Thursday, February 13, 2014

Black Sabbath - S/T (1970)

Known as the band that more or less created heavy metal, Black Sabbath was conceived in 1968 under the name Earth Blues Company in Birmingham, England. Looking to escape a boring life of working in a factory, Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi, John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne, Terence Michael Joseph "Geezer" Butler and William Thomas "Bill" Ward started to play together, but it wasn't after Butler's brief encounter with the black arts that the band found a mysterious and interesting direction to follow. After that, Black Sabbath continued as the sort of polar opposite of The Beatles. Instead of happy melodies, the music was darker and more progressive. And the rest is, as we call it, history.

And that history could just as well have been released today. "Black Sabbath" sounds just as good as I think it did in 1970. The production is dark and mellow, and together with some blues influences scattered here and there, "Black Sabbath" is just as underground as you almost can get. I can only imagine the amount of jaw drops when the people got a hold of this new type of music.

The most notable song is without a doubt the legendary "N.I.B." (loosely rumored as Nativity In Black) which shows the band's ultimate potential. A groovy and simple riff together with Ozzy's psychedelic voice gives this song a special mood that we today know as the typical Black Sabbath groove. And I swear to Lucifer, if it was not for the amazing riff and solo work of Tony Iommi, then this song would be so much worse.

But it is the darkness in this record that makes it truly stand out. The demonic vibes in the title-track just chills my bones, while the ballad like "Sleeping Village" is something out of this world. Then the band also finds other ways to impress, like with the harmonicas on "The Wizard" or making the songs "Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me)" and "Warning" sound like their own creations (originals made by Crow and Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation)

However, this album is only 38 minutes long, and if we take away the two covers, the play time of their own songs reaches a length of around 24 minutes, which makes me longing for more. I know that it only took one day to record this album and that the band played it live together, but did they not have anything more to fill up the album with?

This self-titled debut saw the light of day the 13th Febuary in 1970. 44 years ago today. It is hard to believe, especially since the band is still active today, that some youngsters from Birmingham would create the greatest music genre in the history of mankind. But when you are listening to "Black Sabbath", it is all starting to make sense. It may not be the perfect album, but it had that special "it" factor that laid the foundation for heavy metal.

Songs worthy of recognition: N.I.B., Black Sabbath, The Wizard

Rating: 7,5/10 Sleeping Villages

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