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Widely called the last great album Black Sabbath recorded with their powerhouse lineup – Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is still considered a classic and influential release. Yet there was a time in the summer of 1973 when it looked like the follow-up to Vol. 4 might have to be scrapped.“I just got stuck and couldn’t think of anything to write,” Iommi told me in 2009. “I…

The music industry was going through seismic changes at the turn of the 21st Century, thanks to accelerating advancement of technology, the Internet and a specific revolutionary catalyst called the MP3 file, which allowed fans to indiscriminately share music, both digitally and illegally, via groundbreaking digital tools like Napster. Every musical artist on earth, without exception, was caught in the crosshairs of this new technology and the sudden, illicit consumer behavior it encouraged — most…

In 2001, System of a Down reached new heights with their Toxicity album, but rather than rush into a follow-up, the band opted to release an odds and ends collection called Steal This Album in 2002. By the time 2004 rolled around, the band had plenty to say and a lot of music set to come out of them.”The whole world’s gone crazy over the past couple of years, so that’s brought out a lot…

In May 1995, Metallica entered The Plant Studios in Sausalito, Calif., to record a double album as the follow-up to 1991’s Metallica (aka The Black Album), which catapulted the band from thrash heroes to mainstream rock stars. But by February 1996, Metallica had only finished about half the songs, so they scrapped the double-album plan and opted, instead, to release two records one year apart.The first, Load, came out June 4, 1996. Then in July…

The end of the ‘90s was a time of healing for Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis. After a decade of indulging his most dangerous and depraved rock ‘n’ roll fantasies and suffering a breakdown at the end of the ride, Davis decided to get sober and tone down his extracurricular activities. In conjunction, Korn hired dedicated studio producer Brendan O’Brien to help them stay focused and work at peak efficiency. The resulting album, Issues, came out on Nov.…

When Ozzy Osbourne released his third solo album Bark at the Moon on Nov. 15, 1983, it had been two years since the critically acclaimed Diary of a Madman came out. To say that the period in between the records was turbulent would be an understatement of epic proportions, as it saw a slew of personal and professional issues take place with almost none of them for the better. Still, the former Black Sabbath frontman…

When Rob Zombie returned to the studio to work on the full-length follow-up to his 1998 solo debut Hellbilly Deluxe, he took an “if-it-ain’t-broke” approach to songwriting. Not only did he craft a new batch of anthemic industrial-tinged metal songs filled with b-movie samples and campy rhythmic flourishes, he hired the same musicians and drew from the same production team to make a record that’s pretty much a sequel to its predecessor.The Sinister Urge, which…

The commercial breakthrough for megastars KISS was 1976’s Destroyer, a slick polished hard rock album that contained the ballad “Beth,” the band’s most successful single. After its release the band faced a critical fork in the road. Either they could continue down path of mainstream success and seek to continue to appeal to their ever-growing fanbase or they could shake up the formula and return to some of the grit and urgency of their first…

After being kicked out of space rock band Hawkwind following an arrest in Canada for possession of cocaine (the charges were later dropped since he actually had methamphetamine), Lemmy Kilmister formed Motörhead, named after a song he wrote for his former band.By the time they released their third album, 1979’s Bomber, the band had developed a strong underground following in England with a sound that mixed the swing of early rock ‘n’ roll, the groove…

Proving the success of his first solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, was no fluke, Ozzy Osbourne reestablished himself as the wildman of commercial metal with Diary of a Madman, which came out on Nov. 7, 1981.Following a similar structure to that of Blizzard, Osbourne skillfully combined storming fist-in-the-air rockers like “Over the Mountain,” “Flying High Again” and “S.A.T.O.” with more subtle and dynamic songs such as “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll” and the heartrending power…

There are plenty of ups and downs in history of any long-running band and while Foo Fighters had been through a lot in their relatively short career, in 1999 the band members that were in place were finding a comfort level with each other and it showed in the music.Prior to recording There Is Nothing Left to Lose, Foo Fighters dismissed guitarist Franz Stahl, who had joined the band after the exit of Pat Smear. Stahl…

It looked like Anthrax were at the top of their game when they finished touring for their debut album Fistful of Metal and prepared to write their second record, which was scheduled to be released through a joint deal with Island Records. But while they were soon to hit a pivotal point in their career, the creation of Spreading the Disease — which came out Oct. 30, 1985 — it didn’t come without running over some…

Avenged Sevenfold may be modern day titans of heavy music, but in 2007 they were still trying to make a name for themselves. With their self-titled release, issued Oct. 30, 2007, they took a major stride forward in showing exactly what they could do and who they were musically.During that time they were coming off the breakthrough success of their third album, City of Evil. The group had started winning over fans thanks to the…

Despite how it may have seemed, Linkin Park’s breakout was not an overnight success. The band had their fair share of struggles before finally having things fall into place with the release of their monster debut album Hybrid Theory.The group’s roots trace back to the high school friendship of Mike Shinoda, the band’s rapping co-vocalist, and Brad Delson, the group’s guitarist. Their influences were diverse, with Shinoda being a fan of hip-hop and Delson digging…

After breaking through with major success behind their sophomore set Siamese Dream, how would Smashing Pumpkins top that? By going bigger, much bigger! On Oct. 24, 1995, Smashing Pumpkins did exactly that with the release of the ambitious, epic two-disc collection known as Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.The seeds of Mellon Collie began to sprout during the summer of 1994, as the band began to wind down their support of Siamese Dream while partaking…