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Articles Home » 1970 Articles » Black Sabbath - 1970 Paranoid
Black Sabbath - 1970 Paranoid

ARTIST: Black Sabbath
ALBUM: Paranoid
LABEL: Vertigo
SERIAL: 6360 011
YEAR: 1970
CD REISSUE: 1986, Castle, CLACD 197 * plus many other reissues..


LINEUP: Ozzy Osbourne - vocals * Tony Iommi - guitars * Terry (Geezer) Butler - bass * Bill Ward - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 War Pigs * 02 Paranoid * 03 Planet Caravan * 04 Iron Man * 05 Electric Funeral * 06 Hand Of Doom * 07 Rat Salad * 08 Fairies Wear Boots


It really doesn't matter whether your preferred Ozzy or Ronnie, as both legends have such personalities that in my mind they stamp their own authority onto Sabbath, that's not forgetting the other 3 major factors (Iommi, Butler and Ward) in creating and maintaining the first and best 'Metal' band in history. If you remember in Glorydaze recently there was a poll asking whether you agreed with the announcement of the original Sabbath reforming and touring. I was in the 'no' camp, although with the stories of Sharon and Bill falling out it doesn't bode well but more worrying the battle Tony Iommi (all hope for a speedy recovery) now faces, I have come round to thinking why not? This was further strengthened after listening to this album over the last couple of weeks; yes it would be a good idea to hit the stage again. So the 'Paranoid' album, released only months after their debut. Actually my favourite Sabbath album with Ozzy, why? Well may have something to do with this being one of the first metal albums I ever got, still remember it being brought for me as a Christmas present from my brother, all for 1.99. Yes alongside, 'Number Of The Beast', 'Holy Diver' and 'Highway To Hell', they were good times.

The Songs
The reason why this went on my Christmas list, was the song 'Paranoid', remember the time when you had limited funds (still do!) and so what album do you choose? Usually the one you knew a track from, and as the song 'Paranoid', even in the early 80's had hit the charts a number of times already, the choice was not a difficult one, by any stretch of the imagination. Heaven's above, they even played it to the Queen (50th Jubilee celebrations). This song was the starting point for me; this was the key that led you on to discovering the rest of the album. The next couple of tracks that quickly become instant favourites and soon hooked you in were, 'War Pigs' and 'Iron Man'. Both stand strong and form important part of the Sabbath legacy. They both contain those individual parts that are cherished, if I take 'War Pigs' first, now whether it's the end of the sirens as Bill Ward lightly taps or the final schedule of riffs at 6mins 30 sec, bringing the song to a climax, all sections bolted together so neatly you don't see the join. I am sure you all have those special, defining moments somewhere in there. With 'Iron Man', which has a riff to rival 'Smoke On The Water', takes me back to the Ted Hughes book of the same name, the book is quite a scary story and thought provoking and way ahead in terms of global warming issue facing the earth, yes I know they are not related, but sometimes you have something in your history that you can relate to tunes. Actually it refers to a 'mutant who, after being ostracised by society as a freak, decides to wreak his post-apocalyptic wrath on mankind', nice, actually you can find this and heaps more on the liner notes of the re-issue provided by a very knowledgeable David Wells. The track of course, is as long and as gruelling as an Iron Man competition, but in a fun way, not what I perceive the swimming, marathon and bike jolly to be, but you probably get the same exhilarating feeling and euphoria at the end of the completion of the event or song.

Then the tunes that seem to have a deep seated residency in your mind. They quietly scam their way into your soul, a more gradual seepage, I'm thinking 'Planet Caravan' and the more spine chiller of 'Hand Of Doom'. The former covered quite admirably by Pantera, came with a very clever video, which remained true to the sentiment of the song. The latter is downright creepy, a horror story of a song, that has more legs than any 'Saw' or 'Final Destination' films. This tune alone probably gave birth to countless Doom bands that grew from the 80's to today, Candlemass, Moss or Novembers Doom take your pick, but they at the same time missed the point about Sabbath, they failed to move the tempo from song to song, or inject melody, listen to 'Hand Of Doom' again, it accelerates just at the right time. While Heaven Wept are only one of the few current bands that have acknowledged this and carry it out to perfection. My album journey finishes with what sounds like a fly buzzing, it's 'Rat Salad' which essentially is a drum solo, it probably harks back to the days when they would play seven 45 minute sets each night in various nightclubs in Zurich, to pad out these shows, before they close with the monumental 'Fairies Wear Boots', although the opening has less doom intentions, but I would recommend listening to this with headphones to get a real special effects of Bill Ward revolving around his drum kit as if it was attached to your neck.

In Summary
In some way I have probably sold this album short, but I have tried to relate my experiences in first getting to know this album, all those years ago. Approaching it not just to heap critical acclaim on it but how it became a full learning experience, a relationship I seemed to have lost with some many albums and music (yes still all good!) now being released and easier to obtain. This album is woven intricately to the history of rock, it contains the savagery of 'Iron Man', the sweetness of 'Planet Caravan', the instant gratification of 'Paranoid', (when has 3 chords sounded so good!). The best of the Ozzy phase, to me I have no doubt and while I contemplate the final flourish it feels I have been trampled by a phalanx of elephants, the only equivalent I could compare to in terms of weight, but incomparable to anything that has been and gone in the metal world.

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#1 | sabace on August 21 2012 08:54:15
the lp that created a legend - what can one say ?
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