BS 2695 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Produced by Black Sabbath
Released on December 1, 1973
UK CHART POSITION #4 . . . US CHART POSITION #11 . . . PLATINUM RECORD
Find it at GEMM
BS 2695 cover  

K ronomyth 5.0: DUNGEONS & DRINKING. “Overinflated fluff,” says the Troll, stabbing the air behind his head in a slow yawn, as if to say he’d heard this all before in Volume 4. “But this has an orchestra, synthesizers, multipart suites,” I remind him. My eyes visibly widen at the last words, yet he’s unimpressed. And maybe he’s right. The world didn’t need another prog band in 1973; it needed metal warriors who would slash through ranks of suited, seated cellists and flautists to plant a new bloody standard at the podium. Fortunately for us, even their most orchestral album still has its share of dark energy, from the opening “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” to the heroic ending of “Spiral Architect.” In between you’ll find what may be Tony Iommi’s prettiest instrumental (“Fluff”), an eerie and synthetic spectre of a song (“Who Are You”), a three-part heavy metal suite (“Killing Yourself To Live”) and a melodic metal song that would have felt right at home on the superior Sabotage (“Looking For Today”). The Troll notwithstanding, a lot of people will tell you this is one of Black Sabbath’s best albums. I’m not one of those people. The production isn’t up to snuff, and it’s almost impossible to hear songs like “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and “A National Acrobat” without thinking how much heavier they could (and should) have been. From its origins in the dungeons of haunted Clearwell Castle, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was destined for some measure of enshrinement in the Sabbath songbook, but it’s an unfocused album. Paranoid, Master of Reality, Sabotage… those are better albums. This is the sound of a band dodging disaster and covering the cracks with strings, synthesizers, suites and some piano from soon-to-be-ex-Yesman Rick Wakeman. The drink and drugs were taking their toll, and for all the talk of “the riff that saved Sabbath,” what was Iommi saving them for: Never Say Die? Technical Ecstasy? No, the Sabbath war machine was winding down despite Iommi’s attempts to wind them back up again. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is a better album for his efforts; it is not, however, one of their better efforts. That said, a merely average Sabbath album is better than most things in this cursed world, so you still need to buy it, bang your head to it and burn a small amount of incense at its altar. (Note: The CD lists “Spiral Architect” at 5:29, the LP at 4:40. Could just be an error, but I’ll confirm it as soon as I dig my vinyl copy of SBS out of the vault.)

BS 2695 back cover BS 2695 lyric insert 2695-2 cover
BS 2695 back cover BS 2695 lyric insert 2695-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

TRACK LISTING

  1. SABBATH, BLOODY SABBATH    5:35
  2. A NATIONAL ACROBAT    6:20
  3. FLUFF    4:10
  4. SABBRA CADABRA    5:55
  5. KILLING YOURSELF TO LIVE    5:35
  6. WHO ARE YOU    4:10
  7. LOOKING FOR TODAY    5:00
  8. SPIRAL ARCHITECT    4:40

    CD reissue bonus track
  9. CORNUCOPIA (LIVE)

    All songs written by Black Sabbath

CREDITS

GEEZER BUTLER -- bass, fuzz bass, synthesizer, Mellotron, hands, nose
TONY IOMMI -- guitars, acoustic and steel guitars, piano, harpsichord, synthesizer, flute, organ, hands, bagpipes
OZZY OSBOURNE -- vocals, synthesizer, hands
BILL WARD -- drums, percussion, timpani, hands, fuzz bass-drum
Will Malone -- conductor, string arrangement
The Phantom Fiddlers -- strings
Rick Wakeman -- piano and synthesizer (4)
Mike Butcher -- engineer, production help
Mark Forster -- coordination
Patrick Meehan -- direction
Spock Wall -- production help
Drew Struzan -- illustrations

return to BLACK SABBATH discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK December 1, 1973 WWA LP/CS WWA/WWC 005 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
US December 1, 1973 Warner Bros. LP BS 2695 lyric insert
JPN 1974 Vertigo LP RJ-5113 gatefold cover
MEX 1974 Vertigo LP LGR-23009 gatefold cover
JPN 1975 Vertigo LP RJ-7031  
JPN 1978 Vertigo LP BT-5155  
FRA/NET 1980 NEMS LP NEL-6017 gatefold cover
JPN 1980 NEMS LP SP18-5014  
UK/GER 1985 NEMS LP NEL-6017  
UK June 1988 Vertigo 2LP/2CD/2CS   repackaged w. BLACK SABBATH
US August 9, 1988 Warner Bros. CD/CS 2695-2  
  June 1989 Castle CDX   w. bonus track
JPN 1991 Teichiku CD TECP-23937  
UK July 1992 Castle CD CLA 201  
UK/GER February 1996 Essential CD ESMCD 305 digital remaster
UK 2003 Earmark LP 41012 180g vinyl
UK 2004 Earmark LPCLR/LPPIC 641012/41012P avail. as clear vinyl or picture disc
JPN 2007 Universal CD POCE-1101 digital remaster
JPN 2008 Universal CD POCE-9111 SHMCD remaster
UK 2009 Universal CD 2716846 digital remaster
JPN 2009 Universal CD UICY-94186 SHMCD remaster

 

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