It is safe to say that Black Sabbath were doing very well by this point. They had set themselves up for critical success and a major musical following with their downtuned guitars, dark lyrics, thick basslines and pounding drums, not to forget Ozzy Osbourne’s unique voice. This album is a good one. Let’s just see how good it really is.
We begin with Wheels Of Confusion which has a very woman tone style guitar intro, before going into an absolutely awesome guitar riff, kickstarting this song. This is a wonderful listen, and Ozzy Osbourne wails deeply with his singing. The whole piece sounds brilliant and effortless, and is a riff heavy and interesting musical experience. It quickly bursts into a pacing and uptempo midsection with many differently structured and wonderful guitar riffs in it. There are some great mixed effects throughout, and the everchanging sound and tempo of this piece makes it sound super good. The sections alternate, showcasing a band that were making continually consistent material. After halfway through, it goes into a different musical chord section entirely, sounding quite melancholy and dark. Here, guitarist Tony Iommi shines with his excellent guitar soloing, making a top mood setter and a great feeling to his playing. Not a dull moment is here, this is a great Black Sabbath piece. It fades out with dual tracked guitar solos. Great effort.
Next track is Tomorrow’s Dream which begins with a mammoth sounding guitar riff section. Very Eric Clapton woman tone-ish. Ozzy’s singing here is amazing, sounding like a true Rock god to the full. It is a really excellent listening experience, and although Ozzy’s vocals could be a little clearer in the mix, this deserves to be cranked up loud. The guitar solos here are amazing, once again. Top notch, and definitely worth hearing. Black Sabbath were, and are, consistently good.
Changes is one of the most famous Black Sabbath pieces. It is quite surprisingly for the group, a piano led ballad. Ozzy sings deeply about losing a true love, and sounds like a real tearjerker. There are some Mellotron style sounds in the background as well. This is quite a deep and emotional listen, although there are no heavy guitars to be heard here. A nice piece of music, and shows that Black Sabbath were capable of creating many different great songs. A good song, and a mood setter, if you ever need it. It has an instrumental section which is minimal, before Ozzy returns to sing his heart out. This is a very nice song, and has some cross musical genre appeal to it. It fades out gently.
FX is just that, a short and interesting piece of guitar effect trickery from Tony Iommi. This is fairly basic stuff, but a nice addition to this album nonetheless. Somewhat experimental, it is good listening anyway, only going slightly over one and a half minutes.
Next is the rock/metal classic Supernaut which is tremendously good. Awesome, in fact. It kicks off with some great guitar riffs and the band crashing in, before Ozzy sings in a melodic way. This is totally different and not just great quality, but taking musical inspiration from those who made riff oriented music. The guitar solo is very good here as well, it sounds almost akin to Psychedelic Rock. Catchy and headbanging good all the way through, there is a drum and percussion section which acts as a solo for drummer Bill Ward. The droptuned guitars then kick in, and we have Ozzy singing with despairing lyrics. Great tune.
The drug song Snowblind is about cocaine use. Seriously. In any case, it is a good song about the matter and Black Sabbath (particularly Ozzy) were noted for some recreational drug use. It is a solid listen, and although a little weaker than the others musically, Ozzy puts in a fairly honest musical and lyrical statement. Tony Iommi puts in a skillful guitar solo to match it. This is a top listen for those of you who like a drug song. Halfway through, we go into a more uptempo section with a different riff. Although this is not the best track on the album, no need to skip it whatsoever. This song is great. Some great guitar soloing reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, and a string keyboard sound finish this off. Nice.
Cornucopia sounds deep, dark and plain evil with the electric guitar riff at the beginning. It quickly changes tempo and goes into a fairly good track. It is much more minimal than the other songs on this album, but is a rewarding listening experience all the same. Sounding like a rock interpretation of a horror movie soundtrack. After some gong crashes, we progress into a different musical section with Ozzy singing about his life and paranoia. This is another nicely pieced work by Black Sabbath, and has some rather interesting lyrics about going insane to save one’s brain. Cool.
Laguna Sunrise is an acoustic ballad that is short and sweet. It sounds like a Spanish guitar piece nicely strung together. No singing or other instruments in here, apart from a string keyboard melody. This is a nice, relaxing and interesting listen, a nice break from all the heavier metal stuff that is on before this track. Refreshing and gentle, this is Black Sabbath to meditate to, or more likely so, to relax to. Great piece of musical effort right here.
Next is St. Vitus’ Dance which is back to traditional Black Sabbath, and talks of love/sex relationship pursuits. Some loud and wonderful riffing is here, showcasing the brilliance of guitarist Tony Iommi here, a truly underrated legend. Lyrically, Ozzy is in despair, but nowhere near as deep and depressingly so as Kurt Cobain ever would be. This is just good music, and although it is short, it is good to hear.
Lastly, we finish the album with Under The Sun / Every Day Comes And Goes which has an extremely drop tuned set of riffs to begin with, and is a sonically masterful riffwork piece. Soon enough, the riff changes and Ozzy comes in singing wonderfully. It has a cleverly thought out multitude of musical sections, and has some anti-religious lyrics, with Ozzy Osbourne moaning against authoritarian measures. Before long, section two kicks in and sounds completely different. Bill Ward puts in a great effort drumming here, years before Thrash Metal was even a thing. Classic heavy metal by Black Sabbath, and the band do very well on this album, amongst countless other pieces of music by them. It’s a great double piece about the existence of life. It goes into a great instrumental section which is enjoyable. The guitar playing here (and soloing) is really top. Great effort guys.
This is another great early Black Sabbath album, and quite honestly, an underrated one. It further cemented Black Sabbath as a group of performance and makers of great tunes. Although it is a little weaker compared to the first three albums proceeding it, it is still definitely worth your time.