Band: Black Sabbath
Song Symptom Of The Universe
Writers: Butler, Iommi, Osbourne, Ward
Year Released: 1975
Genre: Heavy Metal
Why it’s a “Penn’s Pick”:
The true origin of heavy metal is subject to debate. Bands like The Kinks, The Sonics, Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and even the Beatles (e.g. Helter Skelter) were all pivotal in its evolution, but when you really get down to it, they were all more “Hard Rock” in nature than “Metal.”
Black Sabbath on the other hand was the first band that TRULY defined (and invented for that matter) the genre. They had the riffs, the lyrics, the look and the “doom and gloom” to boot which enabled them to stand apart from their aforementioned contemporaries.
Initially formed in 1968 as the blues band Earth, each member of Sabbath was crucial to its impact and sound. This includes Bill Ward (crushing drums), Geezer Butler (one of the most underrated bass players of all time who also wrote the majority of the lyrics), Ozzy Osbourne (the name speaks for itself), and one of the true riff masters of all time, Toni Iommi.
Together they released 8 albums during their 1970’s heyday, the first 6 of which contain some of the most important compositions in metal history, including Black Sabbath, Iron Man, Children Of The Grave and Paranoid, to name just a few of many.
There is one song, however, that possesses one of the nastiest, most brutal riffs ever, and has stood the test of time as one of the heaviest songs ever written. That song is Symptom Of The Universe.
Released on their Sabotage album back in 1975, the song finds the band operating at the peak of their powers and compositional prowess.
Check out this live version culled from the band’s 1978 Never Say Die tour to hear the song at its most raw and brutal. And don’t forget to crank it REAL loud for maximum impact!