Sound — 6
The album opens with one of Sabbath's heaviest tracks - Hole In The Sky. This one will stick in the heads of anyone accustomed to metal. It ends abruptly, but listening to the ends of songs on Paranoid it's evident that genius he may be, Iommi can't come up with a good song ending. Next is the accoustic interlude Don't Start (Too Late) which is short and sweet, leading into Symptom of the Universe, in my opinion Sabbath's best song. From there on, however, the album can't recover its earlier pace. Megalomania and Thrill of it All make no impact, and Am I Going Insane is simply terrible. It suffers from too many effects, synth overkill and just plain irritating. The Writ is not bad, but is far removed from anything from the first few records. So, 5/5 for the forst three tracks, 2/5 for the next few, 1/5 for Insane and 3/5 for the last song.
Lyrics — 8
It's Ozzy. I'd rather hear less efects on his voice, but it's typical Ozzy vocals. He hasn't got the most variation, or the best range but that somehow doesn't stop Hole in the Sky sounding simply amazing. You already know if you'll like or hate the vocals. Geezer Butler wrote most of the lyrics. It isn't exactly Homer, but they're grat to sing along to, memorable and suit the mood of the music.
Overall Impression — 4
This record simply does not compare to Sabbath at their best. Hole in the Sky and Symptom of the Universe rule, so download them or get a copy of the Best Of. Buy any of their earlier albums instead of this one, (or better still some Kyuss) because they are in a different league. There's no classic singles like Paranoid, no epic jams like Warning and no chill-out tracks like Planet Caravan.