Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Review score: 90%

Review Date: February 2013
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews

Amazon UK: Buy CD | Buy MP3 / Amazon US: Buy CD

Hey man, I had the weirdest experience the last week. I think I know where it started. Earlier in the day I was in this guy’s office helping him out with some work stuff and he had this old black n white poster on his office wall. Memory serves no band name, just a photo of four long haired blokes in front of the camera. They were wearing huge metal crosses and retro clothes and seemed to be looking moody or soulful. You pick. The image caught my attention and kinda stuck with me.

It wasn’t until late that Friday night that the vision started. As midnight approached I was crashing out in the dark. Slipped away not just into sleep but into the ether. Floating above the bed, looking down at myself unmoving. Weightless I floated up, up and out through the wall and into the cold night air.

No warning! A big black shape hovered before me, blotting out stars and the glow of the full moon. Panicked I tried to get back home but couldn’t. Eyes of fire mocked me. So away I dashed, weightless and breathless in the crisp winter starlight. To the west I rushed, then north, then west again. I had no clue I was travelling through time as well as space. No blue police box, no thousand candies in a glass, just this deep, pounding wall of sound coming from the great city Birmingham.

Heroically I zeroed in on the sound. Louder and closer, louder and closer until... there I was hovering silently in the astral, invisible in the room alongside these four familiar looking young guys. And, oh, the sound they were playing.

Black Sabbath

The tuned-down guitars went right through me, echoed throughout my being. The sound was dark and electrifying. I recognised it. A tritone, diabolus in musica! An ancient forbidden chord progression known as the Devil’s interval. Just as I was thinking about my journey to this place of heavy music the singer lifted his head, stared right through me and started singing the words of this soon to be famous song. And then I knew I was witnessing early Black Sabbath in action. Awestruck, I listened to Ozzy, Tony, Bill and Geezer, feeling like I was the invisible fifth guy in the room.

I hung around while they played track after track, to my mind the songs varying from good to great. Songs about an evil woman, a wizard, even some echoes of lurking Lovecraftian horror creeping in. Right there, in that moment, this sound was new, exciting, suffocating, exhilarating. The atmosphere felt so special, creepy, thrilling. Those guitars, those heavy drums, that singing, all combined to create something magical.

Time slipped away and I found myself retreating, called homeward. I knew I had to find my way back to my body before sunrise. Panicked, I followed this silver cord now visible and stretching away from me into the cold dark night. At last, with a jolt, I snapped back home, jolted back into... myself. Awake. Safe.

So, dear reader, the moral of this story is – don’t eat too much cheese before bedtime!

Appendix - Oh, was I supposed to write a traditional review? All right then – 90% and a must have for any metal head’s collection. Buy the first Black Sabbath album for its historical value, then listen to it over and over. Better yet, see if you can track down the deluxe edition and enjoy all those lovely outtakes and alternate versions.

Buy Now! Amazon UK: Buy CD | Buy MP3 / Amazon US: Buy CD

Track List (Varies!)

The UK and US track listings may be different. Rock Hard Reviews' preferred version is the Deluxe Edition for its content and quality of remixes.

  • Black Sabbath
  • The Wizard
  • Behind the Wall of Sleep
  • N.I.B.
  • Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games With Me)
  • Sleeping Village
  • Warning