1970 - Black Sabbath.
1970 - Paranoid.
1971 - Master Of Reality.
1972 - Vol. 4.
1973 - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.
1976 - Technical Ecstasy.
1978 - Never Say Die !
1980 - Heaven And Hell.
1981 - Mob Rules.
1983 - Born Again.
1986 - Seventh Star.
1992 - Dehumanizer.
more BLACK SABBATH.
way more Helter Skelter.
February 13, 1970 - 2020: 50 years of: Black Sabbath.
It is now official: HEAVY-METAL IS FIFTY YEARS OLD !!!
Friday the 13th, 1970: Day One for Heavy-Metal music ...HAIL ENGLAND !
While the 1960s counterculture adventurous revolution escalated from rocknroll to psychedelic with THE ANIMALS and THE BEATLES, from attitude to heavyrock with THE ROLLING STONES and THE YARDBIRDS ...and it got louder to wilder with CREAM and LED ZEPPELIN. Yet we've seen nothing yet !
The attack of THE KINKS's "You Really Got Me" was about to get overdriven with some of DEEP PURPLE's elaborate production and grit. Sorry America, even though you had giants like BLUE CHEER and IRON BUTTERFLY ...this heavyrock-race is a British affair !
From the suburbs of Birmingham, from the ashes of MYTHOLOGY, a bluesy-rock act featuring Tony Iommi and Bill Ward and RARE BREED featuring Geezer Butler, the new-found trio replied to an ad in a local music-store, the now famous: "Ozzy-Zig needs gig". In some weird twist of faith, Osbourne and Iommi already knew each other, as Ozzy was picked on at school by the guitar-player at a younger age.
As a teen, having the tip of 2 fingers cut-off in a factory-related accident didn't stop Iommi from learning the instrument. He overcame this matter and became revitalized when hearing of jazz guitar-player Django Reinhardt. Decades before, Reinhardt had being in a life-threatening fire that burned half of his body and had been amputated on 2 fingers on his left hand. Iommi did however left the band in favor of JETHRO TULL, for a very short while and eventually came back to Earth. After rebranding themselves from POLKA TULK to EARTH to BLACK SABBATH, a name borrowed from the 1963 Italian horror-movie of the same name, the boys were angry, focused and ready to play.
The stage is set:
Distant church-bells rings aloud, pouring rain and hovering thunder as the cranium-splitting dissonant G-chord of "Black Sabbath" opens the gate of heaviness wide-open, never to be closed again. The massive chord and drums down-beat is as heavy, as heavy can be heavy. The thick tritone guitar pattern, Catholically known has the "devil's tone" dominates with it's eerie three-note monolith. Lyrics wise, ultimate evilness is included within: the description of a Satanic black-mass, inspired by an apparition experienced by Butler, nothing more, nothing less. If there was any doubts that this cut was heavymetal's very first official song ever, all suspicions were now evaporated. At the 4:34sec mark, all hells break loose as the pace jumps into a speedmetal galloping-riff and collapses into an apocalyptic crescendo. Power-chords surrounds all 4-corners while Iommi burst a high-gain hard-blues lead climax into the epic finale.
The song "Black Sabbath" from the album "Black Sabbath" by the band BLACK SABBATH.
If this track would have been their only one ever put to tape, it would still had secure them as creators of the genre. Chilling and horrific, just like the classic movie "The Exorcist", injected into the devil's music AKA blues. No song by ANY other band, ever, has had the haunting power and indelible statement that "Black Sabbath" had. At that very point in time, music took a turn on the left hand path ...and never looked back !
Make way as "The Wizard" walks by. A lively upbeat Chicago-blues inspired track shining with some of Osbourne's lesser known talent: the harmonica. Supporting him is Ward's pristine jazz-feel freestyle maelstrom drumming. Pure magic !
More raw-power is injected "Behind The Wall Of Sleep". The echoed-vocals gives an uneasy feeling while the massive Iommi pentatonic guitar-structure makes this hardrock cut a staple in the mighty SABBATH-catalog.
...enters Geezer Butler on the ethereal interlude of "Bassically", a full-on 4-string solo played thru a wah-pedal and overdriven amp, were he roller-coasters us into the next exhibition.
"N.I.B" were the guitars cut like a knife and Ward's drum's overhead is an earthquake by itself. Legend has it that "N.I.B" is the acronym to "Nativity In Black" ...referring about "the Devil becoming good" according to Butler himself, the band's primary lyricist.
Side B creeps-in with the acoustics of "A Bit Of Finger / Sleeping Village" and quickly turns into a tornado of hot licks and jazz-theme time-signatures. It also features, another future Iommi-trademark, the duo reverbed-solos. Yes, two different guitar-solos played at the same time, done in multi-track studio. Take into consideration that full stereo-recordings were still the "new thing" in that era.
The deep bass-line carries on into the AYNSLEY DUNBAR RETALIATION-cover in "Warning". The skeleton of this piece is intertwined with each instrument answering each other in free-form solos, a full 10mins of pure heavy-blues improvisation. Exquisite exploration and exceptional showmanship !
The final track is "Wicked World", a title that reflects England's "Clockwork Orange" rotten distopia. A hidden rock gem, as this is the LP's heaviest and most heavymetallesque-track. Dirty guitar-tone, upbeat E-string palm-muting, screaming lead-work, energetic drums and bass, commanding high-pitched vocals and dark introspective societal lyrics: this is the genesis of heavymetal !
The bonus-track on some pressings includes the fine CROW-cover in "Evil Woman". A boogie-vibed tune that reeks rockabilly taken from the great American acid-rock repertoire.
The original packaging, courtesy of Vertigo Records, features an immense inverted cross inside the jacket-sleeve. So much subtleties, that the band would caught the interest and invitation of a High Priest of some dark underground cult ...they declined. After this incident, the band ALWAYS wore their now-famous crosses around their necks, for protection. From fiction to reality, just another page in rocknroll's book.
Musically, hints of "Heavy-Metal" were apparent on THE BEATLES's 1968 vicious onslaught of "Helter Skelter" and then the mighty LED ZEPPELIN officialzed down-stroke palm-muting on 1969's "Communication Breakdown" ...yet the "heavy" part had not been apparent enough to qualify. Overall the Black Sabbath LP is more of a darkrock / heavyblues record, yet the following opus, the iconic Paranoid LP released a mere 7 months later, will forever encompass BLACK SABBATH as the heaviest band on the planet.
While BLACK SABBATH at that point never was a "Heavy-Metal" band and never, ever, labeled themselves as a "Heavy-Metal" band, their massive sound, doomy vibe and occult-related themes put them at the pole-position as THE key component in creating the genre. The remaining elements of the formula were supplied by fellow Birmingham quintet: the black-leather, the spikes, the dual lead-guitar solos and the biker-attitude frontman of JUDAS PRIEST.
The influence of BLACK SABBATH is a full 360° osmosis. From the MISFITS to MOTÖRHEAD to MÖTLEY CRÜE to CELTIC FROST to METALLICA to OBITUARY to SOUNDGARDEN to PANTERA to SLEEP to TYPE O NEGATIVE to NINE INCH NAILS to GREEN DAY to WHITE ZOMBIE to SLIPKNOT to THE WHITE STRIPES and beyond ...the SABBATH-influence of all things heavy is tangible everywhere.
Quite simply: if you play hard-music, you are influenced by BLACK SABBATH ...either you are willingly doing so or not !
Now 50 years young, the colossal force of BLACK SABBATH would go on to create, shape and perform, collectively or individually, decades of ear-shattering music all around the globe, for generations of fans.
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen:
From Birmingham England, please welcome, Rock-N-roll Hall Of Famers, multi-Platinum selling recording artist and genre spearheading band:
- Mister Tony Iommi on guitars,
- Mister Bill Ward on drums,
- Mister Geezer Butler on bass,
- Mister Ozzy Osbourne on vocals
...the one and only
...the immortal: BLACK SABBATH !!!
Friday the 13th 1970: Day One for Heavy-Metal music.
Black Sabbath = video
Black Sabbath = full LP
Icon: Tony Iommi
September 18, 1970 - 2020: 50 years of: Paranoid.
"Immortal" = the ability to be eternal, exempt of death.
"Monolith" = a geological feature of a single massive rock.
BLACK SABBATH's Paranoid LP, the heavy-rock magnum-opus is now 50 years young, let that sink in. Mere months after the release of their self-titled debut LP in February, the Birmingham-bums were back, with more punch and more classic cuts. Having sank their teeth into the wicked world, the band was now ready for the big leagues. Not to be relegated as another ZEPPELIN-clone or a keyboard-less PURPLE ...SABBATH had a different goal in mind: heaviness !
And with heaviness in mind, 8 new tracks were crafted and recorded, again with producer Rodger Bain and added help from future wizard engineer Tom Allom. 8 new tracks that would go on to cement and spearhead the basis of heavymetal. 8 new tracks of high-gain guitars, loud thumping bass, headroom-filled drums and maniacal vocals ...Paranoid is the blue-print for everything heavy under the sun.
During the turbulent mid-60s to mid-70s, the rocknroll element, fueled by the counterculture of both sides of the Atlantic hit hard, very hard, but never quite as hard as BLACK SABBATH.
The second edition of the British Invasion is here.
The spiral architects are here.
Paranoid: the immortal monolith in heavyrock !
1970, the Viet-Nam war runs at full swing, yet it's time for Walpurgis season (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpurgis_Night). The original title and lyric-set, Walpurgis then became "War Pigs", the now iconic anti-war masterpiece. The opening E-riff seems to ring for days as the drums slowly kicks-back, setting the pace for the main strike. World War II air-raid sirens fills the air with incoming death and then, Ozzy lurks from the underground. At that very point in time, rock took a turn on the left hand path into heavyrock. The main riff hammers and creates the roots of thrashmetal. Iommi is on fire as not one but TWO solos are played in overdub, while Butler and Ward keeps the beat on a military-pace. If the Paranoid LP was only comprised of this single-track, it would still qualify as heavyrock-creators, as "War Pigs" contains all the needed key-elements heavyrock and heavymetal fed upon, all in a single 7:57sec song.
The title-track, the freight-train composed in mere minutes under the gun. The producer said they needed another song, the band delivered. And by delivered, we mean exploded in a Tazmanian-rage of heavyrock. A 2:53sec burst of distorted guitars that once again, sets the pace for classic-thrashmetal and more precisely speedmetal. The rabid downstroke is precise, raw and merciless. The overfuzzed guitar solo raises the stakes into overdrive. The album was intended to be titled War Pigs, yet to prevent possible controversy, this title was put away by their record-label. And just like that, the proposed War Pigs LP became the Paranoid LP. This also explains the warrior-figure on the album-jacket.
Let's slow down for a bit, get underwater, look up to the sun and let yourself go. The eerie, folk-vibed "Planet Caravan" is a trip far into the subconscious. The clean-guitar, the soft-bass, the tambourines and Osbourne's whispers, slowly rocks you as the listener travels thru the universe. The jazz-based Iommi lead is one of his best - cut - ever.
On to the enigmatic monster / machine "Iron Man". The robotic intro-call "I AM IRON MAN" sends instant chills down your spine and the mammoth-like power-chord riff crystallize BLACK SABBATH as creators of "heavy" in heavymetal. There's loud, there's louder and then there's Iron Man-loud. The drums crashes with every words, the electric-guitars move walls and the bass rattles the ground on every note. The gigantic machine / monster is angry and wants it's revenge. A mere image or metaphor for the band, this particular track rates very, very, very high on the Richter Scale.
The mechanical "Electric Funeral" feels like a thousand ton. The 2 riff-track crunches and deconstructs faith, hope and life itself. Apocalypse-themed, no-one survives this atomic revelation. The break-down mid-part takes the cake as an attempt at the unborn genre of speedmetal.
Quietly, Mister Geezer Butler sneaks in on "Hand Of Doom", another monster / machine, that just want's to "push the needle in". Doom and gloom, just like on the band's first record "Black Sabbath" but this time, the mid-part, once again, ignites all cylinders at full throttle.
On drums, Mister William Ward: The 2:31sec instrumental "Rat Salad" is drums, drums and more drums. From free-style jazz to pounding unto concrete, this interlude elevates the man as an immediate contender to the divine Bonzo-throne.
The album's closer, the amusedly titled "Fairies Wear Boots" opens with a prog-like echoed-intro and then scrapes the floor with one of the band's crunchiest riff ever. Probably the sliciest-riff since THE KINKS's "You Really Got Me". A deadly groove supplied by superior horse-power, the full swing, the unmatched rhythms of the Butler + Ward duo dictates with an iron hand.
This is Paranoid. Unsettling, yet define. Paranoid, a abstract theme that main-writer bassist Geezer Butler said that: "It doesn't mean anything"
From the grungy garage-rock of the MC5, to the glass-shattering loudness of BLUE CHEER, to the out-of-body experiences of IRON BUTTERFLY, to the rock-royalty of CREAM ...BLACK SABBATH are the full heavyrock package. Do yourself a favor and if you haven't done so, listen to the special quadraphonic-mix of the record. Remember that a quadra-mix is 2 different stereo-mixes at the same time: front and rear, 4-speakers required for full-stomp effect. You have been warned !
Having paved the way for true heavymetal and all the subsequent following genres, Paranoid is Day One for heavyrock that includes darkness. Although the menacing dark-element was already imminent on the bluesy first album, album #2 is that extra push over the cliff they needed to draw that definitive line into the sand, the point-of-no-return. No BLACK SABBATH album in history has the pivotal time-stamp effect Paranoid has, the next logical step would be to go darker, doomier and heavier: 1971's Master Of Reality LP.
From Birmingham England, to your preferred audio-system, let's now celebrate ...the unstoppable continuum known as: BLACK SABBATH
They bring you:
- 50 years of perfection
- 50 years of heavyrock
- 50 years of continued influence
- 50 years of being the dark one and only.
Great-Britain's National Treasure: 50 years of Paranoid !!!
Paranoid = video
Paranoid = video Beat-Club
Iron Man = video Beat-Club
Paranoid = full LP
War Pigs in quadraphonic mix, in stereo
Paranoid in quadraphonic mix, in stereo
Planet Caravan in quadraphonic mix, in stereo
Iron Man in quadraphonic mix, in stereo
Blue Suede Shoes covered by BLACK SABBATH
Live in Brussels in 1970
Fingers Bloody Fingers
Classic Albums DVD
July 27, 1971 - 2021: 50 years of: Master Of Reality.
Heavier than heavy.
After the BLUE CHEER eruption of 1968, we though we've heard it all. But Birmingham's bastards BLACK SABBATH crafted heavy-blues and proto-metal with both of their 1970 Black Sabbath LP and commercial-hit Paranoid LP. Now with this third installement on hand, the juices flow and the mood gets even more tense.
Downtuned to Db on some songs, this release rapidly became the ultimate classic BLACK SABBATH signature LP. Dark, heavy and dangerously addictive, this single record is the blue-print for: heavymetal, stonermetal and doommetal.
Cough it out !
Inhale the fumes of the "Sweet Leaf", inhale the fat-tone of Tony Iommi's guitar and let rocknroll take a turn into the unknown, again. Simple riff, simple groove, yet one of the deadliest. Track two in "After Forever", a new plateau in rawness and relentlessness is reached. High stamina and blunt new found power. Nota: Geezer Butler is God !
The birth of thrashmetal, the riff, the tuned to Db E-riff that became the formula for many generations to come, the devastating drive of "Children Of The Grave" sets the pace. The overlapping, double-tracked Bill Ward percussions, ads an odd time-signature feel. Decisive groove and a mid-part breakdown of haunting biblical proportions. This classic-track now stands tall with the other heavymetal giants of the prolific 70s-era.
Now bow to you new savior: the "Lord Of This World" ...your heavymetal confessor. More dry-cut riffing and metal punch. Both "Embryo" and "Orchid" clean-guitar interlude are other key-point for Iommi's still blooming musical-overture.
The sadly beautiful "Solitude" follows the "Planet Caravan" track of eerie ballads. Under a moon-lit autumn night, Ozzy Osbourne whispers throughout, knee deep in a cold streaming tears-filled river.
And now the center-piece of the record and the center-piece of the entire thrashmetal-genre, the closing track, the final voyage of "Into The Void". Way beyond beyond, this exploration is both doom and heavyrock, all in the opening 1:13sec opening. And then the riff, another blues-based palm-muted E downstroke Armageddon. Killer and calculated, this is another key-element of actual thrashmetal-music. Lyric-wise, this also is Armageddon, where the Earth is left to Satan and his Slaves. Essential !
With the Master Of Reality LP, BLACK SABBATH became an immovable force to reckon with. 50 years later, it remains the heaviest of metals, the loudest of rocknroll and one of the darkest. Only one other band would dare to push the boundaries of heaviness further, set the bar higher and produce a doomier death-tone: BLACK SABBATH ! ...with their upcoming 1972 Vol. 4 LP.
Would you like to see the Pope on the end of a rope, do you think he's a fool ?
Master Of Reality = full LP
Live in Long Beach in 1971
September 25, 1972 - 2022: 50 years of: Vol. 4.
"We wish to thank the great COKE-Cola Company of Los Angeles."
England's loud-rock race was on full steam, yet with 1971's Master Of Reality LP, the SABBATH camp brought another face to the term "heavy" ...and things were about to get heavier. Down-tuned to Db, the deadly tone of "Children Of The Grave" and "Into The Void" sent shockwaves into hardrock and positioned the band has fine purveyors of fat tones. Round Two !
The machine is rolling, as the "Wheels Of Confusion" crushes all. Mid-paced and massive, the tone and vibe is apocalyptic and the outro coda includes overlaid high shriek guitars solos in all of rocknroll's glorious fashion. The 8min+ mammoth sweeps into the riff-sliding monster of "Tomorrow's Dream", while the LP's closer, the cataclysmic finale of "Under The Sun" is some of the grittiest low-mid tones ever crafted, ever.
The beautiful Ozzy and piano only "Changes" breaks away from the "Planet Caravan" and "Solitude" of their previous LPs. A heartfelt ballad that should've gotten FM airplay. Hip and frenetic, the electrifying "Supernaut" and high-voltage swing of "St.Vitus Dance" provides extra muscle to this full 360º loudrock tidal-wave.
The doom and gloom intro rips ear-drums apart on "Cornucopia" and then sand-blasts the audience with rowdy rocknroll, and another band-signature is hatched on "Snowblind", where as soon as the main riff sweeps in, mountains of sweet sugar entombs us with lovely sights and sounds.
Recorded in L.A. during the last haze of the flower-power movement, the Brits had found heaven on Earth. Stronger than ever and louder than ever, with the addition of Vol. 4, BLACK SABBATH were now the undisputed Kings of heaviness, on both sides of the Altantic. The "heavy" part of to-be Heavy-Metal was set in stone, it was now the waiting game for another British band to ascend and provide "metal" to to-be Heavy-Metal ...JUDAS PRIEST in 1976.
Lying snowblind in the sun, the boys would take a turn into the proggressive dimensions with 1973's tour-de-force heavier than heavy: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath LP.
Vol. 4 = full LP
Interview in 1973
Live in L.A. in 1972
Le mot chef d'oeuvre est rarement utilisé pour décrire un album rock, mais voici une réelle exception à la règle: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath de BLACK SABBATH en 1973 !
Le 5ième opus du quatuor heavyrock Britannique atteint une apogée qui n'a plus jamais depuis été égalée. De proto-metal à prog-metal, d'envoûtant à ensorceleur, de doux à destructeur, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath possède toutes ces unique propriétés ...et bien plus.
Ce véritable tour-de-force inclus: l'atmosphère lunaire synthé avec "Who Are You ?", une quasi-comptine pour bambin avec "Fluff", la subtile finale jazz de "Sabbra Cadabra", l'orchestration de violon sur la saisissante "Spiral Architect" et les morceaux les plus heavyrock de la décennie avec "A National Acrobat" ainsi que la massive pièce titre.
Les années rock turbulentes post-60s ont produit la meilleure musique sur la surface de la Terre et BLACK SABBATH ont su rapidement relancer, de façon nonchalante, les standards et étiquettes de "précurseur", "innovateur" et bien sur "créateur"
Mesdames et Messieurs, les Rock-N-Roll Hall Of Famers, le véritable BLACK SABBATH:
Merci Tony Iommi
Merci Bill Ward
Merci Geezer Butler
Merci Ozzy Osbourne
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath = video
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath = full LP
September 28, 1976 - 2021: 45 years of: Technical Ecstasy.
"I'm just another back street kid.
Rocknroll music is the only thing I really dig
Can't stop the music going round inside my head.
I'm a rocknroll soldier, gonna play it until I'm dead" - Ozzy Osbourne
Mythical mammoths of monolithic heavyrock BLACK SABBATH have been thru Heaven and Hell, between 1972's fat-toned Vol. 4, 73's majestic Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and 75's metalized Sabotage LP. Time to tone down and try another approach to heaviness.
A fast cut opens up, a rough meeting with the "Back Street Kids". Four men still on a mission, to play roknroll until they're dead. Hints of progressive and fusion-elements are present on "All Moving Parts (Stand Still)" and then comes the southern-vibed groove happy happy joy joy prescription of "Rock 'N Roll Doctor".
The folk Bill Ward sung "It's Alright" shows a different angle to the hard-hitting drummer, while the ballad-y "Gypsy" fills the room with a 60s hippie vibe. Dramatic and electric, the apocalyptic-factor is back with a bang, on the haunted keyboard display of "You Won't Change Me". A right path to the left hand side, courtesy of the Kings of doom and gloom.
The center-piece of the album, the ladies of the Red-Light 7:09sec "Dirty Women" is a heavy mix of raw-rock and it's second half the 2:33sec lead-improv, elevates once again, Tony Iommi as the King of heaviness as well as the King of soul-filled wah-supported lead-guitar.
The Technical Ecstasy LP is a very different take on BLACK SABBATH and a very different take on heavy-rock itself. The mid-70s where filled with these new progressive-elements that featured, extensive long lead ad-libs and off-beats. The SABBATH-men took note and made it even more paranoid.
The next and final step would be the last call to feature Ozzy Osbourne as frontman, the disco-vibed and lite-rock infused 1978's Never Say Die LP ...the last studio incarnation of the original BLACK SABBATH.
1976 BLACK SABBATH: not too technical, yet filled with ecstasy !
Rock 'N Roll Doctor = video
Technical Ecstasy = full LP
Interview in 1976
Live in Pittsburg in 1976
September 29, 1978 - 2023: 45 years of: Never Say Die !
The last original BLACK SABBATH full-lenght studio recording, ever. An event that almost wasn't, as Ozzy had been out of the band for a couple of months ...and came back. Dragging their feet into a Toronto studio, the ill-fated Never Say Die LP would become the final BLACK SABBATH of the 70s ...and the final BLACK SABBATH recording featuring: Iommi, Ward, Butler and Osbourne.
The "Never Say Die" title-track crushes the VU-meters into oblivion. Short and punchy, this cut, along the raging "Shock Wave" are the only two rock-bombs found within, where the almost candy-pop cut "Hard Road" is a clear sign of writer's block.
Evolution beyond the simple rock-format takes shape on the forward-fusion progressive "Air Dance" and through the space-explorations of "Johnny Blade". A continuation from 1976's Technical Ecstasy LP, as in 70s jazz-rock, but somewhat of a miss-match next to the expected SABBATH downtuned heaviness.
The instrumental-doom "Breakout" features saxophone and brass-arrangements while the closer "Swinging The Chain" features harmonica and drummer Bill Ward on ...lead-vocals.
Although RIAA-certified Gold, on tour, they had the not-so-brilliant idea to bring the young VAN HALEN along for the ride. To no surprise, the aging SABBATH had they British asses served on a plate, demolished night after night by the exploding L.A. rioters. The last straw, a changing of the guards.
The final event for BLACK SABBATH 1.0.
Sadly, the burden was left on Bill Ward's shoulders, the task of announcing Ozzy, the band's decision to move forward without him. Now lonely, crushed and always stoned, little did he knew that he would soon change the face of hardrock-history, again.
In the meantime, the newly re-energized BLACK SABBATH sprung into action with Ronnie James Dio of RAINBOW fame, repositioning themselves at the top with 1980's totemistic Heaven And Hell LP. And from way across the Atlantic, Ozzy with his newfound creative-partner, blazing guitar-prodigy Randy Rhoads bounced back into the limelight with 1980's Blizzard Of Ozz LP ...a new rocknroll war / chapter had just begun !
Hard Road = video
Never Say Die ! = full LP
Never Say Die, a decade of Black Sabbath = full VHS
Live at the Top Of The The Pops in 1978
April 25, 1980 - 2020: 40 years of: Heaven And Hell.
Would the monolithic BLACK SABBATH survive without original madman Ozzy Osbourne ?
Yes and YES !
Through adversity and rocknroll, the heavymetal creators eventually fell into limbo in late 1978, after the disastrous Never Say Die LP and touring cycle ...Ozzy had to go ! In early '79, the young men drank and literally bumped into each other in Los Angeles. Call it fate or destiny, but BLACK SABBATH 2.0 was created at that point. Ex-ELF and ex-RAINBOW frontman Ronnie James Dio was made for the big stages, but one question remained: could an American hardrock singer front the heaviest British band ?
Lightning struck and it struck hard, as the initial practice-sessions quickly turned into what would be the actual Heaven And Hell LP. Produced by renown studio-wizard Martin Birch, see all the classic DEEP PURPLE-catalog, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Ronnie Dio would not only create a worthy follow-up to the immortal Osbourne-led legacy but re-invent the band with this new-found energy and iron will.
The Second Coming:
Speedmetal before speedmetal is laid on "Neon Knights", the year is 1980 and it was created by the hands of the Master himself: Mr. Tony Iommi. Downstroked fast-paced riffing, heavy hitting courtesy of Mr. Bill Ward and magic from the top of the silver mountain: Dio behind the microphone. Magic is an understatement, as this track not only pushed the limits of heavyrock, but set and bred an entire new generation of rockers into faster heavyrock, all of this from the same Iommi, Butler and Ward that created this genre a decade ago in 1970.
The heavenly "Die Young" is introduced with the to-be long-time collaborator, Mr. Geoff Nicholls on keyboards. Fast as a shark, this cut grows with it's progressive elements and reaches biblical proportion at the 2:02sec and then explode into a heavymetal Armageddon at the 2:40sec. Sweet and beautiful, just like the tears of the Gods !
Onto the majestic "Children Of The Sea". Classic-guitar intro and Dio's whispering throughout into the main explosive riff. The hammering doesn't stop until the chant-backed 3:08sec mark. The dark epic finale is worthy of any apocalypse: "Look out, the sky is falling down, look out, the world is spinning round and round and round, look out, the sun is going black, black, look out ...it's never, never, never coming back, look out !"
Mr. Geezer Butler sneaks-in on "Lady Evil" with a simple, yet commanding groove and leads us into a foot-stomping rock classic.
And now, the ultimate show-stopper, the pristine "Heaven And Hell" ...one of heavymetal's best track, ever. The E-F#-G-C-D powerchord progression cuts thru the simple crowd-gathering bass-line. Massive and monstrous, the epic mid-part is one of the Diamond-clad crown-classics SABBATH possesses in it's impressive repertoire. The 2:16sec mark lays-us into the euphoric 2:38sec Titanesque Iommi break-down riff, one of heavymetal's most respected guitar riffs. We then enter Heaven at 3:13sec and the progression climaxes at 4:16sec where we ultimately enter Hell. Epic lead, epic chord-crescendo and epic lyric-works: THE EPIC FINALE !!! The track "Heaven And Hell" is everything classic heavymetal, or heavenandhellmetal, should be in this 7:01sec monumental body of work.
It is clear to say that the powermetal-genre was issued by the divine Heaven And Hell masterpiece LP. Muscular rhythms, melodic lines and powerful vocal acrobatics, all the very best of both heaven and hell.
Now it wasn't all smooth sailing for Dio, has Osbourne-fans tauntered him onstage and teased the man because of his 5'4" stature. Yet the blunt power of his larger-then-life pipes, vivid persona and now-iconic hand gestures, rapidly made him loved and worshipped by millions of headbangers around the globe, and beyond. Sadly on tour, Bill Ward had to leave due to personal issues, his throne was replaced by new-comer Mr. Vinny Appice.
In 1981, the band struck another hit and released the louder and dirtier Mob Rules LP. Although, months later, egos came into action and that would close the door on BLACK SABBATH 2.0 for a decade, until the 1992 reunion, for the gigantic Dehumanizer CD.
In the world of Kings and Queens of heavyrock, the BLACK SABBATH / Ronnie James Dio era is an undeniable fusion and key-element that confirms the following universally accepted fact: Dio = God ......we are dead serious, literally "Dio" is "God" in Italian !
Neon Knights = video
Die Young = video
Heaven And Hell = full LP
Interview in Australia in 1980
Live in Uniondale NY in 1980
November 4, 1981 - 2021: 40 years of: Mob Rules.
Would you listen to fools ?
The rebirth started with 1980's Heaven And Hell: one of heavymetal's best LP ever, featuring new frontman and rock-icon Ronnie James Dio. SABBATH's new voice wasn't accepted by die-hard Osbourne fanatics and that is understandable, but vocally, Dio is a far more superior lyricist and singer ...and now the real trial by fire: album #2 in 1981's Mob Rules LP.
At that point in time, competition was full 360°. In Europe, new kids like LEPPARD, MOTÖRHEAD and MAIDEN were bubbling just below the surface, while in the USA the hardrock tidal-wave was in full motion with KISS, VAN HALEN and AEROSMITH.
Not to be outdone, BLACK SABBATH had to come out strong and came out strong they did. Mob Rules is the band's strongest (aka most sonically powerful) record, in every department: Geezer's bass never sounded so present, the Iommi riff-machine steamrolled away, the loud over-heads of new drummer Vinny Appice and the mighty Ronnie was standing tall ...on top of the silver mountain !
The madness kick-starts with the fast-paced "Turn Up The Night", followed-up by the possessive "Voodoo", to the mesmerizing mid-tempo of the monumental mammoth that is "The Sign Of The Southern Cross" ...but don't hold you breath yet, as the title-track sets the ground-work for a new genre that would become thrashmetal.
On the flip-side, another murder in the swinging "Country Girl" to the epicenter of the LP, the apocalyptic doom of "Falling Off The Edge Of The World".
The excesses of rocknroll where displayed while supporting the Live Evil double-LP and eventually the SABBATH / Dio connection abruptly came to an end, for a decade, until the first reunion with 1992's Dehumanizer. In 1981-82, real heavymetal was roaring and the mob definitely ruled: the BLACK SABBATH MOB !
Mob Rules = full LP
Live at Hammersmith in 82
Live eviL: the forgotten tapes.
September 12, 1983 - 2023: 40 years of: Born Again.
Another frontmen - another SABBATH !?
From godly to God-awful, by the time BLACK SABBATH released 1982's Live Evil 2LP ... the relationship had sourly ended with Ronnie James Dio. Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler would recap and get drunk with ...ex-DEEP PURPLE's Ian Gillan. As the legend goes, Gillan was so drunk that he unknowingly accepted to front the new incarnation of BLACK SABBATH. British rock-legends unite under the same roof, now this will be interesting.
Blunt power and RPM attitude blasts-off from the initial notes of "Trashed". Madness of hard rocknroll, this lap-daring cut explains Gillan's near-death adventurous car-crash accident. Rolling with Tequila at a 105, so hardcore that is one became a staple on the P.M.R.C.'s Filthy Fifteen songs, so you know it hits the spot. Ride faster and play louder.
The haunting effect-interlude of "Stonehenge" sends chills down our spines, until the explosive "Disturbing The Priest" crushes the real-life near-by serene Holy Cross Church into oblivion. The center-piece of the LP, the 7min+ blackening of "Zero The Hero" is the true incarnation of horror. Rock-solid low-tuned riff mixed with high-pitched vocals, makes this particular number, a particular signature of classic early-80s heavymetal. The matching MTV-video sets a castle inhabited by a cult of doctors / butchers and decaying corpses, while extra live portions were shot at the Montreal Forum.
Thrashmetal face-slaps the "Digital Bitch". Lyric-wise, this fast cut could very-very-very possibly be linked to a certain Sharon ...Osbourne. Penned by Gillan, he never fully answered this blatant obvious question. Speaking of Gillan, he shines like a God from above through the shadows of the night, on the hot-rocking "Hot Line".
Both hard-rocking "Keep It Warm" and the strong epic title-track for "Born Again" are mid-paced powermetallers supported by laidback massive rhythms. The now four-decade long lost-track "The Fallen" might be one of 1983's best gem, a number inexplicably absent from the LP's original track-listing.
On paper, the Born Again LP line-up is an all-star zeitgeist.
On tape, the Born Again LP is a posh mix from the best elements of classicrock meets heavymetal.
Yet through time, fans have voiced their concerns over the final-mix and the artwork-sleeve, yet the most irritated one was ...Gillan himself. Painted by Krusher of Kerrang Magazine and inspired by a 1968 photograph of an actual newly born infant, the reviews were less than amicable, but still: Iommi was happy. This discord only fueled the enigma surrounding this cryptic creation, as well as, divided the SABBATH fanbase and even bred a certified cult-status on the LP.
Right after recording and before the tour, returned original drummer Bill Ward once again had to step aside, due to addiction. ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA skinsman Bev Bevan took over for touring duties ...but on the road, things didn't always went as planned. From Gillan reading lyric-sheets on the stage-floor, to way to much dry-ice fog, to almost dying baby-like dwarf, to humongous life-size totemistic Stonehenge monuments that didn't fit local arenas ...the Born Again tour-cycle was the ultimate cherry-on-top inspiration for the eventual 1984 SPINAL TAP rocknroll mockumentary.
After the dust settled, bassist Geezer Butler had enough and took a long due break, tried the solo-avenue and eventually sprung back into action in 1988 with none other than ...Ozzy Osbourne ...therefore re-connecting 50% of the original BLACK SABBATH. Diametrically, the disillusioned Ian Gillan regrouped and regain credibility with DEEP PURPLE's Mark II royal-reunion and shook the world with 1984's perfect Perfect Strangers LP.
...and now, the last man standing: Tony Iommi.
The now lone axeman would launch a very-very-very short solo-career what would inevitably be commercially released under the BLACK SABBATH tradename, 1986's: Seventh Star LP (featuring Tony Iommi). This new SABBATH-like adventure would caravan throughout the late-80s with many-many singers and various other musicians ...until 1992's deadly divine calling: the Ronnie Dio and Dehumanizer CD reunion.
Meanwhile by 1984, the heavymetal scene had been swallowed by the hardrock scene, especially by the top young gunners from Los Angeles ...leaving the British Don Arden managed mammoths way aside.
Between Heaven And Hell: BLACK PURPLE / DEEP SABBATH ...AKA the troubled Born Again era, is the epitome of classic rocknrollism.
"I drank a bottle of Tequila and it felt real good, I had the tape-deck roaring.
But on the twenty-fifth lap at the canal turn, I went off exploring." - Ian Gillan.
RIP The Manor (1971-1995)
Trashed = video
Zero The Hero = video
Born Again = full LP
Interview in 1983
Live in Montreal in 1983
Live TV performance in 1984
Ian Gillan talks about Born Again
The Holy Cross Church
January 28, 1986 - 2021: 35 years of: Seventh Star.
From genre creator, to solo artist, all under the legendary moniker ...Tony still makes magic !
After the collapse of the DIO-era BLACK SABBATH, the revived legends got help from another British legend in DEEP PURPLE's Ian Gillan, but it was just not meant to be long term. Exit Gillan also exit long-time bassist and co-founder Geezer Butler, which left Tony Iommi as the sole active SABBATH member. Enters yet another ex-PURPLE member in bassist / singer Glenn Hughes and once again, for a very short while, the rocknroll stars were fully aligned.
Purposely patented as a solo-release from the six-stringer, label-company legalities ended up releasing the album as an official BLACK SABBATH record. Official as in, going as far as labeling the product "BLACK SABBATH featuring Tony Iommi" on the cover-art and related media-material.
The collaboration kicks in high-gear with "In For The Kill" and "Turn To Stone", were Hughes rages and buuuuuurns like a stormbringer. Get all bluesed-up on "Heart Like A Wheel" as it displays another side of Iommi. Some fine guitar-crunch is found on the heavier "Danger Zone" and heavymetal sneaks in on "Angry Heart", yet somewhat Americanized. Remember that the Made In L.A. hardrock was steamrolling the decadent decade at that point in time.
Now the single "No Stranger To Love" is the BON JOVI-song not written by Jon and Richie. Suave FM keys intro and rhythm, matched with Glenn Hughes's best Michael Bolton impression ...black leather clad poprock !
Labels aside, what makes a band, a "band" ?
Answer: the union of musicians and the different chemistry that shapes said band as a unique unit. Once all is said and done, the Seventh Star LP is not and should not be considered a "BLACK SABBATH" release, albeit the marketing strategies used to promote the record. Iommi himself wrote the songs and fully intended this to be a solo-release, hence the different hardrock and blues elements found within. This LP is another major turning point in Iommi's career, the man behind SABBATH, as numerous lineup changes would occur in the upcoming decade.
On tour, the Iommi + Hughes partnership would last a mere 5 shows, as Glenn would be fired, following problems with substance abuse. His short-term replacement would be Ray Gillen (future BADLANDS), who would ultimately be replaced by new frontman Tony "The Cat" Martin in 1987, paving the way for the fifth version of the almighty "BLACK SABBATH"
RIP Ray Gillen (1959-1993)
No Stranger To Love = video
Seventh Star = full LP
Interview at MuchMusic in 1986
Live in Detroit with Glenn in 1986
June 30, 1992 - 2022: 30 years of: Dehumanizer.
The GODS are back !
After the partymetal craze and thrashmetal deconstruction of the hazy 80s, the original heaviest band on Earth resets everyone to the Starting Line. A heaven and hell reunion that celebrates the classic BLACK SABBATH post-Osbourne era, erasing the Gillan, Gillen, Hughes and Martin collaborations ...Ronnie Dio is back in BLACK SABBATH.
In the pantheon of heavyrock, the synonym for heavymetal perfection, 50% British, 50% American: Tony Iommi + Geezer Butler + Vinny Appice + Ronnie James Dio. Although in reality, legend-drummer Cozy Powell was intended for the project, but an accident side-lined him. This is 1982's Mob Rules LP lineup, the explosive explosion and just like the ending of the '82-cycle, egos and miscommunications would eventually, once again, break this unique metal-union.
The drum-intro of "Computer God" kicks-in, the vibe is heavy, the riff wipes the scene within seconds. The machine is strong and proud as more metal bleeds through. The following doomy cut "After All (The Dead)" certifies the band as creator of heavydoom metal.
The thrashy "Master Of Insanity", the piledriving "Buried Alive" and the ass-kicker "Time Machine", a track used as promo for the hit-movie Wayne's World does not disappoint. The leading humoristic MTV video-single for "TV Crimes" did get substantial airplay, amidst the Seattle take-over.
The record is hailed as the best SABBATH, since 82's Mob Rules and underlines Dio's powerful voice and writing skills. Sadly, the end of the road was also the end of the band. In a weird twist of fate, the last late-1992 Dehumanizer gig would conclude as the opening-act for ...Ozzy Osbourne's No More Tears tour. This call of events infuriated Dio, who left on the spot, refusing to perform in front of the man he replaced and the man who also humiliated him for long years. That evening in Costa Mesa, an historic event would take place, the singer-less SABBATH had to make a quick move ...and none other then JUDAS PRIEST's Rob Halford took the microphone.
It would take another 14 full years, for Iommi and Dio to talk again, preparing the way for, yes you guessed it, the 2006 reunion-tour and eventual 2009 The Devil You Know CD.
RIP Cozy Powell (1947-1998)
TV Crimes = video
Dehumanizer = full CD
Dehumanizer = demos with Cozy Powell
Interview in Japan
Hosting MTV Brazil
Live Monster Of Rock Italy in 1992
Live with Halford in Costa Mesa in 1992
more BLACK SABBATH:
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