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 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath Story Volume 1 & 2

Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath Story Volume 1 & 2 Black Sabbath, the original heavy metal gods, have been through their share of changes, so many since their inception in 1969 that it takes two volumes of DVD’s for proper coverage of what the group has accomplished. The first disc covers the Ozzy Osbourne years, which were the best years. There is some great footage of the group playing live gigs overseas. “Paranoid” and “War Pigs” show how the Sabs were the undisputed inventors of Metal. Ozzy is in excellent voice up until the “Sabotage” footage, were his voice sounded as if they were on the last leg of a tour. Ozzy’s on and offstage antics are legendary and well documented over the years. He openly shares with the audience his love for cocaine as he keeps repeating it during many of the songs he sings. Tony Iommi and Geezer butler are the main interview subjects and Ozzy is missing, which I found disappointing. However, the two soul mates of rock cover a lot of ground and give some insight into the original lineup’s dynamics. Tony talks about how the new breed of guitar players uses techniques that they learn by observing rather than using the old school methods, meaning that the technical players do not play from their hearts, it does not come from the inside where music is supposed to derive from. Tony’s roots are blues and you can here that influence strongly on the first self-titled album, particularly on “N.I.B.” You can actually hear Iommi go off into a jazz influenced guitar riff, something that you would never hear again on a Sabbath album.

For those of you that have often wondered how they came up with their name, they got it from a Boris Karloff film entitled “Black Sabbath.” They originally were a jazz-blues band called “Polka Tulk,” then later renamed “Earth,” and finally metamorphosing into the group we know today. Any other satanic symbolism that was created was by the record label, like the inverted cross, and from there it just grew and grew, and it actually proved to be a successful facade that elevated their popularity.

“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” was indeed their finest hour in the studio in my opinion, which this DVD indicates as well. I played the shit out of that album. I remember my father bitching about it and telling me to turn it down, finally he got so pissed one day he stormed into my room and banged his fist on top of the album while it was spinning and I was horrified. This was the ultimate heavy metal album, complete with the dark and foreboding artwork on the cover. The band had reached the very pinnacle of their success and from that point on it was all downhill, a lot of times that is what happens when a group reaches that point and there is no where else to go and nothing more to accomplish, although their next album “Technical Ecstasy” was a decent recording. In a rare moment, Bill Ward sings a cut off that album called “It’s Alright,” which was a ballad and very much out of character for the group. The film is terribly fuzzy unfortunately. That is the only segment in both DVD’s that was not top-notch quality.
Getting back to the Ozman’s departure…According to Tony, he became bored and disinterested in the group, showed up a month into the very beginning of the “Heaven and Hell” sessions then quit. Ronnie James Dio stepped in admirably to take his place to record what I thought was an excellent album. Hence, the Dio era began and that is what the second DVD covers, the post Ozzy years. I saw the “Black and Blue” tour that year, which featured Sabbath and BOC, but alas, I was too smashed and stoned to enjoy it or remember a thing. I also never saw the original Sabbath play live unfortunately. Bill Ward mentioned during a short interview piece that he believed in the original lineup so much that he vowed not to play with any other replacement members after Ozzy left. He then tried to make it work regardless of how he felt, but shortly thereafter, all of those feelings became too overwhelming. With the added insanity of drug addiction nagging at him, it all proved to be too much, so he packed up his drum kit and went home. After Dio left Ian Gillan of all people became their lead singer, only for one album thank god, titled “Born Again,” they should have titled it “Died For Awhile” instead. Just when you thought it could not get any worse, it did when Tony Martin, whom was a Dio rip off, was their lead man for a few albums. That period was atrocious and better left forgotten. Ward was right on when he said the original band was a phenomena and it would not be the same when not all of them were together. The band was never the same after Ozzy left. Oz would go on to an enormously successful solo career and the others you never heard too much more about after the release of “Dehumanizer,” which was the reunion album with Dio and Vinny Appice configuration. Now with the advent of remastered tracks and collections documenting their career popping up left and right they are enjoying a definite resurgence.

One only hopes that they could mend their ways and start a reunion album and tour. Well, they did try that but it did not work for long. In 1998, “Reunion” was released with live tracks and two new studio tracks. Nothing has jelled since then. Maybe it will happen some day. I grew up with this great band and I still enjoy their music. They certainly helped to make me more rambunctious while I was a teenager and now their effect on me is different yet the same, the heavy metal of Black Sabbath still pumps me up and provides many memories of my youth, and I find that very pleasing.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
Posted By: Keith Hannaleck
Genre: Rock-Metal
Record Label: Sanctuary Records

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