overground scene

Is this where I came from? #1 Black Sabbath and Unleashed

As I have discussed in an earlier post, it is naive to think that creativity in music takes place within a vacuum. Our favorite musicians have embodied years of musical history in order to be able to create our favorite songs. In some cases, their embodied musical histories, their influences, are more obvious than in others. In this post, which will be one in a series of many, I argue that Black Sabbath‘s “Children of the grave” inspired one of swedish death metal’s finest songs, namely “Shadows in the deep” by Unleashed.

Black Sabbath – Children of the grave (1971)

BlackSabbath005Black Sabbath was loved by many people who went on to contribute to the shaping of the genre we know today as Metal. Black Sabbath’s guitarist, Tony Iommi, singlehandedly provided the ground-work for the emergent genre. It would not be a hyperbole to argue that many heavy metal bands in the wake of Black Sabbath singled out and accentuated Iommi’s riffing, without ever managing to fully grasp its logic. Still to this day the logic that hides behind Iommi’s riffing eludes me. Every time I listen to a simple riff such as the one in “Symptom of the universe” I am totally astounded. The same goes for the epic riff on “Children of the grave” whose heaviness is just ridiculous. The impact of this riff on the death metal genre is huge and Unleashed’s “Shadows in the deep” is a prime example of this influence.

Unleashed – Shadows in the deep (1992)

UnleashedWhile most heavy metal bands have copied the main riff off Black Sabbath’s eponymous song, Unleashed in their second album offered the world this brilliant song (composed by Fredrik), clearly influenced by Children of the grave. The whole song is full of Black Sabbath references.  It starts with a slow brooding riff in the style of Electric funeral. It then moves on to a faster crawling riff before it goes into the main riff, which is the one reminiscent of Children of the grave. It moves on to several variations of this theme and a tremendous break in the middle of the song. An absolute masterpiece.

p.s. The title of this post is a line taken off “Translucent patterns of delirium”, one of Suffocation’s best songs, off their self-titled album.


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