"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Black Sabbath
Classic Albums -
(Eagle Rock)
Review by: Mary Leary
Genre: Rockumentary
Runtime: 147 Minutes
On the web: www.eagle-rock.com/
Time was, I was kind of embarrassed that my little brother was in a Sabbath cover band (Iron Man): Of all music to emulate, isn't this kind of obvious... and dark? Like, how much can you immerse yourself in this without wanting to find a tree and a noose? And there've been times I've grouped BS in with bands-for-boys (and maladjusted men). So I was surprised at how riveted I was by most of this video. Since I didn't know that much about Sabbath's history, I was surprised to find that, unlike the Stones, and even the Beatles, who were made by promoters to appear more so than was the case; these guys truly sprang from the working class. I didn't know about the factory accident guitar master Tony Iommi had to overcome, or the role played in that by Django Reinhardt's recordings. I would never have guessed that Osbourne got fired up about music when he heard the Beatles's "She Loves You."

All this history is kept engaging by snippets of hot live footage and pretty frequent interjections by Henry Rollins, who provides so many smokin' sound bites, I won't spoil it by repeating them here. Of course, he's easily rivaled by Osbourne (when I can understand him), who was so poor when they started that he showed up at gig like this: "I haven't got any shoes, my ass is hangin' out of my pants, and I'm pissed to the fuckin' woodbines."

What really glued me to the screen was my fascination with how creative processes work. Viewers are taken through the soup-to-nuts of Paranoid, a formation that was amazingly easy, intuitive, and based on the band's chemistry. Segments in which Iommi demonstrates his guitar parts made me want to pick mine back up. Vocals, bass lines and percussion are also isolated and demo'd or explained.

After hearing Rollins suggest some of the characteristics of typical Sabbath fans (isolated, not easily fitting in), along with learning the experiences, milieu, and inspirations for the songs on Paranoid, I slapped myself upside the head - suddenly I got my brother's connection with the band, along with the its role in bringing "hippie" ideals to the working class, and its unusually political, incendiary messages. Wow - Black Sabbath - who woulda thunk it?

Along with Iommi's might-as-well-be-a-guitar class, the bonus features include demo's from bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward, along with interesting mix board isolation's and commentary from engineer Tom Allom.