Black Sabbath's fifth album, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, released in early 1974, saw the band continue on with their more adventurous, experimental ways, yet losing none of the power that they'd basically made their living on up to that point. Produced by the band themselves during a stay at the creepy Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire, the album not only had awesomely evil album artwork but the music was just as ominous as well. Warner Bros & Rhino have remastered Sabbath Bloody Sabbath with the help of Andy Pearce & Matt Wortham, giving this landmark album the sonic clarity it has so deserved. Housed in a digipack format, the CD comes complete with original artwork, lyrics, photography, an essay about the album filled with interview snippets from the band.
With the opening riff to the classic title track, it was instantly apparent that Tony Iommi still had plenty of ideas up his sleeve, and this song became a clear fan favorite that still lasts to this day. "A National Acrobat" continuous with the crushing doom, another heavy track with a dark feel, the band adding in plenty of twists and changes which went right in line with their trend of writing more adventurous arrangements. The brief yet lovely instrumental "Fluff" comes next, providing a brief tranquil moment before the onslaught that is "Sabbra Cadabra", another song filled with masterful Iommi guitar work as well as wicked vocals courtesy of Ozzy Osbourne. The rhythm team of Bill Ward & Geezer Butler really kick this one into overdrive, as they do on "Killing Yourself to Live", a moody but steamrolling hard rocker that is another of the albums highlights, complete with a killer vocal from Ozzy. The first of the albums more 'playful' tunes comes in the form of "Who Are You', much more of a prog rock number filled with Moog synthesizer layers from guest star and Yes keyboard legend Rick Wakeman, and "Looking for Today" is quite upbeat for Sabbath, with bright Ozzy vocals, flute, and acoustic guitars complementing the heavy rock riffs. The mysterious "Spiral Architect" closes out the album, another proggy number that seemingly signals what was to come on the bands next album Sabotage, with layers of swirling guitars, strings, keyboards, and emotional vocals.
Not wanting to be content with just cranking out lumbering heavy rock riffs, Black Sabbath created an album in Sabbath Bloody Sabbath that impressed not only their fans, but the critics as well with its blend of heavy doom and eerie progressive rock. In the annals of their history, it's an album that has stood the test of time as one of their most impressive, and this 2016 remaster presents it in spectacular fashion.
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1) Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
2) A National Acrobat
4) Sabbra Cadabra
5) Killing Yourself to Live
6) Who Are You
7) Looking For Today
8) Spiral Architect