Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be the 100 Most Dynamic Debut Albums Ever Made, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
32 years before Ozzy Osbourne, his wife and two children became unlikely reality TV stars in 2002, he and his Black Sabbath bandmates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward helped to spawn heavy metal music as we would later know it.
Originally (and appropriately) released on Friday the 13th in February of 1970, the Birmingham, England bred band’s ominous, eponymous debut album sounded unlike anything rock & roll audiences had ever encountered. And the grandiose, guitar-driven sound contained therein simply sounds massive, still to this day.
Replete with foreboding references to the occult on the grinding dirge of the title track, nods to the mystical (or perhaps metaphorically, the band’s drug dealer) on the rollicking, harmonica imbued “The Wizard,” and a love song framed from the perspective of the Devil (“N.I.B.”), Black Sabbath is heavy fare indeed, both sonically and thematically.
"They were and still are a groundbreaking band, Judas Priest’s frontman Rob Halford once reflected. “You can put on the first Black Sabbath album and it still sounds as fresh today as it did 30-odd years ago. And that's because great music has a timeless ability. To me, Sabbath are in the same league as the Beatles or Mozart. They're on the leading edge of something extraordinary."
Play it often, and for the love of the heavy metal gods, play it LOUD.