Monday, February 1, 2010

Black Sabbath: An Extended Career‏

by Tristan Andrews

Black Sabbath hails from Britain; the band was forged in 1968 and has rocked on in different guises since then. Through the years the band's lineup has changed with Tony Iommi the constant glue holding the band together. He is the main founding member. The original lineup was Tony Iommi (guitar), Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Geezer Butler (bass), and Bill Ward on drums.

Black Sabbath was undeniably one of the originators of heavy metal. Their debut album Black Sabbath in 1970 zapped the musical public with tuned down riffs and a sound well suited for a horror flick; it was received well in England. The band released a second album in 1970 called Paranoid, which established the group as a popular band in the U.S. They issued Master of Reality in 1971, Volume 4 in 1972, and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath in 1973, and Rolling Stone's Gordon Fetcher praised the album as "an extraordinarily gripping affair."

By happenstance, Tony Iommi produced a riff, which created the atmosphere for this album and complex musical arrangements, strings, and synthesizers produced a much fuller, creepy sound than the band had achieved before this album, though it used some of the stylistic refinements of their previous release, Volume 4.

Management disputes erupted in 1974, when they signed with Don Arden and the prior management had contractual issues. In 1975 Black Sabbath released Sabotage; it hit the top 20 in England and the U.S., but it didn't rise to Platinum in the United States as all of its forerunners had done.

In 1976 they issued Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die was released in 1978. The songs Never Say Die and Hard Road reached the top 40 in Britain. Ozzy Osbourne's final show with the band until they reunited was December 11, 1978 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He split form the group in 1979 and formed the Ozzy Osbourne Band. Ronnie James Dio became the new singer for Black Sabbath.

The band released the album Heaven and Hell in 1980. It was well received and this album is attributed with reviving the band's heavy metal sound. It popped up to number 9 in the British chart and number 28 in the United States; this was Black Sabbath's peak charting since Sabotage. Mob Rules was released in 1981. The fans liked it, but J. D. Considine of Rolling Stone wasn't as enthusiastic; he stated that "Mob Rules finds the band as dull-witted and flatulent as ever." But Eduardo Rivadavia of All Music called the album "a magnificent record."

Born Again was issued in 1983 with singer Ian Gillian formerly of Deep Purple. It climbed the charts in Britain to number 4 and placed 39 in the U.S. The band released Eternal Idol in 1987; the reviews weren't forthcoming except online and the album wasn't big commercially.

The band reunited off and on with Ozzy Osbourne from 1997 to 2006. Black Sabbath has the legacy of basically creating heavy metal and sub-genres have grown out of it such as sludge metal and doom metal.

Tristan Andrews is a freelance author who writes about Black Sabbath for

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