What does it sound like?:
What is this that stands before me? None other than this huge, monolithic Sabbath box set, for which, you may recall, one of our number attended the launch event a few months back.
This is quite simply a stunning and literally heavyweight package. It includes the first, genre defining, eight albums, all remastered on heavyweight splatter vinyl, two rare 7” singles, a fantastic hardback book, a reproduction of the original Ten Year War brochure, a tour programme from 1978 and a poster. If that isn’t enough, the whole eight albums are contained, in high definition MQA sound, on a crucifix shaped USB stick! What more can you want?
The most important thing though is the music. The first Sabbath album I bought, as a teenager, was Paranoid, inspired by the single, and that is still my favourite of these seminal metal albums. War Pigs, Iron Man – what’s not to like. I still recall being blown away by the album, and even now it still sounds great. In fact, all these albums sound absolutely stunning – they’ve been remastered by Andy Pearce from the original tapes, and the sound is so clear, and somehow seems even more bone crunching than I recall, even more so on the high quality crystal clear MQA versions on the USB stick. Just listening back to them now, there are so many stone cold classics on these records – NIB, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Symptom of the Universe, Sweet Leaf, The Wizard, and of course, the mighty Black Sabbath itself – the list just goes on and on. In fact, it’s easy to forget just how many definitive songs the band came up with this just in this one decade, until your hear them all again one after the other, and the memories come flooding back. It’s no surprise that their recent farewell shows concentrated so heavily on this era. They even threw in a few curveballs like Planet Caravan and Changes along the way to keep you on your toes. Maybe things slightly tailed off towards the end with Never Say Die, but that’s a small gripe really in the light of the rest of what’s on offer here. What new can you say about this classic line up of the band: Ozzy’s wailing vocals and Iommi’s crunching riffs that defined a whole generation of heavy metal, both held locked in place by the rock solid thunderous rhythm section of Geezer Butler and Bill Ward (what a great and so often underrated drummer he is by the way – his vital contribution to the band’s sound should never be overlooked.) We’ll not see their like again.
What does it all *mean*?
This is a fantastic set. The downside of course is it’s cost, but it does contain all the Sabbath you’ll ever need, and in the best sound quality possible. Often imitated, never bettered! Play loud!
Goes well with…
Headbanging, beer, memories of the days of our youth.
Might suit people who like…
Metal, rock, era defining classic albums.