Black Sabbath - Paranoid (CAC Edition)

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I'm 30 years late, just another person jumping on the Sabbath bandwagon. But I've heard this mighty album, the one you listened to when you were a kid too. Good god, it's going to be the next big thing in my little clique of metal muthas.

What do you think of when people mention Sabbath? What have they told you, what have you heard whispered about them? Maybe you think it's a heavy, doom-laden sound, with blues and jazz roots. Maybe just any one of those things. But what about the image? Do you really think that four guys from Birmingham could really be Satanists? Come off it, you know that's silly...

And what about the members? Did you know that singer Ozzy Osbourne once bit the head off a bat? Before that it was a dove. If I named Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward, would you know what I was talking about? For they are guitarist, bassist and drummer on this Sabbath album. You listen to it, you'll agree that Iommi is one helluva guitarist. The other two aren't bad either.

First time I listened to it (the album - everyone's heard Paranoid the song a thousand times before) I thought, "these guys could have done with a second guitarist". Then I realised I had the bass on my stereo turned down. So I flipped it back up, and suddenly those guitar
licks and riffs suddenly had so much more meat to them. These guys didn't need another guitarist, they already had Geeza Butla.

The album

  1. War Pigs (7.56)
  2. Paranoid (2.49)
  3. Planet Caravan (4.31)
  4. Iron Man (5.55)
  5. Electric Funeral (4.51)
  6. Hand Of Doom (7.08)
  7. Rat Salad (2.31)
  8. Fairies Wear Boots (6.14)

The first five songs are definatley the ones that work from me. The last three are fine, they're good when you've got your friends round passong judgement on the album. But for me, I wanna rewind
back to what I've just listened to. Suppose they'll grow on me.

No doubt you have heard of War Pigs and Paranoid before. Hell, you almost certainly should have heard Paranoid before. Two great, accessible songs to start the album off with.

Now, at just under eight minutes, you might think I'm crazy when I say War Pigs is accessible. But no, it's true. Like November Rain, the time just flies by unnoticed. Great intro - man, dig those
effects. Then silence - cymbal beats. Then you are introduced to Ozzy Osbourne's Brummie vocals. The only Sabbath album I'd bought before this was Live At Last, so it was something new to hear
Ozzy's voice on the album songs that I'd heard live. You know, it might take some getting used to. Like, one listen. Then you'll love him. The guy is brilliant. Some people are just blessed.

But hang on, is it meant to speed up like that at the end? Or has did mate screw up when he copied it for me?

Paranoid is a fun number. You'll love the lyrics. It's just, like...really great sounding. Take my word for it, I can't describe it. You'll love this song.

Planet Caravan is a strange song. Came as a big surprise on the first listen. It's very slow and mellow, with heavily distorted vocals. Like an acid trip, I guess. You may not like it. I do because
that's me: I can dig some mellow songs (if they're any good that is).

Iron Man contains no such effects, apart from a scary "I am Iron Man" voice at the start. And a bit of synthesizer at the end. Sorry, I lied to you. Good song. Tells a story of what happens if you
shun certain individuals. Some people will empathise with this immensly!

Electric Funeral carried a message for the Atomic Era (sort of thing) that was abounding at the time of the album's release. This was at a time where everyone lived in the shadow of atomic fear - nuculear bombs et al. Tying in with War Pigs, it is something that all we wee minions of America's global campaign and space arms race, not to mention certain maverick nations in the East - we should think of these songs when we read about every country's new toy.

It's about the effects of these bombs. A heavy wah-wah on the guitar gives an appropriate noise, and a tight slow beat of bass and cymbals carry things along. Then at the two-thirty mark, Black Sabbath's
jazz roots jump in and speed things up. I swear, this is jazz riff. Ozzy sings faster and higher. That must have been great live.

Hand Of Doom begins with a quiet bass intro, and more jazz cymbals. Hey, that and blues were the roots of all music, didn't you know that? So...another anti-war message (not all metal bands write about
nasty things - are you so shallow as to think that?). Picked up mentions of "The Bomb" and "Vietnam" in there amongst other things. Hey, I'm not a lyric anaylist, ok?!

So, starts off slow...then after about two mins, speeds up. Great, that's good.

Rat Salad is a short instrumental. Hey, it's shorter than Paranoid! A jolly thing as far as instrumentals go, none of your fancy 20-minutes-long Led Zeppelin yuck. Though it does have a drum solo in it that takes up about half/three-quarters of the song :-O. A quick slice of Black Sabbath sound before the surreal lyrics of Fairies Wear Boots. Yes, it is about what you're thinking right now. Fairies Wear Boots. Sounds very Sabbath, at least for this album, so if you've been listening you'll know what to expect.

I'm not an expert at describing music, in fact I'm a bit shabby at it. But I do try, and I have made an effort here. It is a very good album, and I think it lives up to the hype. Though the moment I
find it being over-hyped, I will step in a tell the world exactly what's wrong with it. I hate it when people tell lies about music...


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