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Heavy Metal: A Prequel - 100%

SweetLeaf95, February 9th, 2015

Nobody really would have seen something like heavy metal coming, but really, this was it. This is what we got right before they turned their bluesy rock into what we all know and love as heavy metal. The only thing that even has a metal sound to it in this is the heavy guitar in the background. That's not even that obvious either, unless you listen closely. Everything else is that '60s blues rock sound. Ozzy's voice is just like it is on their first record, but it's not scary or depressing, it's more content and upbeat.

The intro is very interesting, as it is such a nice little piano piece. It's so interesting to know that this is what it all started out as, opening with a soothing piano. The rest of the instrumentation is just very basic sounding, and there isn't a whole lot more to say. I guess the solo could be a little bit of a standout, as it's a little more technical than the rest of it. There's also some big breaks between where you can hear just the bass, mostly between a guitar part that Tony is playing and when the vocals come in.

One thing I certainly noticed was the high pitched vocals in the background of the chorus. It almost sounds like women, but God knows there's none of them in Black Sabbath. But whatever, I guess the rest of the gang just knows how to do that correctly. For this time, I think it is overall a beautiful song and there's not a thing wrong with it. I mean why should it be technical or heavy? It's way too early for any of that, and is just a really fun song overall. Now go show this to your friends and surprise them by telling them it's Black Sabbath.

A Fascinating Part of Sabbath's History - 74%

dystopia4, August 5th, 2012

This piece should prove very intriguing for those interested in Sabbath's backstory. Recorded in the transitional period that went from Earth to Black Sabbath, this does not sound like the dark, heavy blues that would become the starting point of metal. This track sounds very unlike the Sabbath we have come to know. It feels upbeat, even happy. While the lead guitar work is foreshadowing for what would come, this song has little to do with the doom and gloom Sabbath became famous for.

Regarding the band's 1969 demos, Iommi had this to say: "We didn't write those songs. They were written by a chap named Norman Haines. At the time we were managed by Jim Simpson, who was a local Birmingham guy. He insisted that we record these songs. We just wanted to play, so we recorded them. We wanted to write our own songs and make our own record, but this was just an initial effort. We had never been in a recording studio in our lives before that."

The most surprising element of this recording is Ozzy's voice. The unearthly wails he is known for are nowhere to be seen. The vocals here are pretty much a standard British classic rock affair. They certainly don't sound gloomy; they are not a far cry away from sounding happy, something that the backing vocals only make more blatant. Musically, this also standard classic rock. The somewhat cheesy piano intro makes it know that this will not be a particularly dark song. Besides the bluesy solos, the instrumentation is quite minimal, with the main focus being on the catchy vocals.

Norman Haines, who also played with a band called Locomotive, not only wrote the song, but also performed on it. On the song, he plays organ and piano. A very interesting fact about this track is that it was produced by Gus Dudgeon, who is best known for producing many David Bowie tracks. While this is an early demo, the production doesn't let you know that. While not overproduced, it sounds like a quite reasonably produced classic rock song.

The only foreshadowing of what's to come is found in Iommi's soloing. Much darker than the rest of this song, his solos are not much different than the style he would use on the band's first wave of albums. They are bluesy, imaginative and undeniably catchy, easily becoming the best thing about the song. The rest of the song is catchy classic rock, but Tony's lead guitar mastery really steals the spotlight.

Anyone interested in the history of metal's founding band should give this a listen. While this is certainly not one of the most important Sabbath recordings, it is fascinating to see where the band evolved from. While this is much more poppy than you would expect from them, it is catchy in a very good sort of way. An essential song this is not, but it is good for what it is.

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