Black Sabbath-s/t, 1970
There are times when the beginning really is the best place to start so I will start with this album. Some bands have debuts that show potential, but there is work to be done before the band is great. Some bands that fall in this category are Deep Purple, Kiss, Def Leppard and Anthrax. Then there are albums where the band establishes themselves from the get-go and I think Sabbath's debut would be towards the top of that list. This album came out the year I was born. If I really had a time machine then I would love to go back and see people's reaction the first time they heard this. This album just seems like it was so far beyond or at least outside of most music of the time. I think this statement comes from what I think of the band's skill, but also from their approach to their music. The album kicks off with the rain, bells and simple notes of the title track. The first time I heard this I was floored by the approach. It wasn't the most complicated song ever done, but every little part worked to make it be very effective. I think the whole album works that way as well. Ozzy's nasal vocals take on range of emotion while Tony Iommi throws out killer riffs out of nowhere. We also hear Geezer's pulsing bass lines and Bill Ward defined heavy with his drumming. Add to that the odd arrangements and the fact they played with a confidence that very bands at any point play with on their debuts. The album has aged beautifully and probably actually gets better with each listen because you will hear about it to like each time you give it a spin. Black Sabbath didn't just create their sound, they created a huge foundation of what would become heavy metal. Yet their albums didn't shoved to the back of the closet as new bands came along. No, people listened and still listen to them today. The band had created something special and fortunately their was more to come.