Symptom of the Universe (song)

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"Symptom of the Universe"
Hard Road (Black Sabbath song).jpg
Single by Black Sabbath
from the album Sabotage
A-side "Hard Road"
Released July 28, 1975 (Album)
October 1978 (Single)
Recorded Early 1975 at Morgan Studios in London, England, UK
Genre Heavy metal
Length 6:29
Label Vertigo (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. The song's closing passage, very disparate from the rest of the song, evolved from an in-studio jam. It was created spontaneously in a single day and the decision was made to incorporate it into the song.[1]

Live versions of the track 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 also featured in the video games Skate 2 and Brütal Legend.[citation needed]

Musical style[edit]

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[edit]

  • The song has also been covered by Helmet, notably in the film 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[edit]