Sabbath Man, Sabbath.

Black Sabbath - Vol. 4

"Long ago I wandered through my mind, In the land of fairy tales and stories,"...

And so begins "wheel of Confusion" the aptly titled opener for Black Sabbath's most criminally under appreciated and creatively flawed fourth outing. Nestled between the Classic "Master of Reality" and the over indulgent "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" Vol. 4 thunders like no other of the classic Sabbath's five, the opening track stretches out for a full 8 minutes, wading through heavy sludge riffs, into and out of tempo changes and back again . Ozzy is in top form, belting populist uberangst as only he could do and with “Changes”, delivers his pubescent message with true sincerity, all the while keeping us wondering if this can be happening; is it possible the prince of darkness has pulled off a piano ballad?

For the majority of the album Mr. Iommi and Co. deliver, dropping their heavy psychedelic sludge mixed with equal parts up tempo wah-wah infused stoner-boogy; However not all attempts are as well thought out as album highlights “Saint Vitus Dance” and “under the sun”. Where on previous albums they occasionally got by with the sheer weight of their riffs, the relatively thin production of Vol. 4 reveals some obvious shortcomings in that department; indeed, they often seem confused on where to go next on Supernaut they segwey into a Caribbean themed passage that does little more than illustrate a developing lack of inspiration, and with “FX”, a passage that consists of what can only be Geezer drunkenly stumbling into equipment in the studio, it can finally be said that even as each Sabbath album has its fluff, this track is a whole jar.

However Vol. 4, for it’s production short comings and lack of inpirado still manages to rock like only Sabbath can, this time with the welcome addition of looser, more psychedelic up tempo numbers. If you’re looking for an easy comparison, you could say that Vol. 4 fills the space between “Paranoid’s” Bluesy stomp and “Master’s” Doom’n’Dirge. So if you’re a fan of that classic heavy sound, and don’t mind dealing with a few of the trappings of the era, Vol. 4 is great place to start banging your head.

- Tanner McCuin

two thumbs up
ripe garden fruit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whats up Brian tells me your interested in playing Guildwars let me know if you do I can set you up with some nice shit and run you threw the first few mission pretty easily... I will be up this weekend 1/28/06 and 2/3. If you have an email address tell brian to give me it. nice site btw.

Tony Messier