Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Architecting The Spiral... - 93%

Luvers666, May 9th, 2008

After Sabbath's unholy trinity of the early 1970's, in the form of their first three albums, the band stopped producing hits and instead focused more on creative and personal ingeniousness that was inexplicably absent on the first three. Volume 4 began the trend but lacked certain things to make it a great record, the same goes for this album. The only Ozzy era Sabbath album that could truly be called a 'masterpiece' is Sabotage, but that is another review. Pointing out the negatives about this album would be unfair, not to mention it would only be a few words, so lets look at the positives.

The first brilliant thing about the album is it's cover, after the previous three dreadful ones we have this demoniacally illustrated picture of demons torturing a man in a bed depicting the number of the beast. May seem dated to those now but for the first twenty years people seen this they were either amazed or shocked, which is the genius of the band, the cut and dry way the band go about this. Here you will not find simple rehashed attempts at the bands debut, or songs glorifying the genre of 'metal'. Instead we have strong political and religious opinions sung with conviction with heavy masterful riffs. Heart-warming instrumentals, eerie psychedelic songs, classically influenced orchestration, all the great things that were absent on the bands supposedly 'better' albums.

We begin with the title track and from it's opening riff to the clapping on the end of Spiral Architect, we hear Sabbath as both heavy and mighty and soft and finesse. Poetic and straightforward, sleazy and humbled. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath's lyrics deal with the evil of mankind, and how unless a higher powered hand is involved, that evil will never end. Since the suggestion is that evil is never ending and it begins with the first track, while the final track has the word Spiral in it, it is safe to assume the band was trying to formulate a concept here. That highly believable distinction is the albums only shining flaw, as Sabbath was not at that stage yet(see the next album). And while that may seem unfair the blame could only be placed on Ozzy as his vocals are, while improved over early albums, still very one-dimensional and the diversity needed to make a concept album is not there. But with that exception this is a fine album that continued Sabbath's string of highly influential albums that shaped the world of Heavy Metal as we know it.

One of the brilliant things about this album, which began on Volume 4 and culminated on Sabotage, was the fact that the songs were grabbing and strong for different reasons. In the past the songs were in your face because of Tony Iommi's guitar and little else, and while there is nothing wrong with that, the material did seem to be waning. Here the songs are special and great because of the sonic experimentation, with the slight polka intro to Spiral Architect, classically influenced Fluff or the Pink Floyd influenced Who Are You. The experimentation may not be for everybody and some even claim it to dilute the established sound of Sabbath but after listening to the boring Paranoid, Master Of Reality albums, one must wonder if the band would have died had they never experimented.

While there is no reason to go through the songs, as they are all equally great, with the exception Looking For Today, I must praise the best song on the album, Spiral Architect.

Question: Hey can Sabbath do anything different than just Metal and have it not be extreme like a ballad, such as Changes or She's Gone?
Answer: Spiral Architect. This is the one area of the album that no one ever seen coming, Sabbath playing a song unlike them, with extra instruments unlike any that fit inside their genre?

Beginning acoustically with a polka feel Tony plays a jazzy arrangement with synthesizers and violins to fill out the sound. Suddenly forty five seconds in the light and happy guitar comes in, joined by Bill Ward's pulsating hi-hat rides, the comes the crashing power chords. Oh the light and shade is magical. The riff repeats itself before segueing into the first verse where Ozzy sings with extraordinary power and buoyancy. The chorus' is not soft but not heavy either, instead placing the emphasis on Ozzy's harmonized vocals and the eerie violins, then comes that infectious main riff and hi-hat majesticism. The entire formula repeats itself setting you up for the intoxicating middle section that is short on heaviness and long on violins, coming across as dreamy and almost spiritual. Yes people this is heavenly bliss and it's delivered by a supposed Satanic band. The formula returns for a final time and extended chorus where Ozzy practically cries, 'You know that I should' three times and then that ending. The climax is the highlight of the entire album, orgasmic and lush, close your eyes and you can picture a conductor signaling that crescendo to his orchestra which the musicians execute flawlessly. Such a perfect song and the perfect way to end what some call 'Sabbath's experimental album', perhaps it would fitting.

In the end Sabotage is better but if your looking for the best Ozzy era material after that album this is where you look.