2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Pure and Beautiful, Raw Archetypal Grunge,
This review is from: Past Lives (Audio CD)
All the concern about the sound quality on these CDs is misplaced. The sound quality on "Live at Last" was almost intolerable, but on Past Lives the sound quality is JUST FINE. If you aren't fixated on the technological aspects of the sound, you will be able to hear the sound texture, heaviness, and SOUL that come through crystal clear throughout this album. NOWHERE ELSE can you hear the early original brilliant Sabbath heavy funky sludgy live sound that, together with their seminal studio work, made them the legend that they are.
The recent Sabbath "Reunion" live album is very good, very solid, but at this point for me it does not rise to the level of a classic. Ozzy's voice is not as good on that album, and the music doesn't have the feeling of raw wild inspiration that pervades "Past Lives." To me, this distinction is not about which album had more technical mistakes (there are some in both albums). It seems to me that in the old shows on "Past Lives," the band was "living the life," and living the music, and you can hear that. It's similar to how other people can play Hendrix note-for-note, but it's not necessarilly going to sound like the real thing. This album is the real thing!
Another album to be compared to "Past Lives" is "Speak of the Devil." "Speak of the Devil" IS a classic live album of Sabbath tunes in the same league as "Past Lives." Brad Gillis, guitarist from the cheesy band NightRanger, played brilliantly for these shows. The sound is great, the whole band is part of the jamming, the passion is there. But if you want to hear what the real thing sounded like, you've got to check out "Past Lives."
Several reviewers have let their annoyance with CD1's having already been released cloud their judgement. Once you get over that, you will thank God that we have this album. The armchair metalheads who said they don't like live albums or don't think Ozzy should tell the audience he loves them or to stand up needs to see a real show or go back to easy listening. People like that will never be able to understand why we love Ozzy.
Just because I love Ozzy though, doesn't mean that I won't admit when his voice is cracking or he's forgetting lyrics. On "Past Lives" he occasionally changes or forgets lyrics, but his voice is strong with just the correct amount of rock-n-roll roughness (presumably related to drug use).
In summary, if you've forgotten that rock-n-roll has as much to do with moving your body, attitude, texture, spontaneous exhuberance, improvisation, soul, cutting loose, and having a great party as with melodies and digital sound qualities, this album might not be a good starting point for you. Maybe some Sex Pistols or Nirvana would remind you. But for him that has ears to hear, this is the old testament of live Sabbath.