Black Sabbath - albums

Black Sabbath - concerts

Black Sabbath

The first album from one of the pioneers of metal, this contains classics such as the title track, The Wizard, and N.I.B. This is one of the most influential albums in rock and metal history.

"What is this that stands before me?
 Figure in black which points at me.
 Turn around quick, and start to run.
 Find out I'm the chosen one.
                           Oh nooo!"
     ---Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath Vol 4.

Yet another groundbreaking powerhouse recording featuring some excellent guitar work. This includes great classics like Tomorrow's Dream, Changes, Supernaut, Snowblind, and Laguna Sunrise.

Technical Ecstasy

This is an album I wasn't familiar with until I saw it. It's pretty good---it's somewhat a poppy version of Black Sabbath with Osborne, but it has some good tunes such as Back Street Kids, Gypsy, and Dirty Women.

Heaven and Hell

Exit Ozzy Osbourne. Enter Ronnie James Dio. With a blast. If you thought nothing could compare to Ozzy Osbourne's voice, well, Dio blew him away. Songs like Neon Nights and Lady Evil showcase Black Sabbath treading innovative ground. The feel isn't the same doomy kind seen in the early albums (and later rehashed with Dehumanizer, also with Dio on vocals), but it is still dark and mystical.

Mob Rules

Dio continues to amaze. In this album (the second with Dio, after Heaven and Hell), songs like The Sign of the Southern Cross and The Mob Rules shred, and show a side of Black Sabbath never seen with Ozzy. This isn't to say one is better than the other, but that they both made Black Sabbath sound by their own right.


I consider this to be one of the finest Black Sabbath albums ever made. This ranks high up among the classics such as Black Sabbath, Paranoid, and Master of Reality. In this album, Ronnie James Dio's vocals are among the best he's ever done and Tony Iommi showcases why he deserves to be called the riff-meister! Dio's angry and powerful vocals and Iommi's soaring guitar work are nicely complemented by Geezer Butler's pounding bass and Vinny Appice excellent drum work. Black Sabbath are responsible for pioneering metal and all its forms we know today (including industrial, black, death, and doom metal) and Dehumanizer showcases why this is the case: the album is incredibly heavy. The album on the whole paints a vision of a dystopian future living up to the title, with tunes like Computer God, TV Crimes, and Master of Insanity. The track Time Machine from the Wayne's World soundtrack is taken from this album. All the songs are classics---highly recommended!

Cross Purposes

Tony Martin is no Osborne or Dio, but he does a decent job on the new Sabbath album. I caught this concert and it was quite good, but the album is mediocre. The thing that is keeping Sabbath going is Tony Iommi's brilliant guitar work and Geezer Butler's stoic bass lines.

Nativity in Black (tribute)

"The heaviest bands of today pay homage to the heaviest band of all time."

One of the better tribute albums to come out this year (though the Deep Purple tribute isn't out until November), this album contains covers of Ozzy-era Sabbath tunes by some of the most ferocious artists in the metal/industrial music realm. Not a single cover can be considered bad; contrast this to the Eagles and Kiss tribute albums. Most artists play the Sabbath classics while trying very hard to imprint their own style of sound into the music. The result is not always successful, but sometimes it does work out well, demonstrating to the listener the variety of ways timeless Sabbath tunes can be performed.

A cover that is very like the original, but yet stands out in its own right is Paranoid by Megadeth. Mustaine's short and punctuated vocals greatly enhance the song, putting it into a 90s perspective. Children of the Grave by White Zombie has the right amount of White Zombie-ish coarseness to it; Rob Zombie's vocals also stand out on this one. Biohazard sounds okay with After Forever (though the beginning is really spectacular, but it fades away), as do Ugly Kid Joe (N.I.B.). Ozzy Osborne with Therapy? doing Iron Man sounds classic, and Fight frontman Rob Halford is The Wizard with Bill Ward, Geezer Butler, Brian Tilse, and Jimmy Wood (authentic harmonica playing) as the Bullring Brummies. Dickinson's version of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath sounds like something Iron Maiden would do, even though he's doing this with Godspeed---he does have a good voice and this tune displays that clearly.

Supernaught by 1,000 Homo DJs is pretty good, but Al Jourgensen's processed voice annoys me. Sepultura are okay on Symptom of the Universe and Faith No More terrify on a live version of War Pigs. Corrosion of Conformity's Lord of this World follows a similar trail that their latest release Deliverance did, which isn't too good. The best cover though is by Type O Negative, a band who apparently state that they dislike playing music but do it only because that's the only thing they know how to do. They take an already doom-filled Sabbath song, warp it to the maximum, and spew out a frightening version of Black Sabbath. I recommend this album very highly, if just to obtain a copy of this cover alone, and of course, for the cool tarot card illustrations on the sleeve.

The thing I found most ironic about this whole release is the fact that many reviewers have touted Black Sabbath as the alternative sort of band (to the 60s hippie-music scene) at the time, but except for their self-titled release (which also entered the British Top 20), their music is as mainstream (selling more than a million copies) as the ones they were rebelling against. Still, it is greatly responsible for metal as we know it today. What is a shame is that tracks from the Gillan- or Dio-eras weren't covered, which to my mind also represents a significant portion of what Black Sabbath is all about.

Music ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||