Originated in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Heavy metal turned out to be one of the most creative and important genre of music. England’s West Midlands, Birmingham to be exact, in 1968 was where heavy metal was born. The curators none other than Black Sabbath. Four decades later, heavy metal thrives as a highly diverse, ever-evolving musical genre. Heavy metal has more than 30 major subgenres, each further divided into many subgenres. As already stated it's ever evolving,new subgenres are created everyday.While there are many nuanced and technical differences between the ever-expanding subgenres of metal, in the end, it’s all heavy metal.
Heavy Metal music involves guitar-and-drums-centered sound characterized by the use of highly-amplified guitar sound distortion. Heavy metal performances are characterized by flamboyant, pyrotechnical guitar solos ( come on, guitar solos are we metalheads live for).
Coming to heavy metal bands, at first, forefathers like Black Sabbath , Led Zeppelin ( yes they too have a huge contribution in the creation of heavy metal music) and Deep Purple dominated. But as metal began to take hold in the mainstream – and then began to diversify – bands such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Motley Crue, Slayer, Pantera made their presence felt among new fans.
This week, let's give a tribute to the undeniable forefather of this genre, Black Sabbath.
BAND THIS WEEK - Black Sabbath
Formed in Birmingham in 1968,Black Sabbath set the standard as the first proper heavy metal band. Black Sabbath forged an entirely new and unique musical path, marked by Tony Iommi’s brooding guitar riffs, Geezer Butler’s intelligent lyrics and thundering bass, Bill Ward’s pounding drums, and Ozzy Osbourne’s, well, amazingly haunting vocals.
Black Sabbath's music mostly dealt with the supernatural and afterlife though they also composed songs dealing with social instability, political corruption, dangers of drug abuse, etc. They released nineteen studio albums out of which Paranoid is the most popular,containing masterpieces like "War Pigs," "Iron Man" and "Paranoid", which are the band's three most famous works.Paranoid is the band's only Top 20 hit, reaching number 4 in the UK charts. It is often regarded as one of the most important and influential albums in heavy metal history. Black Sabbath was active from 1968–2006 and then again from 2011 to present.
Let's take a look at the 10 best Black Sabbath songs so far-
- 10. 'Sweet Leaf' (From 'Master of Reality' , 1971)
The beautifully trippy song for all the stoners out there.The song begins with a tape loop of guitarist Tony Iommi coughing from a joint he was smoking with bandmate Ozzy Osbourne. This ode to marijuana got some awesome riffs thereby securing a position in this list.
- 9.'Symptom of the Universe' (From 'Sabotage', 1975)
This song made thrash metal.The band cranks up the tempo a bit beyond their traditional pace, and as a result provides yet another vein of inspiration for future generations. Ozzy's vocals along with the change in tempo in the middle of the song is what makes it so great.
- 8. 'Children of the Grave' (From 'Master of Reality' 1971)
"Revolution in their minds the children start to march" this should be the anthem of every kid in the world.This song,does indeed promise revolution and marching in the streets. But it's peace, not chaos, that they are insisting on here, with parents being warned to "show the world that love is still alive" rather than instilling their children with fear.The song has been featured on several greatest hits and live albums as well as being performed by Black Sabbath in concert, in its various incarnations.
- 7. 'Black Sabbath' (From Black Sabbath, 1970)
The song that started it all. After this band had found their identity, a whole new genre of music was founded, and the rest was history. This song got quite an interesting story behind it. This was inspired by an experience that Geezer Butler had related to Ozzy Osbourne. Geezer Butler painted his apartment matte black, placed several inverted crucifixes, and put many pictures of Satan on the walls. Osbourne gave Butler a book about witchcraft. He read the book and placed the book on a shelf beside his bed before going to sleep. When he woke up, he claims he saw a large black figure standing at the end of his bed. The figure disappeared when Butler went to get the book. The lyrics speaks about this incident.Scary and atmospheric with great guitar, this song happens to be very Satanic.
- 6.'Heaven and Hell' ( From Heaven and Hell, 1980)
"The world is full of kings and queens who blind your eyes and steal your dreams." - Still remains one of the greatest Sabbath lyrics, taken from this song.It’s got one of Iommi’s great riffs, married to the sort of vocal performance that shows why Dio, is often regarded as one of the finest hard-rock vocalists of all time. Dio stated that the song is about the ability of each human being to choose between doing good and doing evil, essentially that each person has "heaven and hell" inside themselves. This song has been widely performed by them.
- 5. 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' (From 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' 1973)
The title track of Black Sabbath's fifth album remains one of metal’s greatest anthems. Musically it used the loud-quiet-loud formula which is currently very popular but wasn't so back then.Ozzy laid down the most stunning, original and haunting vocals ever. With kickass riffs and angry lyrics , this song remains on every true metalhead's playlist.
- 4.'N.I.B.'(From 'Black Sabbath' 1970)
The song is about the devil, but in a nice twist, it's about Satan changing his ways and falling in love.People think this song title is short for 'Nativity in Black,' especially since a pair of star-studded tribute albums to Sabbath bore that name about a decade ago. But actually, the title referred to a nickname for drummer Bill Ward, based on his beard, which they somehow felt resembled a pen nib. The song is famous for its great guitar intro and riffs.
- 3.'IRON MAN' (from paranoid, 1970)
One of the deepest songs lyrically, 'Iron Man' tells the tale of a man who travels to the future and sees an apocalypse brought on by our own behavior. As he travels back to warn us, he gets turned to steel, and becomes unable to communicate. Naturally, we mock him, so he gets cynical and instead decides to speed up our pending destruction.It has one of the greatest guitar rifts of all time.
- 2.'WAR PIGS' (paranoid, 1970)
This anti-war anthem that’s become one of the band’s most enduring standards.It relies on atmosphere as well as heaviness, and it succeeds in both points. With the anti - war theme standing out, The song's iconic guitar riff largely inspired all guitarists around the world. True to life, it almost makes you feel like your in a war.
- 1.'PARANOID' (from paranoid, 1970)
One of the most iconic heavy metal songs of all time,"Paranoid" was the first Black Sabbath single release.It reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. The song stands out for the riffs and Ozzy's amazing vocals."Paranoid" perfectly defines the themes of a true heavy metal song: death, depression, demons, and darkness. This one is undeniably the best Sabbath song so far.
Special mention - 'Into the void' ( Master of reality, 1971)
This song got killer Bass, badass Lyrics, astounding Drums and the Riff Of Doom. Not to mention the fact that it's heavy as hell! Easily one of the doom metal songs ever created this one happens to be Metallica vocalist, James Hetfield's favourite Sabbath song.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :-
Medha Bhattacharya is a music aficionado, and an avid follower of "SHERLOCK HOLMES". She is pursuing her B.TECH from B.P.PODDER INSTITUTE OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT and is the music-columnist for ExPRESS Magazine.