark Prindle thought he was going to die during those 20 minutes that Facebook was down. It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

Mark Prindle just got home from seeing The Fab Faux perform The White Album in its entirety -- with special guest DENNY LAINE of THE BEATLES!!!

Mark Prindle just watched "Memorial Valley Massacre." In an unexpected turn of events, a group of campers were killed one after another by a mysterious figure.

Mark Prindle just used the word "duh" in a Facebook comment. I love it here in the third grade.

Mark Prindle is feeling extremely irritable today for some reason. I'm positive it's related to Astrology.

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