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Symptom of the Universe (song)

"Symptom of the Universe"
Single by Black Sabbath
from the album Sabotage
A-side"Hard Road"
ReleasedJuly 28, 1975 (Album)
October 1978 (Single)
RecordedEarly 1975 at Morgan Studios in London, England, UK
GenreHeavy metal
LabelVertigo (UK)
Warner Bros. (US)

"Symptom of the Universe" is a song by the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, from their 1975 album Sabotage. The song was an early influence on the development of thrash metal.


"Symptom of the Universe" was composed largely by guitarist Tony Iommi, with lyrics by Geezer Butler. Its closing passage, very unlike the rest of the song, evolved from an in-studio jam, created spontaneously in a single day.[1]

Live versions can be heard on the albums Past Lives, Cross Purposes Live and Live... Gathered in Their Masses,[2] as well as the Never Say Die! concert video.[3] It is also the opening track on Ozzy Osbourne's 1982 live album, Speak of the Devil.

The song is featured in the video games Skate 2 and Brütal Legend.[citation needed]

Musical style

The main riff to "Symptom of the Universe" is considered to be a structural and sonic predecessor to thrash metal,[4] a heavy metal subgenre which emerged in the early 1980s. Tony Iommi said of the song "It starts with an acoustic bit. Then it goes into the up-tempo stuff to give it that dynamic, and it does have a lot of changes to it, including the jam at the end."[5]

Notable covers

  • In 1994, Brazilian band Sepultura recorded a cover of the song for the Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black. That recording was later included in the 1997 compilation album Blood-Rooted.
  • The song has also been covered by Helmet, notably in The Jerky Boys: The Movie, in which they are featured as the club band with Ozzy Osbourne guest-starring as their manager.



  1. ^ Iommi, Tony (2011). Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-30681-9551.
  2. ^ "Cross Purposes Live (Album) – Black Sabbath –". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  3. ^ "Black Sabbath: Never Say Die". Sanctuary Records Group. Archived from the original on 2006-09-29.
  4. ^ Rakhmanin, Vladimir (September 22, 2012). "Thrash Metal – An Introduction". University Times Magazine. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
  5. ^ Iommi, Tony (2012). Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. Simon & Schuster. p. 146. ISBN 0306822318.

External links