Review Summary: If your looking at this review, you either own this set, want to own this set, or want to know more about the fathers of Metal. What the hell are you waiting for?
One thing that is absolutely appalling is the unfair and unjust comparisons of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. While both uncompromisingly heavy, the said bands' individual sounds are not at all alike. While Zeppelin was more earthly and appealed to the masses, Sabbath was destruction through music and its fan base was a new breed. Nobody is going to sit here and tell me that "Custard Pie" is heavier than "Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes". You also can’t sit there and tell me Sabbath was more successful than Zeppelin, either. Sabbath, like all metal bands, gained a following by word-of-mouth and mysticism. Apparently, it seems these comparisons are only attributed by the decades old argument of "Who was the first real metal band?" HAH! Like that needs an answer but Ill gladly answer for you: For those this review is covering.
A group that still shakes the heavens, Black Sabbath is such an influential band for metal that even Beck of all people have gone on record as saying how much these guys shred. Not to mention Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Pantera, Flea, Elvis (you read that right, refer to "How Black was our Sabbath", a biography written by Sabbath's road crew during the 70s), Ice-T, Anthrax, Faith No More, Sepultura, Henry Rollins, The Cure, Dream Theater and a ton more. Black Sabbath's influence on the modern music scene is almost like a White Elephant fornicating in front of you: You know it's there, and only the most bold speak up of its existence. Most acknowledge, but forget or ignore.
In 2004, Warner/Rhino planned to release the definitive collection of Black Sabbath simply titled "Black Box: The Complete Ozzy Osbourne-led Black Sabbath recordings". How creative. While Ozzy has become a pardoy of himself as of late, in Black Sabbath the man was primal! When listening to this larger-than-life collection, one wonders how or why Ozzy shifted in such a way (Shaaaaaarooooon). Everything on this collection is pure quality metal done right. Perhaps it was of such quality because it was strikingly original for it's time (and still is, think of the countless followers).
It is important to know that one does not need to be into metal to like Sabbath. They too were one of those legendary 70s bands that us younger folk can only imagine seeing in their prime. It's quite stirring to imagine picking up a new Black Sabbath album in 1973, and following them throughout. To us, we got spoiled, and got a huge box set with pristine quality compact discs, and a well-made book.
While doing my research about this, one common complaint from the sheep’s is that the digipack-style cd cases are not authentic. So what! When you have material as good and as good sounding as this, that comment should be non-existent. Somebody had also mentioned (and I’m going to steal it because it's a fantastic comment) that the remastering job makes it seem "like you’re in the studio with them". That could not be any truer. A great example of this is "A National Acrobat" from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
where whenever Bill Ward hits a floor tom, your car speakers damn near blow. The remastering job is clear, sharp, and allows the music to breathe, instead of the inferior plain stock copies you'll find at a Best Buy with that hissing sound on top. If you like Black Sabbath, and only own one or two albums (which are most likely Paranoid and Master of Reality) buy this, and give your old copies to your friends.
It is not important to review the music itself as the reviews on Sputnik do just that. These are essential, important albums. If you thought Paranoid was their masterpiece, wait until you hear Sabbath Bloody or (my dear lord) Sabotage. Not to mention the insanely awesome Vol. 4, and of course the debut, that sounds absolutely stunning on here. It's almost as if Ozzy is next to you singing "The Wizard".
Of course, there's Never Say Die!
and Technical Ecstasy
. Two highly underrated albums, these records show the shift and versatility within Sabbath that not many people know about, instead of everyone unfamiliar with them dismissing them as loud rubbish. These albums are absolutely crucial to this box set, as to give you a clear picture of what Tony Iommi is truly capable of (Lets face it: Iommi IS the leader). That’s not to say Geezer and of course Bill Ward and that other guy weren’t integral to these albums. It's just accepted that these two are pretty much Iommi solo albums.
While the average Joe won't go out on a limb and pay the hefty amount for this extravagant box, we seasoned fans know that he should put money aside and just buy it. Or he could at least acknowledge that elephant, and not just buy Paranoid.