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Black Sabbath, Vol.4
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Vinyl, Import, Original recording remastered, October 17, 2009
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The album opens with "Wheels Of Confusion/The Straightener", which is a sludgy/heavy powerhouse. This is arguably the heaviest on the album. The lyrics are reflective and sad. "Tomorrow's Dream" is a r&b-rocker with groove. "Changes" is a beautiful piano-based ballad. The combination of Ozzy Osbourne's emotive vocals and the sad orchestral backdrops make this a somewhat painful track to listen to at times. "FX" is a short experiment featuring eerie guitar feedback from Toni Iommi. "Supernaut" (to me) proves that music is a transcendent force without limits or boundaries. The mix of boogie, classic psychedelic r&b and metal, shows that unlikely combinations can work - which almost makes it seem like it was never "unlikely" to begin with. "Snowblind" is a slow heavy rocker. Tony Iommi does some of his best soloing on this track. The end features some orchestral backdrops (possibly from synthesizers). "Cornucopia" is probably the most ominous sounding on here (check out the opening section). The dark lyrics contribute to this aspect as well. "Laguna Sunrise" is the beautiful and evocative acoustic guitar instrumental.Read more ›
I've pondered the notion of ripping the track to WAV and performing a decible boost to the right channel in the damaged area to correct this problem. If I do, I'll keep you posted on my findings and methods.
THE DISC: (1972) 10 songs clocking in at approximately 43 minutes. The Warner Bros issue has 2-pages of liner notes and no artwork to speak of (basically the cover artwork and song titles inside). The remastered version is now considered an import from Castle Communications (1996)... this one has the digitally remastered sound from the original master tapes, as well as the "faithfully restored artwork" - 10 pages including all band photos that the original vinyl had, song credits and lyrics. I got lucky and found a used copy of the remastered version for a fraction of the cost.
COMMENTS: While maybe not their strongest effort in many a critic's mind, this is STILL one of my all-time favorites from Black Sabbath. Tony Iommi's muffled and distorted guitar(s) are in rare form on this album... almost a constant electric buzz (except for one heartfelt acoustical masterpiece that is probably Iommi's best ballad to date - "Laguna Sunrise"). "Vol. 4" was original titled "Snowblind"... due to the obvious reference to cocaine it was considered an unsuitable album title by Warner Bros. The songs that opened my eyes to Sabbath were "Snowblind", "Supernaut", the 8 minute "Wheels of Confusion" and "Tomorrow's Dream" (the first hit released from the album). These stand out among the others and are hard rocking Sabbath classics. "Cornucopia" and "Under The Sun" are underrated deep album rockers. The music seems varied, complex, and open to a little experimentation - much more so than on previous Sabbath albums. Sabbath's debut (1970), "Paranoid" (1970) and "Masters Of Reality" (1971) were equally brilliant early metal classics... and "Vol.4" showed a different side to the band. That's why I fell in love with this album... it was just a tad different than anything we'd heard before from Ozzy & Co. Great disc (4.5 stars).
'Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener' - THE STORYTELLER. The whining guitar notes, basic chord structures and past tense narrative lyrics find an experimental-minded band. The shifts in tempo were something they'd become very familiar with by this time but it never had sounded this good. Instrumental 'The Straightener' kicks in to round out the epic. Geezer's bass text is used as a canvas by Iommi here as he spatters riff spirals and twists all over the place. 'Laguna Sunrise' - THE MIND CREATES A FANTASY. Pretty number written for the beachfront where the Sabs were staying during their work on 'Volume Four'. A very haunting superimposition of Spanish guitar over a strings backing.
'F.X.' - THE UNKNOWN REALM. 1 3/4 minutes of sound effects, particularly picking noises. Probably very useful if you're doped up but much better when sober. 'Snowblind' - ROCK REFLECTION ON LIFESTYLE. The 'best' rock track of the album, 'Snowblind' was a single.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pay more for it local if you want. These folks are great, shipped SUPER quick.Published 2 months ago by BrWy
I love Sabbath. Somehow I managed to miss this album, but that say's something about this band. It is a great album and is at the top of my list for classic rock, not just... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nathan
One of the great albums from the greatest band to come out of the NWBHM. The album sounds as fresh and is as entertaining as it was forty-five years ago, when I bought it at age... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jay661