The album we will be doing our half-assed review today is the fifth studio album by the band Black Sabbath entitled, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". One of the best remembered of the Ozzy years really, and that is in part because of the most interesting cover art. My copy is yet another 'el cheapo'. Back when they did the re-release of all the albums, probably because Iommi and Osbourne needed money, or because the executives WANTED money, I had plans to replace all my cheap CD’s, but that didn’t eventuate. The quality of the CD's isn’t too bad but you don’t get any info, which is disappointing. The good news is I have a re-release of "Sabotage", the next in the list of albums to review, and I think this might be the last 'cheapo' CD in my collection for a while.
But I’m getting off the subject. The cover art depicts a man in torment lying on his bed that has turned into a demon with a face of a skull and the headboard has manifested claws with arms. The centre of the headboard has the depiction; 666. There are naked woman, I think, accosting the dude on the bed, and a snake wrapped around the man’s throat. Satan, snake, naked women. If you can’t pick up the message being given here then stop reading this review and return to Alabama, pick up your rake and get to work before the harvest ends, y’all!! I find the cover of this one very interesting and deeply disturbing. Good cover art can invoke all kinds of emotions and people will listen to that record based upon curiosity on that cover.
Right, let’s get onto the music, shall we? The album opens with the track "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". A very heavy song with some very famous lyrics within the fan base of 'Sabbathians'. Wait, is that actually a term? Is that what we are? 'Sabbathians'? Whatever the case, it sounds very cool, and the song’s not too bad as well, driven by some strong riffs courtesy of Iommi. The song changes towards the end with some powerful riffs again driven by Iommi and supported by Butler and Ward. The lyrics, to the best of my personal understanding, seem to be about a man going insane, not able to deal with life and people around him. A deeply disturbing prospect. Others may have differing opinions. I would love to hear about them. Leave your opinions in the comments section, please. "Fluff" is a nice little Iommi instrumental. Possibly my favourite instrumental from the Ozzy years. His ability to make his guitar bleed emotion is quite amazing. "Sabbra Cadabra" has a brilliant intro to the song that has to be heard to be believed. Again, Iommi starts something and Butler & Ward blast through that door to another awesome head banging song. This one is a love song of sorts. A man talking about his love for a woman. Lyrics aren’t inspiring, but the work of the four lift the song above that. A nice catchy little number that will definitely lift your spirits. "Killing Yourself to Live" is a song about drugs and the effect they can have on your well-being and life. Has a really cool, heavy chorus that is…cool. "Who Are You?" is an awesome song with synthesizers that talks about the almighty is a dubious context, but the way the song is lyrically constructed, you could argue that this is an anti-government song, really. But a different song from Sabbath, one that works well.
"Looking for Today" is an example of the kind of direction that Sabbath might’ve headed if they had stayed together after 1980. It is a song that gives advice on life, which was a theme that Sabbath had begun to do much more frequently and was a theme that we would see a lot more of in the coming albums, notably "Technical Ecstasy" and "Never Say Die". The chorus is, in my humble opinion, one of the catchiest and best of the Ozzy years. Definitely a song that would be in my top twenty Sabbath songs and remembered fondly from my youth. "Spiral Architect" has a beautiful acoustic intro that has always given me the chills, but in a good way. Kind of religious in tone and nature, but good nonetheless.
"Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is a great album from the resurgence of Sabbath, and I think I’ve mentioned just about every song, which is a first for me in these reviews. So many great songs and more than a few hits in here as well. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", "Killing Yourself to Live", "Who Are You?", "Looking for Today" and "Spiral Architect" are my favourites. The album has the same heaviness and tone of "Vol. 4", but this seems to be a little more successful, with a better arrangement of songs, in my opinion.
I have only one story that concerns this album and it involves an old friend of mine. When I was a kid, there was a friend of mine who liked "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" (the song) a little too much. He would listen to it quite a bit and there was one part of it that he liked the best. You see in the title song there is a part when Ozzy yells out a cuss word. I’m not going to repeat it here...wait, why not? We’re all adults, aren’t we? The line goes, “YOU BASTARD!” and this friend of mine loved that. Not sure if he actually liked the song or if he just got a kick out of hearing curse words on songs.
Well, that’s just about it. I’ve gone a little over my usual entry space, but that’s OK. There was a lot to say and I’m glad I said it. This album is good, I give it 8/10 and suggest you have a listen and give me your thoughts on it. I would be interested to hear what others think. As always, check out the rest of the site, my partner in grime, Duckman does a lot of work here as well and I’m sure you’d love his stuff. Keep cool until next time and don’t forget to floss!