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Black Sabbath - Volume Four CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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3.88 | 681 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars For me, Vol. 4 is where BLACK SABBATH first embraced aspects of the burgeoning progressive movement.

This cannot be more obvious than in the opener, 'Wheels of Confusion.' Its structure is complex and progressive, moving from part to part, and with a marvellous outro ('The Straightener'). It's an eight minute mini-epic, and signals a much broader (and generally less heavy) sound than the sludgy blues previously employed on 'Paranoid' and 'Masters of Reality'. Listen carefully to this song, those who quibble about this band's inclusion. Piano, mellotron and orchestra signalled an intention to widen their music.

Of the remaining tracks, 'Snowbound' and 'Supernaut' are built around trademark outstanding deathcrush IOMMI riffs and rise above the other offerings on this album. Despite the mellotron, 'Changes' is a low point even for OZZY OSBOURNE. I don't know why they thought this was a good idea, but they persisted with songs like this on and off for years. The other tracks are fine without being outstanding.

BLACK SABBATH would go on to turn out two progressive-tinged monster albums, evidenced by their increasing inability to reproduce the sound live - then to abandon the progressive approach after SABOTAGE, their apogee. This album is certainly worth acquiring to see the acknowledged progenitors of riff heavy metal grapple with prog!

russellk | 4/5 |


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