Oh yeah! They're back, and they brought the drugs!! This album is another one of my favorite albums by Black Sabbath. This piece of drug induced insanity sounds like they have gone as far as they fucking can and are about to blow the fuck up. From the get go, this album breaks all previous records. The sound is nothing less than a full frontal sonic explosion. Drums, Bass, Guitar, Vocals, all turned up way too much which makes it the best. Geezers bass is definatly spotlighted in the mix for the first time since Master Of Reality. You can definatly hear the man work. The guitar sound is a new, fresh, and painful one that really makes an electric guitar sound "electric"! Ozzys voice is on the brink of destroying itself. He could just drop dead any minute. I don't know, this album just really is the heaviest shit they are capable of. Remember kids, heavy doesn't always equal fast so don't be expecting any land speed records or anything, just really really heavy music.
The album opens up with Hole In The Sky, and I heard thats what they used to open with during this tour. This song blows my load. You can just imagine how fucking loud it is in the studio. See, if you're like me, you know when the amps are all the way up in the studio. You hear Bill say "1-2-3-4.." and BOOM!!!! They are fucking off. This song is an amazing piece of music. There was never a band in the 70's who could even equal up to the ante Sabbath set on this LP. Don't judge the cover, even though I think it's cool as hell, it's definatly one of their best if not THE best.
Next is a transitional song called Don't Start Too Late. And thats what it is. A transition. A 45 second break for your eardrums before they set off into yet ANOTHER one of their all time heaviest excursions, Symptom Of The Universe. Another rush of pure energy as Ozzy screams over the limitless musical landscape set by the rest of the band. They are really playing their asses off and I think they know the end is near. They know the downtime is coming and this is their last gasp before the bad times. Every song is a winner on here and thats super rare, no matter how much you kick ass....especially in the mid 70's.
Megalomania is next and it's a very dark song that starts off slow. Ozzy's voice is on the brink of insanity. His voice combined with with the words he is singing make it the most earnest offering of insanity driven, desperate, honest, psychotic, evil, vocal performances I have ever heard in my life. This song eventually builds into a faster tempo that gives the rhythm section it's chance to finally break lose and go. The guitar sound is driving and brutal. Bass work, magnificent and that is an understatement. This is true Sabbath. One of the best songs ever written.
The next side opens with The Thrill Of It All. A tight number that does the job. The typical Sabbath tempo with the typical Sabbath riff. As usual, this song builds to a solid end with all ends of the band going into their own directions while holding down the basic pattern.
Supertzar is a mountainous guitar lick accompanied by a 50 piece choir. Possible soundtrack material for sure. Very haunting with a snare drum, chimes, a harp, cymbal crashes. Honestly a very distinct song. It's not something you listen to everytime, but definatly once in a while. I mean, shit, a 50 piece choir. That aint amateur night, folks.
Next up is their "hit" from the album, Am I Going Insane (radio). Not a bad song at all and I never get tired of hearing it. Got the moog thrown in there, but again, not enough to piss you off. It's just part of the song. It wouldn't sound right without it. No one says "insane" like Ozzy! That man can combine "insane" and "brain" like no other man in showbiz, but it still sounds cool as fuck when he says it! A smooth song that ends with sickening laughter.....a transition into a whole different sounding song.
The Writ starts off with bass with a wah wah quietly playing in the dark background. Then BOOM....it starts into a basic, tribal, 1-2 thud with Ozzy screaming over it. Another 2 parter song like many others on this LP. But this song is definatly one of their darkest ones. It's what you call a "night album". The bass sounds like its lost in space.
I must admit, one of the main reasons I like this album so much are the lyrics. From what I know, Geezer wrote a lot of the lyrics for Sabbath, if not the majority. The lyrics on this album are the best so far. Sabbath lyrics are either silly or superb. There are only good lyrics on this LP. No typical heavy metal, brainless, stupid lyrics on here. This helps out in the honesty factor. Do these songs have merit or are they just there to put over the music? I can honestly say that these lyrics are full of images and life and should be given proper credit, no matter what kind of skeptic you are about "heavy metal".
For me, this is the pinnacle of Black Sabbath. After this album, it's all downhill, and I think Ozz knew it too.
Hole In The Sky
Don't Start (too late)
Symptom Of The Universe
The Thrill Of It All
Am I Going Insane (radio)