83 of 93 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Black Sabbath, Vol.4 (Audio CD)
_Black Sabbath Vol. 4_ was the first album where classic sludge-rockers Black Sabbath (Ozzy Osbourne-vocals, Bill Ward-drums, Geezer Butler-bass and Toni Iommi-guitar) started experimenting - which possibly foreshadowed what would be more emphasized on the following album, _Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath_. I just want to make a clarification before I move on: Black Sabbath's music is not about satanism or devil worshipping - it's subject matter is mainly about the harsh realities of life (i.e., crime, war, drugs, mental illness and more), which is rather "dark". Moving onto the tracks:
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. If anyone were to listen to this calm, sedate and airy track (without knowledge of it being Sabbath), you wouldn't guess that this was the same band known for their dark and sludgy output - that's talent. "St. Vitus' Dance" is an upbeat, summery and "happy" sounding rock track - at least on a musical (excluding lyrics) level. "Under The Sun/Everyday Comes And Goes" sounds the most "Sabbath-esque" on here. The beginning is heavy and ominous. It then segues into a straightforward heavy rocker. The lyrics are deep, thought-provoking and rebellious. They address such issues as religion, personal beliefs and violence.
In short, _Black Sabbath Vol. 4_ is a classic metal album, which deserves to be owned by diehards, as well as those interested in Black Sabbath, or the roots of heavy metal. This would serve as a good introduction, as it features a well-crafted balance between heaviness and mild experimentation.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 24, 2009 2:42:20 PM PDT
Dave A. Schacht says:
Posted on May 16, 2013 1:51:30 PM PDT
UNDER THE SUN is a monolithic track; my favorite on the LP
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 15, 2013 9:50:17 PM PDT
M. Hearing says:
Agreed. I love the unique riff Iommi came up with here. One of my fave songs ever.
Posted on Aug 15, 2013 9:52:02 PM PDT
M. Hearing says:
For heaven's sake, people! Black Sabbath is NOT metal. Nor were they the father's of heavy metal. They play hard rock. Period!! And they say the same thing themselves. This Black Sabbath/heavy metal nonsense must stop.
Posted on May 26, 2015 5:31:33 PM PDT
Philippe Warda says:
Great Review! Thanks for posting this.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2015 10:57:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2015 11:00:05 PM PST
Big Dog 327 says:
(M. Hearing) Your comments sound like somebody that doesn't understand the context of Black Sabbath's music. You think that they were playing what is considered "metal" now back then - there was no heavy music. When Black Sabbath came along it was like "let there be light!" And even then it took a while before they had a real name for it.
The heavy metal moniker was being used for any kind of up beat music in early 70's. They weren't playing heavy music on the radio - Paranoid got a little radio airplay, but it wasn't even a top 40 hit in the US. There was no internet; all we had was AM radio, vinyl LP's, 8-track tapes, and FM was just getting started. Black Sabbath came along and carved out a niche for this type of music to be successful and commercially viable. They made the genre, so every heavy metal band and metal-head that followed owes them a debt of gratitude. Just because you don't think that something that was recorded in 1972 is as heavy as music recorded 43 years later just means you have no understanding. In other words, you are ignorant and need to study-up on rock history.
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