From the earlier Black Sabbath discography, ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ is my preference, but each of their previous albums have their merits.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Black Sabbath
ALBUM: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
LABEL: Vertigo, WWA
SERIAL: 7229 002, WWA005
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Ozzy Osborne – vocals * Tony Iommi – guitars, keyboards * Geezer Butler – bass * Bill Ward – drums
Additional Musician: Rick Wakeman – keyboards, piano (#4)
TRACK LISTING: 01 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath * 02 A National Acrobat * 03 Fluff * 04 Sabbra Cadabra * 05 Killing Yourself To Live * 06 Who Are You? * 07 Looking For Today * 08 Spiral Architect
WEBLINKS: Site Link
For years I’ve been wanting to write about this iconic Black Sabbath album. Not being the biggest fan of the band during this period, it’s hard for me to decide where it sits on the overall rankings table. I bring this up as the band will be next up on our Forum’s ‘Rank The Album’ series, considering they have a vast discography to consider.
At this still early point of their career, Sabbath were finding their place in the UK rock world, competing with Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and the like.
From their earlier discography, ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ would be my preference, but take nothing away from the previous four albums which went before. They each have their merits. By all accounts, the band were very happy with the results of their prior album ‘Vol 4’ from 1972, but somehow, Iommi and Co had great difficulty drumming up material for what would be the follow up to that album.
Substance abuse and writers block meant no songs were written during their first writing session in L. A. Taking a break from each other, they reconvened in England looking for demonic intervention (lol) to finish up their songwriting in a haunted castle and forest of all things, eventually completing recordings in a North London studio toward the tail of 1973.
The lead-off title track ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ should be familiar to all rockers out there. Its riff is enshrined in the halls of doom metal until Eternity.. Lol! ‘A National Acrobat’ and ‘Killing Yourself To Live’ should have proved to the naysayers of the British rock media at the time that the band had gone away and returned with better material than what went before.
‘Fluff’ sees the band take time out in acoustic land, a mid album settler as it were, and totally instrumental too. I can see Ozzy in the recording booth throwing down a few lagers whilst giving his larynx a rest while his liver picks up the pieces! ‘Sabbra Cabadra’ is a relentless track with thickened riffs, loads of crashing cymbals plus some unusual insertion of piano boogie provided by Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman.
‘Who Are You?’ was probably too experimental with synthesisers and doesn’t carry the same sort of interest as other tracks. Bringing up the rear, ‘Spiral Architect’ could be considered a musical novelty given the level of string arrangements on the track. If Black Sabbath were offering something different, then this track and the previous instrumental ‘Fluff’ were it.
The album was released in the UK on the 1st December 1973, through the WWA (Worldwide Associates) label, a new entity formed in 1973, though all other territories it came out on Vertigo. WWA would only sign Gentle Giant, Medicine Head and Sabbath, eventually folding the next year.
Black Sabbath would continue their association with Vertigo and their various offshoots until the 80’s, so it really was a long term relationship. The album reached #4 on the UK album charts and #11 on the US Billboard Charts and increased the band’s profile in the heavy metal world even further, though things were getting even more hectic and crazy behind the scenes with substance abuse and personnel tensions coming to the fore.
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