February, Friday 13th 1970. And the world has never been the same ever since. On that exact date, Black Sabbath released their debut – Black Sabbath. Who would have guessed that the history of heavy metal was opened by devil’s tritone, a music interval banned by the medieval Christian church due to its evilness and connections with the horned one. The Hell's bell is ringing over and over again and we get a doomsayer’s message:
What is this that stands before me?
Figure in black that points at me
Turn around quick, and start to run
Find out I’m the chosen one
Things can’t get any spookier….This was the scariest thing you were able to hear 50 years ago. And it can still get the blood flowing. Ozzy Osbourne’s voice reflects the sheer horror embodied in majestic poetry. Not to mention the creepy looking artwork that further mystified the band’s connection with the occult. The artwork is actually a photographed at Mapledurham Watermill. The girl from the artwork met with the band on one occasion. In his book, Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath, Iommi stated the following regarding the album cover: „Inside the gatefold sleeve you have the inverted cross, which opened all sorts of cans of worms for us. We were suddenlly satanic then.“ And from then onward, Black Sabbath was invited by numerous satanic groups to join their ranks. One of the invitations came from Alex Sanders, the head-witch of England. When the band came to play in San Francisco, they were welcomed by Anton LaVey in his Rolls Royce & big WELCOME BLACK SABBATH flag. Long story short, that’s why Black Sabbath started wearing the crosses ever since. Interestingly enough, Tony Iommi entered the studio with a right handed upside-down Gibson SG and that fact alone raises the heaviness of the Black Sabbath album through the roof.
Black Sabbath’s first album has quite a legacy behind it! The whole thing was almost recoded completely in one take, in 12 hours! And this record is still shining, despite all the technical and budgetary issues that the band was facing at the time. This album features The Wizard , one of the best Black Sabbath songs of all time! And let’s face it, that riff is among Iommi’s top 3 easily! Geezer is using the devil’s tritone in this song and it sounds so damn good! Bill Ward is bringing superb feeling to this track. He is ripping those drums apart like broken promises! According to Geezer Butler, the lyrics to that song were inspired by Lord of The Ring’s Gandalf. However, in his official autobiography, Iommi states that The Wizard’s lyrics are about Ozzy and Geezer’s dope vision. Go figure! Behind the Wall of Sleep is another classic Black Sabbath tune. Quite a unique track! Legendary doom metal band Sleep named themselves after it! Gotta love those folk influences Iommi brought to the song!a
N.I.B. starts with an iconic Geezer Butler bassline with an over-the-top distortion for the 70s. The song acronym has nothing to do with Nativity in Black. Instead, it got its name Bill Ward’s nickname – nib, because his beard looked like a pen nib. N.I.B. is absolute classic. The riffs, the bass, the drumming…..Ozzy’s vocals are shining in this one! Evil Woman, Don’t Play Your Games with Me is a stellar Crow cover. Gotta love that thick bass and Ozzy’s vocals in this one! Sleeping Village is a quite shocking sonic experience. This one features all the juicy blues lines that'll grow your moustache just by listening to ‘em! The last track on the album Warning (Anynsley Dunbar Retaliation cover). Ozzy nailed this one so bad! You can hear pure emotions in his voice! Funny thing is that this song was supposed to be 15 minutes in length, but 5 minutes were cut off in the studio. Would love to hear the original version! Iommi’s guitar jam in this track is soo damn good! Hands down for that!
Fast forward to year 2020, and you have 133577 heavy metal bands (acording to metal-archives.com). Black Sabbath’s Black Sabbath started a music revolution that never stopped nor died down. A revolution that keeps on giving! This album is what Illiad and Odissey epics were to the Ancient Greek – an inexhaustible well of inspiration that will never run dry. Our heroes of the day, Tonni Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Ward, and Geezer Butler, our four horsemen of the soundpocalypse reached immortality with this album. They appeared right after the decline of the Woodstock hippie movement and filled the vacuum created by that. This is a day of celebration – Fifty years of Black Sabbath. Fifty years of Heavy metal!
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1) Black Sabbath
2) The Wizard
3) Behind the Wall of Sleep
5) Evil Woman (Crow cover)
6) Sleeping Village
7) Warning (The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation cover)