Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Black Sabbath - Vol. 4 (1972)

I'm choosing to comment on Vol. 4 for the following reason: back when I was of a lesser musical pedigree, Master Cianan and I used to frequently mull over our favorite Sabbath tunes. Every time, he would mention "Supernaut" with its spectacular opening riff and asked me if I had it. No, I always replied, consequently disappointing him, and leading me to inquire from what album this legendary song came. This ritual continued unchanged every time, and neither could he ever remember the name of the album, nor could I feign attempts to having tried to find it. This is strangely fitting, considering that Vol. 4 seems to be the black sheep among their first five albums, perhaps for its lack of 'popular' tracks, but certainly not for its lack of menace or musical maturity. Even the album title is short of frills, denoting little that is particularly memorable. Hell, Supernaut would have been a great album title; if I had a child, I might name them Supernaut. I'm serious -- just not the part about having children.

So ado without much further of it, let's commence: "Supernaut" is not the only reason you should buy this album, but yet, it really is the reason you should buy it. The main riff is otherworldly, a testament to Iommi's terrific knack for sublime riffage. SUPER FUCKING TASTY is another way of putting it.

Otherwise, the album features vintage heavy tracks: "Snowblind," the album's original title that was changed due to the cocaine allusions; "Cornucopia" and "St. Vitus' Dance" are some wicked numbers indeed; and most importantly, for contrast, "Changes" is a purely piano-driven ditty with my favorite-instrument-which-is-not-the-guitar, the Mellotron, as well as "Laguna Sunrise" being a nicely sequenced track with overlaying acoustic guitars. Overall, though, the album is frenetic, heavy and downright scrumptious. One problem: "FX" is stupid. Supposedly, the sounds are achieved through an echo effect made by Iommi's crucifix banging up against his guitar. How novel, but it's a silly addition to an otherwise flawless album. Still, I won't hold it against the lads. A

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