BLACK SABBATH - NEVER SAY DIE
Black Sabbath is credited with creating heavy metal. The success of their first two albums — Black Sabbath and Paranoid - marked a paradigm shift in the world of rock. Not until Black Sabbath upended the music scene did the term "heavy metal" enter the popular vocabulary to describe the denser, more thunderous offshoot of rock over which they presided. With their riff-based songs, extreme volume, and dark, demonic subject matter, Black Sabbath embodied key aspects of the heavy-metal aesthetic.
Amazingly, Black Sabbath released four genre-defining albums in a two-year period while touring at a ceaseless pace. The group's fifth album, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973), showed further signs of growth and experimentation, and the title track ranks among their finest moments. As a totality, it comes closest to equaling their early masterpiece, Paranoid. However, the demanding pace of the road and various lifestyle excesses began catching up with Black Sabbath by the mid-70s.
After a brief break-up following the Technical Ecstasy tour, Black Sabbath and frontman Ozzy Osbourne reconvened for their swan song Never Say Die! Osbourne called the release "A very varied album...it's not just steamhammer headbanging stuff all the way through" and the nine-song set ranges from the potent title track to the synthesizer-heavy "Johnny Blade" to the experimental ballad "Air Dance." The cracks in Black Sabbath's facade became permanent though when Osbourne quit for good in 1978, after the checkered Never Say Die! tour.