Black Sabbath (1970)
Ozzy Osbourne's voice is deeper and rougher than on later records; it sounds partially developed in the manner of cartoon characters before the actors voicing them have settled into a groove. The analogy is appropriate because in 1970 Ozzy was yet to become the heavy-drinking, bat-biting, ant-snorting character of popular lore. The band's persona, however, is fully formed. Track one - "Black Sabbath" itself - begins with rain, a tolling bell, thunder, and a particularly satanic riff before Ozzy begins to drone:
What is this that stands before me/Figure in black which points at me/Turn 'round quick and start to run/Find out I'm the chosen one/Oh no!"N.I.B." aside, the remainder of the album is not as explicitly gothic as the title track, although "The Wizard" does have a Tolkien-esque flavour. There's plenty of good and/or cheesy moments, but nothing here that matches the band's best material. Black Sabbath is more an exercise in mood, a Hammer horror film transliterated into a hard rock album.
Big black shape with eyes of fire/Telling people their desire/Satan sitting there he's smiling/Watches those flames get higher and higherDennis Wheatley certainly has a lot to answer for.