Awesome Totally Awesome - DTK

The Story of Black Sabbath’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”

In 1973, Black Sabbath were riding high on the success of their Vol. IV album and mammoth tour of the U.S., Australia and Europe.

But when it came time to work on the Vol. IV follow up album, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne found the writing well had simply run dry.

Despite trying to duplicate the surroundings and good times they had when writing Vol. IV – renting a house in Bel Air, snorting up bagfuls of cocaine and using LA’s Record Plant Studios – they just couldn’t replicate that magic in the summer of 1973. The drugs were taking a toll and Iommi, the guy everybody was waiting on to come up with the songs, had the musician’s version of writer’s block.

“Everybody was sitting there waiting for me to come up with something. I just couldn’t think of anything. And if I didn’t come up with anything, nobody would do anything,” said Iommi in in the book Wheels of Confusion: The Story of Black Sabbath.

So after a fruitless month in LA, Sabbath returned to their English roots and rented a medieval castle, Clearwell Castle, in Gloucestershire, England, to work on writing new songs. The castle was well known to bands after Bad Company had worked within its gothic halls and dungeons. Later Led Zeppelin would rehearse some songs from the In Through the Out Door sessions there.

The Riff That Saved Black Sabbath

With a ton of pressure still weighing the band down, Iommi had an epiphany in the castle dungeon when he stumbled upon the mammoth riff that would become Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’s title track and savior of the band.

In an interview with Guitar World, Butler tells how low the band was before Iommi came up with that amazing riff: “We almost thought that we were finished as a band … Once Tony came out with the initial riff for ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ we went ‘We’re baaaack!'”

Awesome Totally Awesome - DTK

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.

Awesome Totally Awesome - Freaks & Weirdos Boutique
ATA - DTK

Awesome Dropping

Awesome Totally Awesome - A Fortnite Love Story

A Fortnite Love Story

Todd stands in front of his hotel’s bathroom mirror. He’s sweating profusely as he bonds his fake, blonde goatee onto his chin. This, doubled with his blonde, platinum-dyed hair makes him look completely different. He takes a deep breath as he begins...
mexico city basilica

Radioactive Summer Part 2: The First 24 Hours in Mexico City

With a wild 36 hours behind the band in one of the most eclectic cities I had ever been to in Northern America, the Rays of Electromagnetic Radiation were on our way to Mexico City to continue our first international tour.

Grails - Photoshoot Featuring @ymanibarbee and @adore.eu in Streetwear Grails by Supreme and Diamond Supply Co. X Collabo NY

Ymani and Natalie looking fine in streetwear grails by Supreme and Diamond Supply Co. x Collabo NY.  Ymani is wearing a Supreme grail from 2008 (tags still on) featuring JFK and Jackie in 1963, just minutes before JFK was assassinated.  Natalie is wearing another grail: Diamond Supply Co. x Collabo NY's 2006 flipped Misfits skull logo with grills.

Awesome Features

Alfonso Rawls EverybodySkates Awesome Totally Awesome

SHINE: ATA’s INTERVIEW WITH SKATEBOARDING ICON ALPHONSO “ALF” RAWLS ON SKATING, HIS STREETWEAR COMPANY #EVERYBODY SKATES, AND HIS ART

Our latest Shine subject is Alfonso "ALF" Rawls.  ALF is a skateboarding legend and really good soul who can still rip everything with freaky styley style.

Why Phil Kessel Is Awesome (And Why You Should Think So Too)

Phil Kessel beat cancer during his rookie season and went on to become a five time thirty goal scorer and two time Stanley Cup Champion on his own terms.  In spite of being one of the most prolific goal scorers of his generation, Phil has been oft maligned, bullied, and minimized by the press, the fans, the NHL, and even his peers.
Awesome Totally Awesome - Pee Smelling Murderer

How I Became a Pee Smelling Murderer With a Job Offer From an Aspiring Pimp

I had just graduated from college and was waiting for a life-changing job offer. In fact, any job offer would have been nice.

Awesome Trending

Awesome Totally Awesome Replaced My Bumper

I Replaced My Bumper: A Tale of Avoiding Trendy Plastic Surgery

My formative teen years did not involve the ever-present smartphone of today, but the media still found ways of consistently feeding me the image of “the perfect body.”
Awesome Totally Awesome - Gojira

Gojira: Converting Rock Dads and New Fans

No doubt many metal fans — especially those over 40 years of age —had heard or listened to Gojira until they opened up for Metallica in the summer of 2017. For a hardcore, French, speed-metal band like Gojira to slot onto Metallica’s WorldWired Tour was a huge coup
Awesome Totally Awesome - Parents with Fortnite Playing Flossing Teen

Parents Around the World are Refusing to Hangout With Their Fortnite Flossing Adolescents

In a strange turn of events, parents around the globe are devising any excuse to avoid hanging out (or even be seen) with their Fortnite flossing kids.