Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone: “Members of Black Sabbath pose for a photo”
On February 13, 1970 Black Sabbath made their self-titled debut and later released their acclaimed album Paranoid. This was not just an album release— it was the beginning of heavy metal. The album was dark, heavy and haunting; no one had released a sound quite like theirs. While their debut was undeniably great, many cite Paranoid as their best album to date.
One of the best parts of this album is that is doesn’t keep you waiting–the songs hit you with a forceful beat right away. Tony Iommi’s guitar performance is sensational and inventive, from the cataclysmic mid-tempo solos of “War Pigs” to the famous riff in “Electric Funeral”. Butler’s bass tempos are crushing and wicked; your whole body will be consumed by the intense chords. Bill Ward, drummer, doesn’t disappoint with his expert timing, his beautiful technique is showcased in “Rat Salad” and the ending of “Iron Man.”
“War Pigs” is without a doubt the high point of the album because it’s masterful control of atmosphere. The dark vibes simply radiate off the song. The very opening of the song proves that Sabbath ditched the blues influence and made room for the electric style, smothered in rage and brilliance. Ozzy Osbourne, lead singer, is far from the focal point, though the heat in his voice adds another element of something sinister to the album. This is really shown in “Hand of Doom,” a bassand-guitar driven song. The attention is on the insane mastery of Iommi and Butler, but Osbourne’s voice paints the atmosphere.
I strongly recommend this album because the tracks are incendiary. Every song has an impressive and dark melody that makes you look at heavy metal with an open and satisfied mind. Black Sabbath is the first of their kind, and Paranoid is the album that placed them in the pantheon of hard rock. That album is a piece of rock history that needs to be observed. Give it a listen–you will not be sorry.
By Mary McMillan