BLACK SABBATH Iron Man: The Best Of Black Sabbath (Universal)

BLACK SABBATH Iron Man: The Best Of Black Sabbath (Universal)

This 14 track compilation covers Sabbath’s early (70s) work featuring the original lineup, released to coincide with the band’s partial reformation and Summer dates.

The farce of the Bill Ward malarkey aside, and while there is already a plethora of Sabbath compilations on the market (and most will already be familiar with this material), it’s a timely reminder of just how good,influential and inspiring this material is.

The set opens with Paranoid, an unlikely hit and last minute inclusion to the band’s second album, is an uptempo chunky rocker with a catchy riff. And on close inspection, it’s amazing that guitarist Iommi is not known for his solos when there’s a decent (if slightly fuzzy) one here.

Iron Man, from the same album, is a slower and harder track with a real doom edge. A few drum rolls add to the sound, filled by Geezer’s bass.

Changes, from Volume 4, is a surprising ballad, yet it does work, Ozzy’s thin vocals sounding good. Piano and all, it’s still a decent track, and the original infinitely better than the abominable duet with Kelly a couple of years ago.

Fairies Wear Boots and War Pigs are both again from Paranoid (the latter was originally intended title track), doomy riffs, sirens, this album was the perfect follow up to the debut as it cemented the band’s sound with chart success to boot.

Never Say Die, from the 1978 album of the same name, the last to feature Ozzy, is catchy, uptempo, and one of the most underrated Sabbath tracks. It’s a good blend of rock and metal and although not actually alternative, it was an influence to later genres just as the earlier work was on stoner metal. Driving bass riffs and another actually quite blistering guitar solo. And another Top Of The Pops appearance.

Children Of The Grave comes from the more stoned Master Of Reality, and The Wizard is from the classic debut, and features some frantic drumming.

Snowblind and Sweat Leaf (both drug references) are great tracks, and highlight how important Geezer Butler’s lyrics and bass lines were to the band’s early sound.

One track from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the title track, is based on a monstrous ruff, one of the 70s’ heaviest moments.

Black Sabbath, a scary building track, was written and recorded while the band were still called Earth, and is one of the most iconic album openers ever, and N.I.B. (titled after Bill Ward’s beard at the time) an ode to Satan himself.

Some wonderful tracks here, but a little short and skewed in representation (nothing from Sabotage or Technical Ecstasy).

It would be easy to say ‘Cash In’, but it will hopefully inspire those who haven’t already explored the band’s catalogue to do just that. 8/10
Joe Geesin

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BLACK SABBATH Iron Man: The Best Of Black Sabbath (Universal)