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Black Sabbath – Still Awesome, in case you were wondering

Because there are really only so many Ethics essays you can read in one sitting, I’m back to the blog. Today’s Topic: Black Sabbath is back, baby. And their first single is simply AWESOME. \m/

If you haven’t heard it, it is called God Is Dead? from their forthcoming album 13. Check it out (warning – this is not the radio edit, get comfy):


(No, I don’t know why Nietzsche is eating purple spaghetti)

Simply put, no one is more metal than Black Sabbath. I’m not sure that there would be metal as we know it without them. For those unfamiliar with their legacy, I recommend immediately spending the next several hours days exploring their metal awesomeness. And then ponder what metal would sound like without their influence. The mind boggles.

I will admit that I was deeply concerned that they would blow it and wondered if we even needed another Sabbath album. Their catalog already speaks for itself and their influence is incalculable. They aren’t spring chickens either: their first album came out in 1969 and they’ve suffered from illnesses and addictions for decades. My concerns were unwarranted, though, because they just showed up most of the bands out there.

Let’s break it down a bit:

1. Tony Iommi: Guitar God and Cancer Survivor. No one really writes a riff like Tony. Someone (Rob Zombie? can’t recall) proposed once that all metal guitar riffs are just variations on things Tony has already written. They may be right. He manages to put so much dark gloom and power into his playing and this song is a prime example.

2. Ozzy: Well, he’s Ozzy, Prince of Fucking Darkness. While in reality, he’s just a dude struggling with his own problems (congratulations on your return to sobriety!), musically his voice is a perfect counterpoint to Tony’s riffs. Does he have Dio‘s (RIP) range or D&D charm? No. Does he sound like he may have actually interacted with God & Satan? Yes, yes does.

3. Lyrics: As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for lyrics that blur the lines. Sabbath are the masters at this as well. I’m sure the conservative nut jobs groups will be all over this. But, as always, Black Sabbath is NOT satanic. They explore dark subjects but if you listen to the lyrics, you realize that they are not evil – they are simply examining the darkness. This song in particular questions God and Society (thus the question mark). When was the last time you heard the word “exhume” in a song, btw? Side note: I would like to thank heavy metal for making me run to the dictionary and expand my vocabulary growing up. Metal makes you smarter. Justin Bieber hopes Anne Frank would have been his fan.

4. Production: Rick Rubin. ‘Nuff said. I wish all Sabbath albums sounded this good (even though I know that is not technically possible).

5. Rhythm Section: Geezer Butler back on bass (excellent as always) and session drummer Brad Wilk ensure that this song is glorious doomy gloomy goodness.

While we still need to hear the rest of the album (out in June), it turns out we did in fact need another Black Sabbath album. Youngsters – take note on how its done.

I will leave you with my all time favorite Sabbath song, NIB. This song basically takes Sympathy for Devil and turns it into a love song. Is Lucifer in love? Is he seducing someone into his clutches? I can’t exactly articulate this song’s influence on me, but I do believe it contributes to why I love dark, twisty, love songs (oh Ville) and the use of Satanic imagery in music and poetry. It is deliberately evocative, provocative, and so very metal. Without further ado:


Bonus: the awesome cover by the grossly under-rated Ugly Kid Joe:


PS 10 days til HIM!