CD Paranoid [Digipak] (CD 6290817),
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1. War Pigs [Cerdos Guerreros]
2. Paranoid [Paranoico]
3. Planet Caravan [Caravana de Planetas]
4. Iron Man [Hombre De Hierro]
5. Electric Funeral [Funeral Elctrico]
6. Hand of Doom [La Mano del Destino]
7. Rat Salad [Ensalada De Rata]
8. Fairies Wear Boots [Las Hadas Llevan Botas]
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 2730327
Tom Allom; Brian Humphries
Personnel: Ozzy Osbourne (vocals); Tony Iommi (guitar); Geezer Butler (bass guitar); Bill Ward (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Andy Pearce.
Liner Note Author: David Wells .
Somebody is having a laugh. Either that or whoever put this package together did so under the impression that anyone who wants to hear an old LP in its original quad mix probably hankers for other sonic reminders of the early '70s. Because when you settle down to be immersed in the full surround-sound glory of Black Sabbath's finest hour, you will also hear tape hiss during the quiet bits (of which there are plenty), and on "Hand of Doom," some honest-to-goodness bleed-through from the other side of the tape. Yes, just like the 8-Track tapes you used to jam into the dashboard. The odd thing is, it doesn't spoil the experience. The Paranoid quad mix was such a remarkable beast in the first place that such dislocation actually lends something to the moment -- and besides, it's certainly not as egregious as the mixed-out vocals that are still audible throughout great chunks of the so-called instrumental "War Pigs" elsewhere in the set.
Was this a lost opportunity? Love for the original album (remastered on disc one) suggests that any chance to hear much more of the same should be grasped with open arms, and you're not going to hear it better than this. The quad mix is stunning for all its failings, with the alternate ending to "War Pigs" just one of the surprises that disc two has in store. And disc three might raise suspicions with its instrumental contents (five out of eight tracks), but a radically alternate lyrical take of "Paranoid" is staggering; a similar prototype of "Planet Caravan" haunts despite its rough quality, and an alternate mix of "Rat Salad"... well, it's not that alternate really, but if you enjoy Bill Ward drum solos, it's fun to listen to. But a "deluxe edition" label does raise certain expectations, and it surely couldn't have been that difficult to clean up the hiss-and-pops that bedevil the quad mix. So not the essential purchase it ought to have been, but not one to avoid at all costs, either. Maybe next time. ~ Dave Thompson
Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.126) - Ranked #130 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time"
Spin (p.89) - "Ozzy saw heavy rock as a way to emulate the horrors of a fallen world..."
Q (12/99, p.170) - Included in Q Magazine's Best Gothic Albums Of All Time - "...[They] stamped their bombastic and doom-laden imprint on British rock forever..."
Vibe (12/99, p.162) - Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.52) - "[With] classic after classic, the strange, lost, almost sobbing vocals of a young Ozzy Osbourne floating over a skulking rhythm section and grim, lurching riffs."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.93) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "With sharper edges and nastier riffs than Sabbath's much bigger contemporaries Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, the album made it clear to any doubters that heavy metal didn't just have to be about hobbits and sports cars."
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Sanctuary (USA) 2730327
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