ARTIST: Black Sabbath
TITLE: Black Sabbath
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #23 US, #8 UK
SINGLES: Evil Woman (UK version) / Wicked World (US Version)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Black Sabbath (at the least)
LINEUP: Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Patient zero for British Heavy Metal.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I can only imagine the old hippies’ reactions when they played the first side of this record. Sure, they heard Blue Cheer’s first album. Iron Butterfly, and Vanilla Fudge (among others). But this, this combined the heavy sound with a forboding presence and doomy tuning. In short, It was pretty much what those other proto-metal bands were leading towards.
The first side of this at least.
There’s no doubt that side one (“Black Sabbath”, “The Wizard”, “Behind the Wall of Sleep”, “NIB”) is one of the best debut sides ever – even with the cheesy harmonica in “The Wizard”. Then you flip it over – and the first cut is one of the sides of their single (depending on if you were in the US or UK), and then, a long medley.
The actual song part of the medley (“Sleeping Village” and “Warning” – a cover of an Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation song that you need to check out), and one of the guitar tangents in betwixt them are pretty neat. Yet, there are a couple of points during that medley where Iommi just goes off into dreary wheedly-wheedly-whee solo land. Mindless guitar solos are just as bad as mindless drum solos, and it takes all the momentum out of that last track.
Still, this is a powerful debut, but that last medley is too long and the guitar solos during it way too unfocused to be a out-and-out classic – an issue with many Sabbath albums – where they just have one or two elements that stop the record dead cold.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Originally, the US pressing credited the players as: Anthony Iommi, John Osbourne, Terence Butler and William Ward. Those are some rock and roll names, eh?
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Versions exist with both sides of the single, and some additional cuts appended.
GRADE: B+: If it weren’t for a couple, three minutes of mindless guitar solo….