Yeah, I’d like to be able to say something profound or mind altering, something that would help heal the sick, help the poor and win the war on terror, but sometimes all you can do is express your love for a band. (Actually, that’s something I do frequently, but that’s beside the point) I recently re-purchased their first album and listening to it again reminded of just how damn good this band is. (Yes, I consider it the first metal album – Purple and Zeppelin come close, but none are more black than Sabbath) It’s hard for me to imagine how much of an impact that thing must have made when it first appeared all those years ago. I first heard it many years back (On vinyl no less!) and it scared the heck out of me. I thought myself familiar with all things metallic (Being young and ignorant), but that thing genuinely unnerved me, in a way I’d not felt since I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit.*
I could talk for hours about the guitar work of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler (Bass) and Bill Ward (Drums) are one of the greatest rhythm sections ever to take the stage and there’s Ozzy. By all rights, a voice like that should work, especially not not compared to the metal singers to follow him. For someone who helped birth a genre, he sure doesn’t sound like those who came after. It’s a voice like no other, thin and kinda whiny, nothing like the leather lunged screamers like Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson or the more guttural technique of Tom Araya or Chuck Billy.
I’m not a musician, so I can’t discuss musical technique or theory. Yeah, Iommi strings his guitars differently after his accident (That cost him several fingertips on his fret hand) but I’m stuffed if I can work out how it makes his playing different. I don’t know how to explain what they do, but what I do know is this: IT’S FUCKING AWESOME. I’m sure you’ve heard Iron Man thanks to it’s inclusion in the MCU,but there’s more, far more to them. There’s the rumble of bass that opens Children of the Grave, the 7 minutes of DOOM that is War Pigs, the solo in Wheels of Confusion or the opening of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, a guitar riff that can LEVEL CITIES. Don’t believe me? Listen and BE PROVED WRONG. Just reinforce your house first.
I didn’t see them when they toured on the 13 album a couple of years back, lack of funds and the public slanging match between Osbourne and Ward put me off. I did however get to see the lineup led by Ronnie James Dio (Who joined after Osbourne was fired) in 2007 and it was one of the greatest nights of my life, even with the idiot a few rows over who spent the whole show screaming for Paranoid. You’re up in the nose bleeds of the Entertainment Center – do you really think the band are going to hear you? The best part was when someone finally explained the band would only play Dio era material and he started yelling for Holy Diver. *sigh*
I guess my final words (For know) are this. Ignore the mud slinging and public wars of words, the reality TV show and every word that Sharon Osbourne ever says. Just listen to the music. It’s more than worth your time and the damage to your hearing.
*It’s been at least 25 years and I still refuse to watch that film again. I am unashamed of that fact.