Saturday, January 26, 2013

130 Paranoid- Oh right.

Album: Paranoid
Artist: Black Sabbath
Year: 1970
Genre: Heavy Metal


1. War Pigs
2. Paranoid
3. Planet Caravan
4. Iron Man
5. Electric Funeral
6. Hand of Doom
7. Rat Salad
8. Fairies Wear Boots

Sabbath form a trio of Heavy Metal pioneers who are loved and revered by those who love metal and even those who have a reluctant respect for it. Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple might get more radio play but for the die-hard metal fan, Sabbath are the kings who not only set the blueprint for metal music they set the blackprint for metal's image. Every group of headbangers who have ever crunched out a power chord have called upon the iconography set up by Ozzy and his bandmates back in the seventies.

Personally I've never been a big fan of Sabbath because it's all a bit too doomy. Zeppelin based themselves on the blues (and by "based on" I probably mean "stole from") and Purple tried to make Beatles music heavier but Sabbath tried to take rock and mix it with the sound of worlds ending and depression descending on someone who was already a bit grumpy. Zeppelin wanted to make love but Sabbath didn't see the point because it was all hopeless and how could anyone achieve erection when there was so much despair around.

Previous outings by Sabbath on this countdown haven't managed to convert me to their fanbase. I've enjoyed revisiting Zeppelin (Purple is strangely absent) but the Black Sabbath albums I've heard have just confirmed my apathy. Paranoid is different, Paranoid made me understand why people care.

It probably helps that their two most recognizeable songs are on side one. The title track and War Pigs are the biggest Sabbath hits and sitting down and really listening to them made me appreciate that they're great rock songs on their own. But there's more than just the big hits. Iron Man is also a great song and even Fairies Wear Boots is a good listen, it's certainly the best song about fairies and footwear that I can recall hearing.

Paranoid isn't better than other Sabbath albums because it's remarkeably different or dazzling new, it's just the band doing what they do but doing it better than they've done before or did since. The songwriting and playing is a step up from their other works and the highs are higher with fewer lows.

If you could take one Sabbath album to a desert island then this would be the one (and it wouldn't take too many listens for you to start wishing you could paint the sand black and hang something a bit dreary over all those palm trees).  It's not Metal as it became but it's rock and roll that clearly shows the genesis of what we now call metal. It's also got great songs, more than competent soloing, bluesy vocals and no flat spots.

Highlight: War Pigs
Lowlight: The cover, it's a terrible cover

Influenced by: Rock and doom
Influenced: Metal. All Metal

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Loud, vocals are non-existent, pure noise. Rock fans are constantly putting down other genres of music, I am a pop fan, I love BSB. But so many rock fans write reviews on BSB telling us try rock in order to hear some "real" music, so I tried. Oh my gawd...I can see why now rock fans don't like order to be a rock fan one must not have a brain cell."

-It's an interesting view although it would probably have more creedence if I knew what the hell BSB was.

So are you Paranoid or are they really out to get you? Let me know below.

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