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Good, Bloody Good - 98%

westknife, August 1st, 2004

Sabbath… Bloody… Fucking… Sabbath! This album did so many things for heavy metal. No longer was heavy metal only about power chords, plodding drum beats, and rocking you nonstop. The textures and the subtleties on this album are leagues ahead of their time. The acoustic guitars, flutes, crazy percussion, they all come together to form Black Sabbath’s crowning achievement: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, motherfucker. Bow down and worship this recording, because otherwise you don’t fucking deserve to live. This album humbles the best of us, and enlightens the worst of us.

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the song, is first on the tracklist here, and damn, son. This is Black Sabbath’s greatest song ever, and if you don’t agree, then you’re just… wrong! There’s nothing else to it. With those opening VI-VII-i chords, and Ozzy’s maniacal voice (which is better than ever before), the band practically invented power metal. Then the acoustic guitars come in, and they change the face of metal again. Oh man, what a song. You thought that was enough? No way, man. You think the song is about to wind down, and in comes a crushing sludge riff that is heavier than the heaviest modern band. So far ahead of its time, it’s amazing. And the song as a whole is just awe-inspiring. Lock any Mormon in a room with this song turned up to volume 10, and I guarantee they’ll come out worshiping Satan. This is some pretty powerful stuff.

A National Acrobat is probably my favorite Sabbath song. It doesn’t have the monumental leap of the title track, but it just kicks so much ass. It opens with one of Sabbath’s sickest grooves, and then in comes one of the universe’s sickest guitar harmonies. The lyrics are top notch, although very abstract. The words Ozzy sings are perfectly fitting to the evil music underneath, and the entire experience of this song is definitely “evil.” This is some bad-ass heavy metal, and a masterpiece of a song. The whole funky middle part is wah-licious, and the whole instrumental part at the end is killer. And I love the ending! Two guitars climbing and climbing in a jumble of notes, reaching that final note to close the song as awesomely as possible.

Fluff is Tony Iommi’s best instrumental. Embryo and Orchid sucked, Laguna Sunrise was good but too repetitive, but Fluff really hits the spot. A good part of its greatness comes from the production, which is lush as hell, with a lot of different instruments, including piano, harpsichord, and acoustic guitar. This song was created entirely for atmosphere, and it works so good. It makes you want to float away on a cloud. Or maybe on a giant piece of fluff.

Probably the heaviest flat-out love song ever written, Sabbra Cadabra is also an optimum dose of the Sabbath experience. Based on a loose blues tempo, the song rocks in a way that a lot of Sabbath songs don’t. It swings, and it swings hard. Well, except for the synthesizer-blast part. But that’s cool in its own way! The outro jam is so loose and funky, it makes me want to get up and dance. And I’m not one to usually dance.

And then just when you think you’ve heard it all, they decide to throw in Killing Yourself to Live, the most technically advanced, multi-sectioned Sabbath composition to date. This song is just another testament to how the band can be both brutally heavy, yet magnificently epic in scope. And of course, it contains a great message for all the kids: “Smoke it! Get high!” accompanied by inhaling noises. Nice.

“Who Are You?” – ok, this song is fucking weird as hell. Nobody could have expected this in 1973. This is synthesizer OVERKILL, but strangely it works. The main part of the song is downright evil, and you don’t even notice the fact that there isn’t any guitar in the whole song. I’ve heard this song covered a few times, and all of them SUCKED majorly. Only Black Sabbath can pull this kind of weird-ass song off, and I really like it.

“Looking for Today” – This song is decidedly “happier” than the rest of the album, although the band continues to experiment with different sounds and instruments. I must admit, the flute does not seem out of place at all, it fits in very nicely. The main drum beat is very cool, I think Bill Ward uses brushes. This song is not very Sabbath-y, but it is a very strong song, and a welcome addition to this great album.

“Spiral Architect” – What a song. What a fucking song. This is one of Black Sabbath’s wildest experiments, and I consider it their greatest. It sounds so entirely epic, but it really isn’t that long, not even 6 minutes. What is it about this song that makes it so powerful? It could be the lush string section, or the spacey guitar chords, or the wailing vocals… but it’s probably a mixture of all those. This is a great close to an even greater album, and that final string part is just mind blowing.

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is my favorite Black Sabbath album, and I also want to call it their greatest, but I just can’t… the glorious Paranoid takes the cake on that one. But even so, this is the album where Sabbath proved that they weren’t just playing heavy metal anymore, they were creating art. The world is a better place for this album, and if you don’t like it, then you have serious issues.