Black Sabbath- Vol 4- Ozzy Osbourne

Black Sabbath’s long, anything-but-monochrome history with the remastered audiophile heavy (what else?) 180-gram vinyl continues with one of their best albums by the original members, Vol. 4.  

By Autumn 1972 the world into which the Birmingham England band Black Sabbath had quickly risen to popularity with their second album, Paranoid,  felt increasingly like a dangerous place when Vol. 4  was released. It seemed that time was marked and policy formulated by a seemingly endless stream of violent acts including assassinations, bombings, race riots, the slaughter of unarmed college students on US campuses, and the decade-long Viet Nam war. And all of this violence was set against the pernicious, incessant white noise of the nuclear arms race between the U.S. and Soviet Union in a thermonuclear game of “chicken”. Black Sabbath’s sound and subjects, which would be lampooned then and even decades later as cartoonish, were forged as much by these deadly concerns as by Animal House  debauchery.

While music critics were not hesitant to slag off every Black Sabbath release, 1972’s Vol 4  included, nevertheless it became the band’s fourth consecutive album to sell over a million copies in the U.S., reaching #13 on Billboard and #8 sales in the UK. Yet many detractors who had watched Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, and Lon Chaney in such classic scary movies as Dracula  and Frankenstein, nevertheless felt that Black Sabbath’s fantasy deadpan  doomsday warnings in such songs as “Tomorrow’s Dream”,”Children of the Grave”,”Snowblind”,”Changes”, and “Supernaut” were somehow a threat to youth. Black Sabbath co-founder and original lead singer Ozzy Osbourne joins me In the Studio for what is widely regarded as the last classic album from the Godfathers of Heavy Metal. – Redbeard