Black Sabbath
Vol. 4
[Warner Brothers]

And you just thought they couldn't get any heavier...

Some people see Vol. 4 as one of Sabbath's not-so-great moments, probably because there are no 'hits' on it, and that they see the album as disjointed. I, however, see it the other way, as their most inventive and (IMO) best album. The band themselves admit that it was made basically in a 'Roman Bath-house' style - they sat in a sauna all day doing girls and coke until they got bored and said 'hey, let's go do a song'. It seems to make the album more 'instinctive,' in that they'd just take ideas and run with them; however, some worked (Tomorrow's Dream, Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes), while some didn't (Cornucopia, Changes - who the hell came up with the idea of a piano ballad?). Nevertheless, this contains some of Sabbath's heaviest and finest moments - Snowblind has a good main riff, excellent changes, and keeps a bleak, depressive atmosphere throughout, Supernaut is a great, fast number (almost thrashy in the way it's played with total abandon - Bill Ward actually says 'fuck the hi-hat, I'll just ride on a crash cymbal!), and Sabbath's finest song ever, "Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener" - a slow, bluesy/doomy affair with a fairly quick middle section (no solo, just great two-guitar rhythm work), and one of the most perfect segues ever in a metal album when, the last chorus rings out, the clean guitar riff of The Straightener comes in, and then those fucking blasting power chords rip out your eardrums. An absolute must.

1999 lord vic