Black Sabbath – The Acrobat Years (1970-78)

Sabbath-The Acrobat Years
As every genre has its pioneers, so metal does with Black Sabbath. Credited as “fathers” of heavy metal, Sabbath are still one of the main inspirations for thousand bands and dozens of styles and genres, from classic heavy metal to stoner and psych rock.
The band’s first period with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals was their most successful and the most inspirational one…. Based on these masterpieces, from debut album until Sabotage, whole sub-genres of rock and metal were discovered and evolved (e.g. doom and stoner).

Black SabbathBlack Sabbath-1970-Black Sabbath.jpg
February 1970 – Vertigo, Warner Bros
01. Black Sabbath – 06:20 – [turn for dj’s on 05:15] – LU – !!!!
02. The Wizard – 04:24 – M – !!!!
03. Behind the Wall of Sleep – 03:37 – L
04. N.I.B. – 06:08 – !!!!
05. Evil Woman [Crow cover] – 03:25
06. Sleeping Village – 03:46 – M
07. Warning [The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation cover] – 10:28 – ML
08. Wicked World [Bonus Track] – 04:47 – !!!! – M

Note: Most people consider 13th February of 1970 (release date) as the birthdate of metal music. Frankly speaking, the “Black Sabbath” lp would never had the legacy it now has, if it weren’t followed by all these…

ParanoidBlack Sabbath-1970-Paranoid
September 1970 – Vertigo, Warner Bros

01. War Pigs – 07:57 – MU – !!!!
02. Paranoid – 02:48 – !!!!
03. Planet Caravan – 04:32 – L – !!!!
04. Iron Man – 05:56 – M
05. Electric Funeral – 04:53 – LMUM – !!!!
06. Hand of Doom – 07:08 – M
07. Rat Salad – 02:30 – M
08. Fairies Wear Boots – 06:15 – LM

Note: The album was to be entitled “Warpigs” but Warner Bros refused it, due to the antiwar lyrics of the song, as USA was then involved in Vietnam War. While Geezer Butler insists that he wrote the lyrics focused on Vietnam, Ozzy has claimed that none of the band’ members knew anything about Vietnam on time.
The band gained national fame and gathered attention through “Paranoid”, a song written and recorded in almost a half an hour.
Warner Bros entitled the album with this song, appalling band’s members…

Master of RealityBlack Sabbath-1971-Master of Reality
July 1971 – Vertigo, Warner Bros
01. Sweet Leaf – 05:05 – MU – !!!!
02. After Forever – 05:27 – !!!!
03. Embryo – 00:28
04. Children of the Grave – 05:18 – !!!!
05. Orchid – 01:31 – M
06. Lord of This World – 05:27 – M
07. Solitude – 05:02 – L – !!!!
08. Into the Void – 06:13 – MUM – !!!!

Note: This album forced the disdainful London press to finally accept the band, succumbed to the mass following Sabbath were enjoying.

Vol. 4Black Sabbath-1972-Vol. 4
September 1972 – Vertigo
01. Wheels of Confusion – 05:16 – M
/. The Straightener – 02:57 – !!!!
02. Tomorrow’s Dream – 03:12
03. Changes – 04:45 – L
04. FX – 01:44
05. Supernaut – 04:50 – !!!!
06. Snowblind – 05:33 – LM – !!!!
07. Cornucopia – 03:55 – MU
08. Laguna Sunrise – 02:56 – L
09. St. Vitus Dance – 02:30
10. Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes – 05:53 – MU

Note: The album was to be entitled “Snowblind” but Vertigo/Warner Bros renamed it, due to the clear references of the lyrics to drugs. As Geezer Butler put it “it was ridiculous, as there weren’t Vol. 1,2 etc”

Sabbath Bloody SabbathBlack Sabbath-1973-Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

December 1973 – Vertigo, WWA
01. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath – 05:45 – !!!!
02. A National Acrobat – 06:16 – M – !!!!
03. Fluff – 04:11 – L
04. Sabbra Cadabra – 05:59 – UM
05. Killing Yourself to Live – 05:41 – MU – !!!!
06. Who Are You – 04:11 – M
07. Looking for Today – 05:06 – M
08. Spiral Architect – 05:29 – LM

Note: The cover was utterly extreme and still is. Here the band starts experimenting with new sounds and styles, creating innovative forms which are ingeniously engulfed to their heavy, ominous and dark sound.

SabotageBlack Sabbath-1975-Sabotage
July 1975 – Vertigo, Warner Bros
01. Hole in the Sky – 04:00
02. Don’t Start (Too Late) – 00:49
03. Symptom of the Universe – 06:29 – !!!!
04. Megalomania – 09:46 – LU !!!!
05. The Thrill of It All – 05:56 – LM
06. Supertzar – 03:44
07. Am I Going Insane (Radio) – 04:17 – M
08. The Writ – 08:46 – M

Note: The awful cover is a reminiscent of their burnout from alcohol and cocaine. Fortunately, Sabotage was incredible. Unfortunately, this proved to be the last one great moment with Ozzy.

Technical EcstacyBlack Sabbath-1976-Technical Ecstasy
September 1976 – Vertigo
01. Back Street Kids – 03:47
02. You Won’t Change Me – 06:42 – LM
03. It’s Alright [Bill Ward on vocals] – 04:04 – M
04. Gypsy – 05:14
05. All Moving Parts (Stand Still) – 05:07 – M
06. Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor – 03:30
07. She’s Gone – 04:58 – L
08. Dirty Women – 07:13 – MU

Note: The only thing i like in this major blow is the cover. Ozzy left the band after this, but returned for his swan-song “Never Say Die”.

Never Say DieBlack Sabbath-1978-Never Say Die
September 1978 – Vertigo, Warner Bros
01. Never Say Die – 03:50
02. Johnny Blade – 06:28 – M
03. Junior’s Eyes – 06:42 – M
04. Hard Road – 06:04 – M
05. Shock Wave – 05:15
06. Air Dance – 05:17 – MLM
07. Over to You – 05:22 -M
08. Breakout – 02:35 – M
09. Swinging the Chain – [Bill Ward on vocals] – 04:06 – M

Note: Sank into seas of alcohol (Ward) and cocaine (the other three) Sabbath had descend into mediocrity since 1975. Inspiration was lost, the sense of the band also… “Never…” was recorded and published only because of the contracts they had with music industry. The only remarkable moments here, are the two last songs, which are totally out of the band’s spirit but prove simultaneously their flexibility and confusion.

1970-78 line-up:
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Bill Ward – Drums
Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals

“Well I know it’s hard for you
to know the reason why
and I know you’ll understand
for when it’s time to die
don’t believe the life you have
will be the only one
you have to let your body sleep
to let your soul live on
(…)
Just remember love is life
and hate is living death
treat your life for what it’s worth
and live for every breath”

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