Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: "Supernaut" starts off as a typical heavy number before going off, without warning, into a Caribbean flavored acoustic shuffle, then going back to the main riff as if nothing had happened. Despite, or even because of this, it's a favorite among fans. Justified when you consider they were on a nonstop cocaine binge when recording Vol. 4.
Not so much the quality of the album itself, but some fans cant seem to agree on whether or not The Devil You Know should count as part of either the Black Sabbath or the Heaven & Hell moniker. note Heaven & Hell was the name used for the Dio era reunion from 2006-2010 to distinguish itself from the Ozzy era.
The Devil You Know vs. 13 over which was the better Sabbath reunion album.
Covered Up: Not many fans remember who wrote and performed "Warning" and "Evil Woman" before Sabbath. For the record, they were Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation (he is a drummer who played with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Whitesnake, Journey and many more) and Crow (a late-'60s / early-'70s band from Minnesota), respectively.
Crazy Awesome: Ozzy Osbourne. Is he crazy? Yes. He has done enough drugs to kill a horse and infamously once bit the head off a dove, then a bat. (In his defense of the latter, he thought it was a rubber bat rather than a real one.) But is he awesome? Also, yes.
Critical Dissonance: During the 1970's Black Sabbath managed to become very popular among rock fans, but they were generally loathed by critics.
Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die consist mostly of typical 1970's rock with lots of keyboards and very few metal elements. Indeed, the only song off either album the band still plays today is "Dirty Women" from Technical Ecstasy. The only on-stage acknowledgement Never Say Die gets is that the flight mask from the album cover is sometimes on the bass drums. The mask also frequently appears in promotional materials and merch.
And then there's any Tony Martin-era albums that aren't The Eternal Idol or Cross Purposes.
Epic Riff: So many. "Iron Man", "Paranoid" from Paranoid, "Sweet Leaf", "Into the Void", "Children of the Grave", "Supernaut"...
Rob Zombie once said that any metal band ever is ripping off Black Sabbath, because any good metal riff out there, Sabbath wrote it first, either in a slightly different key, or faster, or slower. Most metal guitarists will say this is pretty much true.
There are no albums between Sabotage and Heaven and Hell.
There are no albums after Sabotage, period (13 may be an exception).
There was no Sabbath when Ozzy left the band.
There are no more albums after Dio left.
There were no albums beforeHeaven and Hell.
Basically the only thing that absolutely everybody can agree on is that Forbidden doesn't exist — even fans of the Tony Martin era disown that one.
Hilarious in Hindsight: The song, "Iron Man," was specifically written in a way to avoid a lawsuit from Marvel Comics with its Iron Man. Today, the song's opening riff is happily used by Marvel Studios as the de facto theme of the superhero. Tony Stark even wears a Black Sabbath T-shirt throughout The Avengers.
A rather infamous one, the lyrics to Paranoid often sound like "I tell you to end your life" when they're actually "I tell you to enjoy life".
In-universe example: Ozzy misheard the lyrics in the original version of "Warning" and sings "I was born without you" rather than "warned about you".
"Computer God" from Dehumanizer has the lyrics "new clear vision", which could easily be mistaken for "nuclear vision".
The repetition of the title of "What's the Use" eventually start sounding like "watch the news".
Narm: The original treatment of "War Pigs" ("Walpurgis") overshoots the mark a bit when it comes to shock value. Any lyrics that include the words "See them eating dead rat's innards" are going to prompt at least a few giggles.
Generally averted by Ronnie James Dio, but played straight by every singer who came after him. Even big names like Ian Gillan weren't able to avoid this.
Hell, Ian Gillan was probably considered the worst. Not because he was a bad singer, but because he was a really bad match. Deep Purple and Black Sabbath are two very different things.
Subsequently, all bassists and drummers that came after Geezer Butler and Bill Ward left can be seen as this, although much like Dio, its generally averted by drummer Vinnie Appice and maybe Brad Wilk.
Signature Song: Between "Black Sabbath" and "Paranoid". "Children of the Grave", "War Pigs", and "Iron Man" are all honorable mentions.
From the Dio era, between Heaven and Hell, Neon Knights, Children of the Sea and The Mob Rules. With Voodoo, Computer God, I and Lonely Is the Word being honorable mentions.
Stoic Woobie: Tony Iommi. His life sucked when he was a kid. His life still sucked slightly less when he grew up. You will never see him complain about it. Not even in his book, when he talks about his emotionally abusive childhood with parents that were constantly fighting, watching his beloved Papa (grandfather) die, losing his fingertips, being beaten up by kids in gangs, etc. Then he grows up and gets swindled out of a lot of money, still gets beaten up by adults in gangs, management screws him over repeatedly (see swindling except a little worse), watches his dad die, etc. etc. Then he gets lymphoma. Poor guy.
Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Seventh Star was a definite improvement over Born Again due to Glenn Hughes being a better fit for the band, and the album is a solid mid '80s hard rock album. The only reason it gets so much flack is due to a few filler tracks and its In Name Only aspect thanks to Executive Meddling. note It was originally going to be Tony Iommi's solo debut, but the record label billed it as "Black Sabbath ft. Tony Iommi" in an attempt to sell more albums; and while it did work to an extent, it made this album the black sheep in the Sabbath catalog due to its drastically different sound.
Similarly, 13, both to the previous album with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals (Never Say Die!) and to the band's last album in general (Forbidden).
Same with The Devil You Know, but to a lesser extent. Not that Dehumanizer (the previous Dio Era Sabbath album) was bad by any means, but much like 13 it is this to Forbidden, the bands last official studio album at the time.
"Headless Cross", which is based on an event that happened during the time of Pestilence in England where a bunch of people suffering went to a headless cross on a hill to pray so they could survive. They didn't.
"Changes", inspired by Bill Ward's breakup with his first wife. Ozzy himself described the song as "heartbreaking".
"She's Gone" has a similar tone.
Just try not to cry while listening to "Solitude" or "Too Late."
They fared much better critically in hindsight than upon their initial success.
For a long time Born Again made frequent appearances on "Worst Albums Ever" lists, and it still does, but more recently it's started to show up on "Most Underrated" lists as well.
When they get past the fact that it is a Tony Iommi solo album all but in name, many fans find Seventh Star to be a decent mid '80s hard rock album.
While it's still largely ignored, the Tony Martin era has definitely gained a fair amount of popularity in recent years, although even people who liked him before this surge in popularity still despise Forbidden.