(1970) Black Sabbath – Paranoid: Anniversary Special


If the Earth didn’t rumble when British heavy metal forefathers BLACK SABBATH released their debut effort, “Black Sabbath,” it surely did when their sophomore album saw the light of day on 18 September 1970. Containing some of the band’s signature songs, up until this day “Paranoid” is one of the most important releases that influenced the genre of heavy metal significantly.

The music industry has changed a lot since the release of “Paranoid.” Albums take longer to finish, musicians take longer to compose. It makes it almost impossible to imagine that “Paranoid” was released only a couple of months after their self-titled debut. The album was recorded live in the studio with producer Rodger Bain. Even more impressive, however, is that they tracked the entire album at Regent Sound Studios and Island Studios in only 6 days. Moreover, staple track “Paranoid” only took 2 hours altogether to write, as it was written as an afterthought to fill up the album.

The highlights of this album are without a doubt “War Pigs,” “Paranoid,” “Iron Man,” and “Fairies Wear Boots.” These tracks in their own ways influenced the sound of heavy metal drastically. Heavy, doom-loaded guitar riffs, pounding drums, and often-groovy bass lines create an ominous atmosphere, typical for BLACK SABBATH. All of that is topped with Ozzy Osbourne‘s unique vocal performance. Of course, there is plenty more material on this album that leaves a genuine metalhead star-struck; the atmospheric and laid-back “Planet Caravan,” which is the ultimate proof the band doesn’t need much more than a clean slate to come up with some of the more creative ideas in heavy metal’s history. The dark guitar riffs in “Iron Man,” “Electric Funeral,” “Hand of Doom,” and “War Pigs” are truly the concept of heaviness in music. “Hand of Doom” is an example of a song that doesn’t need to be fast and aggressive in order to be heavy. “Rat Salad” is perhaps the odd bite on the album. The track feels like an intermezzo, as it’s a mostly instrumental track dedicated to an impressive drum solo that serves as the perfect build up to “Fairies Wear Boots” and a showcase of the incredible variety a drummer like Bill Ward has to offer.

“Paranoid” truly is a heavy metal juggernaut that has had a remarkable influence on heavy metal as a genre. In essence, it’s a really thrilling and dark masterpiece that broke any existing boundaries in music. The fact that “Play Paranoid!” is often the first thing that people shout after a band has played their whole set says enough about its historical significance.


  1. War Pigs
  2. Paranoid
  3. Planet Caravan
  4. Iron Man
  5. Electric Funeral
  6. Hand Of Doom
  7. Rat Salad
  8. Fairies Wear Boots


Ozzy Osbourne – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitars
Bill Ward – Drums
Geezer Butler – Bass