Black Sabbath survived Doomsday simply by being at the right place at the right time. During a performance in Geneva, news that nuclear war had erupted reached the band; Switzerland was not nuked, due to the neutrality of the nation, leaving Sabbath stranded in Switzerland, in the midst of a global crisis. The band immediately cancelled the rest of the Born Again tour that they were on, as their next event was directly to the north of Nuremberg, a nuked city.
The band is often considered to be the best extant hard rock band, and is consistently listed among the top musical acts to have survived Doomsday.
After Tony Iommi and Bill Ward's old blues-based rock band, Mythology, broke up, they formed the Polka Tulk Blues Band with Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler, who were previously in a band called Rare Breed, in 1968. The band was renamed Earth in 1969, but was mistaken for another regional band of the same name, and so decided to pick the name Black Sabbath, which stuck. The band recorded their first studio album, Black Sabbath (1970), which peaked at 8 in the UK and 23 in the US.See here for a sample of one of Black Sabbath's earlier, bluesier, songs, "Black Sabbath," from their debut album Black Sabbath:
The real breakthrough into the mainstream of rock and roll came with Paranoid, Black Sabbath's sophomore album. With singles Paranoid/The Wizard and Iron Man/Electric Funeral, Paranoid reached number 1 in the UK and 12 in the US. Black Sabbath toured the US following the release of Paranoid. Critics, however loathed it.
The third album by Black Sabbath, Master of Reality, was not as popular, charting at 8 in the US and 5 in the UK. It still contained classic hard rock music, however, with hits like Children of the Grave and Sweet Leaf. The fourth album, named Vol. 4, was even less popular in the mainstream charts (peaking at 8 in the UK and 13 in the US). The only single released from of Vol. 4, Tomorrow's Dreams, was a flop, failing to even chart.
Fearing obsolescence, Black Sabbath returned with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath in 1973. This album peaked at 4 in the UK, but only reached 11 in the US. This was the first time that the band gained media affection, with Rolling Stone saying that the album was "an extraordinarily gripping affair", and "nothing less than a complete success."
During this time, a "New Wave" of British heavy metal began to emerge, though it was obscure at this time with bands such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden eventually coming to dominate in this genre by the early 1980s challenging the "Old Wave" of bands such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple with faster and harder approaches to their music, and stripped-down playing styles without blues or folk influences. Following Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the band, led by Tony Iommi, decided to move away from mainstream rock and focus on the harder aspects of the genre. Their next album, Sabotage, received mixed reviews. Drugs and alcohol greatly reduced the chemistry of the band. Technical Ecstasy, Black Sabbath's seventh studio album continued to go downhill, failing to even break into the Top 50 in the US.
Never Say Die!, the last studio album to feature popular singer Ozzy Osbourne was recorded during seriously deteriorating relations between Iommi and Butler against Osbourne, who was highly addicted to both drugs and alcohol. This album marked the lowest point for Black Sabbath, which failed to reform to the emerging "New Wave of Heavy Metal."
Ronnie James Dio Years
When Ozzy Osbourne was kicked out of Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath manager Don Arden suggested Rainbow's vocalist Ronnie James Dio to replace Ozzy. Dio joined in June of 1979, changing the sound of Black Sabbath to align more with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, with fantasy-inspired lyrics changing much of the band's sound and later defining Dio's solo career.
The first album to feature Ronnie James Dio, Heaven and Hell, was a smashing success, with singles "Die Young" and "Neon Knights" leading the band onto a tour of the US. 1981's Mob Rules was also popular, gaining international recognition.
In 1982, though, Iommi and Butler had a falling out with Dio, while recording the live album Live Evil, and Dio eventually left in November to start his own band with drummer Vinnie Appice. Live Evil was released regardless of Dio's absence, but the band knew that they had to find a new vocalist capable of competing with Dio.
Following Dio and Appice leaving, Iommi and Butler began to audition new singers for the band's next release. Eventually, ex-Deep Purple vocalist, Ian Gillan was hired to replace Dio at the end of 1982. Bill Ward, the original drummer returned for the new album, Born Again. After Born Again's release, it was panned by critics despite reaching number four on the UK charts and number 39 in the US. A tour was planned, but Ward was unable to go on the tour due to health issues. Ward was replaced for the tour by Bev Bevan, former drummer for Electric Light Orchestra.
The Born Again Tour, which was slated to run from August 7th, 1983 to March 4th, 1984 in order to advertise the newest Black Sabbath Album, brought Black Sabbath to Switzerland in late September of 1983.
During a fateful night in Geneva, Switzerland, Black Sabbath was playing at a sports complex, the Pavillion Des Sports Del Champel Geneve. Ironically, during the song War Pigs, news reached the audience that nuclear war had begun. The band members, believing that it was a joke or one of Tony Iommi's famous pranks, continued to play on. The band made it into the next song, Born Again, but partway through it they were forced to cancel the concert due to the chaos in the crowd.
The band members then found out that nuclear war was happening, and they then locked themselves in a local fallout shelter, waiting for the worst to occur. When nothing happened, the band remembered after panicking, that Switzerland was a neutral country. As Geneva was on the French border, it received a high dosage of fallout compared to the rest of the nation, confining the Sabbath members to the shelter, as ordered by the government.
After the fallout levels in Geneva reduced to a safe level, the band members emerged from the shelter to a world, that literally overnight had been brought to its knees by the much-feared power of nuclear war, and the British band had survived by plain dumb luck, albeit in an alien land. Black Sabbath put the rest of the Born Again Tour on perpetual hold. The members of the band put much of their musical lives on hold due to the worldwide crisis that stranded them in Switzerland, with no apparent way of leaving for a long time. Martial law was tough on the band members, who had to work for their food rations, but they eventually got through. Several times, in fact, local authorities got the band together to play classic Black Sabbath and Deep Purple songs, along with a few jam tunes written by Iommi. This became a sort of informal job for the band, and the constant touring managed to build a large following in the region. The sessions playing in Switzerland eventually influenced the band heavily in their later works.
Iommi, Butler, and Gillan, were ready to leave Switzerland for a more stable nation preferably in the Anglosphere. However, due to Doomsday and the events in its wake, they were stranded in the Austro-Schweiz Union for the foreseeable future. Geezer Butler, in particular voiced disdain for the the Union's policy of rejecting refugees, stating in a later interview, "It could've just as easily been us outside the borders. It's just wrong to kick people out to die".
Black Sabbath, however, was left without its band manager Don Arden, presumably dead somewhere in Britain. Iommi stated on this: "We were kind of devastated. Here we were, stranded in a neutral country by pure luck, the only Englishmen in sight. We couldn't record albums until we got signed and a new manager, and we had little more to do after we returned from our jobs, so we bought some cheap equipment and just recorded. Our anger and frustration kind of rubbed off on our music".In November of 1984, after the last band member, Bev Bevan, was discharged from working jobs for the nation, Black Sabbath, inspired by the Beatles and their Apple Records label, acquired their own independent recording studio in Montreaux, the famed Mountain Studios. Renamed Black Mountain Studios, Iommi also created an independent publisher, known as Doomed and Damned Records. The equipment, while of professional quality, quickly became a small issue as parts began to stop working and, due to lack of imports from other nations, the gear ended up being described by Iommi as a "piece of ****". January 1st was the day Sabbath began to record again, almost two years after that fateful night in Geneva.
Ian Gillan Years
During recording sessions in Geneva, Iommi and Butler clashed with Gillan, with Iommi and Butler wanting a classic-style Sabbath album, and Gillan wanting to include elements from his years in Deep Purple, and several times, it descended into something of a feud, with the only thing keeping the band together being friendship between some of the members, and knowledge that they are some of the few Englishmen in the nation and that they should stick together. The equipment, however, was something that united the bandmates, as it frequently malfunctioned, and sometimes noises carried over onto recordings. In response to this, the band played slower and louder, and Gillan did similarly with his voice, singing rather slowly, yet loudly, which frequently bordered screaming. This would later come to define a genre that built up around Black Sabbath in Switzerland.
On October 31, 1985, Positively Negative was released as Black Sabbath's 12th studio album, and the band's first album since Doomsday. The album was a surprising success, with the low ratings of the previous album making critics wonder if Gillan was a force for the better. Despite the lo-fi production, it was reviewed favorably by critics, with the new Sabbath sound as a highlight, as well as some throwback tracks to earlier Black Sabbath and Deep Purple tunes. Two singles were released, Yet We Remain, a depressing ballad-esque song that was dedicated to those who perished during Doomsday. While Black Sabbath was not known for sad mournful songs acknowledging specific past events, the loss of most of their family members back in England took its toll on everyone in the band. The single was positively reviewed by critics, with one likening it to another Sabbath ballad, Changes, and Positively Negative, the titular track which addressed a global sense of bipolarity and mental insanity after Doomsday, as perceived at the local level by Black Sabbath after their work to restore the Austro-Schweiz Union.
The new genre, popularly known as Trash Metal due to a Swiss music critic criticizing the lo-fi sound that came from Black Sabbath imitator band, Dusk. The term, however, eventually spread to describe Black Sabbath, due to the fact that several of their songs sounded notably worse than others due to issues with the recording equipment. This later became a mark of the genre, and many artists strove towards a lo-fi sound
Following the success of their album, a tour was planned, but for obvious reasons, it could not be as large as prior tours. The band decided to tour the Austro-Schweiz Union, however. The tour dates follow:
Positively Negative Tour 1985
- November 4, Geneva
- November 6, Lausanna
- November 11, Bern
- November 13, Basel
- November 15, Zurich
- November 21, Innsbruck
- November 23, Lienz
- November 25, Klagenfurt
- November 27, Graz
- December 3, Salzburg
Following the tour, the band got to work on its 13th album. However, the feud between Gillan and Iommi/Butler only grew worse during this time, with production on the album stopping completely at times. The title was conceived as a clever response to those calling the new sub-genre of "Trash Metal", with Butler stating later that: "It was almost something of a joke then. Gillan, Iommi ... I guess we all were somewhat sick of the blokes calling us absolute Trash Metal, but also entertained."
During the period of production, the band embarked on several small "tours" in Switzerland promoting the release of two singles, which were released between the release of Positively Negative and Garbage Metal. These singles, known as "Doom Blade" and "Embers of Mutiny", were released in 1986 and 1988, respectively. Neither of the singles were very popular or well received but they were among the best music coming from the Union at the time.
For the small tour promoting the release of Silver Snow, the band went to the Italian survivor state of Genoa to perform. During the concert in Genoa, however, the Sicilian Navy, began to shell the city. The band's venue was out of the immediate range of the artillery attacks, but the band members barely made it out, and it left Black Sabbath with a very bad taste of the Sicilian Republic in their mouths.
After over four years without a new album, Garbage Metal was released on March 27, 1989. The album, however, would come to be remembered as one of Black Sabbath's worst entries, as the songs sounded very similar to the songs on the previous album, but had no real standout tracks, unlike Positively Negative. Black Sabbath toured again to support the album, going along their normal circuit in the Austro-Swiss Union. Plans for an Italian leg were scrapped, as the region was in turmoil over the Sicilian developments.
Gillan and Bevan Leave
Just a few weeks after the end of the Garbage Metal tour, on June 9, 1989, Ian Gillan decided to leave Black Sabbath in order to pursue a solo career in Zürich - a move which both Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio had previously made. Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler then determined the need for a new vocalist. Ian Gillan cited his reasoning for leaving being that he was increasingly fed up with Iommi and Butler, and the fact that he disliked being in the band all along over the past few years.
When Gillan announced to the band that he was leaving, Bevan indicated that he already knew of Gillan's decision. The two were decently close friends, and Bevan decided to go with Gillan to start a new band, Storm Clouds, which had Bevan on drums and Gillan on vocals.
Thomas Gabriel Fischer Years
Iommi, the band's leader, and Geezer Butler, pressed with the loss of half of their band, chose to recruit the most famous local musicians to help their popularity in the Austro-Swiss Union. Both musicians, not knowing when or if future travel outside of a locality would be possible, decided that advertising the band to the local audience would improve not only their ratings but would also allow the band to get an entirely new direction.
Iommi, who had established a number of local friends in the region, asked Thomas Gabriel Fischer (who went by the stage-name Tom G Warrior) to join Black Sabbath. Fischer's earlier band, Celtic Frost, had recently broken up and Fischer, who was a huge fan of Black Sabbath's earlier work, was extremely glad to join. Fischer, through his distinct singing style, brought darker themes back to Black Sabbath, while sounding distinct from Ozzy Osbourne.
Along with Fischer, a drummer, Stefan Alois, was recruited from the Italian-speaking town of Lugano. Alois' band, Cromo, was undergoing some line-up changes, including the loss of guitarist Guido Gagliano to Gillan's new band. Alois also brought extensive singing and songwriting capabilities to Black Sabbath, and his drumming style was influential to the continuation of the heavy, harsh sounds that came to represent Black Sabbath at this time.
Back to Dust
Returning to Montreux and Black Mountain Studios, which by now had become a regional center for metal studio recording, Black Sabbath got to work on its 14th album. Back to Dust was a reference to the utter destruction of the world during Doomsday. Unlike Positively Negative and Garbage Metal, which attempted to look to the future with optimism, which many deemed unfit for heavy metal, Back to Dust was heavily laden with darker themes of hate, bloodlust and evil.
The lead single "Fireball" describes the rumored scenes of destruction in London, Paris, and Rome by using fast guitar riffs, heavy drums and loud lyrics. The single shot to the top of Austro-Swiss music charts. Critics and other fans in the region were utterly impressed by the resurgence of Black Sabbath, which was anticipated to be on its way out, following the weak album Garbage Metal, and Gillan's departure. Following "Fireball" came "Bloodbath," which also was based in the Doomsday destruction and featured one of the most famous Tony Iommi riffs, and definitely the most aggressive riff.
On June 5, 1990, Back to Dust was released. It set a record for the best-selling album in Switzerland, and remained the most popular album in the Austro-Swiss Union for 84 weeks, and stayed on the charts for a total of 92 weeks (or one and three-quarter years).
The "Back to Dust Tour" was the largest undertaken by Black Sabbath since Doomsday. The following is a list of performances given as part of the "Back to Dust Tour."
Ides of March
Following the immense success of Back to Dust, Sabbath returned from its tour throughout Europe, with metal fans across the Austro-Swiss confident that Black Sabbath was not only saved from obsolescence from the rapidly-fragmenting metal scene, they retained their status as the "Beatles of Heavy Metal", at least in the Austro-Schweiz Union and its environs, where the albums were readily available. The next album was quickly hurried into production, with the band eager to follow up on the success of Back to Dust.
During early 1991, several bands were signed on to Doomed and Damned Records, mostly associated acts such as local metal bands, which often were opening acts for Black Sabbath's show. Eventually, several of these bands would become successful on their own, netting more money for Black Sabbath in the end. 1991 also marked the year that Black Sabbath finally received a limited amount of recording and performance equipment to replace the old equipment, which was rapidly becoming outdated.
The album Ides of March was released on March 15, 1992 and had subject matter in several of its songs dealing with Romans and the assassination of Caesar to be specific in the titular track. This led many to label the album a concept album, although members of Black Sabbath have personally stated that it is not. The songs on the album themselves were considered strong, but not considered masterworks, leading to the album to have relatively high sales, and a tour was held that played at most of the cities that held events for the From Dust tour.
Live Again!, Wyrmsfang, and other projects
Following Ides of March, the band took a slightly longer than average hiatus from making albums, albeit they did not stop all of their musical projects. In 1993, a single, "London Bridge Is Falling Down", was released as a play on the English nursery rhyme, based upon themes from the destruction of the cities of England in 1983 - which included the presumed destruction of the original bandmates' families and possessions in England. The single got moderately good reviews. Several other singles were released in late 1993 to 1994, but none were notable.
In late 1994, a live album in two parts was released known as Live Again! The first part of the album encompassed several of the informal jam sessions and shows held after Doomsday, but before the band wrote Positively Negative, with several unreleased songs included in the album. The second part of the album encompassed some songs from some of the highlight shows from Negative onwards. The band has been asked why they did not release a live album earlier, and they have stated as a reply that "We were too busy".
A studio album was finally released in early 1995 known as Wyrmsfang, but it acquired abysmal sales and even less publicity in the Alpine Confederation, due to the rise of contemporary Swiss musicians at the time. The album continued the band's experiments in science fiction, horror and history-based themes in their songs. The album was not well received, with one critic calling the lyrics "cheesy" and a "disgrace to the band's previous works". However, the album did receive modest sales outside of the Confederation, as their albums began to become available in other nations, with the opening up of the world.
The metal universe had become highly fractured, though, with the isolation of various nations resulting in nation-specific subgenres emerging in places such as the Nordic Union and Celtic Alliance, and sales were not as good as predicted, though they were high for a post-Doomsday artist. Many wondered if the band could retain its status as the "Beatles of Heavy Metal".
Final Hunt and the Black Hunt: 1999 Tour
The stakes were high when Sabbath attempted to reach out to overseas audiences with the band's new album. Final Hunt was released in 1998, after much time in the recording studio, with the band seeking to gain more of an overseas audience, and thus using various styles of music in their album that have developed in various nations such as Nordic death metal and Viking/Celtic metal to name a couple. The album gained slightly more sales than the previous album in the Alpine Confederacy, yet still received poor sales. Reviews were better, but they were average at best. Many fans, however, ate up the album, especially outside of the Confederacy, and to this day it remains a fan favorite.
Black Sabbath also embarked on a much larger tour than previous tours. Known as the Black Hunt: 1999 tour, it would attain legendary status to fans worldwide, with gear from the tour fetching a high price after the tour itself. Important for being the first major band tour in Europe attempted post-Doomsday, and it would symbolize the end of the factionalization of the metal genre due to isolation. The tour would also be famous for a return of a familiar face.
Return of Osbourne
After a show in the city of Dublin, Ozzy Osbourne, who had survived Doomsday quite intact in New London recently got word of the fact that Black Sabbath was still around and was headquartered in the Alpine Confederation, where the band was quite popular. Ozzy reacted in disbelief at first, as he presumed his former band-mates were either dead or the band was since disbanded. If the band had survived, Ozzy also believed that they would be in the Celtic Union, not the Alpine Confederation. In whatever circumstances they arose from Doomsday, Ozzy wanted to meet them or the people claiming to be Black Sabbath so he sent a letter to the band while they were in a hotel in Dublin that they were staying in for some time. The letter outlined his circumstances and how he survived Doomsday and eventually made it to the Celtic Alliance.After receiving the letter, the band was shocked. Here was Ozzy Osbourne, a man presumed dead in the fires of England on that fateful September day. The man could be an imposter, yet Iommi and Butler, who had known Ozzy for a long period of time could only see the man who sent the letter to be Osbourne himself. Eventually the band decided to meet the man who sent the letter in Liverpool, where they were briefly meeting family and friends for the first time since Doomsday.
Arriving at the pub, Iommi and Butler discovered that the man who sent the letter was indeed Osbourne, and he was quite alive. While at the pub, he explained the story told in the letter in further detail. In the end, Osbourne decided that though he would like to rejoin the band, he saw that Black Sabbath was doing fine without him. If possible, however, he stated that he would rejoin the band if they needed a vocalist, as his current job was not as appealing to him as rejoining Sabbath.
When returning to the Confederation, the band was divided. Iommi and Butler were all for eventually moving back to Britain, as they always thought of living in the Confederation as temporary residence due to the circumstances they were put in by Doomsday, and contact with old family members and friends made them want to return even more. However, Fischer and was inclined to stay, as they had lived in the area for their whole life and did not want to move due to him abandoning his entire life in the Confederation. Tensions rose to the point where a feud broke out between the Fischer and the others. Recording on the next album was going by very slowly, and the Celtic Union was often on Iommi's and Butler's mind. Finally, on the 22nd of October, Iommi and Butler decided to move to Liverpool which had recently joined the Celtic Alliance, and Alois and Fischer grudgingly came. The band's new headquarters was set up in Liverpool, and Iommi bought the building once known as Phillips' Sound Recording Studios, the site of a Quarrymen recording; this studio would become Black Sabbath's official recording studio and the new headquarters of the Doomed and Damned Records label, owned by Iommi. Little recording was accomplished, due to Fischer's feuding with the rest of the band. Almost certain that Osbourne was to take his spot, he unceremoniously left the band three months later, moved back to the Confederation, and founded the band Alpengeist. Alois stayed, however, citing the fact that he wanted a "fresh start" and always wanted to live in Britain.
Ozzy Osbourne Renaissance
Black Sabbath, short a singer, and desperately needing to work on the next album, notified Osbourne of the open position. Osbourne was overjoyed and quickly rejoined the band. Black Sabbath immediately got to work on its newest album, entitled Renaissance to showcase Osbourne's return, but was also the first album since Doomsday to really return to the classic Black Sabbath sound. Critics have also claimed the title was even, to a certain extent, a reflection upon the current "rebirth" going on in the world, as it begins to come out of the wake of Doomsday. Recording on the old album was scrapped, and Renaissance began to emerge.
Renaissance was released on August 22, 2002 and almost immediately sped to the top of the music charts in the Celtic Alliance. Black Sabbath's music had been avidly purchased by heavy metal fans since it was made available, which resulted in the band still having some popularity in the region prior to the release. The album showcased many classic-sounding songs, like the Nietzsche-based single "To Live is to Suffer" and several other songs that represented different periods of the band's sound. Renaissance eventually sold the most out of every Black Sabbath album released after Doomsday, and critics praised it for staying true to the band's spirit, but also managing to remain innovative.
To promote Renaissance, a relatively large tour was undertaken. The band went throughout the Celtic Alliance but also throughout other British fragments, parts of France, Germany and up the Baltic into the Nordic Union. By the time Black Sabbath returned from the Renaissance Tour, they were confident that they were a leader in the European post-Doomsday music field, with critics continuing to approve of their albums, with one calling it "the closest we can get to a Black Sabbath anthology, but also a damn good album in its own right".
The Best of Black Sabbath
As the music critic would soon find out with delight, a Black Sabbath anthology was already in the works. From Doomed and Damned Records came a completely remastered set of the top 32 songs in Black Sabbath's epic career. The Best of Black Sabbath was released on February 6, 2003, shortly after the success of Renaissance and had a variety of songs from their 18 studio albums, spanning all eras and singers, from their eponymous first album to their latest work, Renaissance. The anthology was quickly picked up by almost all heavy metal fans eager to get hold of formerly rare albums from the time when Black Sabbath was in the Alpine Confederation. This album also served to expand the market for Black Sabbath in other regions that were receiving new Black Sabbath albums for the first time, and it was an excellent version for the first-timers exposed to Sabbath's music.
After The Best of Black Sabbath and Renaissance, the band took their time on their next album, seeking to avoid the decline in sales that happened after the first albums to feature a new singer which had plagued the band. Until 2005, nothing major had happened with the band, leading many fans to believe that they had quit making regular albums or were working on a major project. The latter turned out to be true when Pen Ddraig was released to little fanfare in early 2005.
The album was a two-record collection of songs mostly relating to Celtic (specifically Welsh) history and mythology, as the title is "Pendragon" in Welsh, referring to the mythical King Arthur's last name. More of a concept album than The Ides of March, it still was not officially labelled one. The album was considered a sleeper hit. Though most of the songs being considered strong, there were no major standout tracks.
After Pen Ddraig, another studio album was in the works, yet the time between the albums began to grow due to the aging of the band members. In 2012, Tony Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma. However, that did not impede the recording sessions and the new album, entitled 13 was released on March 13, 2013. With hits that explored new territory, but also hearkening back to the old days of the band, 13 got generally positive reviews amongst critics, though it was decried by some for being to similar to Renaissance.The album was followed by the most ambitious tour Black Sabbath has conducted to date. The tour started in the Celtic Alliance, with a few gigs in major cities in the Alliance, culminating in a massive (for post-Doomsday standards) concert in the Lansdowne Road sports complex in Dublin. They then swung south to their old headquarters in the Alpine Confederacy starting that leg of the tour in Geneva. The neighboring countries of Genoa and Monaco were visited after their concerts in the Confederacy before going north to Bavaria. A flight was then boarded to Aarhus in Denmark, and the Nordic Union was toured. With the European leg over, Black Sabbath flew to Canada and finally to ANZC, where fans happily greeted their first performance in the Southern Hemisphere. The tour ended in Adelaide to a rousing fanfare. This moment, to many, symbolized the true rebirth of the international music scene after Doomsday and it was broadcast on television in the ANZC, and was watched by many non-rock music fans.
Following the tour, Black Sabbath agreed to participate in the Seven Against Doomsday megaconcert but only for part of the European leg.
Jason Newsted Era
Musical Style and Influences
Black Sabbath, being one of the original heavy metal bands, was a massive influence upon a multitude of other musical groups. Prior to Doomsday, the heavy metal sound that Black Sabbath had pioneered showed great promise, and the heavy metal continued to play a large role in the greater rock 'n' roll community after Doomsday.
Originally, the band was heavily influenced by blues music heavily. Similar acts, like Led Zeppelin and Cream, had begun to emerge prior to Black Sabbath, and Iommi and Osbourne took this new genre and eventually made the music more similar to the modern definition of heavy metal. However, their music was considered the "Old Wave of British Heavy Metal", after acts such as Judas Priest and Motorhead nixed much of the blues influence.
Under the vocal influences of Ronnie James Dio, however, Black Sabbath caved in to the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal", with the band playing a notably different sound. This continued roughly until Gillan leaved the band in 1989. However, in the last few years of the Gillan-era Black Sabbath, "trash metal" became the most identifiable sound of Black Sabbath.
With the arrival of Thomas Gabriel Fischer and Stefan Alois, the musical style of Black Sabbath once again shifted. Now, the band focused on louder music, fulling embracing the "trash metal" stereotype, but also incorporating darker themes. After Fischer left the band and Osbourne rejoined in 2000, the musical style returned to its roots, especially starting with Renaissance which literally and figuratively was a rebirth of classic heavy metal. As such, some blues influences can be heard in 13.
- Black Sabbath - 1970
- Paranoid - 1970
- Master of Reality - 1971
- Vol. 4 - 1972
- Sabbath Bloody Sabbath - 1973
- Sabotage - 1975
- Technical Ecstasy - 1976
- Never Say Die! - 1978
- Live at Last ‡ - 1979
- Heaven and Hell - 1980
- Mob Rules - 1981
- Live Evil - 1982
- Born Again - 1983
- Positively Negative - 1985
- Garbage Metal - 1989
- Back to Dust - 1990
- Ides of March - 1992
- Live Again! - 1994
- Wyrmsfang - 1995
- Final Hunt - 1998
- Renaissance - 2002
- The Best of Black Sabbath - 2003
- Pen Ddraig - 2005
- 13 - 2013
‡ - Not officially released by Black Sabbath.
- Tony Iommi
- Guitar (1969 - Present)
- Ozzy Osbourne
- Vocals (1969 - 1979; 2001 - Present)
- Ronnie James Dio
- Vocals (1979 - 1982)
- Ian Gillan
- Vocals (1982 - 1989)
- Thomas Gabriel Fischer
- Vocals (1989 - 2001)
- Geezer Butler
- Bass (1969 - Present)
- Bill Ward
- Drums (1969 - 1980; 1983; 2006 - Present)
- Vinny Appice
- Drums (1980 - 1982)
- Bev Bevan
- Drums (1983 - 1989)
- Stefan Alois
- Drums (1989 - 2006)
Top Ten Black Sabbath Songs
According to Q1's 2003 edition of Doomsday, the world's paramount heavy metal magazine, the Top Ten Black Sabbath songs are:
- "Paranoid" - From Paranoid
- "War Pigs" - From Paranoid
- "Bloodbath" - From Back to Dust
- "Iron Man" - From Paranoid
- "To Live is To Suffer" - From Renaissance
- "Ides of March" - From Ides of March
- "Heaven and Hell" - From Heaven and Hell
- "Europa Barbarus" - From Ides of March
- "Pendragon" - From Pen Ddraig
- "N.I.B." - From Black Sabbath
Critics have generally agreed with the assessments of the magazine, and many observers note the prevalence of many hit singles from the breakthrough album Paranoid and suggest that the reissue of the anthology The Best of Black Sabbath as having largely impacted this decision by Q1.
Biggest Black Sabbath Fanbases
Q1's Doomsday compiled a list of countries where Black Sabbath has the largest following in 2014, based upon sales of albums, merchandise, and ticket sales for the recently completed 13 Tour.