1970 brings us what I consider to be one of the first, if not the first, origins of heavy metal. We feature today, the debut of Black Sabbath, aptly named “Black Sabbath”. Not only is this album #355 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Album of All Time, it is #1 on loudwire.com’s Top 10 Heavy Metal albums of all time. Simply put, this dark masterpiece rocks.
Today is a great day for Black Sabbath where I live. The clouds are out, the rain is falling, and the air is cool and damp. As the opening song starts, we hear the distant bells of a church ringing and the rain is falling, and as Tony Iommi’s wicked guitar begins to chime, we hear the “Prince of Darkness” himself, the one and only Ozzy Osbourne weigh in on vocals. There are no love songs here, no happy endings, no holding hands walking down the street. This is angry, this is dark, this is black.. Black Sabbath. From the industrial town of Birmingham, England this four-piece band masters the heavy sounds of early metal. With Geezer Butler on bass and Bill Ward, I had forgotten just how much I loved this original album.
After the crushing intro of “Black Sabbath”, Ozzy’s harmonica takes us into the equally powerful “The Wizard”, an absolutely phenomenal one-two punch of opening songs. After “Behind the Wall of Sleep”, “N.I.B.” matches the intensity of the first two songs, completing a very powerful side one.
Side two is a bit more obscure, but just as dark and impactful, with three songs blended together to fill out the album. Through it all, the chords and rhythm are fierce and tight, and Ozzy’s young voice and delivery with Black Sabbath is one of two voices I have heard that just belong in a horror film. Many would follow the roots of Black Sabbath, who built on the many hard-rocking bands, mostly from the UK, who came before them. It will get louder, more aggressive and even more intense, but I think I may have to agree with the folks at loudwire.com, I’m not sure it gets any better than this for pure metal aggression.