The Final Cut extends the autobiography of The Wall, concentrating on Roger Waters' pain when his father died in World War II. Waters spins this off into a treatise on the futility of war, concentrating on the Falkland Islands, setting his blistering condemnations and scathing anger to impossibly subdued music that demands full attention. This is more like a novel than a record, requiring total concentration since shifts in dynamics, orchestration, and instrumentation are used as effect.
Paranoid was not only Black Sabbath’s most popular record (it was a number one smash in the U.K., and “Paranoid” and “Iron Man” both scraped the U.S. charts despite virtually nonexistent radio play), it also stands as one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal albums of all time. Paranoid refined Black Sabbath’s signature sound — crushingly loud, minor-key dirges loosely based on heavy blues-rock — and applied it to a newly consistent set of songs with utterly memorable riffs, most of which now rank as all-time metal classics. Where the extended, multi-sectioned songs on the debut sometimes felt like aimless jams, their counterparts on Paranoid have been given focus and direction, lending an epic drama to now-standards like “War Pigs” and “Iron Man” (which sports one of the most immediately identifiable riffs in metal history).
This is a genuine oddity in the career output of Andrew Lloyd Webber, growing out of a personal/familial vignette. The piece, a set of variations on Niccolo Paganini’s “Caprice No. 24” (which had previously inspired adaptations by Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Sergei Rachmaninov, and Boris Blacher, among others), came about because Andrew Lloyd Webber lost a bet with his cellist brother Julian Lloyd Webber, and was obliged to compose a work for cello and rock band for him, which was premiered in August of 1977 at a music festival, and subsequently recorded and released on an LP (later transferred to CD) by MCA. At the time, progressive rock was still hanging on to some semblance of commercial viability, and in fairness, MCA had made a fortune off of Lloyd Webber’s work on Jesus Christ Superstar, etc.
One of those real rare hard rock group often considered as heavy progressive, Jenghiz Khan produced one sole album that is now a highly-priced collectible item. With an amazing cartoon-like gatefold cover of the Great Conqueror having cut the group member's heads, this obscure quartet is also the start of bassist Rapsat's lengthy career (he had recorded with another "prog" group Laurelie the same year) as a French-speaking rock singer/songwriter. The album is the hard rock that one can expect from the era with an amateur trait, but also some undeniable progressive tendencies. The album has received a CD issue sometime ago and is now most likely scarce also.