Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Blackest Mass

 So what is it about this band everyone I've ever met seems to love, Black Sabbath? What makes them the go to band for....well everything? And why do so many bands makes so many amazing(and equally horrifying) covers? Is it Tony Iommi's stupid inventive guitar playing? I mean, who else hammers on all the notes because the cut their finger tips off, with their left hand nonetheless. Was it how Geezer Butler fucking RIPS that bass apart during every second of every song? Maybe it was his sweet moustache. Maybe it's Ozzy's untrained, nasally vocals evoking dark images written by other band members. Or what about Bill Ward taking the concept of playing drums and blowing it apart. Could there even someone like Bran Dailor without Bill Ward? Whatever it is, all these forces come together to create a truly moving force.
 I really can't express why, but somehow the factors coming all together create something truly magical. Their proto-everything musical concoctions always lifts spirits, and is everything good about art and music. When I went through a break up of three years and was left with $600 rent/utility payments by myself the only thing that made me feel good was sparking a fat bowl and turning up my Black Sabbath vinyl well beyond reasonable limits.
 This band really is proto-everything, but you should all know that by now. Certain songs exude everything that is all aspects of metal. They have fast thrashing parts, bluesy prog parts and stupid heavy sludge/doom riffs that make your head hurt. Even bands like Black Flag took chops from them to make something unique and heavy, in their case with the punk ethos. But a person can go on for days citing references and influences to/of the Sabbath. They even have slow songs and gorgeous interludes that don't suck. Well minus "FX" on Vol. 4. Sweet Merlin I hate that song. It's just three minutes of endless effects from what I assume is the guitar and whatever pedals Mr. Iommi uses. He must have been so fucking high when he said, "Hey guys, this song will fit PERFECTLY in between "Changes" and "Supernat" which is by the way the most awesome song I wrote for this record and fits perfectly at the end, but only right after "FX". It'll give it that trippy, psychedelic vibe we've always wanted.". No Tony Iommi, that shit is fucking stupid. I digress, songs like "Solitude" and "Electric Funeral" really set the tone for deep, emotionally intense, the former even being by Tony Iommi. Whom as it turns out has written a large chunk of their lyrics. Knowing who wrote what becomes obvious at one point. His lyrics are about religion/spirituality, the consciousness and other spacy shit while Ozzy's seem almost juvenile. Not that I could do better. That's why Iommi did it. And I don't want to sound like I'm literally masturbating Tony Iommi. He's musical legacy is already in stone. But the other two key elements never get the praise they deserve. Bill Ward practically pioneered the concept of frantic, sloppy drumming with amazingly creative and fast drums fills. Where would the precursors of metal be without the most important foundation of a band, the drums. The man that creates the beat and tone of the songs. Or Geezer Butler. The guy that makes Rex Brown eat cereal out of his asshole! These two men created many solid grooves and moments of headbanging ecstasy together. I've heard stories of the band going through ounces of cocaine in a single setting so it's sort of surprising they didn't grind more. It was only like 15 years between these guys and Mitch Harris' hyperactive blasting, but I could see the Sabbath pulling it off. Can you imagine that insanity!?
 I guess this is a good spot to point out I'm not reviewing albums. I'm just talking about one of the greatest bands ever. Just ask Hank. And really anyone not extensively familiar with the first four albums should drop everything they're doing in their lives right now and listen to each one consecutively in a row. Then do it again the next day. There is simply NO reason any human shouldn't love at least one of this bands songs more then they love another human. My fave all time Sabbath songs, in no order, are: "Supernaut", "Solitude", "Symptom of the Universe", "Children of the Grave", "Electric Funeral", "Black Sabbath" and "Hole In the Sky". Those there's some reference for you.

Instead of uploading a bunch of songs or posting link to a discog download, here's a fucking SWEET piece written by Cosmo at Invisible Oranges about their live 1970 set in Paris. Just watch and be in awe. 
Note: Links no longer work, but you can still find the footage somewhere.
Full discog available at Angrychairs blog. Dig it.