Hello my dear child of the night and faithful fan!
Here we are delivering to you a new option of review which is the Classical Reviews where we intend to cover Metal classical albums. When I say Metal classical albums I mean them all. It’s our intention to cover all Metal – and Metal related – albums that are considered classics. Yeah, we know, it’s a hard task because first there are too many of them and second there are all sorts ofd controversies about them too. Well, but what is Metal without the controversies? Not Metal, I guess. We kick off with the classic of the classics: Black Sabbath’s debut album so tenderly named “Black Sabbath” or the album of the witch. No, it’s not Ozzy in the cover…
“Black Sabbath,” the title song, is whole based on the unholy tritone – the tritone is defined as a musical interval composed of three adjacent whole tones (six semitones). For instance, the interval from F up to the B above it (in short, F–B) is a tritone as it can be decomposed into the three adjacent whole tones F–G, G–A, and A–B. According to this definition, within a diatonic scale there is only one tritone for each octave. That’s exactly what we listen. it’s a song of a devilish simplicity and beauty, if you ask me. “N.I.B.,” the other pearl of the album, is about evil and Lucifer. No one has dared before. No one has gone so far. “The Wizard” is self-explained. “Wicked World” dares to say that this world is not made of fully happiness, that there is no pot of gold in the end of the rainbow. Flower power are over or not enough to fight evil in this wicked world.
“Black Sabbath” has two musical faces that would dominate the Sabbath’s musical writing for some time. One is the heavy rock, or HM, face with all its facets: the dark, the dense, the distortion, the evil, the black. “Evil Woman” and “N.I.B.” are the best representatives. The other is the psychedelic rock with the uncanny atmospheres, strange cadences. “Behind The Wall of Sleep” and “Sleeping Village” tell it better. This dual facet will battle in Black Sabbath throughout Ozzy’s era. Some bluesy elements as the harmonica in “The Wizard” will be vanished out completely. In albums like “Technical Extasy” and “Never Say Die,” the psychedelic facet will be overwhelming. In others, the most relevant ones in terms of discography and commercial success, the heavy rock will prevail.
Many do not perceive, but there is no way of talking about Black Sabbath’s music without saying anything about the drumming. Heavy, powerfull, punchy, full of notes as never before. The drumming in Black Sabbath is also an outcome of its time. Drummers as Ginger Baker and Mitch Mitchell were evolving a more flamboyant style of drumming with more notes. That gave them a heavier sound. And as many drummers of the time, Bill Ward was self-instructed. When it comes to the drums it means you punch harder. The harder you punch, the heavier the music gets. That one of the reasons why Black Sabbath are so heavy.
The bass playing, as the drumming, follows the evolution of the instrument in rock. In Black Sabbath, the bass plays in important role of playing all the musical conventions with the guitar in order to give more strength. It also leaves the guitar free to fly. Tony Iommi is an improvisation guitarist as he learned through the blues musical school. The bass in Sabbath gives the hint to the followers. It gives the precise notes to reinforce the songs. Moreover, in doing so, songs get heavier.
And Ozzy? Well, Ozzy is Ozzy. As simple as that. There would no Black Sabbath without him. I have no doubt about it.
Useless to say that “Black Sabbath” received the worst of the reviews by art criticals. “B horror movies soundtrack,” “a pile of crap,” are the most common opinions at the time for it. Well, about “B horror movies soundtrack” they were absolutely right. Ozzy, in documentary about his life, confessed that in a conversation he, Toni and Geezer had, Toni mentioned why not writing songs that could appeal to horror movies fans. Read here what my fellow reviewer Lester Bangs wrote.
So this is it. “Black Sabbath” is the quintessential to HM and to rock. All of this to an album that took only one day to be recorded and it was recorded alive, a technique still very well used nowadays.
Black Sabbath “Black Sabbath” was released on February 13th – a friday – via Vertigo Records (UK) and Warner Bros. Records (US).
- Black Sabbath
- The Wizard
- Behind The Wall of Sleep
- Evil Woman
- Sleeping Village
Watch “Black Sabbath” official video here: