Symptom of the Universe (song)

Last updated
"Symptom of the Universe"
Single by Black Sabbath
from the album Sabotage
A-side "Hard Road"
ReleasedJuly 28, 1975 (Album)
October 1978 (Single)
RecordedEarly 1975 at Morgan Studios in London, England, UK
Genre Heavy metal
Length6:29
Label Vertigo (UK)
Warner Bros. (US)
Songwriter(s)

"Symptom of the Universe" is a song by the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, from their 1975 album Sabotage . The song was an early influence on the development of thrash metal.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Black Sabbath British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.

<i>Sabotage</i> (Black Sabbath album) album by Black Sabbath

Sabotage is the sixth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released in July 1975. It was recorded in the midst of litigation with their former manager Patrick Meehan and the stress that resulted from the band's ongoing legal woes infiltrated the recording process, inspiring the album's title. It was co-produced by guitarist Tony Iommi and Mike Butcher.

Contents

Overview

"Symptom of the Universe" was composed largely by guitarist Tony Iommi, with lyrics by Geezer Butler. Its closing passage, very unlike the rest of the song, evolved from an in-studio jam, created spontaneously in a single day. [1]

Tony Iommi British guitarist and composer

Anthony Frank Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. He was lead guitarist and one of the four founder members of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He was the band's primary composer and sole continual member for nearly five decades.

Geezer Butler English musician, bassist and lyricist of Black Sabbath

Terence Michael Joseph "Geezer" Butler is an English musician and songwriter. Butler is best known as the bassist and primary lyricist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He has also recorded with Heaven & Hell, GZR, and Ozzy Osbourne.

Jam session

A jam session is a relatively informal musical event, process, or activity where musicians, typically instrumentalists, play improvised solos and vamp on tunes, songs and chord progressions. To "jam" is to improvise music without extensive preparation or predefined arrangements, except for when the group is playing well-known jazz standards or covers of existing popular songs. Original jam sessions, also 'free flow sessions', are often used by musicians to develop new material (music) and find suitable arrangements. Both styles can be used simply as a social gathering and communal practice session. Jam sessions may be based upon existing songs or forms, may be loosely based on an agreed chord progression or chart suggested by one participant, or may be wholly improvisational. Jam sessions can range from very loose gatherings of amateurs to evenings where a jam session coordinator or host acts as a "gatekeeper" to ensure that only appropriate-level performers take the stage, to sophisticated improvised recording sessions by professionals which are intended to be broadcast live on radio or TV or edited and released to the public.

Live versions can be heard on the albums Past Lives , Cross Purposes Live and Live... Gathered in Their Masses , [2] as well as the Never Say Die! concert video. [3] It is also the opening track on Ozzy Osbourne's 1982 live album, Speak of the Devil .

<i>Past Lives</i> (Black Sabbath album) live album

Past Lives is a live album released in 2002 by Black Sabbath. It peaked at number 114 on the Billboard 200. The first disc was previously known as Live at Last, an album not put out by Black Sabbath's record company, and therefore not an official Black Sabbath album. The second consists of recordings made for television and radio, previously only available on bootlegs. It was released as a digipak and later a standard jewel-case.

<i>Cross Purposes Live</i> live album

Cross Purposes Live is a boxed set released by the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath in 4 April 1995. The set comprised a live album on CD and a VHS tape of a concert recorded at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on Wednesday 13 April 1994, recorded on the band's tour for their Cross Purposes album. The tour was notable for being the first time The Wizard had been played since early 1971, when Ozzy Osbourne was still lead vocalist. It is Black Sabbath's only live album with singer Tony Martin. The CD was housed within an oversized videotape case but had its own inserts and jewel case.

<i>Live... Gathered in Their Masses</i> live album by Black Sabbath

Live... Gathered in Their Masses is a live album and film by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. It features performances from their 2013 world tour, recorded in Melbourne, Australia on 29 April and 1 May 2013. It was released 26 November 2013 as a CD, DVD, Blu-ray, and a deluxe box set.

The song is featured in the video games Skate 2 and Brütal Legend .[ citation needed ]

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

<i>Skate 2</i> video game

Skate 2 is a skateboarding video game developed by EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released worldwide in January 2009 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 after the spin-off title Skate It. It is the sequel to the 2007's Skate and the third installment in the Skate series overall.

<i>Brütal Legend</i> video game by Double Fine Productions

Brütal Legend is an action-adventure video game with real-time strategy game elements created by Double Fine Productions and published by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was released during October 2009 in North America, Europe, and Australia. Though Brütal Legend was originally to be published by Vivendi Games prior to its merger with Activision, Activision dropped the game from its portfolio after the merger. It was later picked up by Electronic Arts, though Activision and Double Fine brought counter-lawsuits against each other over publishing issues. The issues were settled out of court. Later, Double Fine announced a port of the game for Microsoft Windows via Steam, which was released in February 2013. Mac OS X and Linux versions of the game were made available as part of the Humble Bundle in May 2013. A physical collector's edition for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux was released by IndieBox in October 2014.

Musical style

The main riff to "Symptom of the Universe" is considered to be a structural and sonic predecessor to thrash metal, [4] a heavy metal subgenre which emerged in the early 1980s. Tony Iommi said of the song "It starts with an acoustic bit. Then it goes into the up-tempo stuff to give it that dynamic, and it does have a lot of changes to it, including the jam at the end." [5]

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Notable covers

Sepultura Brazilian metal band

Sepultura is a Brazilian heavy metal band from Belo Horizonte. Formed in 1984 by brothers Max and Igor Cavalera, the band was a major force in the groove metal, thrash metal and death metal genres during the late 1980s and early 1990s, with their later experiments drawing influence from alternative metal, world music, nu metal, hardcore punk and industrial metal. Sepultura has also been credited as one of the leaders of the second wave of thrash metal in the late 1980s and early-to-mid-1990s.

Nativity in Black are two Black Sabbath tribute albums that came out in the 1990s and 2000s. The albums were recorded with various heavy metal bands paying tribute to Black Sabbath for their influence on the heavy metal genre of rock music.

<i>Blood-Rooted</i> album by Sepultura

Blood-Rooted is an album by Sepultura, released on June 3, 1997. It was a collection of unreleased tracks, b-sides, remixes, and live recordings. It was also the last officially recognised Sepultura album featuring original singer Max Cavalera, who left in December 1996 amid a dispute regarding the band's management. Cavalera was replaced by American singer Derrick Green in 1997.

Personnel

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References

  1. Iommi, Tony (2011). Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. Da Capo Press. ISBN   978-0-30681-9551.
  2. "Cross Purposes Live (Album) – Black Sabbath –". Last.fm. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  3. "Black Sabbath: Never Say Die". Sanctuary Records Group. Archived from the original on 2006-09-29.
  4. Rakhmanin, Vladimir (September 22, 2012). "Thrash Metal – An Introduction". University Times Magazine. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
  5. Iommi, Tony (2012). Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. Simon & Schuster. p. 146. ISBN   0306822318.