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The Ozzy years singles. (Part 4) - 74%

hells_unicorn, May 18th, 2009

This is basically the prelude before the mighty storm that was Sabbath’s crowning achievement with Ozzy Osbourne at the helm. Funnily enough, the single that promoted said album behaves as that forbidding crack of lightning before the downpour, nailing the listener to the wheel with a crushing main riff that still echoes through many metal band compositional offerings to this very day. But despite being a certified riff monster, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” is a very progressive and complex beast, going through a haunting acoustic section loaded with rhythmic fills and bluesy lead ornaments. The production is a bit unusual in character, with an exceptionally subdued drum and guitar presence and a really forward sounding bass, almost like the mirror opposite of what is considered a raw production by 90s extreme metal standards, but coming off as raw in its own way.

Although this promotional offering definitely leaves the listener in a state of utter ecstasy, the b-side that was on the foreign exported versions of the single retains one of the worst songs off of Sabbath’s singular step back in quality that was “Vol. 4”. “Changes” is probably one of the most redundant and poorly conceived ballads ever, and definitely the worst one put forth by Sabbath. That sappy piano line just reeks of every generic 70s arena ballad and 80s power ballad in its utter lack of development. Ozzy’s voice also proves to not be up for the task of being as exposed as a lone piano accompaniment makes a vocalist, despite this being where he was at his peak as a singer.

Nevertheless, this is a solid piece of history that can now be enjoyed as part of a 6 part compilation of Ozzy era singles put together on CD with all the original artwork. The days of flower power were coming to a close, as can be gleaned not only by the progressive direction that the band had began to take, but by the blood oozing from the two O’s in “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” on the cover, like a pair of eyes bleeding at some terrible sight. Recommended to Sabbath maniacs and rarity hounds only, but definitely something that every fan of metal should be aware of because of its highly influential nature.