Certainly the spookiness of the castle served as an inspiration for Sabbath, who soon discovered a ghost lurked within the walls.
“We rehearsed in the armoury there and one night I was walking down the corridor with Ozzy and we saw this figure in a black cloak … We followed this figure back into the armoury and there was absolutely no one there,” recalled Iommi in 1998. “Whoever it was had disappeared into thin air! The people that owned the castle knew all about this ghost and they said, ‘Oh yes, that’s the ghost of so and so. We were like ‘What!?'”
Butler, in Wheels of Confusion: The Story of Black Sabbath, adds the medieval setting served as an inspiration: “It was really creepy but it had some atmosphere, it conjured up things, and stuff started coming out again.”
With songs in hand, Sabbath would end up recording the album at London’s Morgan Studios. It was released in December 1973, and on Jan. 1, 1974 in the U.S.
“The Pinnacle” for Sabbath
Indeed, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is one of the band’s best albums. In addition to the title track, “A National Acrobat”, “Killing Yourself To Live” and “Spiral Architect” are among Black Sabbath’s greatest tracks.
Iommi even called it “the pinnacle” for Black Sabbath.
Additionally, the album’s cover is one of the most iconic in metal history. It was painted by Drew Struzan and is immediately with its depiction of an evil death on the front, and a good death on the back fold.
Speaking of that period in the band’s history, Osbourne noted it was “the beginning of the end” for the band.
“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was really the album after which I should have said goodbye because after that I really started unravelling”, Osbourne told Mojo. “Then we ended up falling out of favour with each other.”
Check out more of Cam Maxwell’s Rock ‘N Roll Insight.