Paranoid review by Black Sabbath

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  • Released: Sep 18, 1970
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (112 votes)
Black Sabbath: Paranoid

Sound — 9
You've just got to love this corny album cover. Black Sabbath originally intended to call the album War Pigs but Warner changed it to Paranoid at the last minute. Paranoid was the follow-up to Black Sabbath, arguably the first heavy metal album. The elements necessary had been pioneered by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and The Yardbirds, but Sabbath were the first to combine these elements into something too heavy to be hard rock or blues rock, metal.

Lyrics — 8
The album kicks off with the anti-war epic "War Pigs," which famously rhymes "masses" with "masses" in the first verse. Vocalist Ozzy Osbourne squeezes every ounce of shock value out of the lyrics through his limted range and guitarist Tony Iommi throws out heavy riffs peppered with nimble licks. Up next is another metal classic, "Paranoid." The song shows Sabbath in a rare uptempo mode here, with Iommi managing to fit in a melodic, memorable solo. Ozzy sings about, well, being paranoid. Iommi's opening riff rips off Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused" but the classic palm-muted power chord riff that propels the main song sets a standard for metal rhythm guitar. "Planet Caravan" finds the band in an entirely different mode. The band creates a slow, stoner vibe while Ozzy runs his vocals through a watery vocoder. Iommi contributes a Latin-based solo. Obviously an experiment for the band, the song is unjustly disregarded by most Sabbath fans. Though it's different than anything else the band did, it's not a bad effort at something different. Of course, it's hard not to want to skip "Planet Caravan" when the next track is "Iron Man," yet another Sabbath classic. Here Ozzy falls into his familiar trap of singing along with the riff, but the riff here is so great it hardly matters. Ozzy sings of a hero who comes back to get his revenge on the unappreciative people he once saved. Though the lyrics are probably among the dumbest in Sabbath's roster, they just work. Yet another great Iommi solo graces the uptempo midsection of this song. "Electric Funeral" gives Iommi's wah pedal a work out. Ozzy once again sings with the riff here, this time however it renders the song repetitive more than anything else. This song comes off as an inferior "Iron Man." "Hand of Doom" warns against drugs despite any Satanic references the title might suggest. For a band that was criticized of creating devil music, Sabbath certainly come off as having some morals. This song is yet another winner, though not as known as the others here due to its subject matter. The album wraps up with "Fairies Wear Boots," another great rocker. Yet another great Iommi riff (this album's full of them) grounds the song and it serves as an effective album closer that leaves you wanting more.

Overall Impression — 9
Some argue this is Sabbath's finest hour, while others make arguments for Master of Reality. Both are great albums. However, this is probably your best introduction to Sabbath due to the large ratio of familiar metal classics. Every metalhead should own a copy.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm sure somebody has already pointed this out..but to the guy that posted the first review, it's TONY Iommi and BIll Ward...not Tommi Iomi and Tony Ward
    "arguably the first heavy metal album" Some people have never heard the shred and hair raising riffs in the original Black Sabbath album then. I do believe that the song "Paranoid" helped shape most heavy metal songs today. It's fast, it's heavy, and the solo and basslines are awesome.
    death_bat wrote: everybody knows black sabbath didnt start heav metal... scorpion did!!!!! and btw new metal is good like a7x, cannibal corpse, slipknot... there all ****ing awesome you just dont like good music!!! shreddin 4 life is much smarter then the rest of you are!!!
    Scorpiion? You're High!
    ApeOfJustice wrote: will22 wrote: IM KINDA NEW TO SABBATH,I REALLY WANA GET INTO THEM WHATS THE FIRST ALBUM I SHOULD BUY??? The first one I bought was Powerslave and I still listen to it now, great album.
    Don't listen to this guy, he's a dumbass, get the first one, then you can see what they can really do with Paranoid. Actually, get Master of Reality, easy listening for virgins of Sabbath. It will probly get you liking them right away, then you'll see their true power in Their self-titled album and Paranoid.
    [Paranoid is in a different league to any other album i own, the only other album i like as much is `Typical American Family` by marilyn manson] OMFG are you serious?! HAHAHAHA! 'Portrait of an American Family' you unbelievable F*CKTARD! You don't belong on this site if you don't even know the name to your favorite albums...people like you are the reason why the increasingly ignorant masses consider metalheads illiterate morons. Thank you, once again, for perpetuating such a negative, and largely innacurate stereotype. As for this album, incredible and revolutionary, 10/10. Yet it seems to be a tad disjointed in places. If you are new to Sabbath, get 'Master of Reality' first, it's much more consistent, and to the average listener, much more accessible.
    Now, just hold on a minute. The guy in the first review said there's not an album in existence like Paranoid, and there never will be again, in influential terms. I agree by about, say, 15%, maybe? The other 85% of my opinion, now, this is not in terms of quality, i'm talking about influence, there is but one other album. "Master of Puppets". I WAS going to include Reign in Blood, but I felt MOP was more influential.
    Also, to all the masses of Metal fans, and I mean ALL sub-genres of Metal, please, dear god PLEASE, stop all this "Nu-Metal vs. Old Metal" bickering! And, if you don't have anything good to say about the band you're reading about, read the words i'm about to type carefully. DON'T. ENTER. A. COMMENT. if you you don't like them, fair enough, but seriously, you guys are not getting your point across. all you're doing is starting arguments with other people to the point where it becomes too far, and i especially hate the people who do this on YouTube, cuz they're even WORSE
    You're all wrong, guys. BLue Cheer created metal. Sabbath just mixed it with a dark side.
    lol Wow. Reading my review on this makes me cringe. Then again I was only 15 at the time (22 now).