Children Of Sabbath: 10 Bands Carrying The Metal Legends’ Torch
As the band’s 50th anniversary celebrations continue, the godfathers of heavy music are joining forces with legendary British footwear brand Dr. Martens celebrate their own 60th anniversary through a unique collaboration featuring the artwork of the band’s self-titled debut album and it’s follow-up, Paranoid.
The collaboration is designed to celebrate the pioneering spirit of both Dr. Martens and Black Sabbath – as well as their ongoing influence.
“Our music is by the standards of today, basic,” says Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi. “When it comes to the guitar playing, it’s not technically-minded like certain guitar players. But what we had comes from the heart, it’s what we felt and that’s what people get from our music. It’s real.”
If you’re looking for new, real sounds that owe a big old salute to Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill, look no further. To celebrate Sabbath’s eternal impact and Dr. Martens’ support of new artists, here are 10 of the best of modern day Sabbath devotees for you to dig into…
So, you like Black Sabbath, do you? Yeah? You don’t like them as much as Rick Owen, bassist with Scouse riff terrors Video Nasties, who has the band’s logo TATTOOED IN GINORMOUS FONT ACROSS HIS BELLY. We applaud this dedication loudly. And, naturally, being a Sabbs stan of such magnitude has had an effect on Video Nasties’ music. Their Dominion debut album from earlier this year is a riff-tacular piece of work, with big fat guitars everywhere and barrels of groove in their hardcore-edged horror-metal madness. You’ll like them almost as much as Rick likes Sabbath. Almost.
There’s only two of Tuskar, but their riff-to-member ratio is off the scale. To wit, the Milton Keynes twosome have come up with a title one-louder than sludge for their gloriously fuzzy musical explosions: Nuclear Sludge. “We came up with that as a joke,” laughs singer/sticksman Tyler Hodges. “There are so many subgenres of subgenres, it feels like people come up with them by themselves sometimes. We were just like ‘Fuck it, let’s see if this catches on.’ All of a sudden people were writing it on posters!” Like, if the cap fits, stick it on and write some big-arsed fuzz about it. Which is what Tuskar have done on their awesome The Tide, Beneath, The Wall EP.
Hailing from “a dark cavern beneath the streets of old Edinburgh”, King Witch are as intriguingly mysterious as their origin story suggests. Mixing classic, doomy Iommi riffing with widescreen creative magic, they’re good old doom with an extra sheen that makes them a truly beguiling proposition. On this year’s Body Of Light album, they demonstrate what a deep well of riffs they have, and just how skilfully they work their alchemy with them.
Like a musical message beamed straight from sunny ‘70s California, Blues Pills represent the less doomy, more groovy end of the Sabbath spectrum. As bluesy as you’d hope with that name, there’s also a loose, finger-clicking vibe going on that recalls the most blissful bits of Vol. 4 and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, where heaviness and gloom takes a back seat to grooving your arse off. And, with singer Elin Larsson in possession of a truly spectacular voice that pours gold into every one of their jams, their recent Holy Moly! album is a retro treat for anyone after a big hit of classic rock sunshine.
From Deutschland via Durham, Thronehammer have the very heart and soul of classic doom. And, as evidenced by the 15 minute-plus tracks on their awesome Usurper Of The Oaken Throne debut album from last year, they are in no hurry to get in and get out. Fortunately, their riffs, like those of Tony Iommi, are so addictive that you can just listen to them on repeat for days and not get bored. And, with a proudly anti-fascist standpoint, there’s a bit of Sabbath’s protest music element to their stately, processional thunder as well. Turn them up loud and get buried in glorious heaviness.
There’s digging Sabbath, and there’s worshipping at their altar. And then there’s Witchskull. This Aussie trio aren’t just good with a riff, they manage to stir up that exact same feeling you get when you drop the needle on Master Of Reality, and their new album, A Driftwood Cross, is a celebration of Sabbath that effectively acts as a sequel to their heroes’ best works. Just look at them – before you’ve even heard a note, you just know there’s no way they’re not absolute fanatics.
Sometimes it’s not what you’re playing, but how you’re playing it. Example: London riff-heads Elephant Tree’s latest album, Habits, opens with a riff of just one note, but why waste effort trying to improve on such perfect simplicity? Truly, this is the very essence of heavy guitar. That they manage to be both gritty and low, as well as dreamily psychedelic without really switching gears only adds to their magic. And though this makes it sound easy, what Elephant Tree do is fiendishly difficult to copy if you don’t have such an expert touch. The talented gits.
Kent’s Ohhms are what you get when a load of ex-members of post-hardcore bands decide that playing big, fat riffs is actually the way forward. They’re livewire as all hell (particularly bassist Chainy Rabbit, who once jumped through a serving hatch into a venue kitchen during a gig without missing a note), but even at their wildest, they simply will not be shaken out of their groove. And even in their most melodic and soft moments, they’re never far from an enormous, bottom-end wall of guitar fuzz. Which is a very good rule for any band, when you think about it.
You could take a knife to Voidlurker’s guitar tone and spread it on toast, so delightfully thick and treacley is it. Dealing almost exclusively in the low and slow vibes that drove Sabbath cuts like Cornucopia and Under The Sun, this Birmingham trio do their home city’s musical heritage proud, and their Industrial Nightmare EP is a gem for anyone who wants to hear what Sabbath’s heaviest moments might have sounded like if they were even heavier.
A key element of Sabbath’s magnetism, other than Iommi’s riffs, was the swinging rhythm section of drummer Bill Ward and bassist Geezer Butler. London’s Possessor understand the importance of such things, so as well as having a bigger stack of riffs than is reasonable, they’ve also got a rhythmic engine to die for. Put them on and see how long you last before the air-guitar comes out and the stink-face goes on. You’ll manage about three seconds.
Fancy winning a pair of limited edition Black Sabbath Dr. Martens?
Of course you do. Look at them! Bloody grand. Well, we’ve got a pair of Paranoid shoes and Black Sabbath boots to give away. Just answer this questions, and your feet could soon be looking about 450 per cent more heavy.
What Sabbath song that features the word ‘boots’ in the title?
To enter, send your answers along with your full name and contact details, and shoe size to [email protected] with Black Sabbath X Dr. Martens as the subject line.
This competition will close at 6pm (UK time) on September 30, 2020. No alternative prize will be offered, and the winner will be informed by email that they have won.
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