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Yawn...Oh, this is what you were talking about. - 55%

hells_unicorn, May 24th, 2009

“Vol. 4” was something of a step backward for “Black Sabbath” in terms of their creativity in many respects. The heavy and very much forward looking “Master Of Reality” opened a lot of additional possibilities up to the band, but they seemed to have shied away from it a bit based on the two songs found on here. “Changes” is essentially just under 5 minutes of fluff with nasally vocals and really sappy lyrics. Piano alone ballads with occasional string sections in the background are an extremely exposed situation for a vocalist, and Ozzy is not really up to the task, particularly because he’s also pushing the limits of his range and essentially shouting out the chorus. If the goal of this was to show a sensitive side to the band that would appeal to a different audience, the result just falls flat.

The b-side found on here, which interestingly enough is misspelled as “Supernaugt”, establishing this otherwise lackluster vinyl release as a collector’s item/oddity, is a fairly straightforward, mid tempo rock song with a couple of solid riffs. Although not particularly exciting when compared to several other songs that can be heard on “Vol. 4”, it’s influence on more recent music is pretty easy to spot. The one shorter riff with all of the sloppy sounding fret slides is not all that far off from a Nirvana song called “Negative Creep”, which came off of an album that had some primitive though definitely obvious Sabbath themes at work in it. The overloud open high-hat symbol and frequent crash cymbal hits, which obscure the riffs to a degree, were probably where bands like “Sleep” and “The Sword” got the idea for riding the crash cymbal as if it were the ride or high-hat, thus creating that really sloppy sound that many outside of the core-stoner doom crowd can’t stomach.

In spite of this not being a very entertaining listen, it and the other more interesting songs that came off of “Vol. 4” are probably among the most influential ones to many mainstream metal and non-metal bands. It’s easy going, tried and true, relatively safe format makes it appealing to a lot of bands that don’t like taking risks, who appeal to the majority of listeners today who also aren’t big on risk taking. Nonetheless, the album that these two came off of is essential listening, though personally my least favorite among the first 6 Sabbath offerings.