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on 7 February 2018
This is where it all started, and although I prefer "Paranoid", "Master of Reality" and "Vol 4", this first BS album is a real classic. The title track is immortal, the bassline from "NIB" is legendary, and the intro of "Warning" is mindblowing. However, you can notice that the heavy BS sound, although already in place, is still kind of embryonic and will fully blossom with the next two albums. There are in fact still some rock'n'roll tracks like "The Wizard" and "Behind the wall of sleep".
This is a great album to start with for every rock fan who wants to discover the roots of heavy music.
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on 7 March 2018
I don't know what sound engineering mastery has gone into this re-mastering of Black Sabbath's classic first album but it has produced a more detailed and weightier sound than the original. Played on a top end turntable the sound quality is stunning. The attack and decay of every note can be heard as individual events that blend together into a harmonious and enthralling whole. Few albums I have heard involve the listener so comprehensively in the music.
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on 16 March 2011
The church bells toll. The rain falls. And the first heavy metal riff tears with doom from the funereal atmosphere. Black Sabbath have arrived. Who would have thought that from these simple beginnings that not only a new legendary group had been introduced but that also a completely new type of music had been born? Granted, other bands had dabbled with the formula but Sabbath made it whole. The progression from heavy metal's roots in blues is seen here incarnate.

The titular opening track is not blues as such but lends itself to the genre's laidback approach to music. It's a sufficiently foreboding and different song for the time. Now it does not seem so ground-breaking, but then The Exorcist is not as chilling a film either when compared to modern horror films. Strangely, after the doom-metal of the opening track we are subject to blues in all its glory. 'The Wizard', (one of my favourite Sabbath tracks) bursts into life, upbeat and fun with mouthfuls of purposeful harmonica. It's bonkers, as un-heavy metal as possible and absolutely perfect. It really solidifies the fact that, while Sabbath are a heavy metal band, their sensibilities are more indie; they are simply a band who like to make music despite the genre. 'Beyond the Wall of Sleep' holds an understated riff at its heart. This is where the blues and the metal merge for the first time and the transition is heard. The guitars are distorted and chug like a metal song but the tune is pure blues. This continues with the infectious, killer riff of 'N.I.B.'. It's a classic for a reason.

What follows is equally as perfect but also very different. As with 'The Wizard', 'Evil Woman' is near perfect. A single, it is short and catchy and actually a proper pop song. The chorus drives it and it is a cadillac of a chorus. 'Sleeping Village' seems like a segue but is slightly longer than it should be. The opening acoustic horror is great. Then it explodes with some stinging riffs and solos into an almost-instrumental. It almost works too. But it's not perfect and certainly the first track to be merely good. 'The Warning' with its 10 minute length and excellent title, I was expecting to be as the title track was. What it actually is is a very blatant blues song that is about 5 minutes long with 5 minutes of solo digression in the middle part. It is not great unfortunately. 'Wicked World' sounds a lot like 'Fairies Wear boots' from Paranoid. It's an ok song but not the perfect ending hoped for.

All in all it is a very strong debut and an undeniable classic as it is a seminal album marking the birth of a genre and legendary group. Ozzy's vocals are very different here. He sounds more gruff and less whiney, a real blues voice. And the band's musical nous is evident as there are some fantastic songs on here. Not a complete triumph but a complete classic.

However, if you want the first time metal and Sabbath meet for an entire album, then Master of Reality is where it really all begins.
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on 8 February 2009
The sleeve notes say that this was issued on Vertigo on Friday February 13th 1970 but I swear that we were belting it out as 16 year olds on a cheap turntable in the Great Hall, Featherstone Castle, Northumberland, GB on a school field trip in the late summer of '69. My vinyl copy's in the loft and I can't be bothered go up and find it to check the date.

It was preceded by the issue of a single, "Evil Woman/Wicked World", in mono on the Philips label (my mate has a copy, worth a mint now) later issued in stereo on the Vertigo label (of which I bought a copy, worth only a little unfortunately). "Evil Woman" was a cover of a 1969 single and LP track written and performed by US rock band Crow in a jazz-rock style. Sabbath replaced the brass with lead guitar licks but it was taken at the same speed. You should search out and take a listen to the original back to back with the cover.

The members of The Polka Tulk Blues Band or plain Polka Tulk, named after some talcum powder or a clothes shop (both depending on what you read) were renamed Earth and then in 1969 Black Sabbath (after the 1930s Boris Karloff film) and a legend was born with the issue of the single and LP (though the single didn't chart if I remember correctly). The vinyl LP had a lovely gatefold sleeve too, on which you could fully appreciate that amazing grainy cover photo in all its cinemascope glory.

What better way to start this eponymous rock album with satanic overtones than "Black Sabbath" itself, oozing the required atmosphere with tolling church bells thrown in as it rumbles through its allotted 6 minutes plus. This is followed by 6 slices of 4* and 5* rock, including the 10 minute opus "Warning" featuring a little early shredding from the one with no fingertips. Strangely, there's a short guitar riff half way through that's a straight lift of that from Man's 1969 single "Sudden Life". There's the 6 minute "N.I.B." too (I used to know what that stood for but I've forgotten). Also, thrown in for good measure, as an extra track, at least on 2003 onwards issues, is the very acceptable and somewhat manic non-album B-side "Wicked World".

Now, why don't they issue this in a 5.1 surround mix to go with that of "Paranoid". I feel a little (inverted) cross that they haven't.

Now where's that Black Widow "Sacrifice" LP and the "Lords of Chaos: the history of occult music" 2CD compilation?
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This is the debut album from the masters of heavy rock, Black Sabbath. And what a cracking album it is!

Guitarist Tommy Iommi had yet to develop his trademark `heavy' guitar tuning and playing style, but all the other essential Black Sabbath elements are in place. With lyrical themes of black magic and evil, delivered by Ozzy Osbourne in a voice in turns ethereal or howling, the tone of the album is dark and oppressive. Drummer Bill Ward and bassist Geezer Butler do some sterling work, changing the moods from frenzied rock to slow and moody as necessary, and Iommi's guitar strikes all the right chords.

A classic of the British Heavy Rock scene, the birth of a legend. An essential purchase for anyone who loves rock music.
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on 24 November 2015
Very old favourite of mine from years ago . I Just thought It would be nice to add it to my collection for the memories from my past youth..
And that some albums are getting hard to find these days... So many thanks to Amazon for bringing out the old favourites...
Hope you like the tunes / songs as much as I do
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on 18 January 2016
There are many debates on the best recordings, but honestly you would have to have super hearing to notice the kind of differences people are talking about between different pressings. The Sanctuary Remasters are out standing and if you have the right sound setup then you will reap the benefits.
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on 21 March 2015
just look at the cover of this album.and the name black sabbath iconic album cover.the music matches the album cover to perfection.sort of satanic with the witch like figure and monastery background.the music is sabbath at there most dark and experimental being there first album.great album.
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on 19 April 2014
This rating is totally justified. An excellent album and arguably the greatest heavy metal album ever! I got this because I loved Paranoid so much, and Black Sabbath is as good if not better. Being a bassist myself I look up to Geezer Butler and his playing of this album is incredible and insanely fast. I thoroughly recommend this to any fan of metal but also rock in general.
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on 12 December 2014
Classic and innovative album a must for all rock fans and anyone who appreciates music. This album has been hailed as the foundations, cornerstone and benchmark for rock and heavy rock musicians everywhere. Great guitar riffs, bass lines and beats. Ozzy's vocals are amazing, sometimes hypnotic but always intense. Along with their second album Paranoid they are two of the best and influential albums of all time. I love them and I am a reggae fan but they just remind me of my teenage years.
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