The credit for creating the heavy metal genre goes to none other than Black Sabbath. A paradigm shift in rock music was brought about by the success of the band’s first two albums. One had the band’s name as its title and the other was ‘Paranoid’.
It was after the success of these albums that the term ‘heavy metal’ entered the music vocabulary. It was described as a more thunderous and denser kind of rock music. The band exuded the key aspects of heavy metal aesthetic. Some of them were a dark and demonic subject matter, riff-based songs, and extreme volume.
Black Sabbath described themselves as a ‘heavy underground band’. It denoted the intensity of their music and the community of fans who were the first to discover them. This description has always stayed with them, even after selling over 75,000,000 albums worldwide.
They were inducted into the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ in 2006. However, they already had the eligibility for it way back in 1995. This stands testimony to the fact that they’ve always remained a misunderstood band in the history of rock.
How the band formed
The story of this band began in England with Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne, and Bill Ward. In music, they found a way to escape their life of factory work. In 1968, these four musicians got together and formed a band, which they named ‘Earth’. At the time, they were heavily influenced by some of the top British blues bands.
In fact, the name ‘Earth’ was the shortened form of their ‘Earth Blues Company’. Everything changed for the band when Geezer Butler came up with a bizarre idea for a song. It was about a disturbing apparition that he believed he had witnessed one night. He had flirted with black arts for a brief period. Apparently he believed that the figure he had seen was real.
Osbourne provided lyrics for the song and it was composed by the band. They titled the song Black Sabbath after a 1963 horror film directed by Mario Bava. It received extremely encouraging reactions from the audiences. Upon seeing such unusual reactions, they knew they had stumbled upon something strong and unique.
Themes used by the band
As there was already another band named ‘Earth’, they were forced to change their band’s name. ‘Black Sabbath’ was the obvious choice, as the name was mysterious and thought-provoking. All members of the band liked The Beatles, but this band was their polar opposite.
Ozzy Osbourne was the vocalist and Ward played the drums. Butler was the bassist and main lyricist of the band, while Iommi served as the musical architect. Black Sabbath’s songs were based on varying themes. They were mostly on social chaos, war, the afterlife, conflict between good and evil, and the supernatural.
Many believed that they were devil worshipers or witchcraft practitioners. These were nothing but misconceptions as the lyrics of a song called After Forever paints a different picture. The lyrics of the song contains the line ‘God is the only way to love’.