Classic Albums: Black Sabbath Paranoid – DVD Review

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Black Sabbath Paranoid4.5 stars

Eagle Rock Entertainment has released another gem with the DVD presentation of Black Sabbath Paranoid in the Classic Albums series. Although not reunited for the project, all the members of the band participated in this look at Sabbath’s second album, which was released in 1970.

We get to go into the studio with the band — singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward — and get a first-hand account of the making of the album. And what an album it is. Iconic tracks such as "Paranoid", "Iron Man" and "War Pigs" make it one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time. The DVD features interviews with the band, the  original engineers, archive videos and use of the original four-track tapes.

Although we look at the album as a pioneering record in the history of heavy metal, I found it rather odd that the band originally wanted to call it War Piggies to match the originally titled song with the record. After much debate with the US record company, the band reluctantly changed the name of the song to War Pigs and reverted to Paranoid, a song they considered an album filler, for the album title.

It was exciting to hear a blow-by-blow breakdown of the record by song and to hear engineer Thom Allom unleash pieces of the original 4-track recordings with mumbled melodic lyrics from Ozzy. Also, many fans of the album might not have realized Geezer Butler’s almost obsessive love of science fiction coming into play when he wrote the majority of the lyrics.

The early band footage was great, the recent interview by all four members was insightful, the 40-plus minutes of unreleased material was exciting and the production was top notch. The only thing that would have made this better would have been the performance of complete versions of the songs rather than little pieces, but it did make me want to crank out the CD and take a more informed listen.

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Dan Savoie
Dan has written and photographed for nearly every major newspaper across Canada, as well magazines like Rolling Stone, Rock Scene and Metal Hammer. He has interviewed nearly 1,000 celebrities, including his favourite bands like KISS, Motley Crue, Metallica and Bon Jovi.