ALBUM REVIEW: Black Sabbath – Sabotage Super Deluxe Edition

The last of a groundbreaking run of undisputed classics, Sabotage (Vertigo/BMG), often gets overlooked during debates about the studio legacy of legendary metal pioneers Black Sabbath. Considering the seismic impact of the band’s previous five releases, this isn’t entirely surprising but Sabotage has always deserved more time in those conversations.

Born of frustration and bitterness, the band’s sixth album was so named because of the setbacks and stress caused by a legal dispute with their former management, and still remains one of the heaviest and angriest sounding records the iconic four-piece ever recorded. Influential cuts like ‘Hole in the Sky’ and ‘Symptom of the Universe’ sound as raw and vital now as they did back in 1975, frontman Ozzy Osbourne stretching his vocal cords to the maximum, guitarist Tony Iommi delivering riff after classic riff, and the rhythm section of drummer Bill Ward and bassist Geezer Butler driving each song forward with swing and groove.

Not afraid to disregard convention, the band throws in ‘Don’t Start (Too Late)’ as the record’s second track, a gentle minute-long instrumental piece splitting up the two of the heaviest tracks on the album. Osbourne’s anger at the band being sued resurfaces on the multi-layered ‘Megalomania’, a song which shares its feelings of exasperation with the record’s viciously penned closing diatribe, ‘The Writ’. The many moods of ‘Thrill of it All’, the creepy choir-led ‘Supertzar’ and divisive single ‘Am I Going Insane (Radio)’ all add their own unique touches to a phenomenal record that still stands up today.


Available on both CD and vinyl and containing new, rare, and superbly remastered material, the Super Deluxe version of Sabotage is a hugely impressive piece of Sabbath memorabilia. Comprising four separate discs, the package consists of the album in full (even including the short, jokey outro ‘Blow on the Jug’, omitted from certain original releases), a reproduction of the ‘Am I Going Insane (Radio)’ 7” single (featuring the rarely seen Japanese cover), and two discs recorded live on the band’s 1975 tour of the US. Although available as a bootleg for some years, the live material is still a great listen for many reasons, none more so than hearing a hilariously stoned and almost permanently out of tune Ozzy, and a crowd clearly only there for the classics, reacting with almost total apathy towards “new songs” like ‘Hole in the Sky’ and ‘Symptom of the Universe’.


Also included is a fold-out tour poster, a glossy reproduction of a 1975 tour programme from Madison Square Garden, and a hardback book choc-full of liner notes, press clippings, rare photographs, and promotional material. A fantastic package for any die-hard Sabbath fan, and one that thankfully does not include a pair of Bill Ward’s sexy red leggings.

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9 / 10