Black Sabbath’s Paranoid album is not only the band’s finest hour but also one of the best heavy metal albums ever produced. Although there were many great moments on their first five albums, Paranoid is their only release that is fantastic from beginning to end. Also worth noting is that Paranoid, with the exception of AC/DC’s Back In Black, is the best album ever recorded where the songs are based on heavy memorable riffs.
How great are the tracks here? Three of the greatest heavy metal songs ever, “War Pigs”, “Iron Man”, and the title track are all present here with the latter two being the band’s only Top 100 hits. Lead singer Ozzy Osbourne still performs all of these songs regularly whether it’s with his solo band or with Black Sabbath on the Ozzfest tours. “War Pigs” is arguably one of the greatest anti-war tracks recorded, which is astounding since these issues were typically touched on more by singer/songwriters like Bob Dylan and Neil Young than bands of their genre. “Iron Man” is still one of the coolest guitar riffs ever recorded and along with the title track still receives generous airplay on classic rock radio. Amazingly, the rest of the album is very strong as well. The tracks “Electric Funeral” and “Hand Of Doom” both feature slow memorable riffs in the chorus and verses and then go into killer jams during the middle of the track. The instrumental “Rat Salad” is also excellent, carried by Bill Ward’s underrated energetic drumming. The heavy shuffle of “Fairies Wear Boots” and the moody “Planet Caravan” are also great tracks. This is also their most influential album as Paranoid encouraged literally thousands of teenagers to pick up a guitar and later form heavy metal bands. You can still hear this influence in many of today’s heavy bands like Staind and Disturbed. An essential album for all heavy metal fans. Highly recommended.