Saturday, January 30, 2010

Öreilles Gaüloises (Metal Edition): Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath)


When I was in growing up in CT, the first few friends I made in high school were into hard rock and heavy metal music. I liked "hard rock" as a genre in general (Deep Purple, Aerosmith, etc.), but I didn't know very much about Metal. I thought Led Zeppelin was heavy metal, but I really didn't understand the true meaning of the words Heavy Metal until my friend Adam played me some Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and the mighty Black Sabbath!! I had seen some of their records lying around in his room, and he finally played me this album after I asked him one day: "What is the big deal about Sabbath?".

I think we were driving around Fairfield and Westport during one of our customary Friday night cruising escapades, and he put the tape in the cassette deck....out came the sound of falling rain and this cold, distant bell, and then, suddenly, this MONSTER three-note riff! It was the most terrifying sound I had ever heard (for many years I couldn't even play the song if I was by myself)! I remember thinking "If there is a Hell, this is what it sounds like!". Even looking at the album cover caused me some anxiety: what is that dark figure? Is that a witch?

The sound of the band was like nothing I had ever heard: Tony Iommi's thick, heavy riffs, combined with the pounding of one rock's best rhythm section (Bill Ward on drums, and the amazing Geezer Butler on bass!), all of it covered with Ozzy's ominous voice - a perfect recipe for an young and impressionable mind like mine! The lyrics also left me no doubt that these guys were clearly devil worshipers ("Black Sabbath", The Wizard", "N.I.B."), which made them that much more cool in my eyes!*

This album really expanded my musical horizon, and led me to many other heavy metal bands that I still listen to to this day (Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Slayer, and many more), and I go back to it periodically to remind myself where it all started - for me, and for the Metal in general.

* For the record, the band never was into devil-worshiping, but their record label tried very hard to make them look like they were, for marketing purpose, much to the band's displeasure.

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