Paranoid review by Black Sabbath

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Sep 18, 1970
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (112 votes)
Black Sabbath: Paranoid

Sound — 8
"Paranoid" is Black Sabbath's second studio album, recorded in 1970. The best word to describe the sound would be "Black Sabbath." They had found their sound in their first record and this album pretty much sounds the same. The sound is pretty raw, not very produced. It sounds more like a live recording in studio (which it actually pretty much is). There are some guitar overdubs but otherwise it has that kind of jamming feeling. The music is a combination of blues, jazz and metal.

Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are about reality what was really going on in 1970. No more flower power etc. Hippie things. They handle dark subjects like war, Armageddon and drugs. The lyrics fit the music very well. I'll tell you more about them later. Some people like Ozzy's voice, some people don't, but I think his voice fits this kind of dark music. He has a very recognizable voice and I like it. He might not be very technical singer but at least he can sing with feeling.

Overall Impression — 10
This is a great album and a must-have if you are a metal/rock fan (and even if you weren't, this is a great album to start listening to rock/metal). It has some of the most well-known Black Sabbath and heavy metal songs. There's really nothing to hate about the album, maybe panning sometimes. I don't like it when drums or bass are panned too much off the center but that doesn't really matter that much. Here's the impression of all the songs: 01. "War Pigs" - This song is my favorite on this album. It talks about how poor people have to go to the war and rich people just use them as pawns and don't care about what happens to them. The song includes many instrumental sections and overdubbed solos that are very recognizable Tony Iommi's style. Bass and drums do a great job, and behind the solo part it's very cool when bass plays its own kind of solo and at the same time there are three guitars at the best that play different solos. It's one of the thing where you recognize a song by Black Sabbath. 02. "Paranoid" - The most well-known song of the band. It's a very simple song with only three chords and a basic palm muted 8th beat. The album was a bit too short and they needed one more song and Tony Iommi played the main riff of this song and Geezer started writing lyrics. It was finished in about twenty minutes but became the biggest hit of the band. The song tells about some insane guy. It's kind of pop/punk song, not really metal. I don't like it any more that much because it's very overplayed. But of course when I heard it for the first time, I was impressed. 03. "Planet Caravan" - This is a slow unplugged song with conga drums and a beautiful jazzy guitar solo. It's a one-riff 2-chord song. Simple but effective and makes you feel relaxed. The song tells about some sci-fi stuff. Kind of makes me think of looking at the sky at night and fantasizing. It's very different from the other stuff on this album and stands out in a positive way. 04. "Iron Man" - Another song that everybody knows. This song has a killer riff but it's kind of overplayed. Still there are good instrumental sections but I have heard this song so many times that it's not my favorite. It's a good song and the intro with bending behind the nut gives me goosebumps, especially after listening to "Planet Caravan" that is a slow and quiet song. After that this sounds extremely heavy. The song tells about "Iron Man" who was treated poorly and now wants to revenge. 05. "Electric Funeral" - Slow and heavy. It tells about nuclear war and what happens to you when an atomic bomb explodes. It has very dark lyrics. There's a faster part in the middle of the song which is my favorite part of the song. 06. "Hand Of Doom" - This song is about soldiers using drugs in Vietnam war and what happens in your mind when you use drugs. The song starts slowly but there's a faster section. The song structure reminds me of "Electric Funeral." So do the lyrics that describe everything that happens to you. The solo by Tony Iommi is great, it has pretty psychedelic feeling. Simple but effective. 07. "Rat Salad" - This song is a short instrumental. It's pretty cool and includes a drum solo by Bill Ward. The guitar solo is pretty similar to the solo on "Hand Of Doom" and has similar psychedelic kind of feeling. Nothing more to say about this song. It's one of my favorites and a fun song to listen to. 08. "Fairies Wear Boots" - It's about some gang guys but it's also about using drugs. They said that the gang guys were "fairies." But in the end of the song there's a reference of drugs: "Cause smokin' and trippin' is all that you do." The song is one of my favorites because it's not overplayed. Not as mainstream as "Paranoid" for example. And it has great instrumental sections. The best part of the album is the band. They can play well and everything they play fits the music very well. The bass parts are very cool, I like Geezer's style and he's one of my main influences when I play the bass. Tony Iommi does a great job with guitars considering that he has lost two of his fingers in an accident. He has a very influential playing style and killer riffs. Geezer wrote most of the lyrics, Ozzy wrote some. I like the lyrics very much even though normally I don't listen to lyrics that much. And of course Bill Ward does an excellent job on drums and Ozzy has a very recognizable voice. All in all this album is great so if you don't have it, you should go and buy it. It's one of the classic rock albums.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Fazemelta666 wrote: 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.
    But I think MOP was influenced by Paranoid I think every heavy metal album is influenced by Paranoid. And why do people recommend "Master of Reality" over this? This album has the songs that an average listener has heard from Black Sabbath (War Pigs, Paranoid and Iron Man). So this album will be easier to listen to than Master of Reality or any other Black Sabbath album. Albums are always much easier to listen to if they have songs that you know.