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Review of the Album Sabotage by British Heavy Metal Band Black Sabbath

Updated on May 27, 2020
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

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Even the Album Sabotage Has Its Impressive Moments

Sabotage is the 6th album by legendary British heavy metal band Black Sabbath released in 1975 and it follows their 1973 studio album Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. One of the strongest qualities of the United Kingdom has been their vastly great metal scene and Black Sabbath have influenced so many bands like we have discussed previously. As is their usual musical approach, these guys always find a way to impress you by starting off with their usual rock and blues style and then including instrumental songs such as “Don't Start (Too Late)” which is a very very nice but short classically influenced instrumental song. However, listeners will also get a glimpse of the crunchy, heavy sound at least for that time in songs such as Symptom of the Universe.

Then there is a song called Megalomania (not to be confused with the song Megalomaniac by the band Incubus). This song is soft and has that atmospheric feel before Ozzy's voice comes in to dominate the song. Lyrically, it is about someone that is stuck in this fantasy mode where he is witnessing violence although he is not literally seeing that right in front of him.

One Con About Black Sabbath During This Time Period

However, it must be mentioned that Ozzy's vocals can get annoying especially if he tries to sing at a higher octave. That's why I skipped over the rest of the song Iron Man while trying to compose this review. Some of you may laugh at that and consider that funny. However, Ozzy doesn't have the best voice in the world.


Sabotage Album Review and Analysis

Hole in the Sky is this slow starting blues song that has influenced bands that would come later on. Sabotage is one of those albums in which the sound quality is the same as Judas Priest and you can tell that this album was recorded in the 1970s. Even with the dark lyrical themes that Black Sabbath came up with in their career, they have that ability as a band to keep your interest. The heavy song Symptom of the Universe lyrically describes the human life cycle as our Creator takes us home to him after our death. Our bodies are only like a temporary garage that is housing our soul. The sound in this song along with some of the vocals clearly influenced King Diamond and Mercyful Fate. I can hear it in the guitar work as Ozzy turns to these screams and laughing voice. “Thrill of It All” is song in which lyrically it is trying to say that the narrative that we have been told about life has been sold to us and it is like we have been brainwashed. The song is also questioning that if there is a Jesus then why is the world in so much turmoil? “Supertzar” (yes that is how this song's title is spelled) is the 2nd instrumental song on this album and this one has a sort of choir style chanting in it.

"Symptom of the Universe"

Ozzy Osbourne's Vocals Should Not Deter Most Fans From Listening to These Early Albums

Even if the vocals of Ozzy Osbourne can get annoying at times, this is not necessarily a deal breaker for some of us. We can look past the vocals since the songs are so creative and well written that this one blemish may not matter too much. The Black Sabbath albums to come later after the departure of Ozzy are better overall than the ones with Ozzy as lead singer. These early albums do show the versatility and creativity of Black Sabbath though. I get the sense as I listen to these songs that the band was going through hard times. “Am I Going Insane” is one of those songs that lyrically is about someone that questions how his life is going. It is harder for him than it used to be and he wonders if he is going insane.


How Good of An Album Is Sabotage?

Overall, Sabotage is not an album in which things have gone wrong for these guys but consider these early Black Sabbath albums a warm up act for what was to come. If Paranoid was the album that got this band to super star status, they did not decline much if at all a few years after that album. They stayed pretty consistent with their dark yet real life lyrical themes and they set a standard for having instrumental songs that are memorable even years later.

"Don't Start (Too Late)" Re-mastered Version

© 2020 Ara Vahanian

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