Sabbath Blaath – Self-Titled

ImageSabbath Blaath’s self-titled release is an interesting sort of Appropriation art. I know, mix ups, mash ups, or whatever, have been around for some time, but this doesn’t feel like a composition of multiple songs delicately spliced together to create a larger, novelty-type of track. What we have here are ten Black Sabbath tracks, eight taken from the band’s third album, Master of Reality, while two come from the self-titled debut release, that have been abstracted, or chopped up, from their original contexts and associations and then amassed back together so the familiar songs have been decontextualized to a point where they are fresh, original compositions.

When these classic tracks are divorced from the canonical heavy metal records, qualities like Tony Iommi’s oppressive riffs and the poetic echoes of Ozzy’s voice provoke countless associations unrelated to the band and they’re historical contributions to music and pop culture. On a lighter note, it’s much like Family Guy appropriating Kool-Aid Man for comedic purposes, which the creators have done on six different occasions. When Kool-Aid Man is taken from an advertisement and made to do something silly in an animated sitcom, the character becomes something larger. At this point, most people born after 1990 probably associate the Kool-Aid Man with Peter and Stewie than they do with artificially flavored sugar water. I’m getting away from the music.

Imagine cutting up your cocaine on the back of your Master of Reality compact disc and inserting it into your player—this is what Sabbath Blaath’s compositions recall. Tracks like “lordoff” (“Lord of this World”), “sweet” (“Sweet Leaf”), and “foreverafterforever” (“After Forever”) showcase the whole my brother-scratched-my-disc-to-fuck quality that is annoyingly pleasant in this instance. These borrowed sounds build upon the idea that music is, in all reality, just noise.

There are moments like on the opening track “void” (“Into the Void”) or on “emembryo” (“Embryo”) where the music is broken down into accessible sound bites where it’s easy to hear the riffs and sounds thousands of bands have ripped off over a period of forty years. Further yet, a neutered Sabbath surprisingly builds upon the spooky, for lack of better words, quality of their sound and image.

The final track “wizaard” (“The Wizard”) sounds beautiful in its truncated form. It’s an excellent bookend to the album. Like all good art, it left me wanting more. I was also left wondering why the artist didn’t try to rearrange the beautiful gem “Solitude.” Did he/she feel intimidated to hack up and rework such a beautiful song? I use the word “hack” in a complimentary way.

Anyway, the art of music Appropriation is as powerful as it is annoying, especially if you’re a true Sabbath fan, or Sharon Osbourne and her lawyers. Sabbath Blaath has created something special that is currently getting lost on Bandcamp. I would love to hear the artist’s take on most of Zeppelin’s albums, especially Led Zeppelin III and Houses of the Holy. Hail, Satan!

July 2, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Albums, The Best of Bandcamp. Leave a comment.