After the dark and dreary “Hand of Doom,” the instrumental “Rat Salad” provides, perhaps, a brief ray of light amongst the doom and gloom.
I’ve always felt that this tune had the feel of a jazz number. It’s still heavy, of course, but I could easily hear the distorted guitars rearranged for horns and a big band playing it with gusto. Iommi’s guitar solo kind of takes the shape of a horn solo in a jazz tune. Though I often hear people talk about the jazz influence on Sabbath, particularly in the drumming of Bill Ward, I don’t often hear it as clearly as I do on “Rat Salad.”
And speaking of Ward, the centerpiece of this 2 ½ minutes is, of course, his drum solo. Being rhythmically challenged, I’m not a great judge of drum solos, but it sounds impressive to me.
“Rat Salad” is an almost joyful piece that’s both out of place and right at home on Paranoid.