Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday Sabbath: "Electric Funeral," from Paranoid (1970)

Today, we move on to side 2 of Paranoid. Yes, I’m dating myself, but “Electric Funeral” was the first song on side 2 for a long time for me before it became track 5.

And what a way to kick of the second half of this album. Tony Iommi delivers that huge, warbling wah-wah lick, another one of those instantly recognizable riffs. There’s something particularly sinister and ominous about this one, perfect for the lyrical content, a bleak picture of the aftermath of a nuclear war.

Then, as so many of the band’s great songs do, the pace picks up about halfway through. The slow, dark mood gets kicked into overdrive, like a bomb dropping. Though a heavy riff, it retains a certain psychedelic sound, too.

Finally, we settle back into that original riff and melody to close the song out as the world receives its judgment for what it’s wrought.

Growing up toward the end of the Cold War in the 1980s, I have to say that this song was pretty scary. We were all a little frightened of the USSR and the always looming possibility of a nuclear holocaust, fed largely by movies, books and music that made it a theme. Though written well before that time, “Electric Funeral” was a perfect addition to the soundtrack.

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