The span between their debut album and Paranoid was not very long (a little less than a year) but the difference was huge. All the grinding, powerful riffs from their 1st album had been refined and tightened and the legend that was Blak Sabbath became solidified here on their classic sophomore effort. Paranoid has so many truly great Sabbath classics that even the lesser tunes here are overshadowed by their greatness, erasing the few spots of mediocrity. Originally to be titled War Pigs (hence the pink guy on the cover wth the sword and shield)this is the epoch of hard, dark, killer rock. Moving forward from here Sabbath would never fully capture the greatness of Paranoid. If there ever was a must-have heavy metal album, this is it! I grew up listening to this as a kid in the early 70s and I gotta tel ya, these songs are imprinted in my soul!
War Pigs/Luke’s Wall – Orginally titled Walpurgis(The Witches Sabbath) with completely different lyrics (hear the original on Ozzy’s The Ozzman Cometh) Sabbath felt the whole Satanic thing was getting too out of hand. New lyrics and new title. This is one of the greatest heavy metal songs of all time! Absolutely perfect. I can never get tired of hearing it. Tight, cohesive, astounding! A true classic!
Paranoid – This is Black Sabbath’s signature song. Straight-forward rocker. Actually only made it on the album because they needed another song to round out the playing time. Ended up being the title of the album, even though the cover is geared to War Pigs, which was going to be the original title. Wow. A filler tune that became great. Who would have guessed? Ozzy to this day stil ends his shows with this Sabbath clssic.
Planet Caravan – This weird little tune actually grows on you to the point where you wind up liking it. Stange effects on Ozzy’s voice make him unrecongnizable. Eerie. Haunting. Not their best, but cool enough to garner a Pantera cover years later. Iommi’s playing here is mature and melodic. Experimental Sabbath.
Iron Man – Another Sabbath classic! There are so many here! This became a car comercial jingle last year. Pounding. Metal. In-your-face riff. Another truly great tune. I AM IRON MAN!
Electric Funeral – Often overlooked, Electric Funeral is a great song. The riff makes your head swim and the lyrics are kinda cheesy, but this song rocks. Dark, politically-angry, sci-fi metal goodness!
Hand Of Doom – Starts off mellow and moves along into a rocker. About addiction and anti-Vietnam sentiments and, well…. Death & Destruction! One of my personal favorites and another often overlooked song.
Rat Salad – If Paranoid were said to have a weak point, Rat Salad would be it. Nothing more than an instrumental to showcase Sabbath’s jamming skills and Bill Ward’s drumming prowess. But…it still “Rocks out loud!” as my younger daughter would say. And it showed us something as well: that Bill Ward was a highly-underrated drummer. At a time were everyone was hailing John Bonham and Keith Moon and such as the essential rock drummers, Ward was strangely absent from the list of greats.
Jack The Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots – Yet another Sabbath classic! The lyrics are funny! I’m sorry, but they are. Still, this is a great song where most last songs on albums weren’t. ‘Cause smokin’ & trippin’ are all that you do…. Yeah! Hilarious. Classic.
Overall, this is Sabath’s most coherent, cohesive effort Their perfect album. With so many staple songs on one recording, how can one not realize that this is the Bible of heavy Metal Albums! Ozzy, Tony, Geezer & Bill became the Godfathers of Metal with Paranoid. And rightly so!