What does it sound like?:
In 1972, Sabbath decamped to the sunny climes of LA to record their fourth album, a process that was to be hampered by major alcohol and drug abuse by the band members – indeed, the record’s original title was Snowblind, and it carried a thank you to the ‘great Coke-Cola Company of Los Angeles’ (see what they did there!). The album is now revisited in this hefty box set comprising a remastered version of the original long player (although sadly its gatefold sleeve has not been reproduced), a collection of alternate versions and outtakes mixed by Steven Wilson (who else!), and a live album, all accompanied by an excellent book. The original album hasn’t been remixed as its final tapes couldn’t be located, but it contains some classic Sabbath riffs on songs such as Wheels of Confusion, Supernaut and Snowblind, alongside more reflective pieces like Changes and Laguna Sunrise. It still sounds great almost fifty years later. The outtakes come from session tapes from the recordings, and these have then been used by Wilson to create a ‘definitive’ alternate version for most of the individual songs, although unfortunately no tapes could be found for three of them. As always seems to be the case, these things are interesting to listen to as historical curios, but they’re not the sort of thing that most listeners would repeatedly return to – unless five versions of Wheels of Confusion is something you’re desperately missing from your life! The live recordings were collated from various venues during their 1973 UK tour for a proposed live album that never materialised, although a couple of songs did appear on the unauthorised Live at Last set put out by their former manager. It’s been put together to represent a typical full show from that time, and does indeed capture the band in their pomp, showcasing the cream of their repertoire up to that point. All in all, this is a very well put together, if rather pricey, set commemorating a classic album, not just from the Sabbath back catalogue but from the metal genre as a whole.
What does it all *mean*?
I wonder why they jumped straight to this album after last year’s Paranoid box, completely missing out the seminal Master of Reality – maybe a lack of original tapes is again the culprit?
Goes well with…
Digging out that old tasselled jacket, and remembering what life was like in 1972 when this LP originally saw the light of day.
Might suit people who like…
Classic metal, skull crushing riffs.