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Black Sabbath, Vol.4

4.6 out of 5 stars 328 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
$3.37 $2.69

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Editorial Reviews

The band experimented with their sound on this 1972 album with textured tunes like Wheels of Confusion; Tomorrow's Dream , and Changes , but still managed to stay true to the Sabbath sound with one of their heaviest tracks ever Supernaut . 10 tracks in all.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Wheels Of Confusion/The Straightener
  2. Tomorrow`s Dream
  3. Changes
  4. FX
  5. Supernaut
  6. Snowblind
  7. Cornucopia
  8. Laguna Sunrise
  9. St. Vitus' Dance
  10. Under The Sun/Everyday Comes & Goes

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino Warner Bros. 498
  • ASIN: B000002KE2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (328 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,733 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: Audio CD
I haven't listened to the Black Box 2004 remaster of Vol 4, but I am familiar with the old Castle Communications CD release that was etched in the 1980's. This 2009 remaster has a noticable volume drop in the right channel at 4 minutes 52 seconds into "Wheels of Confusion". I'm quite surprised this "glitch" was allowed to slip past quality controls and it leaves me wondering if the original master tapes are simply getting too old and brittle.

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.
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Format: Audio CD
THE BAND: Tony Iommi (guitars), Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Geezer Butler (bass), Bill Ward (drums).

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).
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Format: Audio CD
1972 was a watershed year for hard rock and Black Sabbath both. Luckily, the maturing group was able to spearhead the next part of the Proto-metal Revolution they'd founded with 'Master of Reality' in the form of this, their best work. 'Volume Four' was a functional, utilitarian name that was used to try and capture something whose essence could not be described with any adjective except, perhaps, 'shifting'. Unlike any of their previous three albums, the Sabs were able to keep their distance from a formula [more or less homogenous doom rock with the occasional 'let up' (although their first LP is a mish-mash of blues and the beginnings of their 'doom rock')] and make this effort become an entire soundscape filled with moving atmospheres - the ultimate in a heterogeneous texture.
'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.
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