When it comes to Heavy metal music, there is one iconic band that springs to mind – Black Sabbath. Heavy, doom-laden songs powered by Tony Iommi’s signature guitar riffs, Geezer Butler’s powerful and technically proficient bass lines and the relentless battery of Bill Ward’s jazz-influenced drumming. Add the unique vocals of John ‘Ozzy’ Osbourne and you have the recipe for the most influential band in heavy music history. A special exhibition is being held at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to celebrate fifty years of the band’s existence. I was lucky enough to be able to go and check it out. (more…)
Birmingham’s Quartz, were a hard rock/heavy metal band who counted long-running Black Sabbath keyboard player Geoff Nicholls among their founding members. Formed in 1974 under the less than metal name of Bandy Legs, the band played club gigs and released a single (‘Bet You Can’t Dance’) for Jet records in 1976 before changing their name to Quartz (sounds a lot cooler doesn’t it?).
Bristol, UK doom rockers Gonga have teamed up with fellow Bristol-based singer Beth Gibbons (of Portishead fame) to record a cover version of the song that started off the debut album from the most important band in doom metal – Black Sabbath. They’re calling it ‘Black Sabbeth’ for obvious reasons. The video is made up of footage from the classic 1963 Mario Bava film Black Sabbath, after which the band were named.
My main criticism would have to be the album’s length. The last three tracks on the deluxe CD version are by far the weakest on the album and could quite easily have been left out. The Black Sabbath rain at the end of ‘Dear Father’ would have made a perfect ending point. Instead, the tracks that follow give the impression of being added as filler to bulk-up the disc. The market has moved on since the early days of Sabbath, and perhaps an eight song album was considered too short for commercial reasons. The result is another overstuffed mainstream rock/metal album that fails to fully capture the special vibe (for want of a better term) that is present in a lot of underground releases.The only other minor sore points for me are some of Ozzy’s vocals. To be honest, his performance is not really that bad. There are moments, though, when he just fails to hold a note. These are songs sung in the lower register and are largely confined to the first few tracks. It just seems a little strange that no one thought to transpose them into a higher key, or maybe even use a different choice of song, Ozzy’s voice being what it is.
Doom pioneers: The classic ‘Early Sabbath’ line up