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Album Review: Black Sabbath - Remastered Early Albums (1970-1973) ****-*****

Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath (1970)
01 - Black Sabbath
02 - The Wizard
03 - Wall Of Sleep - Basically - NIB
04 - Wicked World
05 - Sleeping Village - Warning
06 - Evil Woman

Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970)
01 - War Pigs - Luke's Wall
02 - Paranoid
03 - Planet Caravan
04 - Iron Man
05 - Electric Funeral
06 - Hand Of Doom
07 - Rat Salad
08 - Fairies Wear Boots

Black Sabbath - Master of Reality (1971)
01 - Sweet Leaf
02 - After Forever
03 - Embryo
04 - Children Of The Grave
05 - Orchid
06 - Lord Of This World
07 - Solitude
08 - Into The Void

Black Sabbath - Vol.4 (1972)
01 - The Straightener
02 - Tomorrows Dream
03 - Changes
04 - FX
05 - Supernaut
06 - Snowblind
07 - Cornucopia
08 - Laguna Sunrise
09 - St. Vitus Dance
10 - Under The Sun - Every Day Comes And Goes

Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)
01 - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
02 - A National Acrobat
03 - Fluff
04 - Sabbra Cadabra
05 - Killing Yourself To Live
06 - Who Are You
07 - Looking For Today
08 - Spiral Architect

. Arguably the original Heavy Metal band, Black Sabbath - Ozzy Osbourne (vocals and harmonica), Tony Iommi (guitars), Bill Ward (drums and vocals), and Geezer Butler (bass) - brought death, drugs, occultism, and all sort of things your Mother doesn't want you to know about to Rock 'n' Roll with 1970's self-titled album (released, appropriately enough, on Friday the Thirteenth). Following quickly on its' heels was Paranoid, then Master Of Reality (with the stoners' anthem, "Sweet Leaf"), and Vol. 4. For Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, they brought keyboardist Rick Wakeman onboard.
. With controversial lyrics and song lengths that regularly ran to five and six minutes or more, you weren't likely to hear much of them on the local Pop radio station (shortened versions of "Iron Man" and "Paranoid" managed to get a bit of mainstream airplay in 1972), but they were a staple for Album-Oriented Rock stations and 8-track players everywhere during the '70s. Almost every song here is on my medium- or heavy-rotation list (four or five stars).
. I bought the original CD reissues back in the early '80s and was impressed at how much better they sounded than the vinyl/tape I was used to - not great, but definitely better. A friend recently loaned me a set of 320k MP3s from the remastered CDs issued in 2004 by Sanctuary UK. I really wasn't expecting much from the early '70s recordings (and it _is_ Heavy Metal), but thought it would be a good excuse to sit down and have another listen. Was I ever in for a treat! The remastered recordings remove a lot of the "mud" from the recordings and really bring out the instruments, especially the drums - "Children Of The Grave" really benefits from the remastering. The title cut from the self-titled album sounds even more evil (count the number of bell tolls in the intro). Can't really say that the vocals sound any better (or worse, it's still Ozzy at his best) and, at times, there is still enough hiss to be distracting, but overall I was very impressed with the quality.
. I'll call these discs a Must Buy for all Black Sabbath fans who have the vinyl, tape, or original CD issues - I'm shopping for my set. Any of the first four CDs would make a great introduction to their music for Heavy Metal fans (1972's "We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'n' Roll" is a 14-cut (two LPs, originally) Best-Of collection that has also been remastered and might be a better choice, even if it doesn't include "Rat Salad"). IMNSHO, Wakeman, although great with Yes and on his own, really detracted from the Black Sabbath sound, so I can't recommend Sabbath Bloody Sabbath for new listeners.

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nacho

yea black sabbath is a really good band its like on e of the best bands out there edguy is not even as good as them
yay, black sabbath, i like their new album, black rain, better than the old stuff, but it is still great