"Sabotage" is the sixth album by the band Black Sabbath, and for many fans it is the last from the golden era. After this album things got a little messy and things, perhaps, got nasty. The good news is I have a really good version of this album and should be able to drudge up something useful for this one, and I have a cool story about Bill Ward's pants (or tights, if you will). The CD cover is interesting but not as interesting as either "Paranoid" or "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". It involves the band members standing in front of a mirror dressed in an array of typical attire from the 1970’s. Oh! I may have gotten some of the dates wrong for the previous albums because this one was released in 1975. My CD tells me this and I believe it! Or I believe him, because my CD is a man, or male. Confused? Don’t be because all will be made clear.
This album is a hard-hitting album that gives no indication of the obvious problems the foursome were having. We start off with "Hole in the Sky", one of my all-time favourites. It’s commercial, it’s hard-hitting and it’s incredibly good! The lyrics are rambling about life as well as other things, including talking about life experiences. Maybe it’s a song about the ozone layer? Who knows, but the music is freakin' awesome with catchy riffs.
"Symptom of the Universe" is another hard-hitting, very catchy song. I think this is one song everyone would know in the metal scene. Have heard it on at least three TV shows. The song moves into an acoustic-style arrangement towards the end and this wouldn’t be the first song to try this approach. Lyrically, it’s about how love is a symptom of the universe, I think. It’s really good, I like "Hole in the Sky" more, but this song is almost as good and we get another taste of the cymbals from the master.
"Megalomania" is a strange number and the intro is creepy as Ozzy’s voice creeps into the song like an echo. Lyrics are pretty obvious. Want an idea? Look up "Megalomania" in the dictionary. The song changes direction and momentum half way through the song and picks up the tempo and becomes really good!
"Am I Going Insane?" is probably my favourite song on the record. It is a song about a man losing the plot. I always love songs like that! Musically the song rolls along like a bit of a carnival number and isn’t as heavy as others on the playlist, but makes up for that with creative fun and the work of Butler’s bumping bass and the tom work of Ward really make this song work effectively. I especially like the ending. The song fades out to the increasing sounds of manic laughter and vomiting! Lovely!
"The Writ" is almost a rock opera in many ways. The bass guitar is creeping along for the first thirty seconds and then a blast of riffs that blows the listeners mind! Fantastic! Lyrics are quite cool and work in with the music well. The first part is hard and then it changes to a two part backwards and forwards heavy then light affair, which is what I mean’t by a rock opera kinda feel. The lyrics are funny and it’s hard to explain what I think they mean, so I won’t. I think it’s about a man dealing with insanity. It’s a common thread in this record, but a good one. I like the idea of looking at a situation from someone failing to deal with reality.
"Sabotage" is a good record and some would say that the last of the first six was definitely their best. Those fans do have a point and I would never try to tell those fans otherwise. I have fond memories of this record and remember going nuts to "Am I Going Insane?" at high school. It’s well supported by a couple of stellar tracks such as "Hole in the Sky", "Symptom of the Universe" and "The Writ". It was by this point a couple of things were becoming clear within the band. I’m poaching from the great Hugh Gilmour so thanks to him! After "Sabotage" the band went on their most successful tour to date, culminating with their performance at Madison Square Garden in New York. Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi were beginning to have difficulties working together and Osbourne was getting frustrated with a number of production issues. But all this is secondary because this was a brilliant record and gave Sabbath a real boost and a boost when other of their fellow artists such as Deep Purple were failing to fire.
I do have one more ace up my sleeve to play then I’m finally outta here, folks. Well, actually two. I forgot to mention one more thing. Ozzy Osbourne actually hated this record on it’s release, which is surprising considering its general awesomeness. The other is a story behind those red tights. I have some general details on this, but not specifics if you know what I mean. If you don’t, well I don’t blame you. I am weird. Now, on with this story. Bill's pants caught fire, I think, and this pair of red tights was the only thing he could find to wear for the photo shoot. It’s a funny story told better by the men themselves. I urge you to go online and find it. You won’t be disappointed!
I give this album a 9/10. It really is quite good, mainly for some of those awesome songs that have become a part of the history of metal. As always check out what we’ve been up to. Duckman has done a couple of cool food reviews and his thoughts are definitely worth hearing. We have music that is our own, videos on our YouTube channel and loads more. All the links are in our links section. Funny that!
Keep cool until next time and listen to the album. Find the songs on YouTube or the various other places you can find 'em, or here’s a radical thought, buy the album! I suspect true metal heads will have this album already. Give me some feedback. Would love to hear what you think, so get in touch with me by leaving your comments in the comments section below the blog.