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Review: Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Black Sabbath

Label: Warner Bros. Records
Year released: 1970
Duration: 42:00
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy/Doom

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: July 3, 2011
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating

Rated 4.81/5 (96.13%) (93 Votes)

Released a mere seven months after their self-titled debut, Black Sabbath's Paranoid finds the band taking a giant step forward in refining the Doom Metal sound they pioneered. When you consider how long it takes today's bands to produce new material, its amazing that only seven months elapsed between Black Sabbath's first two albums. Factor in the strength of the songs on Paranoid and the title of the band's subsequent greatest hits album, We Sold Our Souls for Rock ‘n' Roll, certainly makes you wonder...

Regardless of the source, Paranoid is nearly a greatest hits album all by itself. The crushing riffs and political outrage of "War Pigs/Luke's Wall," the creepy vocal effects and 50's era sci-fi lyrics of "Iron Man" and the social commentary of "Jack the Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots" (a song about skinheads) can still be heard on rock radio in the U.S. today, 40+ years after their release. The next tier of songs, which may be less well known outside metal circles but are no less great, includes the awesome Doom vibes of "Electric Funeral," a song that has doubtless inspired countless bands (Leif Edling, I'm looking at you) and the appropriately titled "Hand of Doom." Even the instrumental, "Rat Salad," gets love on the more comprehensive compilations. Only "Planet Caravan," with its trippy, far-out vocals and slow, hand drum-driven beat is reminiscent of the 60s, where almost half of the debut album falls into this category. Oh, and did I mention the band's best known song, the proto-Power Metal riff-fest "Paranoid," a song that was written in the studio simply to fill the last few minutes of space on the album? A song that was an afterthought, yet has gone on to close countless live shows? Yeah, it's pretty good, too.

There are no real bad songs on Paranoid, especially if you can dig the trippy "Planet Caravan." It is arguably the best album of the Ozzy era and a candidate for one of the top 10 metal albums of all time. Like the debut, Paranoid belongs in every metal fans collection.

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