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From the Royal Publisher of Oz comes their latest book release, Black Sabbath: The Illustrated Lyrics Vol. 2: Songs of Protest and Apocalypse. Author Joe Bongiorno is taking his readers on an in-depth journey through each and every one of Black Sabbath’s albums from the 1970’s. This second book in what will be an eight book series covers one of the most loved albums by Black Sabbath, Paranoid in more detail than you could even imagine.

The size of the book makes it feel like you are picking up a textbook. Even so, what would be a more interesting subject to study than Black Sabbath 101? Despite the size, it is easy to read and is chock full of over 200 images from artists from all areas, along with photos of the band themselves. Bongiorno guides the reader through every single lyric of each of the songs on the album, from War Pigs and Paranoid, through Iron Man, and ending with Fairies Wear Boots, and of course everything else in between.  Before jumping into that however, take some time to read about the musical and cultural influences of the time that certainly had an effect on the band’s writing, as they explored topics such as war, drug use, the supernatural and the afterlife.

As the band’s lyrics have often misunderstood and misinterpreted, Bongiorno takes it upon himself to dispel as many of the myths as possible, through quotes from band members as well as the historical significance of certain terms which can help put that phrase into the context that Black Sabbath intended. Not only as the lyrics explored, but also some of the musical techniques such a melodic doubling, where the singer sings the same melody as the guitar riff.

Not only this book, but the entire series would be the perfect set to line any metalhead’s bookshelf: a Black Sabbath encyclopedia of sorts. Beautiful artwork and and insightful look into a beloved band lyrics. What more could you ask for?  Coming soon, Volume 3: Prophets of Darkness and Light.

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