I was asked this recently in a conversation about great covers. And, I got asked after they listened to the track I recommended, “…why does it always come back to Sabbath for you?”
It’s a good question.
Sabbath is something I had to go find on my own. Sure, Paranoid is everywhere (including one of my favorite video games...but that is for another day), and Ozzfest was a huge thing when I was in high school.
But to listen to a record, to actually sit and consume Black Sabbath, it took to college. And I fell right in immediately. This wasn’t a, “I had to warm to it” type thing. Nope, from the second I heard the first notes on the first Black Sabbath record, I was hooked.
I think what keeps me coming back after all these years is a few things. First its the fucking perspective on existence. Lines up with my own. Growing up where I did, I think people stayed away from Sabbath just on name alone (cause Jesus would be pissed I guess?), and never bothered to actually listen to Sabbath.
Every Black Sabbath song (or the vast majority) is about either 1) war, 2) drugs, 3) the failure of humanity to get a handle on itself (or possibly get a handle on 1) or 2)).
Ozzy just sounds disappointed in humanity most of the time. Some of that credit goes to Geezer, but its really Ozzy’s delivery that brings home the humanity has failed, and we all have to continue living through the failure.
You either die young, or live your days becoming more and more like Ivo Shandor.
And that fucking sound. Black Sabbath sounds claustrophobic and wide open at the same time. Between Geezer laying down the groove, Bill Ward’s fucking funky ass drum shit, and the god himself Tony Iommi’s impenetrable riff creation, you have like a primal sound.
For me, Black Sabbath is like a core element. You use it as a base to build on everything else.
Everything else feels lesser than. Even harder metal bands. Just if you cant get the music to groove like this or sound this tight just quit.
Like that’s the issue I have with a lot of the new shit. I listen to it, and I’m like, I would rather just go listen to Vol. 4 or some shit again.
I have always taken too much comfort in oblivion. I think humanity spends a ton of energy trying to be immortal. When I listen to Sabbath, it gives me a comfort that other people see the pain humanity gives itself and just….accepts what we deserve.
Sabbath learned to love the void.
And given how the world is right now, it’s the voice that makes the most sense to me.
So my prescription to you dear reader is this: get some Sabbath in your life. Not every track needs to be for you. For example, one of my friends does NOT like metal. Anything metal. But yet there is one song that he loves, and bought the record just to play it.
I think Sabbath is kind of like that. It will have something for you. Go listen to some records. For now, this one track is for you.