Sound — 9
Sabotage continues Black Sabbath's ventures beyond their traditional doom n' gloom sound. It showcases a band in their prime, the riffs are hard and heavy, the grooves are powerful and Ozzy's voice is at it's best. This album is a mix of hard rock, metal, and more experimental tracks such as Am I Going Insane (Radio). Hole In The Sky opens the album, a stomping hard rock number with a top-notch riff, perfect selection to open the album. The sudden halt to Hole In The Sky gives weigh to the acoustic instrumental Don't Start (Too Late), a mellow little number. the next song is probably the main reason why the album is notable. Symptom Of the Universe is the next track. A very metal song, very dark and harkens back to the early years. The main riff in this song is credited to being the first ever thrash metal riff, this song is certainly a monster. The end of the track is certainly a contrast, as the song segues into a gentle acoustic section, with lyrics about love. The next track is most definitely my favourite song off this album, and one of my all time favourite Sabbath songs. Megalomania is a very very dark song. The opening few notes to the song set the very haunting tone. Coupled with the vocal effects used by Ozz, the mood is definitely set to ''evil''. As the song progresses, there is a change of course. Tony, with the sound of cowbell in the background, rips into one of his all time meanest riffs. Certainly one of their most impressive songs. The Thrill Of It All is next, a song that continues the hard rock sound. A good song, but far from fantastic. It features some nice riffing and vocals. The next song is the instrumental Supertzar. This song features a choir, and some sweet riffing by Tony. Tony's riffing is easily the most consistent aspect of this album, he has something great to offer on every single track, especialy the main riff in Supertzar. The next song is the experimental Am I Going Insane (Radio). While I am not a fan of this song at all really, their willingness to tinker with their sound must be applauded. This helped them to stay fresh and not stagnate. The next song is The Writ, another one of my favourite songs. There is a lot going om in ths song. The song begins with a very cool and psychadelic bass line from Geezer, and suddenly the drums, guitar and vocals kick in. Very nice intro. The song as a whole is slow to mid-tempo, as usual for the brummie lads. Similarly to Megalomania, this song features a gentle acoustic piece that seemingly spawns from nowhere. It is very soft and gentle. A great choice on which to end the album.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics in this album are consistently brilliant, even on the lesser songs, their lyrics are a major highlight of this record, from Hole In The Sky straight through to The Writ. Need I say more? I consider this album to be Ozzy's all time classic vocal album. His vocals are simply amazing on this album. The tone of his voice conveys a lot, you feel the emotion very clearly. His voice is best on Megalomania, closely followed by Symptom Of The Universe. Ozz hits some very high notes on this album, very impressive altogether.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is very unique in the Sabbath catalogue, it has it's own voice and completely own sound. It compares well to the earlier records but it suffers from some level of inconsistency. Still, a very powerful sounding collecton here. I love Megalomania, The Writ, Symptom Of The Universe and Hole In The Sky the most, and I dislike Am I Going Insane the most. This album holds a special place in my music collection and would definitely purchase I again if it were misplaced. Buy it!