Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe

Mick Wall. St. Martin's, $27.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4668-6969-1
Veteran U.K. rock writer and broadcaster Wall (Enter Night) sets his sights on his biggest subject yet: groundbreaking band Black Sabbath. With solid research and impressive writing, he delivers a book worthy of the band's legacy. Four lads from a quiet British suburb outside of industrial Birmingham create a new sound that would launch heavy metal music. But the rock 'n' roll dream quickly devolves into a nightmare of alcohol abuse, mountains of cocaine, personality clashes, shady management, fiscal misdeeds, breakups, new lineups—and, in the end, a successful reunion. The band's two outsize personalities especially come to life. Bandleader and guitarist Tony Iommi dabbles in the occult, and his iron-fist paranoid perfectionism and drug abuse leads him to tear the band apart. Ozzy Osbourne, the charismatic singer, would resurrect his career from the boozy and drug-addled depths more than once—first in a solo career with ill-fated guitarist Randy Rhoads, and later as a reality TV star. As he did in his biography of Led Zeppelin, When Giants Walked the Earth, Wall rises to the occasion of writing the story of a band so tightly cloaked in legend, resulting in a quintessential rock biography. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-4091-1846-6
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4091-1844-2
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-1-4091-1843-5
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-1-250-05134-9
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