Friday Top 10: Black Sabbath songs (original lineup)

It’s official, the original lineup has reformed, back to do it all — world tour, new album and destroy all that is not Metal. 2012 will no doubt be a fantastic year for meatheads metalheads like me.

Not long ago I counted down the top 10 Sabbath albums, and now, hot off the news that the original lineup are back, it seems like the perfect time to list the top 10 Black Sabbath songs, only this time I’m going to keep it strictly to songs by the original lineup. It just makes sense.

So what are you waiting for? Hurry up and make the jump!

#10 Spiral Architect (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, 1973)

First on the list is a song that probably isn’t in many people’s lists, but then no one else is writing this, just me. ‘Spiral Architect’ closes the 1973 album, and what a closer it is. Beginning with a melancholic, seldom acoustic introduction, which could easily be on an Opeth album, it isn’t long before the song kicks into a really upbeat, catchy anthem. Ozzy sings as well as Ozzy has ever sung and then a brilliant chorus is backed by a beautiful string arrangement. Orchestral movements gradually come into their own towards the end of the track.

#9 Snowblind (Vol. 4, 1972)

Vol. 4 was quite an experimental album for Sabbath, but it still had plenty of classic tracks. ‘Snowblind’ has remained a fan favorite, and it’s easily to see why. I mean, Jesus, Ozzy actually sounds on fire on this track. His vocals are powerful and energetic, which can’t be said for all of his work. The ending solo, courtesy of Mr Iommi, is pretty damn incredible too.

#8. Hand of Doom (Paranoid, 1970)

In at number 8, we have ‘Hand of Doom’, the first track in the top 10 taken from the Paranoid album. Most people think of ‘Iron Man’, ‘War Pigs’ and or course the title track when they think of this album, but ‘Hand of Doom’ has always stood out for me. Perhaps it was the down-beat, groovy, slow verses with just the bass and Ozzy’s vocals, that helped it stand out. When Iommi’s killer riffs and Bill Ward’s pounding drums kick in, it makes it feel all more powerful.

#7. Symptom of the Universe (Sabotage, 1975)

‘Symptom of the Universe’ deserves its spot in the top 10, because it invented Thrash Metal. Simple as. Ignore whatever anyone else says or tells you, because there’s no one anyone can listen to it and not hear the Thrash-esque roots in the heavy verses. The track retains its classic Sabbath identity, but shows that the band were always willing to push themselves artistically and try new things. Over 35 years later and ‘Symptom of the Universe’ is still heavy as fuck.

#6 Sweet Leaf (Master of Reality, 1971)

Beginning with a loop of Tony Iommi coughing (I mistook this for being Ozzy originally), the Master of Reality opener is about the recreational use of cannabis. The track begins with one of Sabbath‘s lowest and grittiest riffs, which continues through most of the track. Then everything gets notched up a step, and cue an epic barrage of riffs, before that classic initial riff is brought back to close the song.

#5 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, 1973)

At number 5, this time it’s the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath opener. The riff is one of my favourite Sabbath riffs ever and Ozzy’s vocals fit the track perfectly. But what I love is how it goes from the heavy-as-fuck verse to a melodic intersection with ease, and highlights again Sabbath‘s strength as songwriters and musicians. It’s the evil, low as hell breakdown that really shows just how Metal the band are though, and still puts many bands of today to shame.

#4 N.I.B. (Black Sabbath, 1970)

Beginning with one of the most memorable bass lines ever, ‘N.I.B.’ is a huge anthem of epic proportions. Brilliant drums, riffs and bass playing fill the track, with also some great vocals. The solo is immense and the song is one of the catchiest of Sabbath‘s career, thanks a lot to the classic guitar line played in the chorus and Ozzy’s signature “singing”.

#3 Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath, 1970)

The title track is barely even a song… It’s more of a jam, and obviously by a young new band, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t the perfect quintessential Metal track if there ever is one. Beginning with the sound of rain and a church bell/gong type of sound, it isn’t long before a truly evil, dischordant riff erupts (the invention of the so called ‘devil chord’) and so creepy as hell vocals from a young Ozzy. Horrific screams are later used by Mr Osbourne, before the pace is picked up slightly by the other members, with the return of the evil sounding riff. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the sound of Metal.

#2 Children of the Grave (Master of Reality, 1971)

Heavy, upbeat and continuing the war themes of ‘War Pigs’, Ozzy wails some of his best vocals. The tempo is fast, before it all slows down at the breakdown mid way through. Then a fantastic solo causes my ears to orgasm. There is very little to fault. Other than I didn’t write this and I’m currently not sitting on millions, being cited as one of the greatest artists ever. Dammit, life just isn’t fair.

#1 War Pigs (Paranoid, 1970)

And here we are… The best Black Sabbath song ever (according to me — so of course you can assume it as fact). I love ‘War Pigs’, I really do. I mean, seriously, what an opening track. It really do show that Sabbath meant business. Critics may have panned their first album, but that didn’t stop the band. After the introduction, it goes straight into the classic start to the track. The near 8 minute epic features one of the greatest Metal breakdowns ever as well as one of Iommi’s finest solos. Ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t get any better than this.

So there you have it. Dose of Metal (well I) have counted down the top 10 Black Sabbath songs by the original lineup. Of course, it’s all fact and cannot be disputed, despite the omission of ‘Iron Man’, ‘Paranoid’, ‘Sabbra Cadabra’ and other classics I missed.

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