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.” Everyone always claimed or assumed that it was in fact a reference to the birth of the Anti-Christ, opposite of the Nativity of Christ in Christian religion. Of course they were absolute incorrect. However the artwork for both Nativity in Black albums does play off of that theme. The first Nativity in Black tribute album was released on October 4, 1994, a couple of months before Christmas.
Taken from the compilation “Nativity in Black – A Tribute to Black Sabbath” 1994
“Symptom of the Universe”, one of Sabbath’s heaviest tracks was given the Brazilian thrash treatment by Sepultura. The main riff to the original song is considered by many to be an early influence on the development of thrash metal, so this cover makes all the sense in the world. It is a perfect fit for the thrash legends.
American metal band Godspeed gained major attention when they teamed up with legendary Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson to record the cover of the Black Sabbath song, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” for the Nativity in Black album. Immediately following the release of their debut album Ride in 1994, the band embarked on two major high-profile tours as the opening act for both Black Sabbath and Dio. Unfortunately they weren’t around for very long, they broke up in the late nineties, but bassist Chris Kosnik and guitarist Tommy Southard went on to heavily contribute to the stoner rock movement with their own bands The Atomic Bitchwax and Solace for nearly two decades. Godspeed’s original line-up reunited in 2012 to record new material and a tour in mid-2013.
Megadeth’s cover of “Paranoid” received a Grammy nomination in 1995 for ‘Best Metal Performance’. At the very end of the track, it’s funny how the drummer Nick Menza keeps on playing past the end of the song and you can Dave Mustaine yelling, “Nick? Nick?! NICK!” and he finally stops. Menza can faintly be heard saying, “F*** me running!” shortly after. Sadly Nick Menza passed away last year. On May 21, 2016,he collapsed onstage and was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. An autopsy later showed the cause of death to be congestive heart failure. Nick was only 51. It just goes to show, our time can come at any moment. But hey, at least he went out doing what he loved!
Again it is impossible to overstate Black Sabbath’s ultimate importance! They are hands down, one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time! They helped to create the genre with several ground-breaking releases, especially the first 8 albums especially from the Ozzy Osbourne era!