Paranoid by Black Sabbath
Over the past 42 years, heavy metal music has increasingly moved into the limelight. Everything from the thrash and speed metal subgenres to the brutality of the death and black metal subgenres have been featured in film, television, and radio. However, this underground monstrosity was born with the 1970 release of probably the most influential heavy metal album: Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.” Just months after its release, the Birmingham, England group was thrown into everlasting fame.
This album features some amazing guitar riffs from the master, Tony Iommi, with his signature “bluesy” sound and finger caps on his right hand. Iommi gave us great riffs like those in “War Pigs” and (of course) “Paranoid.” Supporting Iommi is Terence “Geezer” Butler on bass guitar. Geezer keeps up with the speeding guitar of “Paranoid,” the distorted riffs of “Iron Man,” and he even wrote most of the lyrics. Often overlooked drummer Bill Ward, is capable of striking the heads with great force, while he has a soft touch on cymbals: a different style than most drummers.
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Last but hardly least is John “Ozzy” Osbourne, with his signature vocal style: you know, the one that every kid tries to imitate but can’t. What sets Ozzy apart from others is the fact that he never sings like anyone but himself. And, more frustrating for other singers, no one can sing like Ozzy.
This album features many styles. It has heavy metal with “War Pigs,” “Iron Man,” “Paranoid,” “Fairies Wear Boots,” and “Hand of Doom.” There are great instrumentals including “Rat Salad,” “Luke’s Wall,” and “Jack the Stripper.” The album also has songs that do not fit one genre, like the bongo, psychedelic song “Planet Caravan” and the heavy use of a wah-wah pedal in “Electric Funeral.”
The lyrics touch on multiple themes, such as protesting against the Vietnam War in “War Pigs,” fights with skinheads in “Fairies Wear Boots,” nuclear apocalypse in “Electric Funeral,” a fear of girlfriends leaving in “Paranoid,” the feeling of floating when one is in love in “Planet Caravan,” and lyrics simply based off a riff of “Iron Man”.
This album is a must-have for any metalhead.