Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

Although not the first Black Sabbath album, it is widely accepted as their best. Originally desired to be called War Pigs, Paranoid is a great album, and the definitive Black Sabbath album as well. It’s a good one for sure.

From the beginning of the recording, we enter into metal territory with War Pigs. It’s a great piece of doom. Tony Iommi’s Gibson SG sings well, and the sound is very sparse. But hey, it’s really catchy and likely about the Vietnam War in its own way. It is such a great song that never bores in the nearly eight minutes of length. Superb.

The title track Paranoid is an interesting tale of self-loathing and decline. It’s a good one if you are depressed as it’s not hugely depressing, but loud and rocking all the same. The chugging guitar keeps the song going well, and is a short ode to mental health issues and loneliness. Mint.

Planet Caravan is a trippy piece likely inspired by Black Sabbath’s heavy drug use at the time. It’s a great sonic palette. You’d never guess that it was Ozzy Osbourne singing on this, but yes, he is. Essential stuff.

Iron Man is next, and it is dark, doomy and rather surreal. It tells a Terminator-like tale of a robot saving people and then assuming revenge on those he saved, due to lack of gratitude from those who he saved. Yes, this was the main song in the film series of the same name starring Robert Downey Jr. But it’s a great highlight of the album, and fantastic at that. The outro is classy.

The slower and rifftastic Electric Funeral is up next. It’s less serious than the previous track but still great. You could likely listen to this piece on repeat if you wish to, as with the other pieces on the album. It’s too good to ignore. It goes super subtle at the end, which is an interesting twist.

Ah yes! Hand Of Doom follows and is a great piece. It goes quiet/loud for extra emphasis. It’s about the dark side of drugs, namely Heroin in its point. Anyone who has done hard drugs of some sort can directly relate to this song, it’s a nasty story that is designed to shock you. Listen carefully.

Rat Salad is a great drum and guitars solo. Mostly drums mind you. But it is so epic and fantastic, you’ll keep coming back to it for sure. Just amazing stuff, well done!

Fairies Wear Boots is the last song on this album, but like all the others, it kicks ass! It’s based on a true-life story, but most people are not aware of this. Ozzy Osbourne does some magnificent screaming here about drugs. It’s a great way to end this wonderful album.

Paranoid has become a cult classic in the realm of proto heavy metal. It’s the best way to start the 1970s. Do yourself a big favour and listen to this wonderful album today. The sonic palette here is just wonderful.

9/10

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