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A legendary release. - 75%

Nightcrawler, November 9th, 2002

So this is it. The classic of all classics, Black Sabbath's second studio effort Paranoid. This album is so damn legendary that it can't be put into words.
But is it really that good? No, I wouldn't say so. But you'll have to keep in mind that this was only the second metal album ever, which makes it so damn more impressive.
One thing that is for certain is that the musicianship on this album, and any classic Sabbath album really, is out of this world. Guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward compliment eachother perfectly, blasting out well-refined performances with that unmistakable bluesy groove of old Black Sabbath. Iommi plays some really nice solos that stay well within the context of each song and always manages to add very much, but it was his awesome riffwork that made him legendary. Butler is as you all know, a fantastic bassist, and his work gives the album a more down-tuned, darker vibe. Black Sabbath uses the bass like it should be used, adding alot to the music, while many for most other bands the bass is just there, without doing anything at all. And then we have the insanely catchy drumwork of Bill Ward, whose varied yet very bluesy style fits perfectly in with the dark and groovy sense of the entire album.
Finally, of course, we have the vocals of Ozzy Osbourne. He was never a great vocalist, but I can't think of any other voice that would at all work along with the material of old Black Sabbath.
So these four excellent musicians here put out their second studio album, which was made legendary by such classics as War Pigs, Iron Man and of course the title track.

War Pigs is a long, evil and catchy motherfucker, with incredibly cool verses and that manic end solo sticking out as highlights. Iron Man has that immortal main riff, which is some of the catchiest shit ever. It must be heard to believe- then again, if you haven't heard it already, you totally suck.
The title track has catchy but simplistic almost-speed metal riffwork, fun vocal lines and a wicked solo. But the rest of the album isn't quite as effective.

Electric Funeral and Hand of Doom are pretty average, midpaced heavy numbers that don't really do much for me. The former, though, has that wicked speeded up section towards the end, which somewhat redeems it. The latter has very nice basslines and alternates in heaviness, which is kinda cool at times, but eventually it gets quite boring and overlong.

The rest is also pretty damn average. Rat Salad is a mediocre instrumental with fun drum highlights, Fairies Wear Boots seems to just plod along and never get anywhere.
And then we have Planet Caravan, one of the shittiest songs in the history of mankind. This is what happens when you take too much fucking weed.

So in conclusion, this is of course a legendary album, which you definitely need to own, if only for historical value. While the songwriting is pretty average and inconsistent at times, the highlights are incredibly high, and the incredible musicianship definitely does impress.