Implicit Religion, Vol 17, No 3 (2014)

Christian Themes in the Heavy Metal Music of Black Sabbath?

John J Johnson
Issued Date: 1 Dec 2014


This article looks at the music and lyrics of heavy-metal, rock music pioneers Black Sabbath. Though often labeled a “satanic” band, for their eerie sounds and dark lyrics, a closer look reveals that the band actually penned many songs with Christian themes, which range from outright endorsement of the faith to questioning explorations of it. This is remarkable for two reasons. One, Sabbath was the first major rock band to explore Christian themes so thoroughly. Two, the band’s members are not practising Christians, although bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler did have a strong Roman Catholic upbringing. It is perhaps this background of But-ler’s that comes to the fore in the band’s music, infusing the songs with Christian topics that are all the more remarkable, given the atheism, or at least agnosticism, apparently manifested in the personal lives of the band’s members

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DOI: 10.1558/imre.v17i3.321


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