This week’s Monday Magick comes courtesy of no less a purveyor of occult-inspired Rock than the grandaddies of Heavy Metal themselves, Black Sabbath. The song, “Behind the Wall of Sleep”, took its name from a short story by the creator of the Cthulhu Mythos himself, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, and appeared on the band’s self-titled 1970 debut.
I first discovered “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” myself, not due to any infatuation with the occult or Lovecraft (which would both come later), but my earliest obsession, with Hip-Hop, DJing and vinyl culture. As a pre-teen bedroom DJ I purchased a bootleg breakbeat compilation at local vinyl purveyor The Music Center and found it featured “Wall of Sleep” alongside dodgy-sounding recordings of breakbeat chestnuts like “Just Begun” and “Smokin’ Cheeba Cheeba”. “Wall of Sleep” quickly became a favorite of mine, first due to the massive drum break courtesy of Bill Ward, but also Ozzy’s unhinged vocal, and Tony Iommmi’s riff of doom.
Thanks to that initial exposure to “Sleep” I sought out Sabbath’s early catalog which got me familiarized with their other classics, like “War Pigs” and “Paranoid”, among others. And you can imagine the smile that crept across my face when I, slightly older and infinitely wiser, eventually discovered the Lovecraft connection!
Music is magick!