Here are the five heaviest Black Sabbath songs... without Ozzy Osbourne!

This is not meant to diminish the Prince of Darkness, merely a means to break from the usual fanfare of those first six legendary Sabbath albums. Sure, Ronnie James Dio gets his due (even if Dehumanizer doesn't reap as much acclaim as it should), but other Sabbath singers are an afterthought in the minds of most.

Why the Tony Martin era in particular (The Eternal IdolHeadless CrossTyrCross Purposes and Forbidden) seems to get written off entirely is one of metal's greatest mysteries. Do metal fans really think Tony Iommi didn't write anything worth their while for an entire decade?

It is utterly ludicrous to dismiss the non-Ozzy/Dio eras, and that means the records with Ian Gillan and Glenn Hughes, too.

If you need convincing, that's what we hope to achieve with these five song selections. Or maybe you're are a longtime champion of these forgotten parts of Black Sabbath's catalog and are here to see if your favorites are represented.

READ MORE: Ronnie James Dio's Five Best Doom Metal Songs (Outside of Black Sabbath)

Whatever the case, let us bow at the altar of the almighty RIFF and dive into some seriously heavy Black Sabbath songs from outside of the Ozzy era.

The Five Heaviest Black Sabbath Songs (Without Ozzy Osbourne)

Annamaria DiSanto, WireImage/Getty Images
Annamaria DiSanto, WireImage/Getty Images

"The Sabbath Stones" (Tyr)

Singer: Tony Martin

There's a strong push and pull to "The Sabbath Stones." It opens with thundering, dramatic pauses an an eerie vocal from Martin, who brings some Dio-like mysticism to the forefront.

This Tyr pavement-pounder is rather dramatic, even employing some delicate moments that immediately call to mind "Children of the Sea." It's these lighter moments that perfectly set up Iommi's bludgeoning riffs as Cozy Powell brilliantly tests the structural integrity of his drum kit.

The swinging gallop near the end sends the whole thing over the edge.

"The Sign of the Southern Cross" (Mob Rules)

Singer: Ronnie James Dio

With Heaven and Hell, Black Sabbath reinvented themselves, renewed by the vocal prowess of Ronnie James Dio, fresh out of a three-album run with Rainbow and Ritchie Blackmore.

Mob Rules saw more new blood injected into the band by way of drummer Vinny Appice. While he didn't have nearly as much swing as Bill Ward, the material Sabbath were writing didn't call for it.

One of the best examples of Appice's calculated, forceful drumming is exemplified on the ultra doomy "The Sign of the Southern Cross." Marked by a desert-wandering bass line and Dio's shimmering voice and ominous storytelling, Iommi worms his way in and out of the track with a herculean riff. The pace is unrelenting and that feature riff, every time, feels like one last burst of energy — one final gasp — from an exhausted body pushing onward.

"Disturbing the Priest" (Born Again)

Singer: Ian Gillan

The album cover alone is good enough reason to stay away from Born Again, but the one-and-done effort with Deep Purple's Ian Gillan does have some gems.

This record had the unfortunate fate of following up two incredible albums with Dio, so by comparison alone it was (pardon the pun) doomed. It's a love-it-or-hate-it affair with fans being firmly in one camp or the other for decades.

"Disturbing the Priest" is a noisy, abrasive track with the most metal origin story. While Black Sabbath were at a rehearsal space making a racket while trying to record a custom sound effect, the noise bothered a nearby church and the priests within. You guessed it — Sabbath received noise complaints.

"Buried Alive" (Dehumanizer)

Singer: Ronnie James Dio

If we wanted to be trolls, we could easily fill this whole page with nothing but Dehumanizer tracks. But, in order to showcase amazingly heavy cuts off other Ozzy-less Black Sabbath albums, tough decisions were made.

"Buried Alive" gets the edge over the other songs of the 1992 return with Dio as its easily the most angry song Sabbath have released. Iommi's riff is grimy, confrontational and stubbornly angry and Ronnie has vein-popping aggression, throwing extra distortion on his voice to muddy this one up in the best possible way.

"Virtual Death" (Cross Purposes)

Singer: Tony Martin

By 1994, grunge was in full bloom and even Black Sabbath appeared to take some cues from the hot new scene.

"Virtual Death" is the closest this band has ever come to sounding like Alice in Chains. As they have in the past, Black Sabbath utilize empty space to extraordinary effect, creating nervous tension that sometimes isn't even relieved when the Iommi's massive guitar tone comes crashing back in. It just adds to the misery and funereal atmosphere.

BONUS: "N.I.B." (Live Evil)

Singer: Ronnie James Dio

It would've been a copout to include this as one of the five songs in focus for this list as it's originally from the Ozzy era.Not content to let the fun end with just those handful of tracks, here's a really mean version of the classic "N.I.B." off Sabbath's 1982 live album with Ronnie James Dio.

The heavy metal legend delivers a much more forceful vocal, doing away with the more sing-song nature of Ozzy's original.

Black Sabbath Albums Ranked

All 19 studio albums, from worst to best,

Gallery Credit: Joe DiVita

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