Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
on 10 March 2011
I feel a little out of my depth here as I seem to be the only reviewer here who doesn't think this is as good as the winds of time have lead me to believe. Apologies in advance to any hardcore Sabbath fans (I myself have been a fan since the mid 80s but have been more interested in the bands they have influenced) but as an album this doesn't really come together as well as it should for a supposed 'classic'. It is in no way bad and yes there are classic songs on here, but most of the rest is rather underwhelming. Similarities can be made with Alice Cooper's School's Out: the classic title track and a couple of ok tracks was all there was, the rest was average. Especially when compared to the awesome debut and the properly seminal Master of Reality, it does not hold up as well.
The first 2 tracks are a gimme. 'War Pigs' has a great verse/chorus/riff etc but it does enter noodle territory for the middle section of the track. However, it is a classic and will always be. Unfortunately hearing a song too much can be a hindrance that has nothing to do with the quality of the song and that is what has happened here and on 'Paranoid'. The 2 tracks have almost become like jingles, advert music. But classics they still remain. 'Planet Caravan' is an odd one. After the stormimg punky rock of the first 2 tracks we are treated to a psychedelic, bongo lead trip of a song. Its melody is hypnotic but it is very slight and too long as the tune itself is rather pedestrian. Not awful, not great. 'Iron Man' is another of those tracks that falter due to overexposure. The riff is great but the song is not. However, as before, it is undeniably a classic.
The first really good song, classics excluded (and last unfortunately) appears on side 2. 'Electric Funeral' is a great track with a fantastic, distorted wah-wah riff. 'Hand of Doom' is ok but it lacks a bite. A track with such a powerful title should have been so much better ( a bit like 'The Warning' from their debut). 'Rat Salad' is a bit of a curio. It has a great drum solo but I'm of the ilk that drum solos are for live shows. It's average. 'Fairies Wear Boots' is again ok, but doesn't do anything very interesting. It's punky and rocking and has another winner riff but kind of dwindles towards the end.
As an album it's good. It's far less blues-lead than their debut and lends itself to punk frequently. I cannot seem to shake the feeling that this could have been a lot better. Maybe I am missing something but it doesn't gel as well as the debut or Master. If you are new to Sabbath, I would suggest Master or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. I'm going to be shot for this but even Never Say Die is better....