Black Sabbath didn't disappear after Ozzy got the boot- far from it! The band have a long and rich didn't end in '78 and start again in '95!

Let's examine what I think of as a bit of selective amnesia punters seem to have when it comes to Black Sabbath. For lot of people, Sabbath means Ozzy and the song Paranoid. I have a problem with that. How many times have I been at a pub talking to some indie/alterno music schmuck who wants to try a bit of credibility factor on me. The conversation comes around to metal (invariably) and this clown tries to name drop in order to impress. Soon I'm being told how cool Black Sabbath is by this Jebediah t-shirted moron, and then he makes the fatal mistake. I say, "so what do you think of Heaven and Hell?" and he says, "what?".......

Yes. Ouch indeed.

You see, to true Black Sabbath fans, there is much more to the band than merely the first five albums]. Of course, no one would suggest the likes of Volume 4 or Masters Of Reality are in any way lacking, nevertheless, a complete appreciation of Sabbath requires one to delve deeper into the catalogue.

Essentially Black Sabbath wouldn't exist if not for the momentous riff-meistering by the king, Tony Iommi. So why limit your appreciation to simply the first four or five albums? Iommi's brilliance is scattered throughout Black Sabbath's long recording history. How many people have dug into the "Seventh Star" album, or blasted "Falling Off The Edge Of The World" from "The Mob Rules"? Not enough I fear.

And if you think all that Dio stuff is a bit of a laugh...a bit of a joke....well you obviously don't have any respect for the roots of metal. And you also don't have a fucking clue what half your nu-metal heroes were listening to when they were younger. Dio's brilliance shines throughout the all-time classic record "Heaven & Hell" as he delivers such Sabbath monstrosities as 'Children Of The Sea', 'Neon Knights' and 'Die Young'. Even his live performance on the band's 1983 live album "Live Evil" gives an awesome new face to such Sabbath opuses as 'Children Of the Grave' and the song 'Black Sabbath'. So don't think you can get away with being a true Black Sabbath fan if you haven't dug some of the Dio stuff.

Okay, I'm going to stick my neck out again and let you in on a bit of a secret. Sabbath also didn't end with Dio's departure in 1983. Even amongst the barren eighties wilderness, when Iommi drove the band into the ground. there are a few little gems to dig from the scorched earth. Tony Martin, the lame frontman with the belting vocal skills, pumped out quite a few albums with the band during this time, some great, others shithouse. Iommi's axe abilities are probably best showcased on Headless Cross and Tyr, the latter being a strong record provided you can get over the dodgy Spinal Tap-like theme running through the record (Valhalla, Odin and Norsemen run riot throughout the lyrics!)

To help you all next time you are hunting down further additions to your Sabbath collection, I’ve compiled a list of best non-Ozzy albums. It goes without saying you should own all the Ozzy albums first, even Never Say Die. Best non-Ozzy :

1. Heaven & Hell (Dio wrote all lyrics, Iommi going nuts, classic Mark II Sabs lineup)

2. The Mob Rules (Dio’s second album with the band. Tracks ‘Mob Rules’ and ‘Sign Of The Southern Cross’ are highlights

3. Headless Cross (Cozy Powell on drums – a little eighties in flavour, but great songs)

Worst non-Ozzy :

1. Cross Purposes (execrable piece of shit hated by the band. With Tony Martin on vocals)

2. Forbidden (as hateful as Cross Purposes. Possibly the lowest point in band’s career. Known for crap front cover)

3. Seventh Star (the song Seventh Star is okay with a great riff, but rest of album is very ordinary)

Special mention : Born Again cannot be forgotten. It is an enigma of a record. The production and riffing is as good as Sabbath has ever been, but the whole thing has a peculiar feeling to it. Gillan brings something to Sabbath, undoubtably, but whether that is a good or bad thing is very much open to the listener. I dig the songDisturbing The Priest’ not least for the great riff and chorus and the slightly naughty (but not evil) song title. It’s like…..”okay, okay…where not going to kill or maim the priest…we’ll just ‘disturb’ him a little bit”….HA HA HA HA HA HA HA