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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Vol. 4

Black Sabbath

1971

Vol. 4
Album Summary

Vol. 4 is the fourth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released in September 1972. It was the first album by Black Sabbath not produced by Rodger Bain; guitarist Tony Iommi assumed production duties. Patrick Meehan, the band's then-manager, was listed as co-producer, though his actual involvement in the album's production was minimal.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.71

Votes

11194
Genres
Metal

Reviews

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Thu Jul 29 2021
4

Monolithic, hard as granite and thick as sludge hard rock/metal album. There are some softer moments (with some nice mellotron action) to let you catch your breath, but for the most part 'Vol. 4' slaps harder than your mum.

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Tue Jul 06 2021
5

About as heavy as it gets. Nothing beats that opening riff in supernaut

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Thu Sep 09 2021
4

First time really listening to a Black Sabbath album. The album is heavy and at times intense, but there are some really beautiful moments at times as well. I also found that I resonated with a lot of the lyrical content much more than I anticipated I would. I'll make sure to check out more of their work in the future.

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Sun May 02 2021
5

Debatably, Black Sabbath laid the groundwork for various subgenres of metal with individual songs from their early catalog, exploring cosmic psychedelia on one track, symphonic accompaniment on the next, and sludgy, downtuned riffing on the song after that. If the theory that Sabbath forecast a great deal of metal to come, Vol. 4 represents the earliest ancestry of doom metal as one of the band's darkest and most confused early documents. The three albums that came before 1972's Vol. 4 weren't short on dread and doominess, but the band's increasingly heavy mutations of blues-rock were kept from the brink of collapse by relatively streamlined production and aspirations for pop accessibility. By the time of Vol. 4, the band were certified rock stars, indulging in drugs and partying on an accelerated level. These excesses are reflected in the overall murky sound of the album, lyrical themes of a slippery grasp on reality, and weird stylistic curveballs that range from an out-of-nowhere soul breakdown in the middle of "Supernaut" (otherwise one of the most intense songs in the band's catalog) to stoned twiddling with delay effects on "FX" to the beautifully placid instrumental "Laguna Sunrise," consisting of Tony Iommi's classical guitar and full orchestral backing. This was the first album where Iommi and the band acted as producers, and their boundless experimentation went hand in hand with consuming ungodly amounts of cocaine, to the point where they originally wanted the album to share a title with its centerpiece "Snowblind," a plodding and bewildered ode to the drug. The record company ultimately vetoed the idea and the band acquiesced. Paradoxically, the scattered mindset and muddy atmosphere of Vol. 4 became its defining factors and resulted in some of the heaviest material the band would create. Ozzy Osbourne's patented wraith-like wails begin to come into their own on anguished rockers like "Tomorrow's Dream" and "Cornucopia," and take on a tenderness that Sabbath had never attempted before on the piano/Mellotron ballad "Changes." It's a somewhat awkward jerk from the tearful sentimentality of "Changes" to the paranoid proto-sludge of "Under the Sun," and many songs have similarly strange quick turns in composition, fumbling mixing choices, or different overall textural quality from track to track. Black Sabbath's collective mental state would further devolve on their next two albums, and by the late '70s they were virtually a different band. Though clouded by substance abuse, Vol. 4 found Sabbath at a creative peak that teetered on the edge of going off the rails completely. It's messy and bewildered, but stands as one of the band's most captivating and influential documents in all of its bizarre, damaged brilliance. [Source: https://www.allmusic.com/album/vol-4-mw0000199950]

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Tue Jul 06 2021
5

Laguna Sunrise is perhaps one of the best non-lyrical rock song ever. Changes is a force. This album is a riot!

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Mon Dec 13 2021
5

70's Black Sabbath is unbelieveably good. Sludge/stoner metal is a genre I can't get enough of, so this recommendation fell on happy ears! The album starts off with the +7m30s musical journey of "Wheels of Confusion / The Straightener", which shows those pretentious prog-rockers exactly how this sort of thing is supposed to work. Following that is the far more straight forward verse/chorus/verse growl of "Tomorrow's Dream". And then a ... piano and synthesized strings!? "Changes" is a beautiful departure from the general feel of the album, which is mirrored on the other end of the album by "Laguna Sunrise". Both offer a moment of calm, to catch your breath from all of the rock in between. And then the album ushers you out, the same way it welcomed you in, which the medley of subtracks brought together in "Under the Sun / Every Day Comes and Goes" For those that have never looked into Sabbath, or that might've been turned off to the band by tracks like "Crazy Train", I think "Vol. 4" is a much better album to form your opinion on. Regardless, I appreciate the album both for what it is and for what it represents in the evolution of rock and metal. Super glad to see it on the list!

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Sat Dec 18 2021
5

I'm a big fan of everything Sabbath did between Paranoid and Sabotage. This album marks a slight change in their sound, expanding their range a bit. I especially love "Supernaut" on this album for it's unexpected sudden turn into an acoustic/percussion jam like a miniature parade going right through the middle of the song. Sabbath always entertains.

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Thu Jul 29 2021
5

so, of course i knew OF sabbath - but i really never listened to them. i'd somehow heard Changes before, but that was it - except for supernaut, which is a) easily my favorite on this album, and b) humorously, the least-played track, according to spotify. anyway, this one was so good, i went back and listened to it again, just to be sure. and yeah, it held up. amazing.

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Wed Jun 23 2021
3

I had their self titled debut on here a week ago, and Vol.4 suffers by comparison, I'm afraid, and that's mainly because of "Changes" (and, I guess, "FX"). They just completely mess up the flow of this album. I quite like "Changes" as a song in its own right, but it makes such a dent in the tone of this album, I dunno, maybe because it's piano based? Fave track - "Supernaut", I reckon, though I have a soft spot for "Laguna Sunrise" too. All the tracks apart from "Changes" and "FX" are pretty solid,

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Tue Nov 23 2021
5

Another perfect Sabbath album. Sound is more upbeat and poppy than previous efforts, but still 100% Sabbath. I guess lots and lots of cocaine compared to booze will change the sound a bit. A rare instance where a band's sonic evolution changes from the original sound while keeping up the quality and not stagnating.

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Thu Jan 13 2022
5

I've always loved Sabbath's first 3 records, but for some reason I never got around to the 4th. I can solidly say, it holds up to their standard, and more; I think I like it even better than Masters of Reality. Guess the cocaine really worked!

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Mon Jun 14 2021
5

Not as many of the hits that I love but still fueled my afternoon work nicely

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

Dynamic, melodic. Easy to see why this album makes a best list. I could do without the beeps and bops in the middle, but it works well as a transition in tone. Love Laguna Sunrise, what a nice breath of fresh air.

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Tue Nov 30 2021
5

Simply incredible in all its drug-fueled excess. Sure, it drags around the middle of side 1 with Changes and FX, but kicks back with Supernaut and never lets go.

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Sat Apr 09 2022
3

Never really listened to sabbath but I like them. Gives me a zeppelin vibe

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Fri Jun 18 2021
2

I don't understand song #4 on Vol 4. So I won't listen to this more than once per year. I know it's Ozzie and Sharon will probably find me and make me a eunuch...

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Mon Jun 28 2021
5

Not my favourite Sabbath.....but still can close my eyes and imagine how revolutionary this would have been at the time

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Mon May 31 2021
5

Obra maestra total. Precursora de todo el rock que vendría después. Alucinando y potente. Genial.

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Mon May 31 2021
5

wheels of confusion: graaf nummer, diepe tekst, lekker depressed, thats what sabbath does best. the straightener: I LOVE MYSELF SOME GOOD SOLOKES. Tomorrows dream: oke nummer, niet t beste hier. Wel weer coole gitaren Changes: Man man man, in het begin dacht ik BIG MOUTH HYPE. maar nu echt al vaak beluisterd, de stem is spooky de rekst pakt en de piano maakt het af. big shoutout naar de OGS for this one. FX: ik voelde hem niet maar als ge op genius leest waar het vandaan komt maakt het het wel echt leuk. Supernaut: een leuke positieve song, steviger en sneller dan de rest. gekke riff en gekke solo. gitaren shredden boyzzzz. snowblind: normaal de titel van het album, maar mocht niet door de obv link naar drugs. nice bridge, riff is niceeeee33333 cornucopia: deeep Laguna sunrise: leuk toch die sunrise st. vitus' dance: die goede storytelling. Under the Sun / Every Day Comes and Goes: weer van die goede riffs en goede teksten. Normaal geen black sabbath fan maar dit was echt de turntables, ga er meer naar luisteren en dit album zeker nog meer luisteren. Zo divers en sterk. Duidelijk een album over drugs en de gevolgen van drugs in hun leven.

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Sun Jun 06 2021
5

Early days of real metal 5 star

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Wed Sep 08 2021
5

Creo que entre las cosas que sacaré de esta dinámica es mi admiración por Black Sabbath. Macizo todo, incluidos los interludes, digamos, instrumentales y hasta con sonido muy distinto a lo pesado de las canciones. No skips, trae "Changes" que sí me parece muy buena y todo bien, suena grande en conjunto (y eso que no es mi género predilecto). 10/10

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Thu Sep 09 2021
5

Great stuff. I want to hear an R.L. Burnside version of Supernaut. Solid album from start to finish. I think their first two albums are better.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Had not listened to a whole album of theirs. More varied than expected.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

Amazing. Great musicality, dynamic range, black sabbath has a lot more variety/talent than I thought before. Faves: Changes, Supernaut, Laguna sunrise, Under the sun

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

They set a precedent for other creators of the genre. It's what you want from Black Sabbath

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

Didn’t know Changes was originally their song. I loved this album, hadn’t listened to a full Black Sabbath album intentionally before.

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Tue Dec 14 2021
5

I enjoyed it far more then I expected too

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Sat Dec 18 2021
5

So good - this sound is not getting old for me. The coexistence of the aggressive yet precise guitar work alongside vulnerable, inward looking lyrics are a perfect match.

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Mon Dec 20 2021
5

9/10. Maybe I am just feeling generous today, but I can't think of any good reason to dock this one points. I haven't been a big fan of a lot of the metal on this list, but this had a bluesier sound to it that I really enjoyed.

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Tue Dec 21 2021
5

Heat. 😤. Early Sabbath can’t go wrong

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Fri Jan 07 2022
5

Once again, I am very pleasantly surprised by Black Sabbath. I really really love this. It's more psychedelic rock than heavy metal and a few songs barely count as "rock" music: Changes is a piano ballad for crying out loud and Laguna Sunrise could play over the end credits of a Western. I think Lenny Kravitz took some psychedelic funk inspiration from Supernaut when making Are You Gonna Go My Way. There were a few tracks that started out just ok for me but then they'd hit a bridge or a transition or a melody line that made me weak in the knees. The last track Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes is the most like what I would have expected from Black Sabbath and I'm glad the entire record wasn't like that. But there's enough variety here to make that track a welcome ending. I don't know how often I'll listen to this but 20-year-old me would have listened a lot and I'm going to let her give it five stars.

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Thu Jan 13 2022
5

Osmium is the heaviest metal on planet earth i think it should be renamed OZZYmium.

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Thu Jan 13 2022
5

The thing I like most about Black Sabbath is the dark and slow sounds mixed with Ozzy's shrill delivery. That is on full display here!

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Mon Jan 31 2022
5

Increible album, with both memorable songs like Changes that diverge from the usual repertoire of the bands, and even experimental songs like FX. The rest are just plain out bangers.

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Tue Feb 01 2022
5

Riffs = thick. Grooves = smooth. Probably my favorite Sabbath album of the three I’ve heard so far.

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Wed Feb 02 2022
5

Plenty of influential if a little dumb riffs and Ozzy's wailing is passionate if a little bit samey by the end of the album. Changes stands out like it shouldn't be on there, but it is welcome. The production was surprisingly slick and rich.

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Thu Feb 10 2022
5

I am not familiar with BLACK SABBATH or their fourth album BLACK SABBATH, VOL. 4. I never had any interest in listening to BLACK SABBATH. I should mention I did see BLACK SABBATH live with BLUE OYSTER CULT back in 1980 and I was not impressed with BLACK SABBATH, although RONNIE JAMES DIO was the lead singer instead of OZZY OSBORNE. However, I do like RONNIE JAMES DIO, originally from RAINBOW a lot. After listening to BLACK SABBATH, VOL. 4, I don’t know how to explain my ranking of a perfect 100/100, yet the album is not a perfect one that I could listen to a daily basis. There are other albums with less than 100/100, that I certainly could listen to on a daily basis, but not this. On another given day I could rank all the songs a “5” and on another a “1” (although, rather unlikely). The point is all the songs musically sound the same. Yes, the couple of instrumentals are a nice touch. Lyrically they do touch upon different themes/topics, but not varied too far from the rest. So, take this ranking with a grain of salt on this particular day. I would have like to have seen more variation in the songs in order to give a truer test as to the artistry of the band. So I’m not giving the band a “5” for now, until I explore the other albums. In 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, LACK SABBATH’s BLACK SABBATH, VOL. 4 Is joined by their first two albums: BLACK SABBATH (1970) AND PARANOID (1970) Rate Artist: BLACK SABBATH (4.0) Rate Album (Year): BLACK SABBATH, VOL. 4 (UK 1972 Original) (5.0) Ranking of BLACK SABBATH - BLACK SABBATH, VOL. 4 songs No. Title Length Ranking 1. "Wheels of Confusion" 8:02 10.0/10 2. "Tomorrow's Dream" 3:12 10.0/10 3. "Changes" 4:45 10.0/10 4. "FX" (instrumental) 1:44 10.0/10 5. "Supernaut" 4:50 10.0/10 6. "Snowblind" 5:33 10.0/10 7. "Cornucopia" 3:55 10.0/10 8. "Laguna Sunrise" (instrumental) 2:56 10.0/10 9. "St. Vitus Dance" 2:30 10.0/10 10. "Under the Sun" 5:53 10.0/10 UK 1972 Original Release 100.0/100 = 1.00 / 2 = 5.00

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Sat Feb 26 2022
5

First time listening to this album, I am familiar with masters of reality and paranoid and this is just as good, really enjoyed this even the dramatic step change with changes and FX in the middle. I have been swaying all day between a 4 and a 5, but after my 3rd listen today I believe this is a 5 star album, it’s such a melodic, dynamic and diverse album one I’m going to keep coming back to.

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Sun Mar 06 2022
5

This one is great. The guitar work on here is excellent, as usual. As ist the rest of the Instrumentation almost every song on here is really good, except for “ changes” which is a bit of a lull. Apart from that it’s an excellent metal album, in my top three sabbath albums. The songs here are somewhat more complicated than the first three albums, following on from sabbath bloody sabbath which took the band in this direction. My favourite songs from this album are the opener and closer, “wheels of confusion” and “under the sun” Arguably the best sabbath album, this is well deserving of 5 stars. Well, time to go on another Sabbath Marathon now...

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Wed Mar 16 2022
5

Just about their best and a high-water mark for the first heavy metal era.

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Tue Apr 19 2022
5

Amazing from the beginning until the end.

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Thu Apr 21 2022
5

I'm honestly blown away. This was amazing! The only Black Sabbath I'd listened to before this was their debut, and I liked this a lot more. Ozzy's singing is really good on this album, I thought he sounded a little like Robert Plant at times. A super great hard rock record that knew when to slow down a little. VERY glad I listened to it!

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Tue Apr 26 2022
5

So good. The songs are really dynamic — they switch tempos (and sometimes even genres) mid-song but Black Sabbath has such incredible chemistry as a band at this point that everything clicks. The music sounds alive! I love the melodic songs too. I always knew Ozzy was a great singer but "Changes" was the song that made me realize he's one of the all-time great rock singers. The instrumental "Laguna Sunrise" is beautiful too. An eclectic album full of amazing performances. The way "Under the Sun" ends, with the band gradually slowing down, I always feel like I should applaud at the end. Great stuff.

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Sun May 01 2022
5

Sempre necessária a sequência de heavy metal.

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Tue Jul 12 2022
5

Enjoyed 'Supernaut' Didn't realize how slow a lot of Sabbaths songs were. Only really know their bigger hits so this was a good listen. Kinda like a heavy Deep Purple? More rhythm than I was expecting

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Fri Jul 22 2022
5

curto das antiga pai muito bom

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Mon Aug 22 2022
5

Great sound and catchy tunes.

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Tue Aug 23 2022
5

Classic. The mighty Sabbath is still the best!

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Fri Sep 02 2022
5

It really doesn't get any better than Black Sabbath, really. Listen to this album and put that up against anything Ozzy has done lately and you'll see that the Ozzy of today hasn't lost a single step. I really need to listen to this album a lot more often. I loved the cover of Supernaut that 1000 Homo DJs did ages ago. The original is just as hard hitting.

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Tue Sep 06 2022
5

This was my first time listening to a hard rock made in the 70s

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Fri Sep 09 2022
5

the first four albums plus Heaven And Hell (which I actually enjoy more since I prefer Dio to Ozzy but that's another topic entirely) are very close to my heart, and Vol .4 especially has some of my favorite Sabbath songs, for example Supernaut and Snowblind

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Tue Sep 13 2022
5

Fucking sick. They rock the simple riffs to the shredding solos to the ballads. From a songwriting perspective, Black Sabbath has some really unique bridges and outros.

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Mon Sep 26 2022
5

ALBUM RATING: 4.5 ALBUM GRADE: A TRACK RATINGS: 1. Wheels of Confusion - 4.5 2. Tomorrow’s Dream - 4.5 3. Changes - 4.0 4. FX - 3.0 5. Supernaut - 5.0 6. Snowblind - 5.0* 7. Cornucopia - 4.5 8. Laguna Sunrise - 4.0 9. St. Vitus’ Dance - 4.0 10. Under the Sun - 4.5 *Power track (adds 0.1 to the total album rating)

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Fri Sep 30 2022
5

5/5 Kanntr ich schosch Banger Dicker Ohrwurm von Changes 💦

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Fri Sep 30 2022
5

I'm biased, deal with it. Long live Sabbath!

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Sat Oct 01 2022
5

This album rips. Had to check when Slow Ride was released bc the opening riff reminded me of that tune, seems Foghat ripped it off Sabbath. This album was fun, Iommi shreds, Ozzy wails, 5 stars

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Wed Oct 05 2022
5

Dit album kende ik nog niet helemaal. Goed, maar misschien niet echt de positieve uitschieters van andere eerdere albums.

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Tue Oct 11 2022
5

Really good album, Black Sabbath pushing heavy in lots of different directions in this album with full on metal ballad. The openers and closer both awesome songs and snowblind is up there with the best cocaine songs of all time. Supernaut is an underrated song.

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Tue Oct 11 2022
5

Really good album, didn't know this one yet. Familiar sound, but also some surprising elements, making the album very interesting.

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Tue Oct 11 2022
5

Great ofc, not the superclassic, but still ;)

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Thu Oct 27 2022
5

Unha sonoridade impropia da súa década que se fai tremendamente actual. O ritmo do baixo asulagate cando o escoitas. Sabía que me gustaba Black Sabath pero non tanto.

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Fri Oct 28 2022
5

The story about the recording of this album is almost as interesting as the album itself. I'm always amazed that bands can put out work like this while in a haze of drugs and booze. There's good range on this one, with "Supernaut" the obvious standout and some nice production turns on "FX" and "Changes".

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Mon Oct 31 2022
5

This is a great album, I love Black Sabbath but have spent more time listening to their first three albums. So, this was a nice album to get today. So many solid songs, and I really like some of the diversity is genre that they're incorporating. I'll definitely listen to this one more from now on. Standout Tracks: Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener, Changes, Supernaut, Snowblind, Laguna Sunrise

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Fri Dec 02 2022
5

Kinda average, typical Black Sabbath

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Wed Dec 07 2022
5

Heard individual tracks before, but never listened to the full album - which at 42 years of age is a travesty because this album is the bollocks.

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Fri Dec 09 2022
5

This is the kind of album I was hoping to find in this book. Love The Straightener and Tomorrow’s Dream. Changes and Laguna Sunrise were quite a surprise. FX was a bit unnecessary but its a funny story. Orchestration is surprisingly good throughout. Guitar keeps going just beyond abilities on Under the Sun. This is a keeper album to me for sure. Absolutely fucking rocks.

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Thu Jan 05 2023
5

A really solid album I've never listened to. No major hits, but all really good songs

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Thu Jan 05 2023
5

This album needs no listening, a staple from my days at school, university and beyond. This is a fantastic album and is peak Sabbath with the whole band being on top form. Some great heavy tracks like Wheels of Confusion, Snowblind and Tomorrow's Dream through to the delightful ballad that is Changes and instrumental Laguna Sunrise and not forgetting Supernaut that has been rejuvenated through Iron Man.

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Fri Jan 06 2023
5

All hail the forefathers of metal. 🤟

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Sun Jan 15 2023
5

You can imagine the cocaine hanging in the air in the LA studio during this recording session. Truly epic guitar and drum composition, mixed with haunting rhythms for Ozzy to lay on a thick layer of buttercream icing onto this devil’s food cake of an album. 5 stars.

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Mon Jan 30 2023
5

I am not a big Black Sabbath fan but they have some really great albums that I keep going back to, this being one of them

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Sat Feb 11 2023
5

Discazo de lo que comenzó siendo el heavy metal. Instrumentos en ocasiones pesados, melodías guitarreras, voz inconfundible y ritmos vertiginosos.

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Fri Feb 17 2023
5

While it doesn't have the singles of their earlier albums, it is up there as either the best or second best Sabbath album. Coked out of their minds they somehow recorded an album that embraces their darkness, excess, and experimentation while maintaining a consistent lyrical theme throughout. Overall it's just a fantastic listen.

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Thu Mar 23 2023
5

This is way more eclectic than I was thinking it'd be. Definitely can hear the influences they have on modern metal. Also lots of Zeppelin and Hendrix sounds

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Sat Mar 25 2023
5

I first heard this album as a fifteen year old, and when the album was 20. 30 years later, the heavily distorted guitar riffs, sliced through with Ozzy’s sharp edged vocals still give me the chills. 1 - bad 2 - average 3 - good 4 - great 5 - outstanding

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Tue Mar 28 2023
5

What a cool album! Such great riffs with a super dark guitar tone. Ozzy’s voice creates such a spooky and haunting aura around these songs. Shockingly, you find sincere and heartfelt moments throughout. You can see how metal was slowly forming in this album, more than a decafe before Metallica made it big.

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Tue Mar 28 2023
5

I'd have put Master of Reality on the list over this one, maybe even Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, but its still a great album. It's probably my 4th or 5th favorite from the band but it still deserves a 5. I wouldn't dream of giving Ozzy era Sabbath anything less.

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Thu Mar 30 2023
5

Man, I'd forgotten how great this album was. It's not necessarily great lyrically or often musically. But they were such a groundbreaking band and listening to them scared my parents. What more could you ask for?

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