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Black Sabbath - Paranoid CD (album) cover

PARANOID

Black Sabbath

 

Prog Related

4.30 | 872 ratings

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Luqueasaur
5 stars The Band Who Progressed Beyond Prog Rock: 9/10

Following BLACK SABBATH's unexpectedly revolutionary debut (but harshly criticized by contemporaneous critics), the band crew wanted to continue exploiting their mojo releasing yet another state-of-art unpredictably heavy album only a few months later, PARANOID. Consequentially to Paranoid released as a single, it became a monstrous hit, cementing decisively the directions of the newly founded heavy metal genre. Of course, they weren't the only ones to bring up bone-crushing riffs and occultist lyricism ' LUCIFER'S FRIEND proves my point ' but their success made them the most influential act and consequentially the forerunners of the genre.

Worthy of note among all musicians is the guitarist Tony Iommi. He will not go down in history as a virtuoso player or amazing soloist; instead, his merit lies on his riff craftsmanship, manufacturing simple but outstanding licks that would remain in popular culture for years to come. To quote Ozzy Osbourne, '...Tony Iommi turned out to be one of the greatest heavy rock riff-makers of all time. Whenever we went into the studio we'd challenge him to beat his last riff ' and he'd come up with something like 'Iron Man' and blow everyone away.'

PARANOID also inaugurated BLACK SABBATH's creative method that would stick: Iommi would compose the riffs, followed by Ozzy's melody implementation, Geezer (bassist) providing lyrics and Ward (drummer) structuring the rhythm.

Originally, the album was more a little more Satanic: War Pigs and its festival of doom was originally Walpurgis ' a reference to Satanists' 'Christmas' ' where Iommi wanted to express his concern over Satanists, 'these people who are running the banks and the world and trying to get the working class to fight the wars for them'. The band intended on making this track the title, but the record company perceived Paranoid's commercial potential (simple, hard rockin' riffs, how not?) and preferred it instead, a wise move. Electric Funeral, the nuclear apocalyptic omen, is an interesting track ' mostly lugubrious and prophetic, yet featuring an electric midsection jam. Rat Salad, apparently, had a 45-minutes-long drum solo' Ward just can't get enough of jammin'. Fairies Wear Boots tells the tale of Ozzy's terrible encounter with skinheads.

Planet Caravan is an astoundingly soothing and unfit track for the album's atmosphere, being a mixture of psychedelic and space rock that floats beyond conventions for the time ' distorted vocals, bongo playing and a jazzy guitar intersection ' and delves much further into the trippy portion than Pink Floyd ever had. Telling the tale of intelligent beings voyaging across the universe, they eventually glance upon Earth, 'the crimson eye / of great god Mars', a beautiful metaphor for humankind's incessant warmongering nature.

PARANOID is a musical milestone in every angle visible. Its subversive approach to music ruptured with the epoch's 'lightheartedness paradigm', giving prominence to heavier sonorities and themes unlike anything ever before. Not only this, but it also defied the ascending contemporaneous trend, progressive rock, being its opposite in many ways: sepulchral rather than theatrical; succinct rather than complex; conventional rather than purposely eccentric.

I urge anyone who didn't experiment PARANOID to do so as soon as humanly possible: not only it is a great heavy metal album, it is one of the foundational (great) heavy metal albums. In a certain way, you'd have to thank BLACK SABBATH whenever you listened to a metal band like, say, OPETH; well, thank them by listening to their magnum opus. I'm sure Iommi will be happy to know you're woke about the Satanists' true nature.

Luqueasaur | 5/5 |

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