Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
The Significance of the Album "Black Sabbath"
“Black Sabbath” is the debut album for British heavy metal band Black Sabbath having been released way back in 1970! Yes, this album is that old and since I really have always enjoyed the music of this British band, it made total sense to analyze the album which is also considered to be the first ever heavy metal album. Stylistically this album is similar to the album Paranoid which was also released in 1970. How does a band release two full length albums in just one year? They must have been incredibly dedicated to their work and decided to release as much material as possible. Black Sabbath may have been the very first heavy metal band to do that doom metal kind of sound and in 1970, this style would have been considered revolutionary because it was unexpected at the time. The world was just finished with the decade of the 1960s, oldies was popular and the Vietnam War was getting bloodier than ever and a band from Birmingham, England burst onto the scene with its brand of blues and doom metal at the same time. It is this brand of blues and doom metal that would influence other heavy metal bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, and Pantera.
The Influence of Black Sabbath As a Band
N.I.B. does not stand for Nativity in Black and this one starts with some strange bass guitar but it is a song that is definitely not strange at all. Ozzy says “oh yeah” as this song has a distinct groove to it. Is love real? Yes, love is real and it can be a feeling as well as an emotion. Ozzy Osbourne was that 21 year-old rock star of what was to become one of the most famous bands in the history of metal and they have not disappointed. Black Sabbath disbanded for good in 2017 but their influence was felt by bands such as Metallica. Even if Ozzy isn't a great of a vocalist as Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson, Black Sabbath in my perspective is one of the best bands ever in heavy metal and they will always be.
Two Cover Songs In "Black Sabbath"
There are two cover songs in this album and they are Evil Woman and Warning and you might be wondering why a band that just made its debut would include two cover songs on its very first album but as long as those songs don't really detract from the quality of the album, then it may not matter much. Black Sabbath even was solid even after Ozzy was fired and they have always impressed me with their creativity and it does not just stop with 1971's Children of the Grave. Their blues style metal fused with the doom feel is an award winner for sure!
There Is a Song Called "Black Sabbath"
One very interesting musical fact is that this album has a song that is called “Black Sabbath” and this song starts with the sound of rain falling and the sound of a bell. For those of you that recall, Metallica started one of their songs with the sound of a bell and that one is called For Whom the Bell Tolls. Anyway, lyrically the song Black Sabbath tells the story of something that is black and that has eyes of fire is actually Satan in disguise. I mentioned that Black Sabbath's blues style doom metal which is in these early releases was very successful but in this self-titled debut, the songs are not outstanding enough to be considered elite such as what would hear in the album Paranoid. There may be touches of this brilliance such as in the song N.I.B. Even in the first song, the bass lines and solos are well structured but this song is not nearly as good as the song War Pigs in the Paranoid album.
Analysis of the Song The Wizard
This was just the start for Black Sabbath and they would get better as their career progressed at least through the early part of the 1980s. “The Wizard” is a song just about what the title suggests. During a misty and cloudy morning, a wizard appears, waving his wand as he just walks by and says nothing.
Final Thoughts About the Album "Black Sabbath"
The chorus in the cover song Evil Woman is memorable as well even though Ozzy is not an elite heavy metal singer. As influential as Black Sabbath has been, this first album of theirs is not one of their best albums but for the time that it was written it is still pretty decent with good bass lines and solos that would get even better by the time we hear the song Wishing Well in 1980. The first section in the song Sleeping Village has a riff construction that would set the stage for songs such as Damnation by the band Fates Warning. Those of us that have heard that song can relate to this one as well because they are both similar.
© 2020 Ara Vahanian