Your guide to the Black Sabbath vinyl reissues

null

The first eight Black Sabbath albums have recently been reissued on shiny, swanky new 180g vinyl and our record collection has never looked heavier. But to the uninitiated (or those who might have forgotten from years of headbanging), this is a brief rundown of Birmingham’s greatest musical export.

BLACK SABBATH (1970) Just think, in the same year The Beatles released their final studio full-length, this ruddy din was coming out of Birmingham and further changing the way we think about music. The self-titled debut from the doomy four-piece is pretty much the starting point, the primordial ooze for heavy metal as we know it. Thank you, boys. Key tracks: Black Sabbath, N.I.B., Wicked World

PARANOID (1970) Long before a time where bands release an album then tour it for two years before even contemplating a follow-up, Sabbath’s most successful LP to date was released mere months after their debut. Opening on the call to arms War Pigs and then seven more of Sabbath’s biggest hitters, this is as flawless a metal record you’re ever likely to hear. Key tracks: War Pigs, Paranoid, Iron Man

MASTER OF REALITY (1971) Not only was this the first time we saw the now infamous purple logo (that has since been ripped off countless times), Master Of Reality really set the foundation for the stoner scene to come some almost two decades later – thanks, in part, to weed anthem Sweet Leaf. But it’s Iommi’s guitar tone and nodding riffs that still make our necks ache. Key tracks: Sweet Leaf, Children Of The Grave, Into The Void

VOL. 4 (1972) The imaginatively named fourth album from Black Sabbath was fuelled by the band’s penchant for the white stuff – which you’ve no doubt figured out from blasting Snowblind on full volume for hours on end. Although it does contain Changes which might be the dampest squib of all Sabbath singles. Key tracks: Tomorrow’s Dream, Supernaut, Snowblind

SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH (1973) Three years after their debut LP, Sabbath evolved into fully fledged menaces and musical explorers – mostly through their newfound discovery of synthesisers (see: Who Are You?). But don’t go thinking it’s some crazy prog album, this is still Sabbath at their heaviest and full of genre-defining classics still finding their way into playlists. Key tracks: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabbra Cadabra, Killing Yourself To Live

SABOTAGE (1975) Y’know how a few words ago we said that Sabbath weren’t going prog, that was before they made Sabotage. The synths are more dominant, the song structures are thrown out the window and there’s even some acoustic lines dotted around. It’s not as accessible as Paranoid, sure, and it contains Am I Going Insane?, but it’s a defining record in the Sabbath story. Key tracks: Hole In The Sky, Symptom Of The Universe, The Writ

TECHNICAL ECSTASY (1976) It was all going a bit weird in the Sabbath camp around the release of their seventh LP and the cracks were beginning to show. The pioneering, doomy sludge of yore has been experimented upon and turned topsy turvy, resulting in somewhat of a divisive album for Sabbath purists. There’s even a hefty dose of funk in there (which to be fair, is never a bad thing). Key tracks: Back Street Kids, It’s Alright, Dirty Women

NEVER SAY DIE! (1978) Not just the name of the touring Impericon fest, it’s also the obtuse and disjointed eighth album from Black Sabbath. Identity can be a serious issue for any band at this stage in their career and with a relationship as fragile as their’s, the heaviness from the start of Sabbath has been somewhat lost. But that doesn’t stop them writing some real standout moments before Ozzy took his leave. Key tracks: Never Say Die, Shock Wave, Air Dance