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Black Sabbath - Live at Hammersmith Odeon CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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4.16 | 34 ratings

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4 stars Now this is a great idea of a Black Sabbath aka Heaven And Hell live album .

Though initially limited to 5000 copies - why??? My understanding is Sabbath aka Heaven and Hell have more than 5000 fans/ audience/ consumers.) It is now a bonus disc with the re-issue of Mob Rules making that new reissue so much better.

Live At The Hammersmith Odeon is from a series of four end of year dates at the classic London venue. Apparently it is one gig; it may be so. Then again Thin Lizzy's Live And Dangerous classic was supposed to be in Edinburgh but their management told a variation on the truth - tax purposes. Heh, it's only rock and roll. I shall be optimistic and assume this really is from the date specified.

War Pigs, Iron Man, Paranoid (all from Paranoid) and Children Of The Grave, from Master Of Reality and Black Sabbath and N.I.B from the Black Sabbath debut are the 6 Ozzy era cuts with only 2 from Heaven And Hell and five from the then current release Mob Rules. The (to me) unexpected and rather original number Country Girl is very welcome. I felt there was a tendency to repeat some of the ideas of Heaven And Hell (Children Of The Sea: Sign Of The Southern Cross) which is fine to perpetuate what works but I tend to expect a bit more from a band that are used to reinventing and progressing their music.

The performance is fine; although audience participation falls a little flat during Heaven And Hell not the fault of Sabbath, just their responsibility. Such is real concert life. This track was often as long as it is here and tends to lose it's impact as a vehicle for anything other than that climactic "The world is full of Kings And Queens..." lyric - the essence of Dio's quality writing.

Vinny Appice is drumming for Black Sabbath now and fits in just fine. The concert is fresh and strong. The guitars crunch and Butler's bass rumbles as menacingly as ever; the performance is rather energetic.

So other than the slightly overlong Heaven And Hell (audience participation could be it's own track - an improvisation. Perhaps and easily edited out?) this set is excellent and now properly available retail.

Five stars? Not quite, due to the over-extended Heaven And Hell. But for a Sabbath fan it's essential, for metal/ hard rock fans it will fit right in the collection happily.

Now for the difficult bit, for prog rock fans (rock plus art = prog) this may not be what the more delicate sensibilities of Camel of Genesis or Art Zoyd fans may like. Unless they like Black Sabbath as well, it's possible. After all I like 'em all, I can hardly downgrade it on the basis of some assumed condition. It gets four stars 4 1/2 stars really. It's a great listen.

Now for a couple of slightly off topic observations.

1. It would be nice to see Heaven And Hell represented on Prog Archives. They have a couple of albums.

2. The identity of Heaven and Hell began with that album as clearly there new ideas and this is a new band. But due to brand name they HAD to be Black Sabbath. Yet the newer songs are often faster and the arrangements of the slower ones more elaborate (as a four piece- I don't mean with string, choral or brass additions.)

Oddly, though the latest and last(?) Heaven And Hell album is slower, heavier and gloomier i.e. more like Black Sabbath... funny old world.

uduwudu | 4/5 |


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