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Metal - Released October 27, 2017 | Sanctuary Records

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All it took was this black, dense, devilish and rare box set to blow any other Black Sabbath compilation or collector’s item out the water. The record covers their beginnings from 1970 to 1978 when the band released no less than eight albums, all recorded with Ozzy Osbourne. It was these powerful tracks that turned the Birmingham band into the cornerstone of heavy metal as well as its subgenres doom, sludge and stoner. The Ten Year War is all about vinyl. This box set celebrates the medium like no other has done before with the band’s repertoire. It allows you to really appreciate their music, with six legendary albums and two more anecdotal and experimental ones made while the band was struggling with all kinds of substances and couldn’t really find a focus nor manage tensions within the group. In parallel to these vinyl re-releases, the group is offering up all their content in a high-definition digital format which makes it feel like you’re right there in the studio. Sit back and let the masters of reality take you to the depths of their saturated, hypnotic sound that basically saved extreme rock’n’roll. © Chief Brody/Qobuz
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Metal - Released June 11, 2013 | EMI

Distinctions 5 étoiles Rock and Folk
There's a lot of pressure involved with being the rulers of the underworld, and nobody knows it better than Black Sabbath in 2013. Inarguable legends and at least partially responsible for creating heavy metal as we know it with their classic '70s material, Sabbath have spawned generations of followers and become one of the final words of the genre. There have been countless reunions and mutations of the band following vocalist Ozzy Osbourne's first dismissal in 1978, and even 13 doesn't quite deliver on fans' decades-long desires to see all four original members back together. Original drummer Bill Ward sits the record out due to disputes over the recording contract, with Audioslave/Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk providing beats in his stead. Despite this considerable absence, 13 comes closest to recapturing the desperate feel, plodding grooves, and unparalleled metal magic of those first classic Sabbath records than anything the members of the band have done since, in any permutation or combination. Kicking off with two sludgy tracks, each over eight-minutes long, the Rick Rubin-produced 13 takes a few moments to get its legs. Once warmed up, however, each element falls somewhere between studied re-creation of the past and logical progression, be it Tony Iommi's spooky guitar tone, Ozzy's nasal howl, or the panic attack dynamics and sense of nuclear dread that made the moods of Sabotage and Vol. 4 so thick. Sharp tempo changes and caustic drop-tuned blues metal riffs make up tracks like "God Is Dead?" and the doomy "Age of Reason." Many of the album's eight tracks stretch past the seven-minute mark, full of heavy compositional shifting. The mellower acoustic track "Zeitgeist" rewrites the spacy "Planet Caravan" from second album Paranoid, revisiting the same cosmic motif of that song, complete with Iommi's most Django Reinhardt-influenced soloing. The lyrics, all penned by bassist Geezer Butler, are focused on internal religious and mental conflicts, with final track "Dear Father" tackling living with memories of abuse. The album is heavier, more precise, and more interesting than the past several decades of output from the bandmembers would suggest. Without fully replicating the energy of their untouchable first six records, Sabbath have risen to the unique challenge of not becoming self-caricatures, turning in something new while still reactivating the strengths of their younger days. The backwards-looking tendencies of 13 are something the band is fully aware of, as signified by the reappearance of rain and church bells sound effects on the last track, the same sounds that opened their first album in 1970. The influence of early Sabbath has become so omnipresent that it's come back to influence its very creators four decades later, but the results are unexpectedly brilliant, apocalyptic, and essential for any die-hard metal fan. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Metal - Released June 11, 2013 | EMI

Distinctions 5 étoiles Rock and Folk
There's a lot of pressure involved with being the rulers of the underworld, and nobody knows it better than Black Sabbath in 2013. Inarguable legends and at least partially responsible for creating heavy metal as we know it with their classic '70s material, Sabbath have spawned generations of followers and become one of the final words of the genre. There have been countless reunions and mutations of the band following vocalist Ozzy Osbourne's first dismissal in 1978, and even 13 doesn't quite deliver on fans' decades-long desires to see all four original members back together. Original drummer Bill Ward sits the record out due to disputes over the recording contract, with Audioslave/Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk providing beats in his stead. Despite this considerable absence, 13 comes closest to recapturing the desperate feel, plodding grooves, and unparalleled metal magic of those first classic Sabbath records than anything the members of the band have done since, in any permutation or combination. Kicking off with two sludgy tracks, each over eight-minutes long, the Rick Rubin-produced 13 takes a few moments to get its legs. Once warmed up, however, each element falls somewhere between studied re-creation of the past and logical progression, be it Tony Iommi's spooky guitar tone, Ozzy's nasal howl, or the panic attack dynamics and sense of nuclear dread that made the moods of Sabotage and Vol. 4 so thick. Sharp tempo changes and caustic drop-tuned blues metal riffs make up tracks like "God Is Dead?" and the doomy "Age of Reason." Many of the album's eight tracks stretch past the seven-minute mark, full of heavy compositional shifting. The mellower acoustic track "Zeitgeist" rewrites the spacy "Planet Caravan" from second album Paranoid, revisiting the same cosmic motif of that song, complete with Iommi's most Django Reinhardt-influenced soloing. The lyrics, all penned by bassist Geezer Butler, are focused on internal religious and mental conflicts, with final track "Dear Father" tackling living with memories of abuse. The album is heavier, more precise, and more interesting than the past several decades of output from the bandmembers would suggest. Without fully replicating the energy of their untouchable first six records, Sabbath have risen to the unique challenge of not becoming self-caricatures, turning in something new while still reactivating the strengths of their younger days. The backwards-looking tendencies of 13 are something the band is fully aware of, as signified by the reappearance of rain and church bells sound effects on the last track, the same sounds that opened their first album in 1970. The influence of early Sabbath has become so omnipresent that it's come back to influence its very creators four decades later, but the results are unexpectedly brilliant, apocalyptic, and essential for any die-hard metal fan. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Metal - Released September 18, 1980 | Sanctuary Records

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Metal - Released July 21, 1971 | Sanctuary Records

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Between October 1969 and May 1972—a span of just over two and a half years—Black Sabbath recorded four albums, which both individually and collectively provided the cornerstones, foundations, and building blocks of heavy metal. That the band managed such studio productivity is, in and of itself, a miracle, given both their touring regimen and their prodigious drug intake. Even more remarkable is the amount of creative growth Black Sabbath underwent in that time period. The band captured on Vol. 4 is one that has definitively advanced the style they codified on their debut and also one that is clearly straining to find new modes of expression within that style. While not quite reaching the heights achieved on 1973's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Vol. 4 is absolutely a more impressive album than any of the three that preceded it—faster, slower, heavier, more delicate, more brutal, more complex. It is, daresay, more mature. It's also definitely more fueled by cocaine, and that powdery influence is hard to deny here; yes, of course, there's "Snowblind," and, yes, that was the album's original title, but there's also a peculiar clarity and concision to the material that was almost certainly brought about by the band's heightened ... attention. While earlier Sabbath jams could dawdle a bit aimlessly, the grooves here are tight and the riffs are as focused as they are chunky. Throughout Vol. 4, the band eases into their most effective elements and gets straight to business. On Black Sabbath, "Cornucopia" would have had a four-minute opening but here, after a brief, four-bar intro, it careens straight into a breathless, four-minute bash to the back of your skull. Even the album's longest song is technically two pieces ("Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener"). Yes, things are more compositionally complex, but they are also more focused. That's not to say that Sabbath is all cocaine-sparkly speed-jams here; to the contrary, Tony Iommi digs into some of his meatiest, doomiest riffs, complemented by intricate song structures. "Tomorrow's Dream" may be the burliest song in the Ozzy-era Sabbath catalog and its bridge may be the most uplifting moment. It all comes together on two of the album's most contrasting and iconic tracks—the mournful piano balladry of "Changes" and the hard-charging "Supernaut"—both of which are inventive, perfectly executed, and impossible to imagine on any of the previous Sabbath albums. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Metal - Released October 28, 2016 | Sanctuary Records

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Metal - Released February 13, 1980 | Sanctuary Records

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Metal - Released July 21, 1971 | Sanctuary Records

The shortest album of Black Sabbath's glory years, Master of Reality is also their most sonically influential work. Here Tony Iommi began to experiment with tuning his guitar down three half-steps to C#, producing a sound that was darker, deeper, and sludgier than anything they'd yet committed to record. (This trick was still being copied 25 years later by every metal band looking to push the limits of heaviness, from trendy nu-metallers to Swedish deathsters.) Much more than that, Master of Reality essentially created multiple metal subgenres all by itself, laying the sonic foundations for doom, stoner and sludge metal, all in the space of just over half an hour. Classic opener "Sweet Leaf" certainly ranks as a defining stoner metal song, making its drug references far more overt (and adoring) than the preceding album's "Fairies Wear Boots." The album's other signature song, "Children of the Grave," is driven by a galloping rhythm that would later pop up on a slew of Iron Maiden tunes, among many others. Aside from "Sweet Leaf," much of Master of Reality finds the band displaying a stronger moral sense, in part an attempt to counteract the growing perception that they were Satanists. "Children of the Grave" posits a stark choice between love and nuclear annihilation, while "After Forever" philosophizes about death and the afterlife in an openly religious (but, of course, superficially morbid) fashion that offered a blueprint for the career of Christian doom band Trouble. And although the alternately sinister and jaunty "Lord of This World" is sung from Satan's point of view, he clearly doesn't think much of his own followers (and neither, by extension, does the band). It's all handled much like a horror movie with a clear moral message, for example The Exorcist. Past those four tracks, listeners get sharply contrasting tempos in the rumbling sci-fi tale "Into the Void," which shortens the distances between the multiple sections of the band's previous epics. And there's the core of the album -- all that's left is a couple of brief instrumental interludes, plus the quiet, brooding loneliness of "Solitude," a mostly textural piece that frames Osbourne's phased vocals with acoustic guitars and flutes. But, if a core of five songs seems slight for a classic album, it's also important to note that those five songs represent a nearly bottomless bag of tricks, many of which are still being imitated and explored decades later. If Paranoid has more widely known songs, the suffocating and oppressive Master of Reality was the Sabbath record that die-hard metalheads took most closely to heart. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Metal - Released June 11, 2021 | Sanctuary Records

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Metal - Released March 28, 2014 | Sanctuary Records

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Metal - Released November 17, 2017 | Mercury Studios

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The circle is closed. In Birmingham, the holy ground where the group was born, Black Sabbath is preaching the final verse of a testament that began in 1970. Recorded live on 4th February 2017, which must have reduced to tears an audience of die-hard fans now on the verge of becoming orphans, it foams with riffs which have passed into legend from Black Sabbath, Behind The Wall Of Sleep, N.I.B. and Iron Man, which they had stopped playing. The four apostles can now ditch their robes and relax in the slippers of their retirement. Their final sacraments have been given. The coffin may have disappeared into the earth: but they have left a headstone where future converts will read the commandments of heavy metal. In the new era which is now opening, Ozzy Osbourne will still shake the windows of his cathedrals. © CS/Qobuz
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Metal - Released December 1, 1973 | Sanctuary Records

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Metal - Released September 25, 1972 | Sanctuary Records

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Metal - Released July 28, 1975 | Sanctuary Records

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Metal - Released September 18, 1970 | Sanctuary Records

Paranoid was not only Black Sabbath's most popular record (it was a number one smash in the U.K., and "Paranoid" and "Iron Man" both scraped the U.S. charts despite virtually nonexistent radio play), it also stands as one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal albums of all time. Paranoid refined Black Sabbath's signature sound -- crushingly loud, minor-key dirges loosely based on heavy blues-rock -- and applied it to a newly consistent set of songs with utterly memorable riffs, most of which now rank as all-time metal classics. Where the extended, multi-sectioned songs on the debut sometimes felt like aimless jams, their counterparts on Paranoid have been given focus and direction, lending an epic drama to now-standards like "War Pigs" and "Iron Man" (which sports one of the most immediately identifiable riffs in metal history). The subject matter is unrelentingly, obsessively dark, covering both supernatural/sci-fi horrors and the real-life traumas of death, war, nuclear annihilation, mental illness, drug hallucinations, and narcotic abuse. Yet Sabbath make it totally convincing, thanks to the crawling, muddled bleakness and bad-trip depression evoked so frighteningly well by their music. Even the qualities that made critics deplore the album (and the group) for years increase the overall effect -- the technical simplicity of Ozzy Osbourne's vocals and Tony Iommi's lead guitar vocabulary, the spots when the lyrics sink into melodrama or awkwardness, the lack of subtlety, and the infrequent dynamic contrast. Everything adds up to more than the sum of its parts, as though the anxieties behind the music simply demanded that the band achieve catharsis by steamrolling everything in their path, including their own limitations. Monolithic and primally powerful, Paranoid defined the sound and style of heavy metal more than any other record in rock history. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Metal - Released March 28, 2014 | Sanctuary Records

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Metal - Released November 23, 1987 | Sanctuary Records

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Metal - Released March 28, 2014 | Sanctuary Records

After a steady decline in both inspiration, mental stability, and commercial appeal throughout the second half of the '70s, metal icons Black Sabbath were reborn with 1980's Heaven and Hell. The album would be their first with new vocalist Ronnie James Dio, whose passionate, controlled wail broke new ground for the band and helped drive a comeback. 1981's Mob Rules was a quick follow up to Heaven and Hell, continuing the momentum of that album's energy as well as its shift away from dark metal to more commercial hard rock. Tony Iommi's signature guitar playing takes on new forms throughout the album, with Zeppelin-esque riffing on "Slipping Away," slithering bluesy rock playing on "Voodoo," and a strikingly different approach to soloing, shifting from the laser-focused slow burn of early Sabbath albums to a more frenetic, technically showy style on some tracks. Speedy album opener "Turn Up the Night" is one of the more spirited and pop-friendly moments of any Sabbath record, with a hooky and melodic chorus and Iommi running through fast-paced leads and trills that were no doubt taking notes from Eddie Van Halen, who was perhaps the most celebrated guitarist in the world in 1981. Mob Rules delved more into experimentation with keyboards and synthesizers, with auxiliary player Geoff Nicholls adding cinematic synth bedding to the epic churn of "The Sign of the Southern Cross" and spacy atmosphere to "Falling Off the Edge of the World," among other synth contributions. New drummer Vinny Appice replaced original Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, pushing the sound even further from the band's original sludgy approach. These changes, along with Dio's fantasty-based lyrics and a red lined mix by producer Martin Birch put Mob Rules closer in line with the emerging New Wave of British Heavy Metal than the druggy devil worshiping doom metal Black Sabbath first built their name on. While it was a solid album, Mob Rules might have followed the template established on Heaven and Hell a little too closely. The pacing and flow of the album was almost identical to its predecessor, from the chuggy opener of "Turn Up the Night" mirroring Heaven and Hell's "Neon Nights" straight through to final track "Over and Over" feeling like a continuation of "Lonely is the Word," the searching, midtempoed finale of the previous album. It didn't sell quite as well as Heaven and Hell, and Dio and Appice left the band soon afterwards, (though Dio's relationship with Sabbath would be complex and sprawling) leaving Black Sabbath to reconfigure throughout the '80s with mixed results. Mob Rules and Heaven and Hell work well as each others companion pieces, making the first round of Dio-fronted Sabbath material a bright spot surrounded by relatively grim efforts on either side. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Metal - Released April 26, 2021 | The Band Aid Trust

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Metal - Released September 28, 1978 | Sanctuary Records