Personally I think this album is one among many that Sabbath did that I enjoy a lot. I think this was a case of NME assigning the wrong guy to review a great album. The result is plain to see, and it goes awfully wrong for all involved. For historic purposes – here it is!
Black Sabbath: Sabotage – (Nems)
Record review by Mick Farren
I think it was Lester Bangs who put forward the proposition that people who went to Black Sabbath concerts derived their pleasure from ingesting massive amounts of downers and simply let the noise of the band vibrate their chest cavities, thus bypassing the ear altogether.
The problem with this thesis is that it hardly holds true for Black Sabbath`s records. You can scarcely achieve this kind of effect on the average home stereo without facing instant eviction.
There simply can`t be enough hermits and mountain dwellers to put this unpleasant record at number 9 in the charts.
At this point the fact has to be faced that Black Sabbath are simply low consciousness music.
(At this point the ingratiating critic slips in a disclaimer).
There is nothing essentially wrong with a low consciousness. It`s simply that I find it hard to relate to. I don`t have one. Neither do my knuckles trail on the ground when I walk.
Little Richard used to call rock and roll the healing music. Daily Mirror columnists like to call a tune “infectious”. This has to be atrophy music.
It`s heavy metal that`s so far into its half life that decay is almost complete.
The snap and fire of Jimi, the MC5 and even the early Who has been transformed by Sabbath into a ponderous, rolling THING that crushes all in its monomaniac path.
Is there no handsome young scientists who will come and save us in the nick of time?
Just as religoid chorales and tired shock tactics fail to disguise the essentially brutal thud-thud structures, the five cent psychiatry in the lyrics fails to boost them to even B movie stature.
Some couplets are dull gems of hothouse illiteracy.
How about: “Everybody`s looking at me / They`re paranoid inside / When I step outside I`ll feel free / Think I`ll find a place to hide”.
Then the subject enquires if he`s going insane. His only answer is loony laughter.
This isn`t psychodrama, It`s an amusement park ghost train. It has the same cheap, lowest common denominator, dubious thrill quotient while totally lacking the kind of gaudy innocence that might make it redeemingly charming.
It`s also highly successful, and probably causes brain damage.
Can I please take it off now?
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.
This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Roxy Music, Bay City Rollers, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, The Who, Dave Mason, Mott.
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