Finally, something else everyone is sure to agree on!
January 31, 2019 9:32 PM   Subscribe

Every Black Sabbath Album Ranked! A definitive, uncontroversial list from the fine folks at Grauniad.


Most of them are better than Weezer’s.

Also in Black Sabbath News:
Black Sabbath Receiving Hometown Honor Next Month
Black Sabbath will be honored with a new tribute in their hometown of Birmingham, UK next month. According to Your West Side Story, a heavy metal steel bench that incorporates images of the band's original four members will be unveiled during a February 9 event in the city.

The steel bench will eventually be placed on the renamed Black Sabbath Bridge across the canal on Birmingham's Broad Street.
posted by Cookiebastard (35 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
The Januaries - Paranoid
posted by stevil at 10:11 PM on January 31

In case you only read the "21 covers" link: it's not Rivers Cuomo doing the vocal. It's Brian Bell. He spends a LOT of ink slagging Cuomo for it, though.
posted by yhbc at 10:51 PM on January 31

At least they got #1 right...
posted by Pyrogenesis at 11:37 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]

Black Sabbath peaked with Supernaut in 1972. It's a proven fact. What the ... heaven are Weezer are doing in this thread?
posted by philip-random at 11:41 PM on January 31 [7 favorites]

There are 8 Black Sabbath records: Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master of Reality, Volume 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage -- and a final two which we can consider as Black Sabbath's swan songs. Volume 4 is the finest of them all. This is just more fake news.
posted by os tuberoes at 12:54 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]

As someone who is completely clueless about rock / metal, I liked #1; it got quite jazzy!

[On a long drive where the only radio station was a rock station, I started coming up with this classification of rock into genres I could understand:

salsa clasica : motown / "rock around the clock"
salsa romantica : modern country (chase rice, sam hunt)
salsa dura : metallica? and most things that sound like truck commercials

but #1 would be like, everyone just banging on their instruments full out , then settling into a fast hot jazzy bit.]
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:54 AM on February 1

Loved Black Sabbath in the day.
posted by unliteral at 2:51 AM on February 1

Shit, down the rabbit hole now. Stuff I haven’t listened to for years. Led Zeppelin. Doors. Deep Purple.
posted by unliteral at 3:06 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]

This is actually a pretty good list. Personally, I would've made Heaven and Hell #2, but they certainly got #1 right.
posted by NoMich at 5:47 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]

Black Sabbath peaked with Supernaut in 1972.

Agreed. I think Symptom of the Universe (1975) is in this class as well.
posted by bwvol at 5:48 AM on February 1

As great as Supernaut is, their version is not even the best one. This one is.

One thing I will give Supernaut, it's one of Iommi's greatest riffs. Good god, that thing just hangs in my head all day long after hearing it.
posted by NoMich at 5:59 AM on February 1 [7 favorites]

I just borrowed Iommi's autobiography from the library, so this is relevant to my interests.
posted by fings at 6:00 AM on February 1

Martin was an identikit metal singer: he sings about Satan with all the menace of someone offering cheese samples at Morrisons deli counter.

This is a pretty good line. I LOL’d, may have to steal it for future Sabbath-related arguments.

I’m a “First four albums plus Sabotage with provisions” man myself, but I’m also a Dio fan so I’m fine with where Heaven and Hell sits.

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath shouldn’t be that high up on the list, IMO.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:02 AM on February 1

That Weezer cover of Paranoid sounds almost wilfully obtuse. Posers.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:10 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]

I think 13 is ranked too high. Only "Methademic" reached the heights of previous work.
posted by Ber at 7:01 AM on February 1

I really liked 13 and was thinking it should be higher on the list. Heh. "higher"
posted by NoMich at 7:14 AM on February 1

As great as Supernaut is, their version is not even the best one. This one is yt .

you may have a point there. Definitely the cause of the biggest, most savagely transcendent moshpit I've ever been part of. Lollapalooza 1992.

and speaking of Supernaut. The original link has been lost, but ...
posted by philip-random at 8:15 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]

I've recently been visiting Sabbath's 'Lost Years' 80's albums. I kinda like Born Again and Eternal Idol. They are exceedingly difficult CDs to find.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 8:20 AM on February 1

I love you Sweetleaf.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:34 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]

“Bakersfield California was destroyed today by the first four Black Sabbath albums...”

Fuck yeah it was!
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:29 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]

Forever I didn't give Dio a chance, until I did and then I was like, oh I love Dio.
posted by bdc34 at 9:46 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]

Any love out there for The Mob Rules (the song) or Neon Knights? Remember the Heavy Metal movie?
posted by bwvol at 10:11 AM on February 1 [6 favorites]

If there's a riff that's heavier *and* groovier than the one at 3:18 in Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, I haven't heard it.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:06 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]

If there's a riff that's heavier *and* groovier than the one at 3:18 in Sabbath Bloody Sabbath yt , I haven't heard it.

Okay, so. The first four albums, plus the Dio albums have never really left my regular album rotation over the years. But I ended up neglecting this album, so I'm giving Sabbath Bloody Sabbath a relisten right now. And now I'm kind of OK with the #2 ranking.

While you can hear some of the production excesses that would turn the later Ozzy-era albums into more bloated and shambolic outings begin to creep in (Tommy Iommi, I'm looking at you), it's still heavy as fuck. And you're right about the groove.

And then I remembered something just a minute ago...when I bought Sabbath Bloody Sabbath in high school, it was in one of those wasteful longboxes. The upside was that it gave me a larger-than-CD-format copy of the cover art that I could cut out and tape to the inside of my locker, sitting alongside the cover art from the longbox from Iron Maiden's Powerslave, IIRC.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:33 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]

Henry Rollins on the first four Black Sabbath albums.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:43 AM on February 1

The first CD I ever owned was Master of Reality, and I bought it at a grocery store. I remember at the time marveling over the facts that:

A. I could now enjoy the subtle nuance of Sabbath in digital form
B. That it was for sale - on sale - in a grocery store.

I went out and bought a CD player two paychecks later. Yes, I bought a Black Sabbath CD before I even had something to play it on.
posted by davelog at 12:28 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]

I'm flummoxed by Sabbath Bloody Sabbath's high position on this. It's listenable, but no-where near Great. Sabotage is far more cohesive and aggressive.

The list failed to make clear the obvious fact that Vol. 4 is the greatest Sabbath record. They are correct, however, with Technical Ecstasy being the worst of the Ozzy years. It's terrible.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 1:24 PM on February 1

Sabotage is far more cohesive and aggressive.

Fair. I mean, it's metal as hell.

Something I learned today: there's a whole bunch of Sabotage cover mashups people have made.

For example:

My Little Pony

Baby Metal

There are a bunch more. As an album cover, it always struck me as being daft.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:46 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

Whoa, TIL there's a version of "Planet Caravan" with clear vocals. Well, weird, plaintive, and raspy vocals, but hey.
posted by Wobbuffet at 9:04 PM on February 1

Nothing in the original run after Vol. 4 is especially cohesive. Sabotage and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath are both pretty good - Sabotage might have the higher high points but something about SBS still seems stronger overall.

Vol. 4 seems like it should be the best Sabbath album on paper, but I find it a little hard to get through the whole thing.

Master of Reality is probably the least controversial possible choice for number one.
posted by atoxyl at 10:08 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

So, Youtube just told me I'm probably interested in this:

Sweet Leaf Tony Iommi Coughing 10 minutes loop
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:37 PM on February 2

In praise of Vol. 4, though - "Under the Sun" might still be the most overlooked candidate for best Sabbath song?

Every time I listen to that song after not hearing it for a while I get to the point that the main (bump-badump-ba-dadada-dada) riff comes back in after the "every day comes and goes" part and I think, "damn, that's a great song." And then the last riff comes in.
posted by atoxyl at 11:23 AM on February 3

There is an entire concert in Paris in the 70’s on YouTube. You can see what a tight amazing band they were then and how everything after that was just junk. That’s not my opinion, that’s just science.
posted by misterpatrick at 5:31 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]

The song Black Sabbath on the album Black Sabbath by the band Black Sabbath is the most Black Sabbath thing that exists. It's like, how much more Black Sabbath could it be? The answer is none. None more Black Sabbath.
posted by Cookiebastard at 5:01 PM on February 12

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