Black Sabbath (Deluxe Expanded Edition)
Sounding like it was recorded in a cave, this album is still one for which no stereo is loud enough, no Mother scared enough.
The title track oozes menace like fog and would be worth the price of entry alone, yet we have the next three tracks ripped from some few milliseconds after the Big Bang. Bill Ward’s drum breaks on The Wizard are absolute perfection. Even gormless debut single Evil Woman comes across less like naff ‘filler’ and more like a gang of demons pissed up on virgins’ blood. Its nasty boogie serves to make Sleeping Village and The Warning crash in like sparking comets, festooned with diamond drum crashes, Iommi and Butler on total riff-destroy mode.
Disc two’s reason-to-buy tracks do not disappoint. Given that this most influential of albums was recorded and mixed in three days, you would think precious little ‘previously unreleased’ material would exist, but what we have provides a look at the human side of the creation of some of the most frightening music ever committed to tape. ‘I can’t remember the fuckin’ words’, moans Ozzy, shortly before stumbling through an otherwise-flawless take of the title track. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is the Prince of Darkness’ contribution which serves as the main differentiation between the versions on disc two and the final release, as musically they differ very little. Evil Woman excepted - it really doesn’t work with flute and horns. It doesn’t work without them either, of course, but enough of my yakkin’. If they’d crashed out of existence after this album their place in history would be assured. But there was much, much more to come. Whaddaya say? Let’s boogie!