Top 10 Black Sabbath Albums Without Ozzy Osbourne

Simba_Lennon
With any top 10 list of Black Sabbath albums, it's practically the eleventh commandment that the highest spots have to be dominated by the Ozzy Osbourne era of the band. But it gets tiring seeing the same albums get the same rankings over and over again, so for this list, only the albums that didn't feature Ozzy will be included.

The Top Ten

1 Heaven and Hell

This is probably the album I'm going to get the least amount of death threats for placing in the top 5. Technical Ecstasy was just decent at best, and while Never Say Die was better, it still left a lot to be desired by this band's standards. It was clear that the Ozzy-era lineup was losing its steam. So it's fantastic to hear the band get a new, explosive start with fresh blood in Ronnie James Dio. Neon Knights is a highlight to me, it sounds like a true headbanger's heaven. Lady Evil is also really cool. I love Geezer Butler's bass work in it, and Ronnie's vocals make him sound like he's actually headbanging as he's singing. Deservedly so! The title track is a true epic in its own right, I'd go as far as to describe it as the Dio-era equivalent of War Pigs. Children of the Sea is very atmospheric, and I love hearing some of Dio's more mellow tones on it. I like this album more now than I used to, but I can definitely see why so many people hold Dio's era in such high regard thanks ...more - Simba_Lennon

2 Headless Cross

In my eyes, this album is Black Sabbath's career apex. Things like Paranoid, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Master of Reality are still classics, sure, but Headless Cross surpasses them and everything else in the band's catalogue, bar none. There's not a single song that fully misses the mark for me. When Death Calls, Nightwing, Devil and Daughter, Black Moon, and *especially* the title track; They're all masterpieces. Everything works here. Tony Martin's singing voice is flawless, Tony Iommi's riffs are the best they've ever been, Cozy Powell's drumming is bombastic and powerful, and Geoff Nicholls's keyboards are what single-handedly made me appreciate the organ as an instrument. The haunting atmosphere and imagery of the songs are sublime and unmatched by anything else the band has ever done. Kill in the Spirit World and Cloak and Dagger aren't my favorite cuts, but even with them, Headless Cross is truly Black Sabbath's finest hour. - Simba_Lennon

Black Sabbath albums of the 80s are underrated. - Metal_Treasure

3 Born Again

This should've been regarded as a true landmark event in the history of rock: Ian Gillan, the man of a thousand wails, joining forces with the godfathers of metal itself to rock out together at last. Imagine the hype this sort of thing would get today! It's unfortunate that Born Again simply hasn't ever been held in high regard, because it really ranks among Sabbath's best. The production gets a lot of crap, and while it doesn't sound perfect, it's perfectly forgivable for the music contained within it. Zero the Hero is another all-time classic for me, with that hypnotic, crunchy riff being incredibly effective at making such a foreboding, chilling aura. The guitar solo stands up as one of the greatest in rock history for me, you can really feel the aggression, rage and the raw energy in every single note Iommi hits in it. Hot Line is its rival, however, as that riff alone was what first began to truly suck me into being a Sabbath fan. Other tracks like Trashed, The Fallen, Keep it ...more - Simba_Lennon

4 Seventh Star

This album and Born Again were the two that got the ball rolling for me becoming a Black Sabbath fan. You'll never see any review of Seventh Star without hearing over and over again that it was a Tony Iommi solo album with Black Sabbath's name on it, but I say screw that, this sounds just as Sabbath-ey as anything else they've done. Different, perhaps, but far from sounding out of place. Danger Zone is most certainly the masterwork of this one, I'll never be able to get enough of that riff. It sounds wonderfully 80s in a way, and would make for amazing montage material. Turn to Stone, In For the Kill, and the title track are also stand-out pieces as well. The chorus in the title track gives me goose bumps damn near every time I hear it, you can just sense the passion and the hope in Glenn's voice for it. No Stranger to Love took a while to grow on me, but over time, I came to appreciate the heartfelt vocals and Geoff Nicholl's exceptional keyboard work. (The alternative version is ...more - Simba_Lennon

5 Mob Rules

I certainly have a soft spot for this album, but to me, it's not a worthy successor to Heaven and Hell. Not entirely, at least. Turn Up the Night is a marvelous, head banging, fist-pumping opening track, Voodoo has some of my favorite singing harmonies from Dio of all time, and the title track is one of Black Sabbath's finest moments ever. The riff is unforgettable, and Dio's delivery of "If you listen to fools, the mob rules! " is a real staple. Falling Off the Edge of the World is great too, and has an amazing, heavy riff that begins in the second half after a soft, ominous beginning that builds and builds until it explodes in the only way a Sabbath song knows how to. Other than those, however, the songs on The Mob Rules just don't hit it for me. The Sign of the Southern Cross is decent, but nothing too special, and Slipping Away has a good chorus. The rest is just boring and dull filler, which really brings the album as a whole work down for me. But still, I can't say I dislike The ...more - Simba_Lennon

6 TYR

From the get-go, Anno Mundi ranks up there as one of Black Sabbath's absolute greatest songs of all time. Its gentle, angelic opening kicking into a beautiful, keyboard-rich masterpiece makes it one of the few Sabbath songs I can describe as "gorgeous". Jerusalem isn't far behind; Its amazing chorus, powerful drumbeats and spectacular vocals make it another first-class song to me. Heaven in Black begins with an awesome drum solo thanks to Cozy Powell, a strong delivery from Tony Martin, and was a fine way to end the album. These three songs, in my eyes, absolutely make the album for me. The Law Maker and Valhalla are both very good too, perfect for filling those simple, head banging needs. Odin's Court is a lovely change of pace with its slower, more gentle tone that allures me each time. Feels Good to Me is decent as well, but it was somewhat uninteresting, and certainly a poor choice for a lead single. Regardless, Tyr stands as a very good followup to Headless Cross, and it still ...more - Simba_Lennon

7 Forbidden

I dare you to find a single list of "Black Sabbath albums ranked" that doesn't put Forbidden at the very bottom, or at least very, very low. I'll admit: at first I hated this album just like everyone else does, and for a while, it was the laughingstock of my collection. But as I heard it more, and I paid more attention to the songs on it, Forbidden grew on me. It got to the point where now it's one of my personal favorites. The title track is my favorite cut, with an exceptional guitar track and great keyboards over the vocals. Sick and Tired's opening drumbeat sounds great, Loser Gets it All is a short, sweet hidden gem, Kiss of Death is an epic climax to any album, and Rusty Angels is a fun, simple rocker by any definition. While I Won't Cry For You is a pretty big, dull dud in my eyes, the rest I still love. Even the Ice-T cameo on The Illusion of Power wasn't so bad, and I'm not even a fan of rap. It was unnecessary, yes, but not enough to get this album labeled "Rap Sabbath". To ...more - Simba_Lennon

Wow this list is so stupid do people actually think that Forbidden is better than Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules? - christangrant

8 Dehumanizer

I really appreciate this album's heavy take on hardcore 90s-era metal, and the reunion with Ronnie James Dio was very welcomed too. My opinion on Dehumanizer has definitely softened with time, but some of the material on here sounds either uninspired or trying too hard. I'll run down the positives: Computer God is excellent (especially in the second half), I is an amazing song to get pumped up to, and Time Machine is the absolute standout track for sure. It's fast, hard and in-your-face in all the right ways, with Dio's vocals being absolutely breathtaking. After All (The Dead) is a great effort too, being very sing-along worthy in that angry kind of way. Master of Insanity is a cut that I only recently warmed up to as well, but it's an impressive rocker. Outside of those, though, it's hard to pick a memorable song out of the remainder of Dehumanizer. Buried Alive is kind of bland (though admittedly particularly hard-sounding), Too Late is boring, Letters From Earth I can't remember a ...more - Simba_Lennon

9 The Eternal Idol

All things considered, this was a pleasant way to introduce Tony Martin into the band, though certainly not the strongest. The Shining is a fantastic opener, it has a nice, catchy chorus and very clean guitar work on Iommi's part. Born to Lose is fast, energetic and almost innocent in a way, with Martin's singing sounding in top form. Nightmare has an amazing, atmospheric opening (which would've worked better as a separate instrumental track) before kicking into another hard rocker. The second half of the song is where it really turns into an insanely memorable riff that ranks as one of my favorites from Black Sabbath. The title track is low, mysterious and eerie, which I love to death. And at the end, I adore how Some Kind of Woman plays out like a Van Halen-style party rocker, a rare, yet nice move for Sabbath. Even the drumbeat reminds me heavily of Hot For Teacher. The other tracks are more or less hit-or-miss, however. Some good, some "meh", it varies. Lost Forever, Scarlet ...more - Simba_Lennon

10 Cross Purposes

Something about this album never fully rubbed me the right way. It's not that bad in its own right, but it's mostly just bland and average at best, really. Even the artwork all looks like a cheap Photoshop job. Like on Dehumanizer, the riffs typically don't work that well, and Tony Martin's singing doesn't compare with his past (and even future) efforts. The best standout song on this album is Psychophobia, which is fast, aggressive and awesome in almost every way. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is a gorgeous ballad-rocker with some (as always) great work from Geoff Nicholls, and Virtual Death sounds dark and creepy; but in that good Sabbath-ey way. Even What's the Use is good, and has some superb drum work from Bobby Rondinelli. Shame that it's only available on the Japanese release. Everything else, though, is mainly weak and unmemorable dreck to me. Some lesser songs have their moments in them as well, I'll admit. Cross Purposes isn't a "bad" album, but as it stands, it's probably ...more - Simba_Lennon

The Contenders

11 LIVE EVIL

This is a fine live album from Black Sabbath that shows a good representation of Ronnie James Dio in his prime. However, my main problems with Live Evil are common ones that I have with most other live albums too. It's typical for bands to add overdubs and fixes in the studio that detract from the very purpose of a "live" recording, and from what I've looked into, Live Evil seems to be no exception to that. It's very disappointing to see even the mighty Black Sabbath having to resort to studio tampering to have a passable live release. (Even though there's numerous unofficial bootlegs out there that suggest otherwise.) But edited in the studio or not, this album has one thing going for it that you won't find on any other: Dio singing a number of the Ozzy-era songs. It's magnificent to hear Ronnie tackle all-time classics like War Pigs, Children of the Grave, N.I.B., and Iron Man, and the best of both worlds really do shine through in his renditions. So if nothing else, Live Evil can ...more - Simba_Lennon

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