Sound — 9
By the mid '70s we all know that Black Sabbath was only a shell of their selves, at least in comparison to the original three albums, but this does not mean that Sabbath did not kick ass. They may sound distant a really, really depressed (at least more than usual), this again does not diminish their talent. It's very distant and abstract with no real focus, once the first few tracks are over, it begins to sound the same and turns more into ambiance than the heavy metal we're all used to.
Lyrics — 9
Ozzy, at this point, still had moderate use of his vocal range and Geezer is still pumping out very intelligent and witty lyrics but, Tony Iommi's more progressive influence, the begins of which are heard on Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath, truly come to a head and overshadow all else; it's still Sabbath but something seems to be missing.
Overall Impression — 10
Despite being what some people refer to as the last true Black Sabbath album, it still shines compared to their contemporaries works at the time; i.e. Presence - Led Zeppelin and Come Taste The Band - Deep Purple. Iommi, Geezer, and Bill Ward's virtuosity is very evident and at its high point in this album. I rather disliked their attempt at a dance hit; which did pretty well, but thats about all I didn't like. If this album were stolen (alright, I'll conform) I'd probably go and get a new copy, use a large caliber assault rifle to hunt the theif down and well, you know.