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Prog Sabbath Does It! - 99%

TheZombieXecutioner, January 3rd, 2013

After the release of Vol. 4, Black Sabbath seemed to be heading down a road of mediocrity. Thankfully they proved all wrong with the release of their follow-up album, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. The band took a turn into a more progressive band with complex song structures, odd time signatures, and longer songs. Full of amazing guitar work, great bass playing, and tight drums his turn led to one of Sabbath's greatest offerings.

Iommi takes the thin tone of the previous album and amps it up to how it should have sounded while showcasing some of his finest guitar playing. This album is full of complex and heavy riffs like that of the title track, "Sabbra Cadabra" and "Killing Yourself to Live". Tracks like "A National Acrobat" really show Iommi greatness with multi-structured riffs, catchy interludes, and great solos. Iommi shows a great deal of his most interesting solos on "Killing Yourself to Live" and "Looking for Today". "Fluff" is a great piece featuring only acoustic guitar, piano, and synth. This song has a great tone and atmosphere that feels like you are floating high in the clouds making this one of Iommi's best acoustic performances. It seems as if after Vol. 4 Iommi realized his mistakes on Vol. 4 and completely fixed them all. and overall Iommi does a brilliant job on this record providing one of his best performances to date.

The bass on this album is very good. Geezer is actually audible on this album, which is a huge improvement from the last. He has a nice clean tone that can be heard rumbling about on "Sabbra Cadabra" and "Spiral Architect". "Who Are You?" has some great distorted bass playing in the background. This is a great effect to the song and really makes the doomy atmosphere shine. Geezer does a great job of this record keeping the groove and even doing his own in some parts which is nice to hear again.

Bill Ward is back on drums and seems to be more motivated this time around. Supplying some great beats on "A National Acrobat" and "Spiral Architect". It's great to hear Ward actually feel like he is into the music he is playing and work with it. His kit has a great tone with cymbals that are at the perfect volume. Ward does some nice rolls here and there on "Looking For Today" and "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" that bring back the greatness of his work on the earlier albums. In the end Ward does a fantastic job fixing the volume problems of the past album as well as getting more motivated and into the music.

Other than the regular guitar, bass and drums, the band experiments with other instruments like the flute and piano while Rick Wakeman from Yes does keyboards. Surprisingly these additional instruments work extremely well in this new prog oriented music. The flute on "Looking For Today" is rather nice behind the vocals and acoustic guitar giving the song a Peter Gabriel era Genesis feel. The keyboards on "Sabbra Cadabra" fit shockingly well in the song and bringing it to a great descending passage for the rest of the track. "Who Are You?", which i admit i actually hated at first, is a rather odd song. In the vein of the 70's prog of the time, they made a keyboard oriented song that is very doomy. This song could take some time to understand but you'll learn to appreciate Sabbath experimenting.

On vocals are presented from none other than Ozzy Osbourne who does a great performance. Ozzy's voice is higher this time around but work great with the proggy music on this record. Ozzy does a great job expressing emotions of the lyrics like on "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", "A National Acrobat" and "Killing Yourself to Live". Overall Ozzy's voice seems really motivated and into the music like the rest of the band and supplies a great vocal performance. The lyrics on this record are some of my favorite from main lyricist Geezer Butler. "A National Acrobat" has amazing lyrics talking about reincarnation and living multiple lives. While "Sabbra Cadabra" tells a story of loving a woman and thinking your life is going well and then leaving her and soon realizing her importance to you. It's a typical 'you dont know what you got until its gone' story but the band expresses the lyrics very well. "Killing Yourself to Live", which is written about Bill Ward's drinking problem, shows the sadness and confusion of drinking and not being able to get out. Geezer and the band wrote their best lyrical content on this record and make it work perfectly with the music.

Five years into the groups career they are still producing great music and possible their greatest offering. Full of amazing and complex riffs, great rhythm section, and Ozzy's emotion vocals this is an album for any metal fan into Sabbath and looking to see their more experimental side.