Nativity in Black is the first of two Black Sabbath tribute albums. All of the tracks on Nativity in Black are newly recorded covers of classic Black Sabbath material from the Ozzy Osbourne era, by various metal bands paying tribute to Black Sabbath for their influence on the heavy metal and hard rock genre of music. The name of the album comes from the commonly assumed, but incorrect, meaning or interpretation of the original Sabbath song title “N.I.B.” Also, the name of the album is a play on words, referring to Black Nativity – which were traditional Christmas carols sung in gospel style, that were quite common in the 60’s. Black Sabbath’s first Nativity in Black tribute album was released a couple of months before Christmas, on October 4, 1994.
White Zombie covered “Children of the Grave” (with slightly altered lyrics) for the Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black. It was later released as a promo single in 1994. The cover also features snippets of audio about the gruesome “Manson Murders” that took place in 1969, when Charles Manson masterminded the murders of nine people by members of his cult known as the Manson Family which included model and actress Sharon Tate in the home she shared with her husband the famous film director Roman Polanski. At the time of her death, she was eight-and-a-half months pregnant with the couple’s son. And in that same home located on 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, is where Trent Reznor along with Marilyn Manson set up a studio to record Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral” album that too was released in 1994.
The song “Supernaut” was covered by Ministry side project 1000 Homo DJs. It was released as a 12-inch and CD single. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails originally recorded the vocals for the cover. But they were not officially used because Trent’s label at the time, TVT Records refused to allow his appearance on the release. An often repeated urban rock legend says that instead of recording new vocals, Al Jourgensen merely ran Reznor’s performance through a distortion effect to mask his identity. However, both Reznor and Jourgensen have dismissed this claim. The version with Reznor’s vocals was eventually released on Black Box – Wax Trax! Records: The First 13 Years compilation album and the Al Jourgensen version of song was featured on the Black Sabbath tribute album, Nativity in Black.
Perhaps more than any other single group, the original Black Sabbath sound laid the foundation for all heavy metal and hard rock bands to follow. They are the true Godfathers of Metal!