The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world












To those of us of a certain age the name Mick Wall will always be associated with his writings in the pages of Sounds and early Kerrang! He is also the author of a number of Rock bios including subjects such as Iron Maiden, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, Metallica and AC/DC.  Black Sabbath though is a topic he’s turned his hand to before – writing several Sabbath related books. It helps of course that not only does he obviously love his subject, but that he also knows them intimately.


Turning his hand here to the story of Sabbath and bringing it right up to date with the release of the album ‘13’ and the tour associated with the (almost full) reunion, Wall partly retreads the well told tale, but adds a few new insights and elaborates on some of the mythology. For those seeking a good read it’s a great book.


One of the most enjoyable aspects of the book for a reader is the four distinct stories of the main protagonists and how they interweave throughout the life of Sabbath; and also the post-Ozzy Sabbath fronted by Dio and co, before the machinations of Sharon Osbourne with an eye on the big payday conspire to throw the four back into the cauldron again.


It’s a tale of intrigue, genius and blind luck with lots of drugs and alcohol to muddy the waters; and of course it’s also a story like most told by the victors - so Ozzy at all points looms large in proceedings. In fact it’s Ozzy that comes off best in this by a mile, set up for sympathy early on bullied by Tony, he’s cast as the likeable rogue that triumphs.  


The back of the book says everything about Wall’s stance – noting that Sabbath was saved on more than one occasion by Ozzy. Now weather that is your take on history or not I guess may colour your reading enjoyment slightly, as you could quite easily retort that Ozzy would have probably been at ‘Her Majesty’s Pleasure’ or worse without Sabbath. And even after Sabbath without various interested parties thinking they could make a few quid out of him he’d probably have cashed in his chips at some point in the eighties.


None of this of course stops ‘Symptoms’ being a damn good read. Wall knows his subject and his lines back to front and over the years has become quite a reliable and eminently readable chronicler of Rock, with his first-hand experience serving him well let’s hope he will continue for years to come. Even if impartiality isn’t Wall’s strongest suit some of the anecdotes thrown down in these pages, and some of the scenes that have become Rock and Roll folklore are worth their weight in gold.


Recommended not just for Sabbath and Ozzy fans but also for those that don't believe life is stranger than fiction... It is.



By Mark Diggins