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Creative, diversified and influential peak - 97%

kluseba, July 27th, 2017

Sabotage is Black Sabbath's last truly excellent record with the original line-up before drug abuse and personal conflicts let to a first split. Sabotage might be one of the band's gloomiest and heaviest records of all times without losing the band's eerie and psychedelic vibe.

The opening "Hole in the Sky" represents the record's unique style very well. Ozzy Osbourne's vocals sound a little bit more aggressive and desperate than usual and give this song a dystopian touch. The discordant mid-tempo riffs and hypnotizing rhythm section only add to this song's particular vibe. The track ends abruptly after four minutes which might be a reference to The Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and this surprising conclusion only adds to the track's scary and unpredictable atmosphere.

Sabotage is filled with creative twists like this one. Aggressive and fast-paced proto thrash metal as in the outstanding "Symptom of the Universe" meets mystic and plodding space rock with a length close to ten minutes in "Megalomania". I'm usually not a fan of Black Sabbath's instrumental songs that are often fillers but they are very well done on this album. "Don't Start (Too Late)" is a sinister folk-inspired acoustic guitar interlude that gives us a very short short break between two of Black Sabbath's heaviest tracks ever written. "Supertzar" is my favorite Black Sabbath instrumental because it incorporates Russian folk sounds in a very gloomy way without overusing them in a stereotypical way. This little experiment just blends in perfectly and even adds to the typical Black Sabbath sound. I could go on and talk about the other Songs but let me simply tell you that there is no filler to be found and that the different songs all have their gloomy atmosphere in common and represent the band's whole creative spectre from blues rock over folk rock to thrash metal better than any other release.

To keep it short, Black Sabbath's Sabotage manages to be both among the band's most aggressive and most atmospheric albums of all times. The band had reached a creative peak and managed to find new soundscapes that only added to its typical gloomy sound as the quartet experimented with acoustic folk sounds but also some of its heaviest riffs ever written. The band invented a sound close to thrash metal with "Symptom of the Universe" about a decade before this genre would actually kick off but also manages to create an appealing mixture of folk sounds and doom metal in tracks like "Supertzar". That's why Sabotage might be one of the most creative, diverisfied and influential records in the history of heavy metal. Anyone who listens to metal should be familiar with this classic. Along with the equally excellent but stylistically different predecessor Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage is my favorite Black Sabbath release to this day.