Exposé Online banner

Black Sabbath — Black Sabbath
(Vertigo VO 6, 1970, LP)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2017-04-06

Black Sabbath Cover art

Black Sabbath is undoubtedly as famous and as influential as any rock band out there, the progenitor of one, if not two or more, genres, but allow me the space, if not the sheer cheek at looking at this first album differently, not as the first album by the pioneers of heavy metal but one of a stable of early 70s Vertigo label progressive rock bands. This is an illusion almost instantly dispelled by their second album, Paranoid, but if you can forget the rest of their history, this sits pretty closely to the sheer audacity of a lot of their Vertigo label mates. Perhaps closest were the hard rock groups like Clear Blue Sky, May Blitz, and Warhorse, but this was really no less inventive than jazz rockers Nucleus or jazz-blues rockers Colosseum or even the great Gentle Giant. Vertigo was one of the most fertile and wide-ranging of the early 70s English labels and in many ways, the success of Black Sabbath memorialized that tradition. Like with a lot of early 70s hard rock, Sabbath's songs could be lengthy and multifaceted, not only with two suites here, but the absolutely legendary title and band track which was a horror movie brought to life, its slow creeping dread developing into a rocking gallop with terrific guitar playing. If the album had stopped there it would still be a stone classic, but the rest of it never lets up, bringing forward the blues rock tradition in a completely unique and dark way. Sabbath did a lot of great albums after this for sure, but there's something a bit naïve and sinister about this one that they really never topped later on. It managed to be raw if you looked at it one way and refined if you looked at it another way.


Filed under: New releases, 1970 releases

Related artist(s): Black Sabbath

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bill Frisell - Unspeakable – Bill Frisell’s first Grammy winning CD is a major achievement on many fronts. Frisell doesn’t blow you away like many other experienced guitarists — he is the cardinal of understatement,...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues