Paranoid @ No. 1


As a follow up to our earlier Paranoid @ 40 blog post we are celebrating the LP reaching the top of the UK album charts. As you can see from the advert we obtained from the Vertigo Swirl website which was published in the October 10th edition of Record Mirror, the lable were very proud of this landmark achievement for them and the band.  I wonder if they could have ever imagined that the record would still be making waves all these years on. We asked Dr Andy Cope, author of Black Sabbath and the Rise of Heavy Metal to give the musicology perspective on the album which reached the top of the UK album charts 40 years ago. He gave us this summary of some of the material he covers in far greater detail in his book.
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“The release of Paranoid was a defining moment in the history and development of heavy metal. Paranoid emerged, within Black Sabbath’s initial triptych of seminal albums, as a masterpiece of compositional architecture. With Paranoid, Black Sabbath not only maintained the unique synthesis of hammer horror type lyrics, tense musical devices and aggressive guitar riffs that they first presented on Black Sabbath, but further formulated that model by incorporating an enhanced adoptation of medieval modes and orchestral structuring.

‘War Pigs’, for example, has eight highly contrasting programmatic themes that develop in the same way as might typically be found in an orchestral movement or symphonic poem. The melodic elements in ‘War Pigs’ are formed from a balance of Mixolydian, Aeolian and pentatonic minor lines which combine with striking contrasts in dynamics, tempo and tonal shades to provide a musical form that was completely unique at that time and in complete contrast to the more common cyclic structural types, such as the verse/chorus and 12 bar blues, that dominated the rock generic of that period.

‘War Pigs’, along with other key tracks such as ‘Iron Man’, ‘Hand of Doom’ and ‘Fairies Wear Boots’, exemplifies the level of musical maturity achieved on Paranoid and explains why this album subsequently became a blueprint for the compositional norms of heavy metal to this day.”    

Dr Andrew L Cope BA (Hons), MGTC, LLCM(TD), ALCM,?Author of ‘Black Sabbath and the Rise of Heavy Metal Music’    ?? ?’…not only the best book ever written on the influence of Black Sabbath in?Heavy Metal, but a fine, intelligent study of the genre as a whole’.? Steve Earles; Live 4 Metal