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Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

288 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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As if their dark lyrics and wall-of-sludge sound didn't already have an epic sweep, Black Sabbath braved an even more ambitious approach on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, adding synthesizers and even strings to tracks such as "Who Are You?" and "Spiral Architect." But even without them, the Sabbath classics "Killing Yourself to Live," "National Acrobat," "Looking for Today," and the title track pack a thunderous sonic wallop. "Fluff," a bit of ponderous musing on acoustic guitar and keyboards, adds variety to the disc but brings the headbanging pleasure of the rest of the album to a screeching halt. Beyond that misstep, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is as slow and deliberate as a lava flow, and just as powerful. --Daniel Durchholz


1. Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath
2. A National Acrobat
3. Fluff
4. Sabbra Cadabra
5. Killing Yourself To Live
6. Who Are You?
7. Looking For Today
8. Spiral Architect

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Off Roster
  • ASIN: B000002KET
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (288 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,827 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A. Stutheit on February 14, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Since it was a big departure in sound from their first four albums most consider Black Sabbath's fifth disc the one that most divides critics and fans. Some think that the newly discovered keyboards (by Rick Wakeman, a member of the band Yes) and orchestral arrangements made "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" too artsy and soft. But others (like me) think that, while this album may be "more progressive" than usual, it is also their most creative effort to date. And, of course, like all Black Sabbath albums, the guitars are still very much involved. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" does not skimp on the type of sludgy, rumbling riffs that Tony Iommi made Black Sabbath famous for. The catchy, churning main riff of the first track (the title song) helped to break the band out of the creative "dry spell" they were in, following the recording of their last release, "Vol. 4" (after Iommi discovered this guitar lick, the rest of the songs came easily.) This song also has a couple of acoustic breakdowns. Next, "A National Acrobat" has shimmering, wah-wah guitars, and "Fluff" is an instrumental. It's an interlude-type song, with serene, twinkling, acoustic jangles and cool, pretty piano keys. The synthesizers are most clearly evident on tracks four and six, "Sabbra Cadabra" and "Who Are You?" (the latter track, which has a melodic string arrangement, is very spacey--it sounds like it's the soundtrack to a laser or light show.) But "Killing Yourself To Live" is heavier and more up-tempo, as is "Looking For Today," which features a catchy, rhythmic hand-clap pattern. Lastly, "Spiral Architect" is where the orchestra joins the scene. Its lively, almost uplifting violins contrast Iommi's guitar solos well. So, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is a true gem which proves Black Sabbath were successfully able to expand on their sound and add creative touches to their music, while still remaining true to their roots. The sound quality can be a little dated at times, but this is yet another classic in Sabbath's catalogue.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Ferguson-Maltzman on January 16, 2006
Format: Audio CD
If one were to ask what Black Sabbath's golden era was, most ivory-tower music historians and co-called "experts" would probably say it was the band's first four albums. If you were to ask anyone (critic, or fan) what was Sabbath's best offering, "Paranoid," (1970) or perhaps the self-titled debut, (1970) or even "Master of Reality" (1971) would be your answer. For this fan, however, I'm going to have to go with the band's fifth album "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" (1974) as being my personal favorite album by the legendary British metal band.

In terms of creativity, musicianship, and songwriting, the iron was still hot by the time Sabbath recorded "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath." Key elements that so defined the band's first four albums are still in place; blues-based, sluggish riffs, a gloomy outlook, and gothic trappings abound, but this time the band try to expand their sound by introducing synthesizers and orchestration into their formula (courtesy of Rick Wakeman of YES). Like any of the band's first six albums, Sabbath is as focused and tight as ever.

In all honesty, the first six albums are all classics, all flawless; you could really argue any of the first six releases as being the band's best album. I tend to give the nod to "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" because I think it showcases Iommi's best riffs and the added synths work really well encompassed into the band's bluesy/sluggish signature sound.

On "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," like any classic Sabbath or early Ozzy solo work, we see Ozzy in his prime. Long before Ozzy Osbourne became a parody of himself, being known to most as an oafish buffoon on a reality show as opposed to an icon, he really was genuinely chilling.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. St Thomas on January 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
With its cover image, one would expect to be led into some dark, abysmal, terrifying journey. Flip to the back cover, and everything is serene and 'heavenly', yet all the same people are intact and present. ''What's going on here,'' you say? Are these people intrinsically evil or are they good? Is the hell image truly how things are, and the heaven is what it's supposed to be like? On the inside cover, which was gatefold, there was the image of the band (Iommi/Osbourne/Butler/Ward) guarding a bed, like on the front cover, like spirits, warding off some bad karma or energy. It was all very weird.

And you haven't even heard the songs yet!

And what you get lyrically is the Black Sabbath manifesto. There is so much on here about 'heaven' and what 'hell' is made of it, that I am so surprised that they get the tag 'Evil'. No, what they are is quite knowledgable and self-empowering. What they are is quite critical of people who fill your head all full of lies. There are some amazing lyrics on this album, that totally go against what someone would have you believe Black Sabbath stood for. Devils and Demons. As if.......

If you didn't tell someone it was Black Sabbath, and printed the lyrics out, you'd be surprised at what answers you would get as to what was being said. Put the Black Sabbath 'tag' back in, and a preconception enters the head. ''Don't believe the life you have will be the only one, You have to let your body sleep, to let your soul live on'' - yea thats evil alright. Sheesh - get out my beads and incense, I'm in danger of being 'possessed'. Woooo-oooo-oooooo-oooooo. The whole album lyrically is like this, in direct contradiction to Black Sabbath's perceived image as Satan's Minstrels.

So how best to approach it?
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Who do you like better 70s Judas Priest or 80s Iron Maiden?
I saw Iron maiden, Anthrax and Magadeath on one bill at the Long Beach arena in 1992.

I still have not regained my hearing. It was an interesting experiment though, heavy, heavy metal is not my thing but I did like Black Sabbath in High school. My parents thought i had crossed over to the dark... Read More
Oct 21, 2013 by Rafael Sanchez |  See all 6 posts
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Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
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