Friday, October 8, 2010

Review #164: Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970)


Year: 1970
Genre: Heavy Metal
Vertigo Records
42 Minutes
My Rating:

"Paranoid" by Black Sabbath is one of the most famous and influential heavy metal albums of all time. This band has influenced more bands in my musical appetite than you could shake a stick at, including Black Flag, the Melvins, the Butthole Surfers, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Sourpuss, the Ramones, SoundGarden, etc. blah blah blah blah blah blah bleehhhhhhhhhhhhhh! BLEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Yeah, I bought this album on CD a few months ago but had trouble getting it to work in my car, so I sort of put it on the back burner for awhile, but it is really good! Very heavy, moving, dark, intricate music. Some of it is slow and some of it is fast, but people who were "there" back in the day say it was a great breath of fresh air from the dying hippie movement in the early '70s. But I was really listening to the Sabbath-influenced bands first, so I can't totally see it the same way 'cause I don't listen to a whole ton of '60s music, especially the "lame" kind (though it was the kind of stuff my parents used to play when I was little a whole lot, so I can understand how annoying it'd be to hear nothing but that). But enough history shit, this is the second Black Sabbath record and it was released the same year as the first one, so they were recording a lot, evidently! What DID they record? That's what I'm about to review...

1. War Pigs/Luke's Wall
Absolutely beautiful intro... pretty slow and bluesy-sounding... it's just got that feelin'... feeling at rock-bottom and like it can't get any worse so it can only get better even though it sucks (not the song), and there's this neat sound in the background that sounds like a train, but the pitch of the sound is in harmony with the music itself. Of course, this song describes and denounces the "war pigs" in the government that control the world, describing them as sorcerers of destruction and poisoning and brainwashing the people. After about two minutes into the song, the song changes once again for a more upbeat, cool part with awesome singing and a cool-ass guitar melody and beat. There is one part that it almost seems that Black Flag almost directly took the riff for "Jealous Again" from in this song. At the very end the song unexpectedly speeds up before coming to a stop. It's one of the most famous Black Sabbath songs and the longest one on this album.

2. Paranoid
This is the song that they wrote really quickly in the studio during the recording of the album, but don't let that fool you... it's really good. It's one of the faster songs on the album. The vocal melody is great... hell, it all is! Cool bass sound, also. Awesome guitar solo in the middle of the song. The song captures the sadness of a person whose mind is so overtaken by instability, insanity, and fear that he is unable to enjoy life.

3. Planet Caravan
This is a softer, calmer song, but it's really sad sounding. There are little wisps of melody floating around the main bass-dominated melody here. Ozzy sings using a ghostly-sounding vocal effect. The second half of this song really is what makes the song for me, with all of that beautiful lead guitar melody fucking the little vaginas inside your ear... it feels so good. It sounds awesome. Such a good song.

4. Iron Man
One of the most famous rock songs of all-time, and deservedly so. How many times do you hear a guitar riff more powerful-sounding than the verse riff for Iron Man? Not many, I guess. But yeah, that riff MAKES this song. Especially when played using the chords. The thumping bass drum in the beginning sets the creepy feeling that explodes into this monster so huge and powerful that it would not be as wise to try to escape as much as to just embrace it. As for the lyrical content itself, it's about a man who travels to the future to see save humanity from destruction, only to be turned into steel, watching the people who care not for him, eventually coming back to life and destroying the world in an act of revenge. Some parts of the song are fast, but for the most part it's a slow, heavy song. One of the greatest songs ever. End of Side A.

5. Electric Funeral
Starts off with a moody wah-wah-sounding intro melody and once again a slow tempo. Very doomy and negative-sounding melody and attitude to this song. And that's pretty much what it's about -- describes civilization as an "electric funeral" destroying the human race. There's a faster part in the middle of the song.

6. Hand of Doom
The song starts out alright, with a certain bassline dominating the melody and it's pretty slow. The song's sound abruptly changes during the middle to a completely different section with a different riff and a different beat and that part is really cool. Really good singing. Then towards the end there iz a guitar solo with a crashing drum beat behind it. At about five minutes the song changes back to how it sounded in the beginning.

7. Rat Salad
Mmm, rat salad! Sounds delicious. This one's an instrumental tune in which all of the members show off their skills at their instruments, including a lengthy drum solo at the end. It's pretty good, especially the lead guitar melody, but I like some of the other songs better.

8. Jack the Stripper/Faeries Wear Boots
It's not Jack the RIPPER, it's Jack the STRIPPER, he just shows up at peoples' houses and gets naked! Hee heeeeeeee. The beginning of the song is slow and pretty damn metal-ly (now a thousand metalheads are going to kill my ass) because there's so much lead guitar and it's slow and it's got them funky bass tunes and all of this other shit because I'm too lazy to come up with some bullshit pseudo-intellectual interpretation of the melodic arrangements of this song. Anyways, after that, there's a real cool faster part with a cool riff and it's pretty cool and Ozzy sings cool and all of this other stuff. Duh-duh-duh-DAH! The song's about a guy who sees REAL faeries and finds out that they wear boots, and his doctor thinks he's been doing too many drugs. Lotta crazy lead guitar stringing out of the guitarist's head after the singing part. And then the song returns to a continuation of the first section of the song. The song fades out and then...

IT'S ALL OVER. FUCKERS!!! THE WORLD HAS ENDED FROM A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST WHILE YOU WERE FRIVOLOUSLY READING THIS AND COULD HAVE ACTUALLY DONE SOMETHING TO STOP IT WHILE YOU HAD THE CHANCE... BUT NO, YOU'VE GOTTA HAVE YOUR FUCKING BLACK SABBATH AND LISTEN TO YOUR PRECIOUS LITTLE MUSIC AND READ REVIEWS FROM SOME ASS-KISSING FAN TO REMIND YOURSELF HOW GREAT A BAND YOU ALREADY LIKE IS AND HOW GREAT IT IS THAT SOMEBODY ELSE LIKES THAT BAND THAT YOU LIKE AS IF THAT MAKES THE QUALITY OF THE MUSIC ITSELF ANY GREATER... nah, just fucking around. TEEHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (proceeds to make ape noises for five hours straight). Well I'll be a barrel of pickled donkey testicles if nearly every song on this record didn't get totally famous. And it was well-deserved fame. Many bands took the band's musical style to heart and put their own twist on it or improved upon it, but this band will stay in the collective conscience of 14-year-old boys for decades to come. G'BYE, 14-YEAR-OLDS!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Planet Caravan
2. Iron Man

3. Paranoid


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