this week for the weekly review, i’m checking out another debut album – this week it’s 1970’s Black Sabbath by, well, Black Sabbath. up front, i’ll mention my experience with the band – i’ve played a Guitar Hero or two, so a bunch of their hits i’m familiar with but not like, spent more time with than the levels of those games, lol. at the recommendation of the suggester for this record, i did a like cursory looking into how this record got made, and damn, there’s a lot about it’s production and impact that are genuinely impressive. made me extremely excited to dig into it.

the record opens up with a title track, Black Sabbath, which is heavy, chunky, and dramatic, in fantastic ways. i really enjoy the more subdued, quiet, tense earlier verses, especially as they transition into some of the more layered or, i guess for lack of a better phrasing, over the top sections, like the final verse and outro. really dig this one. The Wizard’s a fun, bluesy jaunt. not gonna lie, i am very uneducated when it comes to metal’s roots, so it’s incredibly cool to discover that blues had such a strong hand in it. the fucking harmonica in this track! fantastic. also having a track that was at least partially inspired by Gandalf sitting between a song about a sleep paralysis demon and an H.P. Lovecraft story is uh, extremely funny. excellent sense of humor on these guys. Behind the Wall of Sleep reminds me the most of what i remember of my exposure to Black Sabbath before this record. the steadily paced bass and guitar accented by Osbourne’s lyrics for the verses, and then some real flexing on the choruses and solos. N.I.B. has that fun lil bass intro, and despite the song not even being that funny there’s a sense of humor about it. it helps that the song fucking slaps too. what a great track. love this one. so there’s layers to the parts of this record i find funny. i know their cover of Evil Woman was both an imposition by the record label and a commercial flop, but it’s hilarious to discover that this is completely left off the 2014 remaster of this record that sits on Spotify today. even funnier to me is that i had no concept of when the song came out and was half-expecting a cover of the track of the same name by Electric Light Orchestra, which i now actually do want to hear how Black Sabbath would cover. anyways, the track is fine. i can see why it was less impactful than the rest of the record, and why they’d choose to leave it off if they could. [[NOTE: i realized late in the review process that this record had a different track listing in Europe and North America, and that Wicked World was the track replacing Evil Woman in the NA release, with each song becoming the bonus track of the other release’s CD reissues. I listened to the remastered version of this record several times for this recording before realizing the exclusion and looping around to catch Evil Woman, so i’m mentioning both tracks in this review, especially since Wicked World was my favorite track. whatever.]] had an extremely good time with Wicked World, which has some fun punkier vibes in the lyrics, a powerful blues influence instrumentally and damn the bass on this track kicks ass. closing out the record is the medley of Sleeping Village, a mostly instrumental track that’s got some really fun sections in it, and Warning, which takes the majority of the runtime of the medley and is a cover of a track by the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation. i think this is a really fun way to wrap things up – Warning is catchy and some of the flair on the track is fantastic and it’s got some fantastic passages over the course of the song. the instrumental bridges kinda feel like they should disrupt the flow of the song a lot more than they do, and the whole package is real nice.

faves – The Wizard, N.I.B., Wicked World
dislikes –

yeah i had a great time with this record. it didn’t like, become an instant fave of mine, but i had a really good experience listening to it, and there’s def tracks off here i will be spending more time with. given my experience with other metal projects for these weekly reviews, that’s an outcome i hadn’t anticipated. i think a portion of that is definitely that i like Ozzy Osbourne’s vocals on this record. sometimes a lil more melodic, frequently desperate, it’s a good pairing with the instrumental components.

and damn the instrumental components. there’s some fantastic work on this record. every member of the band is putting out some incredible performances, and there were very few moments where i wasn’t extremely digging the melodic guitar work, or the chunky execution of it’s pairing with the bass, or just feeling the need to move along with the music. what a fun record.

Black Sabbath – 8/10

the selection for this week’s suggestion pool is G_d’s Pee at States End by Godspeed You, Black Emperor. i’ll be back next Friday, July 29th for a review, and in the meantime, let me know what album you’d like me to review! (i pool all suggestions in one place, and draw a person, then a pick from that person, so feel free to drop as many as you’d like! if you leave an email or username i’ll contact you when i’ve gotten through all your suggestions.)