Blog Archives

Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe by Mick Wall (2015)

Black Sabbath Symptom of the Universe by Mick Wall

Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe
by Mick Wall
St. Martin’s Press, 2015
400 pages

The most legendary of all heavy metal bands, Black Sabbath has a long history with and without singer Ozzy Osbourne. Noted rock author and former publicist to the band Mick Wall gives fans a rundown of the band’s ups and downs in Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe, how they evolved from the Earth Blues Band to the pioneering heavy metal masters, and the revolving door of singers, bass players, and drummers. The book not only holds the original lineup as the most authentic, but gives due respect to the Ronnie James Dio era as well.

The first post-Dio era, featuring singers Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, and Tony Martin, was a dark time for Black Sabbath, and Wall does not hold back when addressing the dynamics of their relationships with the band. The return of Dio in the 1990s, and his subsequent departure when he refused to participate in Ozzy’s “No More Tours” farewell tour, paved the way for Martin to return to the group before the ultimate reunion with Osbourne.

Solo projects are not altogether ignored, though the focus is on Osbourne and Dio. From Randy Rhoads’ death to biting a dove’s head off to Osbourne’s relationship with Sharon, Ozzy is given more than his fair share of non-Sabbath ink in Symptom. Likewise, Wall delves into Dio’s solo recordings, though not quite as deeply.

The soap opera that is Black Sabbath makes for an interesting subject, as well as the ascension of Osbourne as a solo artist to heights that the band never imagined in the 1970s. Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, and the various other members of the band are recognized for the parts they played in creating and perpetuating the heavy metal genre.

While Wall’s opinions of various albums and performers are not hidden, they help to make the players more real to the reader. As with most rock biographies, foul language is an issue here. That said, Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe is highly recommended for mature fans of classic rock and heavy metal.

Learn more about St. Martin’s Press.

Purchase Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe by Mick Wall.

Advertisements

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Ozzy Osbourne edition

Ultimate Ozzy Osbourne

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a big fan of the 1980s hard rock scene. Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, and Poison were some of the biggest bands back then. When it comes to solo artists, there was none bigger than Ozzy Osbourne. He always picked great guitarists to play on his records: Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde. If anyone is deserving of the JT’s Ultimate Mixtape treatment, it is Ozzy Osbourne.

The rules are simple:

  • Every studio album must be represented by one and only one song.
  • That song does not have to be an official “single” released by the artist to promote said album.
  • Compilation albums can be included, but only songs that are new, previously unreleased, or remixes of songs from prior albums are eligible for the list.
  • Live albums are a waste of time. This is a general rule that applies to most, but Ozzy’s Tribute album is obviously exempt.

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Ozzy Osbourne edition…

Ten very solid studio albums, three live albums, a compilation and a covers album are all represented on JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Ozzy Osbourne edition. But, as always, we’ve got to have some bonus tracks. It was hard to whittle this list down, and I didn’t even include any Black Sabbath material (that will come later…oooh, foreshadowing).

Bonus tracks:

%d bloggers like this: