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Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series Book 37) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, shedding a lot of light on the members, music, and society with regards to everything from religion to family.”  (Sacramento Book Review, 1 June 2013)

“This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, shedding a lot of light on the members, music, and society with regards to everything from religion to family.”  (City Book Review, 1 March 2013)

“Black Sabbath & Philosophy is a wholly absorbing read large . . . A long-overdue work, and a rewarding one both for fans and those curious about the philosophical gravity behind all those murky riffs.”  (PopMatters, 11 January 2013)

“Much like Black Sabbath themselves, this wide-ranging, amusing book entertains and makes your brain ache in equal measure.”  (Record Collector, 1 December 2012)

“A book to dip into, that will get you thinking and almost certainly have you going back and listening to your old Black Sabbath albums in a different light. Highly recommended.”  (Get Ready to Rock, 20  November 2012)

From the Back Cover

 

What personal and cultural conditions led Black Sabbath to create heavy metal?

What makes Sabbath sound evil? Is evil in the ear of the beholder?

Is it still Black Sabbath without Ozzy?

How can Black Sabbath and existentialism help you to face your demons?

Black Sabbath is one of the world's most influential and enduring bands. Dubbed "the Beatles of heavy metal" by Rolling Stone, they helped to define a genre with classic songs like “Paranoid,” “Iron Man,” and “War Pigs,” songs whose lyrics reveal hidden depth and philosophical insight. Confronting existential despair, social instability, political corruption, the horrors of war, and the nature of evil, this book explores the wide range of profound ideas in the band's music and lyrics to help you understand Black Sabbath as never before. From Aristotle and Nietzsche to Schopenhauer and Marx, this book brings some of history's heaviest thinkers to bear on the band's music. So . . . can you help me, occupy my brain? Yes! Start reading Black Sabbath and Philosophy.


Product Details

  • File Size: 702 KB
  • Print Length: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008KPM87A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,048 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By V. G. Wilson on October 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mixed but interesting book. I've always enjoyed deconstructions or philosophical analysis of subject matter that would not normally be considered for such, but should be. Whether it's the genre fiction of writers like H. P. Lovecraft or John Le Carre, the musical continuities of composers like Frank Zappa, or the thematic overlaps of film directors like Stanley Kubrick, it's always gratifying to see a favorite get their due.

Each "chapter" is actually a stand-alone essay written by a different person. This has its pros and cons. On the plus side, if one doesn't grab you, there is always a different one coming. And you do not have to suffer through a single agenda from start to finish. The negatives would be the usual expected from any collection of different writers. Some articles seem to labor to make their point, stretching things to a credibility breaking point, but that is not uncommon in these sorts or works.

One should not fear, however, that this book is some kind of excruciating analysis of Sabbath lyrics, going through song after song, stating obvious observations, quoting lyrics at great length, etc. I detest those sorts of books. This one generally gives the reader credit with being familiar with the songs, or at least can make an interesting point about them without a plot synopsis, which is just wasted space for fans. Articles also range far afield, covering things like the ethical dilemmas of retaining the band's name on recordings after most original members have left, Schopenhauer and Sabbath, and the often redemptive quality of the band's songs, plus many other topics.

There are not many serious books on Sabbath or metal groups in general.
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Format: Paperback
At the outset, I feel obligated to state that I proofread this book. That in itself doesn't mean I'm biased in its favor. I've proofread numerous essays that I didn't think were very good. But I think this book is very good, even if I don't agree with every essay in here. In fact, I disagree with the points made in quite a few. But I'm, nevertheless, thrilled to see them, primarily because it represents writers putting forth intelligent discussion on the subject of Black Sabbath and their lyrics, something that's criminally absent in rock journalism (and a subject that's close to home, as I'm in the midst of writing my own book on the band's lyrics).

As is known, Black Sabbath had been, for years, ill-treated by music journalists who couldn't comprehend that what they were accomplishing musically and lyrically was not just different, but groundbreaking. And many of the fans didn't help, perpetuating the myth of Black Sabbath as either a "satanic" band, or merely a dumb one, exciting and heavy, yes, but nothing terribly thought-provoking.

The real fans knew the truth. Black Sabbath were putting forth very serious musical and lyrical ideas, profound philosophical, psychological and spiritual insights. Some of the critics got it. The late Lester Bangs (Creem, Rolling Stone) got it (particularly after the first album). The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame got it (at long last). And William Irwin gets it. So do the writers who make up this long-awaited volume.

Black Sabbath & Philosophy is a fascinating, enriching, at times enraging, and ultimately, utterly enjoyable read. Those who know Black Sabbath will most obviously get much out of it; those who think they know Black Sabbath will get even more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first volume in this series that I have read and therefore I have no idea how it may relate to the others in terms of breadth, depth and treatment of the subject. I can say, though, that I am likely to dip into a few of the others where the subject is of interest to me because, frankly, I enjoyed this a whole lot. While a couple stuck a (non-triton) sour chord for me - bound to happen in any sort of anthology, my only real complaint, honestly was that I wished a few of these had gone into greater depth and length. For some of these writers/thinkers and there ideas, more time in their presence would certainly be welcome.

While the philosophy presented here rarely got terribly deep or intricate, I can appreciate that the book (and by extension, the series) is not intended for academia. The desired audience here is the thinking Sabs fan, not the academic curious about the Sabs. It is assumed the reader is versed in Sabbath, not philosophy. As a result, the philosophy here is, as a whole, on the 101 level (with some 200 and 300 level arguments mixed in here and there). And I presume the idea is to take the pop culture fan and show how thought and intellectual approach can be part of their / our / my world, too. And to that end, this is a pretty darned good book, as will as being fun. It helps that the contributors are clearly Sab fans. Several are far more knowledgeable in the sub-worlds on metal than an old guy who loved 'em in the 70's, like me. (And I am sorry, Mr. - unless in the meantime it has become Dr. - Cray - w/o Ozzy it ISN'T really quite Black Sabbath.)

Along those lines, most of the examination of Sabbath's work itself is focused on the Ozzy years and the first 6 albums.
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