Black Sabbath is credited with creating heavy metal. The success of their first two albums - Black Sabbath and Paranoid - marked a paradigm shift in the world of rock. Not until Black Sabbath upended the music scene did the term "heavy metal" enter the popular vocabulary to describe the denser, more thunderous offshoot of rock over which they presided. With their riff-based songs, extreme volume, and dark, demonic subject matter, Black Sabbath embodied key aspects of the heavy-metal aesthetic. Yet in their own words, they saw themselves as a "heavy underground" band. That term denoted both the intensity of their music and the network of fans who found them long before critics and the music industry took notice.
Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward made their debut as Black Sabbath in 1970 with their groundbreaking self-titled album, a record that essentially became the blueprint for an entire genre and set the stage for untold bands that developed in its wake. Black Sabbath recorded its first full-length effort in a single session in November 1969, setting up their gear in a small studio and running through their live set. The lack of frills and contrivance worked to advantage, as the group's riff-driven, blues-based hard rock came through loud and clear on "The Wizard," "N.I.B.," "Warning," and, of course, "Black Sabbath." The only effects added to the album were the tolling bell and thunderstorm that provide a chilling opening to the title track.