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Black Sabbath

4.7 out of 5 stars 567 customer reviews

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Black Sabbath
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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Product Description

1970 debut album from the masters of metal featuring plenty of the gothic colorings and blues-heavy riffs that put Sabbath on the map: Black Sabbath; The Wizard; Wicked World; Wasp; Behind the Wall of Sleep; Bassically; N.I.B , and more!

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Some might claim that this 1970 debut is the definitive Black Sabbath record. While the gothic overtones of the opening track, "Black Sabbath" (thunderstorms and foreboding church bells introduce Ozzy Osbourne's howl and Tony Iommi's sludgy guitar), and the raucous defiling of Cream on "N.I.B." were thrilling then (and remain so now), there is too much wanking here to really qualify the collection as the must-have Black Sabbath record. (That prize would have to go to Paranoid.) But the blues-heavy riffs of "The Wizard," the soon-to-be-famous chord-progression stylings on "Wasp," and the grunge-boogie of "Wicked World" allow it to stand as a solid testament to the deep and lasting influence the band has had over the years. --Lorry Fleming
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino Warner Bros. 498
  • ASIN: B000002KB8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (567 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,862 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I was 15 years old when this album came out in 1970. Unless you were present in 1970, it's probably hard to fully comprehend the significance of this album, as well as Paranoid, released in the same year, in relation to what was happening cultural wise.

Let me try to put things in context by describing the music scene in 1970. I lived on the outskirts of Chicago. AM Radio (WLS) ruled the airwaves. Bubblegum music (cruel jokes like the Archies passed off as music) had stubbornly carried over from the Sixties like a pesky virus. The Beatles had broken up, and very little airtime was being given to groups like Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Pink Floyd.

I was taking refuge in my bedroom in the basement one evening, painted black, replete with blacklight and strobelight, listening to an underground FM station called Triad, when suddenly Black Sabbath's Paranoid burst over the speakers. It was as if aliens from another planet had landed. I was totally mesmerized, while at the same time deeply disturbed. NO MUSIC....I repeat....NO MUSIC....up to this point had ever sounded this HEAVY and EVIL. And that included hard rockers like Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Hendrix.

The next day I ran out and bought this album and the Paranoid album, pestered my parents into buying a fuzz box for my Teisco Del Rey electric guitar, and have been hooked on metal ever since.

If you are into metal, and want to know its history, you MUST start here, in order to understand where it all began. The first five Black Sabbath albums serve as the foundation from which the heavy metal genre, and subsequent subgenres, evolved.

All the great memories I have of Ozzy, Geezer, Iommi, and Ward are on these early discs. LONG LIVE SABBATH!
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Format: Audio CD
This album is what I consider a "must have" for anyone. It shows the magic that four arguably not very special individuals had when they were together. It isn't even what many hard rock and heavy metal fans would call "metal". It is just a fantastic heavy rock album. Dark and moody, yet catchy and immensely enjoyable.

For me one of the best parts is the bass and drums on this album. Free of any mold that later developed, they are both unconstrained and adventurous. The only caveat is that production standards of the era meant really deep bass was not considered OK.

There are any number of versions of this album you could have bought on CD. I own, have listened to (a lot!), and examined on sound editors several. This is my take on them:

Early Castle release (1986): Good straight transfer, no volume maxing, limited only by digital equipment of the day and an engineer who presumably knew and cared nothing about Sab, every album he did seems to have at least one track start point wrong! UK track listing, No Wicked World.

Early Warners release: Similar to above, but probably transfered from copy tapes, judging by tape hiss and slightly more muffled quality. US track listing, No Evil Woman.

Castle Remaster (1996):Probably had the best sound until now, care had been taken to deliver what they thought the market wanted, though the included lyrics were at times hilariously wrong. Big downfall - volume maxed, at an estimate 5 or 6 dB dynamics removed by software limiting. UK track listing plus Wicked World.

As part of The Black Box (2004)(boxed set of 1970's studio albums): Avoid. Worst volume maxed copy I've owned. Incomplete original art work. Does have booklet with complete approved lyrics.
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Format: Audio CD
'Black Sabbath' is primitive in texture but that's what augments it so much. Of course, this was the first Sabbath album I bought and a good place to start it was, too. The whole first side (Tracks 1-6 on the CD) is mindblowing. To hear the title track and 'The Wizard' is like taking a stroll through dungeons and dragons land. Tracks 3-6 are intertwined and when you hear 'N.I.B.', it's likely that you'll feel a little 'deja-vu' kick in. The rest of the album is almost entirely blues but this was Sabbath's bread and butter in the early days when they were called 'Earth'. I think that the real sound showcased on this, their debut entry, is the rhythm section of Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. Listen to 'Bassically', 'Wasp/Behind the Wall of Sleep' and 'N.I.B.' and feel the power.... what happens when rhythm takes the lead. Other kudos go the cover art of the album - very innovative and disquieting. As a matter of fact, it was the cover art and a long-distant piece of my memory recalling the band's name scrawled as graffiti from when I was a young child (around the early Dio era) that spurred me on to purchase that cassette. My advice to you is to buy it and buy it now. No greatest hits coverage will be able to do what is in here.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is nothing short of an absolute triumph because it is a "crystal ball view" of what was to come in the genre of heavy music.
Blues based with an apocalyptic vision, Black Sabbath's first album is a roller coaster of premium jams that barely let up through it's runtime.
The remastering of the imported Castle recording is far superior than the domestic Warner Brother's version. Audiophiles will be pleased with the bass extension combined with Ozzy's vocals sweetened in the midrange. Make no mistake about it, the blazing highs of Iommi's solos are still there but now they are sweeter as well. In short, there is more space around the instruments. The mix is far less cluttered than the original version and gives full gusto without fatigue to the listener.
Buy this disk now... you will never regret your choice.
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