In honor of the 45th anniversary of the release of Black Sabbath‘s self-titled debut album this past Friday, today’s edition of Massive Metal Monday is dedicated to the album’s eponymous opening track. Watch the band perform the song live in Paris from 1970 here below.
Tony Iommi’s sinister tritone trill, Bill Ward’s nail-pounding drums, Geezer Butler’s chainsaw bass, and Ozzy Osbourne’s tortured delivery of the band’s horror show lyrics would birth a genre and millions of imitators. There were previously recorded moments that might be considered the first examples of heavy metal, but Black Sabbath would give the form a cohesion and aesthetic that would define it.
There is no band that is more massively metal than Sabbath and without this song and album, metal today might not resemble what it has grown to be. Today, we give two big horns up to the moment where it all started.
“What is this that stands before me?”
When I was growing up in rural Indiana in the early ’80s, there was very limited access to heavy music. These were the days before MTV blew up with the whole hair metal, Headbangers Ball phenomenon. But on Sunday nights, there was a two-hour radio show that came from WOXY, just across the state line in Oxford, Ohio (home of Miami University of Ohio). It was called Massive Metal for the Masses and I would wait all week for it to air. It was through this show that I was introduced to bands like Venom, Bathory, WASP, Michael Schenker Group, Slayer, and countless others. This Monday weekly column is my tip of the hat to that show. I call it Massive Metal Monday. Every week, I will pay tribute to defining moments by the artists that laid the groundwork for heavy metal to become the worldwide cultural bond for all of us metal heads.