Black Sabbath is a band that tends to go in and out of fashion as the years pass. Even the most pretentious indie rocker was bowing before them in the mid-90s, but now they seem to have lost favor with the music snobs these days. That’s a shame, because they were a great, captivating rock band that should never be forgotten and not just because of their influence on the burgeoning metal movement. Any way you look at Black Sabbath they were a great band and this album is their best. Bluesier and less lumbering than the more famous “Paranoid,” it also captures the band at their best from a technical standpoint. With clever rhythms and unforgettable riffs, this album is at once earth shaking and surprisingly fun. The suite that includes “Behind The Wall Of Sleep” and “N.I.B.” is definately the best thing here, but it even the weakest moments (and there are a few; the closing suite goes on for just a bit too long and “Wicked World” is good but a little slight)are elevated by occult, almost gothic atmoshere, which is delivered here intelligently and in a (comparatively) subtle fashion. Even if the lyrics are occasionally kind of clumsy, Osbourne’s distinctive (if not always pleasing) wail and the general feelings of dread of the unknown make it all believable enough to suck you into Black Sabbath’s dark little universe where satanic creatures lurk in the woods and the blues are reinvented in a druggy, heavily distorted haze.