There is little argument that Black Sabbath, while they aren’t metal themselves, are widely considered to be the forefathers of the genre. You may find some resistance to the claim, but it’s safe to say a majority of metal fans will agree. Sabbath had much to do with the heavy sound that became metal. They also pioneered the dark atmosphere associated with the genre. There’s more, though. Black Sabbath turned out two singers that went on to become innovators of the genre and contenders for the title “King of Metal.” Those two singers are Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James DIo. Both are contenders to the throne.
Let’s start with Ozzy. His first two albums, “Blizzard of Oz” and “Diary of a Madman” are masterpieces and represent what became the basis for the 80s metal sound. That’s almost irrefutable.As the opening swell of “I Don’t Know” gives way to a guitar slide and the riff comes charging in, you know you’re hearing the birth of a big sound. Follow that with the phrase “All aboard,” the maniacal laughter that pans from ear to ear, the throbbing bass intro, and the killer riffing as Randy Rhoads steps up to the plate and the deal is sealed. It’s over. Music will never be the same. A repeat performance came with “Diary of a Madman,” featuring classics like “Over the Mountain,” “Flying High Again,” and “You Can’t Kill Rock ‘N’ Roll.” Unfortunately, Randy died in a plane crash shortly after and never made another album, but he and Ozzy created something special during their brief time together. There is no denying that.
Ozzy went on to make one legendary album after another, always refining and advancing that sound. Some of the greatest guitarists in metal got their start doing tenure in Ozzy Osbourne’s band.
Ronnie James Dio assumed vocal duties for Black Sabbath in 1980 and recorded “Heaven and Hell,” “Mob Rules,” and “Live Evil” before following in Ozzy’s footsteps and starting his own band.
Ronnie’s new band DIO released its first album “Holy Diver” in 1983. With this album, Dio made it clear he was more in line with the blistering metal sound Ozzy was establishing than anything in the hard rock genre. The album featured the song “Rainbow in the Dark,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” and the title track. This album (as well as its two follow ups) featured a killer new guitarist, Vivian Campbell, who went on to play with Whitesnake, Lou Gramm, Riverdogs, Shadow King, and Def Leppard.
Dio’s next album produced killer track like “We Rock,” “One Night in the City,” “I Speed at Night,” and the title track. The follow up album, “Sacred Heart,” was a big success with songs like “Shoot, Shoot,” “Like the Beat of a Heart,” and the hugely successful “Hungry for Heaven,”
I called this post the Metal Trinity because, as I said earlier, Black Sabbath is at least one of the undisputed forefathers of the genre. Ozzy and Dio took it somewhere else. The three are indelibly linked.
Who is the King of Metal? Is it Ozzy or Dio? Both are certainly worthy. Leave a comment and choose for yourself.