Black Sabbath are the Elvis of heavy metal. Before Sabbath there was, well black. 'The Black Box' contains Sabbath's entire anthology of music, from the self titled first song off the self titled album, to epic metal anthems like 'Nativity in Black' and 'War Pigs'. The songs are good, even if the quality isn't the greatest., as it is mostly taken off the original vinyl, but Sabbath is Sabbath. Possibly the best part of the set is the original recorded versions of the song. As stupid as it sounds, the full version of 'Nativity in Black', which is actually 'Wasp / Behind the Wall of Sleep / Bassically / N.I.B.', in stead of the cut version is an amazing piece of work. As a whole, it makes the song it self make more sense in my mind.
Hearing some of the songs on here for the first time was an eye opener. 'Sabbra Cadabra', for instance, is cover quite well by 'Metallica' on 'ReLoad', but the original version is much better. Same thing with the cover of 'Blue Suede Shoes' . Elvis did a good job of that song, but Sabbath put a metal twist on it, making it better in its own way. The only negative about the set, therefore the only thing preventing it from becoming classic, is the songs aren't in order. For hardcore Sabbath fan this shouldn't matter, but for relative Sabbath virgins, like my self, or for lazy people who don't want to organize their iPods, or even for just a casual listener, it would be nice to able to put the disks in a changer and actually follow the progression of the band and their music.
The entire set proves Sabbath's musical prowess. It also shows the progression, and therefore, the degradation of their music. From the beginning as a off shoot blues band, to the godfathers of metal, and drug abuse, 'The Black Box' shows the evolution of one of the greatest bands ever.
If you don't have all the Sabbath albums, this is the best way to go, but if you have most of them, don't bother, as the set costs as much as a you would think a set like this would.
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