It’s time to celebrate another metal anniversary. Tomorrow, September 1, 40 years will have passed since the official release of Black Sabbath’s fourth album. Hard to believe: Forty. Fucking. Years.
As I’ve done in the past, I’m stealing from my fellow metal blogger Full Metal Attorney, who is a lot more on the ball watching the calendar for events like this than yours truly. He discusses the significance of this album on his own site today, proclaiming it the pinnacle of Black Sabbath’s career, surpassing each of the band’s first three albums — Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971).
FMA attributes the album’s excellence mainly to Tommy Iommi’s riffs, especially on “Supernaut”, “Wheels of Confusion”, “Cornucopia”, “Snowblind”, and the song he calls “the heaviest Sabbath song of all”, “Under the Sun”. But he also praises the performances of the rest of Sabbath — Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, and of course Ozzy.
As FMA himself acknowledges in the article, lots of people would disagree with him putting Vol. 4 above Paranoid and Master of Reality. He chalks that up to the presence of the weird experimental track “FX,” the relatively long acoustic instrumental “Laguna Sunrise,” and the piano/synth ballad “Changes” — but he asserts that these quirky, imperfect songs are precisely what has made the album so memorable after 40 years, in addition to all of the album’s phenomenal successes. Continue reading »