If you like the raw, rockin’ sound of early Zep, you should have a blast with this album. It’s a shockingly good recording, and the music is of course as heavy as it gets for 1970.
This Warner Brothers Green Label pressing DESTROYED the import copies we played it against with startling immediacy, tons of ambience, and loads of texture. The soundfield is HUGE — back wall to front wall, floor to ceiling, and WIDE. The bass is Right On The Money — deep, well-defined, and punchy.
If you want this effect:
“Sabbath’s slowed-down, murky guitar rock bludgeons the listener in an almost hallucinatory fashion, reveling in its own dazed, druggy state of consciousness.”
You need a copy that sounds the way this one does!
The Making of Black Sabbath
In August 1969 the band, who were then known as Earth, decided to change their name to Black Sabbath. Around the same time they recorded and distributed a demo version of their eponymous song. In December 1969 they recorded and released their debut single, “Evil Woman”. In January 1970, the band recorded and mixed the remaining seven songs that would appear on their debut album. The songs were recorded “live” and the entire process took just three days.
Guitarist Tony Iommi recalls recording live: “We thought ‘We have two days to do it and one of the days is mixing.’ So we played live. Ozzy was singing at the same time, we just put him in a separate booth and off we went. We never had a second run of most of the stuff.”
AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review
Black Sabbath’s debut album is given over to lengthy songs and suite-like pieces where individual songs blur together and riffs pound away one after another, frequently under extended jams. There isn’t much variety in tempo, mood, or the band’s simple, blues-derived musical vocabulary, but that’s not the point; Sabbath’s slowed-down, murky guitar rock bludgeons the listener in an almost hallucinatory fashion, reveling in its own dazed, druggy state of consciousness.
Songs like the apocalyptic title track, “N.I.B.,” and “The Wizard” make their obsessions with evil and black magic seem like more than just stereotypical heavy metal posturing because of the dim, suffocating musical atmosphere the band frames them in. This blueprint would be refined and occasionally elaborated upon over the band’s next few albums, but there are plenty of metal classics already here
Behind the Wall of Sleep
The titles “Wasp”, “Bassically” and “A Bit of Finger” are unique to the North American editions. They are not extra songs but rather a name for some part of a song, for example “Bassically” is simply the bass introduction of “N.I.B”. “Wasp” is the title of the first ‘suite’ (Behind the Wall of Sleep / Bassically / N.I.B.), and “A Bit of Finger” is the name of the second ‘suite’ (Sleeping Village / Warning). The album features separate songs bridged together with these titles added.
The original North American releases of the album had “Wicked World” in place of “Evil Woman” due to conflicts over publishing rights.