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Black Sabbath Albums Ranked

Black Sabbath. Is there any singular musical entity in heavy metal as far-reaching and as influential as the genre’s progenitors? No, there’s not. Metal may not have existed would if not for a mishap at a metal factory where guitarist Tony Iommi (who turned out to be a metal factory of his own) lost the tips of his fingers during his last day on the job. With plastic tips outfitted on his fretting hand, he down-tuned his guitar as the slack on the strings made it easier to play with the impairment and there we have it — metal was born.

The Black Sabbath discography is a lofty 19 albums despite an 18 year lack of production between Forbidden and 13. Over 30 musicians have passed through their doors, some as live session members, but mostly as full-time members or incredibly brief stints as the lineups were put in place. The Ozzy Osbourne portion of the discography is of course the most iconic, followed by the records made with Ronnie James Dio at the vocal helm. Largely ignored are five albums with singer Tony Martin, one with Ian Gillan and another with Glenn Hughes, though they all get their rightful attention here.

When ranking Black Sabbath’s albums from weakest to strongest, the obvious Osbourne and Dio-fronted masterpieces are incredibly difficult to put in a definitive order. As with most Sabbath fans, picking a favorite or even a top three can change almost daily. On the other end, the band has been responsible for a few duds, all of which have their respective ups and downs. It wasn’t easy and it still feels like a number of these can be switched at any given moment, but it’s a nice problem to have when dealing with such a storied legacy.

Click through the gallery above to see how we ranked Black Sabbath’s albums from weakest to strongest.

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