Music » CD Reviews

Black Sabbath

Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978) (Rhino)

by

comment
Black Sabbath was, to an entire generation, what the Beatles were to their older brothers and sisters. The Beatles demonstrated the creative autonomy available to a pop group in the burgeoning 1960s youth consumer culture. Black Sabbath, on the other hand, sifted the post-1968 wreckage of that culture. The revolution hadn't come, the Man wasn't going anywhere, and being stoned all the time didn't make you enlightened, it just made you stoned all the time. Four guys from Birmingham (the Detroit of England) provided the ideal soundtrack to the disillusioned, downcast early 1970s.

Between 1970 and '78, Black Sabbath released eight albums of the heaviest extrapolation of the blues yet heard. They stripped away the fretboard fetishism that sank such contemporaries as Alvin Lee and the Allman Brothers, and focused on what was important: rhythm. Geezer Butler and Bill Ward pummeled and shoved the great machine endlessly forward, and when they got the chance (as on Vol. 4's awe-inspiring "Supernaut," possibly the greatest hard-rock/metal track ever), they flexed a jazz-tinged intricacy that left plodders like Grand Funk Railroad and Led Zeppelin in the dust.

Black Box gathers the eight Ozzy-era albums, remasters 'em for maximum crunch, and tosses in a short DVD with some live German TV performances ("Blue Suede Shoes"!). So, sprint to the record store, right? Well, maybe. The thing is, Castle Music put out a box in 2002 that had all these albums (minus the DVD), remastered and in mini-LP packaging. So unless you're coming late to the party, you'll be paying for Rhino's new liner notes and the DVD. But hey, whatever. This is Black Sabbath we're talking about. You gotta have this stuff.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.