Monday, February 17, 2014

Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970)

After only four months since the release of their debut album, Black Sabbath went into the studio again to write the material for the sophomore album. This album was initially meant to be named "War Pigs", but Warner stopped it since the title was a critical remark against the ongoing war between Vietnam and USA. So instead, the album was named "Paranoid", after the last song that was written for the album (took around 25 minutes to create according to the band).

This is probably the most well known Black Sabbath album, mostly because several of their biggest "hits" are in this album. "War Pigs", "Paranoid" and "Iron Man" all make an appearance on this album and they all deserve the praise that they have gotten through the years. "War Pigs" is an excellent song about corrupt politicians that sends out the poor to war instead of themselves, "Iron Man"'s simple riff and epic ending makes it irresistible, and "Paranoid" is just groovy as hell. It stands clear, only after one or two listening sessions, that this album would be a lot more boring without this magical trio of songs.

But just like with Iron Maiden's "The Number of The Beast", "Paranoid"'s strength is also its greatest weakness. The three well known songs are almost so good that the listener can easily forget the rest of the tracks, which is a shame since "Paranoid" has some other sweet songs that makes this album very diverse. Take for instance the soothing melodies in "Planet Caravan" or the infectious beats in "Hand of Doom" and "Fairies Wear Boots". I am sure that this album would not have its status if these songs were replaced by some bad copies of "the big three".

The only thing I do not get along with in ""Paranoid" is the instrumental "Rat Salad". First off, what kind of a name is "Rat Salad"? Secondly, all I can think of when listening to this song is how much of a show off the drummer Bill Ward can be during this song. The random drum solos just makes the song sound like a broken record. And even if the song is the shortest in the album (2:29), it still feels like it is too long. Remember kids, when you are going to make an instrumental, do not let the drummer be the main attraction.

I can honestly say that "Paranoid" clearly deserves its legendary status, but it is not only because of "Paranoid", "War Pigs" and "Iron Man". It is because this album has an impressive variation and a timeless sound that both young and old metal heads can enjoy. It is impressive that this album was release within a year after the band's debut album, but what is more impressive is the significant development that has happened to the music during that short time. The music is more well constructed and the length of the album is not too short. So if "Black Sabbath" marked the birth of metal, "Paranoid" is a prediction of what great things this genre was about to unfold.

Songs worthy of recognition: War Pigs, Paranoid, Iron Man, Fairies Wear Boots

Rating: 9/10 Rat Salads

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