Paranoid is the second studio album by the English rock band Black Sabbath. Released in September 1970, it was the band’s only LP to top the UK Albums Chart until the release of 13 in 2013. Paranoid contains several of the band’s signature songs, including “Iron Man“, “War Pigs” and the title track, which was the band’s only Top 20 hit, reaching number 4 in the UK charts. It is often regarded as one of the most quintessential and influential albums in heavy metal history.
War Pigs—-Introducing a slow marching dirge like the world had never known, Sabbath entered into this release with an incredible opener. I listen back on it today and think it should have been the theme song for the prior week’s Inauguration festivities! Osborne delivers an almost deadpan vocal at times…but the song has many moods. What was deep and plodding opens up into a magna opus of Metal sounds and warnings of war and desolation. Still sounds fantastic.
Paranoid—-A landmark song….the sound is remarkable still. the slight and brighter sound from the previous track gives the song a damn contagious element. The melody line of the song that runs underneath everything is bass driven….the fantastic vocal giving the song a bright sound. The tale of alienation and somewhat fear of insanity’s brink is still as relevant today as it was in 1970. This is…as you all know…a classic!
Planet Caravan—-Returning to a darker feel on this track, there is something almost beautiful about this track. Not sure how the vocal was manipulated way back then….but the effect gives the song a lonely…sad…melancholy sound that addled with the appropriate drugs can make you lose your place in reality for a moment. Dark….moody and damn pleasant.
Iron Man—-A tried and true classic that never grows old…no matter who you are or your age. The song helped to further trademark the Sabbath dirge sound that despite the bright points of the song were still very well in place. The song is bass driven…but in perfect contrast to Ozzy’s voice. The song has been written about 1000 times….what can I add except to urge you to take a listen again…and appreciate the genius that was taking place at the time. The galloping end to the song….was so unexpected and genius…..
Electric Funeral—-Full on marching bass sounds help shape the tale of doomsday scenarios and warnings of the end of the world and the future of robots. The drugs must have been damn good at the time. The music is incredible….that bass line…almost never leaves room for a brighter guitar sound. The drums from Ward and slow and precise…keeping the song at a constant march towards doom…..then the track brightens a bit with an almost psychedelic sound…..this is a journey all in itself.
Hand Of Doom—-Delivering a remarkable almost modern sound…..reminding me of some Tool songs, this track is another journey. Ozzy delivers more warnings of war and desolation from nuclear damage…..in a vocal that is clear…concise and incredibly understandable…you catch every single syllable of warning…..I find it easy to go from one musical groove to the other all delivered in just a few minutes….this really is a masterpiece of a release!
Rat Salad—-With a slight different sound at the onset, the drums are incredible and the brighter guitar lends again, an almost psychedelic lean to the song. The deep bass line is there mind you….but it is not the premiers star of the show at all times. The melody line leads the song……and ward delivers a drum solo that is landmark and unforgettable.
Fairies Wear Boots—-Ending this release much brighter than it began and on a more of a ‘jam’ note, the rhythm section of the band is on full display. Again….I remain amazed at how clear and concise the lyrics and the vocal were at that time. Osbourne was at a creative and preforming peak at the time…before external forces barged in and tinged things. This is an epic track…..full of intermittent vocals and intermittent jam sessions displaying the power of the band as well as the star of Ozzy. Just fantastic.
****3/4 out of 5