Archive for June, 2017

Shiva, Vishnu, Oppenheimer and Black Sabbath’s ‘Supernaut’

June 7, 2017

‘Supernaut’, the last track on the first side of Black Sabbath’s Volume 4 LP, has long occupied a particular place in my heart, first and foremost because it has arguably the greatest riff in the entire history of hard rock, blues and heavy metal. But it’s those three short verses of lyrics that lift the song above being a mere instrumental exercise in headbanging.

Now Black Sabbath are not, it has to be said, widely regarded as a ‘lyrics band’. Sure, the words do the trick of creating the imagery and atmosphere requisite to the song, be it an invocation of occult forces, a paean to the glories of love, or a description of the pleasures and tribulations of a lifestyle powered by booze, weed, psychedelics and a very great deal of cocaine. But they’re not lyrics that either fans or critics have tended to pore over, put it that way. They’re essentially a vehicle for Ozzy’s eldritch, whining drone as it swoops high above Iommi’s chugging riffs.

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