What can I say about Paranoid
that hasn't been said over and over by so many before me? It's a great album, possibly the best album made by Black Sabbath
of the original line-up. I can honestly say that I've enjoyed listening to every single track and continue to enjoy this classic metal piece. It is Black Sabbath
at its finest.
Musically, Black Sabbath
had definitely evolved somewhat from their title album. The production quality is a little lacking, but that's to be expected from 70s music. Ozzy's vocals are now on the high-end, as opposed to his lower-register "wailing" from the first album. Though he can still make some impressive 'howls' on this album which, to me, is even darker than Black Sabbath
's debut album had been. If anything, Bill Ward
seems to have gotten even better at drumming than before. There's not much in regard to bass solos like "NIB
", though the song "Hand of Doom
" is predominately bass-driven. Tony is...well, he's Tony, creating the mammoth riffs that we all know and love from this, the very Best of
I won't weary you with a rehashing of "War Pigs
", "Iron Man
" and "Electric Funeral
". Those are amazing songs, and only those who've been living under a rock, having never heard of Black Sabbath
(any of it, not even Heaven and Hell
or Tony and Co.), would know nothing about these amazing songs. My personal favorite is "Paranoid
", especially when it is played live these days, in D tuning. But, I digress. My purpose is to prove just how this is the perfect metal album.
"Planet Caravan", the third track on this titanic album of heavy metal, isn't metal at all. Tony's guitar has been cleaned out of distortion, while Bill slaps away at on a very tribal-sounding drum beat. Ozzy's vocals are a little shaky, perhaps altered in the studio, but even more terror-inspiring, even on this soft song. It's about space-travel, which was a big deal in 1970, a year after the moon landing (this topic would be taken up again in the Master of Reality
track "Into the Void
"). Just the atmosphere and the mood that these four create on this single soft track is the stuff that acid trips are made of.
number six, "Hand of Doom
", feels more like something from the first album. Geezer Butler
's bluesy bass riff dominates all the verses of this song, while Ozzy's haunting lyrics float just at the surface before the song explodes into heaviness, with even more wails of doom, heavy riffs from Tony and Bill Ward
pounding the kit with all his might. Half-way through the song, the pace changes and we get an enjoyable bridge, filled with more drug-influenced horror lyrics. Contrary to the popular belief that Ozzy Osbourne
only sang to riffs, he's actually got a decent melody of his own that he carries through the bridge. Just when you think this song couldn't get any better, Tony plays a C# to C riff piece, and you've got a perfect head-banging moment. After a solo that sounds half-way between blues and the Middle East, the song quiets down, before it explodes again and Ozzy drops the most horrific lyrics of Black Sabbath
- even more so than the 'scary' titular song - that makes this song well deserving of the name "Hand of Doom
"It's too late to turn
You won't want to learn
Price of life you cry
Now you're gonna die!"
A brief instrumental break follows. But, packed into this one track that is even shorter than "Paranoid
" is some of Bill Ward
's best drumming. The solo that Tony plays is very reminiscent of that recently heard from "Hand of Doom
"; probably the same scale, but still very cool. Every second of the song draws you to Bill's drum solo, making sure that you will never forget "Rat Salad
" as his shining moment.
With "Hand of Doom
", and a little bit on "Planet Caravan", we see Black Sabbath
descending even deeper into the underworld of 'shadiness'. Instead of doom and gloom, now they're bringing drugs into their music. Such is the case on "Fairies Wear Boots." After a lengthy instrumental passage that showcases more of Tony and Bill's killer playing skills, one of the coolest, and most underrated, riffs on this album comes to life. Ozzy has got his own melody on this song again. Maybe its the quality of their PA system, but he's got a little bit of an electronic buzz to his singing in some passages. Love it! The overall feel of the song, once the 'slow' beginning part is over and we get some pace going, is of a hearty blues shuffle, one that we can bang our heads to! There's a break about a third of the way through the song where the intro piece is rehashed before the song goes back into full swing. Once
again, this song features just the overload of awesomeness that is the Paranoid
album. After all has been sung, the pace of the song cruises onward, until Tony Iommi
suddenly starts playing this amazing lick right around five minutes and forty-three seconds that you never want to end because it sounds so fucking sweet! Definitely a stronger finish than Black Sabbath
's first album!
There's not a single dull moment on this album, and even the trippy "Planet Caravan" will be enjoyable, even if it takes a few listens to get used to it. From the first strike of the guitar strings in "War Pigs
" to the fading lick on "Fairies Wear Boots", this is Black Sabbath
at its finest! This album should be a requirement for all metal-heads, since it is one of (if not) the best album by this amazing band!