I have this weird form of synesthesia related to our yearly calendar. When looking back at the previous year from the view point of the start of the new, time looks like a jagged and gnarled landscape. Looking forward though, I see a relatively smooth surface, much like those long and sandy slopes found in the Sahara desert. Is this because I perceive the challenges endured as a series of ordeals? Yes, that's about right. The mind can inflate the stresses encountered until they appear as insurmountable objects.
But then, what's with the relative calm of the desert sands? Hope, I suppose. With nothing (yet!) imposing on time's horizon, it's easy to look forward and see tranquil contours.
Or… my brain just gets a lot of enjoyment out of odd juxtapositions of things. That would explain why, well into the Thanksgiving season and beyond, the torturous sounds of Black Sabbath could be heard emanating from my car and home stereo, as well as my work computer earbuds. Here we have "the holiday season" cranking itself up all around me… while I have Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi & company making sheer aural blasphemy. I just couldn't help myself as I'd recently discovered a third record (the first two being Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules) done by Sabbath with Dio as front man.
Hey, it wouldn't be the first time I've gone for this sort of thing. In fact, my first and only concert experience with Black Sabbath had an element of the bizarre. We of course were looking forward to Sabbath, riding high on the sonic wave of Heaven and Hell. The warmup act was to be the British metal band Riot. They were something of an unknown quantity but the song "Swords & Tequila" from their Fire Down Under record had us salivating.
So there we were, hunkered down on the wooden bleachers of the lovely Bangor Auditorium. At some point, there was an announcement stating that Riot would not be playing that evening. The band had not made it into the country for reasons that are unclear to me now. It must not have been all that exotic of a problem or it would be part of the story. "Band misses Sabbath show after private jet pilot mistakes Nova Scotia for Maine. Drug use involved." Nah, nothing like that.
As a last minute replacement for Riot, we had a band called The Dogs. Given the time frame, you might think that a band with such a name was of the punkish/hardcore variety… and you would be wrong. The Dogs were closer to Cheap Trick, but with more Beatles tendencies and less heavy guitar. I actually liked The Dogs (and still have two of their albums) but, oh my, it was not good. Fans at heavy metal shows can be unkind to the openers and no exception was made here. The boos. The bellows of "Sabbath!!!". The shouts of "Get the f**k off the stage!!!" Not good at all.
After that set of torture, Black Sabbath did finally come out and present, with crushing authority, much of the Heaven and Hell record along with other assorted Sabbath tunes. Pretty glorious, it was… even if it took some time to get used to that huge rock voice coming out of that little Ronnie James Dio body. Yes, many "devil horns" symbols were flashed. Yes, the giant cross made an appearance during "Black Sabbath" (and I'm fairly certain I hadn't seen This Is Spinal Tap yet, so that effect didn't seem goofy).
Admittedly, this music is an odd accompaniment to the velvet time landscape stretching out before me today. In my mind, the chords travel out to infinity, there being no obstructions to produce even the slightest echo. Don't worry though, something is always on the horizon.Powered by Sidelines