Political Beats podcast

Episode 122: Eric Garcia / Black Sabbath

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Introducing the Band:

Your hosts Scot Bertram (@ScotBertram) and Jeff Blehar (@EsotericCD) are joined by guest Eric Garcia. Eric is senior Washington writer for the Independent and a columnist at MSNBC. Check him out on Twitter at @EricMGarcia.

Eric’s Music Pick: Black Sabbath

The storm is upon you; can you hear the peals of thunder in the background, and the bleak clang of the church bell in the sleeping village? Well then break out the most appropriate tritone you can think of as the gang discusses Ozzy, Tony, Geezer, Bill (and yes, Ronnie James as well) and the groundbreaking music of Black Sabbath. Sabbath are famed as the inventors -- with their self-titled 1970 debut album -- of what would come to be known as "heavy metal." As such, they've long been worshipped by surly teenagers and metalheads alike, and derided by parents and critics in equal proportion. 

What we will take great pleasure in explaining to you during this episode is that the kids and metalheads got this one right. The critics and your parents whiffed. Sabbath was an incredibly intelligent band that may have begun as a demonstratively sludgy blues-rock (hence the birth of "heavy metal") but almost instantly evolved into a progressive group afterwards under guidance of guitarist Tony Iommi's compulsive riff-writing abilities and the secret jazz predilections of bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward. And then there's good ol' Ozzy Osbourne -- the bloke from down at the pub made good, singing his head off as best he can and finding surprising depths in his everyman voice.

Sabbath's posthumous reputation is dictated largely by the ubiquitous popularity of their first two albums -- if you have heard them on the radio, it's probably a song like "Iron Man" or "War Pigs" -- but as far as the gang is concerned, that's actually where it gets really interesting for a band whose ability to combine piledriving riffage with shockingly unexpected moments of beauty and soulfulness marked them out during the next seven years as not just the most important heavy-metal bands to exist, but (secretly, don't tell your mom) also one of the finest art-rock groups of its era. Click play and join us this week as we boldly head Into the Void.

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