Nevertheless, it seems I have retained a bit of a soft spot for Black Sabbath and as they have just taken the number one album spot with ‘13’ – their first number one for 43 years, I’ve been inspired to purchase one or two newly re-mastered downloads of worn vinyl LPs so that I can relive their majestic grunge all over again. Back in the day, my first purchase was ‘Volume 4’, an album that used to get played a lot on ‘Fluff’ Freeman’s Saturday afternoon rock show. This was followed by the magnificent ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ and ‘Sabotage’ – the one with possibly the worst cover of all time - at which point I rather lost interest and moved on to other pastures, namely punk.
In retrospect, there is something gloriously uncomplicated about the
Black Country foursome that even
today warms the cockles of my rock heart.
Their Midlands based heavy industrial
heritage seems to have a voice in their pounding rhythms and grinding riffs as
if the factories themselves have manufactured them to order. There’s nothing I like better than the sound
of a Gibson SG and with Tony Iommi’s industrial-accident fingers on the
fretboard, that fat buzzing sound has never sounded better, especially when he
is constructing those spiralling duets over a crunching riff.
The only issue I have with listening to old Sabbath albums now is Ozzy Osbourne. I really struggle to reconcile the wild young singer of then with the comedy figure and star of ‘The Osbournes’ of now. Is it really the same person? Weird. I can’t help feeling that
Sharon would make a scarier front-person now. However, that disturbing image aside, it has
been a welcome return to the fold for my selected Sabbath albums, ones that will
sit on my iPod for a little longer whilst I revel in some industrial heritage. Unfortunately both the industry and the music
have gone, to be replaced by electronics in both instances. That’s progress for you.