NEL 6018 Sabotage
Produced by Black Sabbath with Mike Butcher
Released on August 1975
UK CHART POSITION #7 . . . US CHART POSITION #28 . . . GOLD RECORD (6/16/97)
Find it at GEMM
NEL 6018 cover  

M essage to Bill Ward: nice pants. Of course, at least he’s wearing underwear, which is more than you can say for Tony Iommi (and God only knows what Ozzy has on underneath). Hard to believe, but Sabbath was becoming slightly unfashionable, with Sabotage sputtering at the gold plateau. You can’t fault the product: this album is another heavy metal juggernaut, led by such would-be apocalyptic anthems as “Symptom of the Universe,” “Hole in the Sky” and “The Writ.” Sabbath’s unblinking eye, fixed on the end of the world, was becoming too much for some listeners, who opted to blink and re-focus on the new wave of metal gods (Judas Priest, Rainbow, Rush). If Sabotage has a weakness, it’s an indefinable restlessness and creeping sense of weariness in the material (addressed in part on "The Writ"), carefully concealed with shifting arrangements and Tony Iommi’s exploration of different sounds. You can hear the band trying to stretch the original vision to encompass something bigger: the overblown orchestral instrumental “Supertzar” and increased production value on “The Writ” (featuring cymbals recorded backward and harpsichord) are attempts to take Sabbath’s sound into new realms. The same ambitiousness was at work on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, but there it seemed to come at the expense of the band’s usual menace; “Who Are You” and “Sabbra Cadabra” didn’t immediately sound like the work of Sabbath, “Megalomania” and “Thrill Of It All” do. To its credit, most folks cut the cord for classic Sabbath here, the last in the line of metal monsters. I haven’t heard the band’s next two records, so I can’t tell you what kind of dropoff in quality to expect. I can recommend this heartily, though. It’s one of my favorite Sabbath records, and not just because I was playing it when I had my first car accident (when people describe Sabbath’s sound as “crunching metal,” they kid you not).

NEL 6018 back cover CWX-2822 cover
NEL 6018 back cover CWX-2822 cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. HOLE IN THE SKY
  2. DON'T START (TOO LATE)
  3. SYMPTOM OF THE UNIVERSE
  4. MEGALOMANIA
  5. THRILL OF IT ALL
  6. SUPERTZAR
  7. AM I GOING INSANE (RADIO)
  8. THE WRIT

    CD reissue bonus track
  9. SWEET LEAF (LIVE)

    All songs written/arranged by Black Sabbath

CREDITS

GEEZER BUTLER -- bass
TONY IOMMI -- guitar
OSSIE OSBOURNE -- vocals
BILL WARD -- drums
English Chamber Choir -- choir
Will Malone -- choral arrangement
Tom Allom -- engineer
Robin Black -- engineer
Mike Butcher -- engineer
David Harris -- tape operator and saboteur
Spock Wall, Les Martin, Adrian Rawlings, Niggs Hudson, Graham Wright and Monty Babson -- assistance (special thanks dept.)

return to BLACK SABBATH discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK August 1975 NEMS LP/CS 9119 001  
US August 1975 Warner Bros. LP/CS BS 2822 lyric insert
CAN 1975 Warner Bros. CS CWX-2822  
ARG/GER 1975 Vertigo LP 6366 115  
JPN 1975 Vertigo LP RJ-7043 lyric insert
UK/NET 1980 NEMS LP NEL 6018  
  January 1986 NEMS LP/CS 8001  
US August 9, 1988 Warner Bros. CD/CS 2822  
  June 1989 Castle CDX   w. bonus track
UK July 1992 Castle CD CLACD 202  
UK/GER February 1996 Essential CD ESMCD 306 digital remaster, lyric sleeve
ITA 1996 Get Back LPCLR 641028 clear vinyl

 

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