A couple of years after delivering Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Black Sabbath delivered the last really good original Ozzy era album here with Sabotage. It’s not to say what came afterwards was not good, it just didn’t meet the high standards of earlier recordings. Still, this is musical history, so let’s take a listen to it.
We start the album with Hole In The Sky which has a count in intro, before launching into a catchy and very heavy sounding piece. Ozzy’s singing is excellent as per usual, and he shows himself to be a great Rock God. This is an awesome and impressive song, with crashing drums and guitars, as per usual. It is a great piece of wonderful Heavy Metal and sounds just loud and impressive. A great song, and very timeless.
Next is Don’t Start (Too Late) which is a very short piece with flamenco acoustic guitars. It is a nice listen, being forty-nine seconds long, and is very memorable, oddly enough.
Symptom Of The Universe comes along next and is an extended piece over six minutes long that is really interesting and well structured listening. This is a top listen, and lyrics about mystical elements of creation are here as well. Ozzy puts in 100% into this recording, and this is a fantastic musical experience. It is fairly basic musically but sounds awesome all the same. In the second half, some incredible guitar solos emerge. There is a musical pitch change before it goes into an excellent Spanish sounding guitar piece, which is very Led Zeppelin-esque. This is truly awesome, an excellent listen. This jam continues all the way to the fade-out, a very nice piece of music indeed.
Megalomania comes next and has a very odd sort of intro to it. It has numerous sound effects on Ozzy’s voice in particular, before launching into a slower rock jam that has Ozzy Osbourne moaning about everyone’s presence in his life. Some wonderful lyrics are here, intertwining with loud guitar riffs. In the middle, it goes into a riff change that showcases Black Sabbath as a great band, lords of the riff, indeed. Ozzy’s singing becomes more urgent here, and the whole thing sounds amazing. Although that Ozzy may be the star here, the others in the band, namely the rhythm section, do just as well. Some rather tripped out guitar parts then emerge, showcasing a wonderful musical experience. This is really awesome to hear. The ending is really awesome, and this comes across as an underrated album. A beautiful Mellotron style string sound emerges in the end, amongst a load of screaming. Impressive. The outro is very proto Nine Inch Nails.
Next is The Thrill Of It All which is awesome, starting off with a very cool and original sounding riff. The lead breaks here are really killer, before going into an excellent Heavy Rock groove that is really top. Ozzy sings manically about his life, and the group has a killer groove to go with the riff. In the middle, some piano enters the scene. The second half sounds completely different to the first half, sounding different, incredible and amazing simultaneously. A great musical listen, as is the rest of the album. Just top. It fades out into oblivion.
Following is Supertzar which sounds different with its harmonies at the start, before a strange musical backdrop enters. This is awesome and amazing, sounding a little like a darker Pink Floyd. This is a super good listen, and although it comes across as a musical interlude on this album, it still sounds amazing. Not bad for a three-plus minute piece of instrumental listening.
Am I Going Insane (Radio) is a great piece about mental illness and despair. The chorus in particular is wonderfully uplifting. It just sounds awesome and precise about the mental health issues one can experience in life, although it is not an entirely serious statement. The second half has a surprise tempo change, and the whole thing sounds really good. Towards the end, some laughter emerges that is modified in pitch and sound to sound creepy.
The Writ comes last and begins with a dark and loud bass riff. Before long, it bursts into a great melodic and rocking piece that sounds awesome and amazing. It is a slow burner, but like the rest of the album, is totally enjoyable. It goes into some great musical breaks with the bass guitar alone playing, except for reversed cymbals. An excellent piece of music. Midway through, it goes into a different guitar riff section that is just as awesome as what came before it. Acoustic guitars enter some of the way through, along with harpsichord, a very good match. Ozzy then sings about mental despair and delivers excellently here. A very emotional listen, and a wonderful way to finish off this album. It goes into a riff-heavy part that fades out, to only finish with a very quiet sample of nonsensical music.
This is an excellent, and quite underrated, album to listen to. It goes to show that Black Sabbath was and are quite an underrated musical force. The musicality and effort here are unmistakable, and it is totally enjoyable listening from start to finish. It sadly ends their run of early great albums, but it wasn’t long before Black Sabbath would be up to scratch again. Regardless, a top listen.
Despite being not on the “First 4”, “Symptom of the Universe” is one of my favourites… the peaceful funky glide out sounds like the world they want and are frustrated isn’t here and everywhere. 🙂
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