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Black Sabbath


Most metal-watchers agree: Black Sabbath is the number one most influential metal band of all time. So why the Sabs? For starters, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward are widely credited with inventing the genre, both in quality and quantity, cranking out two hallmarks of intention and thus influence on this count. The witchy debut from early 1970, and Paranoid from late 1970, are considered the first two truly modern “heavy metal proper” albums of all time.

Musically this was a band all about power chords, dark doomy Birmingham chords, belched out to the steamroller drum rumble of a manic Bill Ward. Ergo, the title track to an entire genre, a song called “Black Sabbath,” single-handedly invented both metal and doom, while “N.I.B.” (precursor to “Smoke On The Water” in the blindingly obvious riff department) and “Iron Man” pointed to new compulsive focus on riff. Elsewhere, “Paranoid” struggled forth as a rudimentary type of proto-speed, the kernel for better attempts by bands that liked to play faster.

Martin Popoff