Black Sabbath was formed in 1968. After 40-plus years of raising hell, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and Geezer Butler are currently on their farewell tour (drummer Bill Ward reunited with the band briefly in 2015 to receive an award, but no signs of him taking part in the tour), The End Tour, which is being billed as “the beginning of the end.” The Birmingham band, starting with its 1970 self-titled debut, birthed heavy metal and went on to release influential albums for the next 4 decades, and the 180g, colored vinyl reissues of the first 6 albums are available now at Turntable Lab. The aforementioned first album would prove to be the demarcation between rock and roll and heavy metal, and the second album, Paranoid, followed soon after to shake up the world with absolute classics like “Iron Man” and “War Pigs.”
The third album, Master of Reality, was released in 1971, and the heftier sound it showcases (Iommi and Butler downtuned their guiatar/bass) helped define doom/stoner/sludge metal. Black Sabbath released its 4th album in 1972, and Vol.4 is notorious for the amount of cocaine and alcohol that Ozzy and gang consumed while recording it. Consequently, the band took more ambitious approaches on some of the songs, and that’s good because “Changes,” a piano ballad and now one of the biggest songs from BS’s catalog, came to be as a result.
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the heavy metal gods’ 5th studio album, came out in 1973. Due to tour fatigue and writer’s block induced by said fatigue and substance abuse, the band struggled to come up with material, but a castle in The forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England (Led Zeppelin had wrote/recorded here) would provide inspiration for one of the strongest albums in Black Sabbath’s catalog. About two years later, in 1975, Sabotage, the doom metal originators’ 6th album, dropped, and as the group was in the midst of an arduous legal battle (involving their former manager), there is even more anger and frustration in songs like “Hole In The Sky” and “Symptom of the Universe.”
Needless to say, the reissues should be welcome news for Black Sabbath/metal fans, and the fact that Warner Bros. chose to do a proper, audiophile-quality pressing for the 6 albums, which come housed in gatefold sleeves, definitely helps.