Black Sabbath fought a private war with supersonic neurotic dreams in the providence of sorrow that issued this baroque metal writ. The group had evolved from a blues rock dirge to a more progressive sound over the course of five albums (Black Sabbath and Paranoid in 1970; Master of Reality in 1971; Vol. 4 in 1972; and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath in 1973) with huge success; but at a cost.
Geezer Butler reveals the emotional backdrop for their next album: "Around the time of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, we found out that we were being ripped off by our management and our record company. So, much of the time, when we weren't onstage or in the studio, we were in lawyer's offices trying to get out of all our contracts. We were literally in the studio, trying to record, and we'd be signing all these affidavits and everything. That's why it's called Sabotage – because we felt that the whole process was just being totally sabotaged by all these people ripping us off."
'Sabotage' was recorded during February and March of 1975 at Morgan Studios in London, England and features Ozzy Osbourne on lead vocals; Tony Iommi on all guitar, piano, synthesizer, organ, and harp; Terry "Geezer" Butler on bass guitar; and Bill Ward on drums and percussion (piano/backing vocals on "Blow on a Jug"). Will Malone did the arrangements for the English Chamber Choir. Black Sabbath is credited as co-producer with Mike Butcher, who co-engineered with Robin Black. David Harris was the tape operator and saboteur.
Iommi considers: "It's more of a basic rock album, really in the same way that all the albums up to 'Master of Reality' were, but we've taken a lot more care in the way this one is produced. We spent a lot of time on 'Volume 4' and 'Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath' but they were moving away from a oneness of approach. 'Volume 4' was such a complete change we felt we had jumped an album, really. It didn't follow suit because we had tried to go too far and again 'Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath' was a continuation from it. We could have gone on into more technical things and fulfill a lot the band is capable of achieving and which we don't necessarily do on stage either. But we decided we had reached the limit as far as we wanted to go...We've always got to be satisfied with what we are going ourselves. We don't just play for our audience to satisfy them. We play to satisfy ourselves but we hope that communicates to our audience and that it satisfies them. We haven't held back because we've thought we are getting too involved - you can't put yourself in that kind of position. We felt we wanted to get back to a more basic thing."
Osbourne says: "By the time we did Sabotage we were all fucked up with drugs and we discovered we'd been viciously ripped off. And that cover is horrible. I'm dressed up like a homo in a kimono. But you've got to understand the times. There was no MTV, no one to guide us."
'Sabotage' reached number forty-four in Germany, thirty-three in New Zealand, twenty-eight in the US, fourteen in Denmark, nine in Austria, seven in the UK, and number six in Norway.
Lyrics and music by Black Sabbath (Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward)
1. Hole In The Sky- 0:00
2. Don't Start (Too Late)- 3:59
3. Symptom Of The Universe- 4:48
4. Megalomania- 11:17
5. Thrill Of It All- 20:59
6. Supertzar- 26:55
7. Am I Going Insane?(Radio)- 30:38
8. The Writ- 34:56
9. Blow on a Jug - 43:09