Black Sabbath's Ongoing Journey Into Evil

Black Sabbath: Symptom of the Universe By Mick Wall St. Martin's Press, 400 pp., $27.99

In one of the most memorable scenes of the fictional rock mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, the clueless heavy-metal rockers endure some disastrous and embarrassing stage incidents involving a Stonehenge stage set that is far too small. And then comes the appearance of some dancing dwarves jigging around who...well...dwarf what was supposed to be an impressive and looming mound of stones.

That the real-life Black Sabbath once had a Stonehenge set that was too big for its stage, and a dwarf dressed as a demon baby whose (usually scripted) screams went on a little longer than normal one night -- the stack of mattresses that normally broke his planned fall from atop the set were not in place -- gives the band today a comical edge. Original lead singer Ozzy Osbourne's befuddled reign as a reality-TV patriarch also did Sabbath no favors.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero