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It was with utmost surprise that I happened upon this very strange compilation selling for a meager 50 cents at the local bargain bin. This was mostly because I had no idea of its existence, in spite of me regularly visiting the band’s back catalog to be on the look out for cash grabbing best of releases to avoid. But in spite of the peculiarly random looking track ordering, I decided to rescue this poor thing from a life stuck in the equivalent of a Bangkok orphanage for albums and give it a whirl to see what would happen.
It is very important to stress that to someone who owns an entire studio discography of a band, in spite of the current craze of mp3s and playlists, a compilation that contains nothing but album tracks from studio releases only serves a listener well if the experience of hearing these songs in the provided order is a good one. It is in this respect that this completely fails, as it listens like it was thrown together in the same manner that one would when drawing at a raffle. You need look no further than the jolting transition from the epic masterpiece of woeful fatalism “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” to the good times with harmonicas and the blues in “The Wizard”, or the free flowing jam fest “Wheels Of Confusion” to the angst ridden rocker “Paranoid”. There’s no accounting for pacing here, let alone the massive differentiation in production practices from one album to the next, as underscored by when hearing songs from “Vol. 4” sitting side by side with ones from “Paranoid”.
Naturally if looked at from the angel of a person who owns nothing by Sabbath, there is a pretty good sampling of songs from the band’s first 6 albums, which are rightly regarded as classics. But “We Sold Our Souls For Rock And Roll” does the same job and with a much more consistent flow. There are some songs on here that can’t be found on that compilation, but considering the number of underrated classics from “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and “Sabotage” that could have made it on here aside from what is presented, particularly with songs such as “Laguna Sunrise” and “Hole In The Sky”, which are lower on the ladder than most of the songs on those two albums, this isn’t something that could qualify as an essential purchase. The songs are good, but this compilation isn’t worth more than $1 at best.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on May 8, 2009.
It is fucking inexcusable for a compilation from the 90's to cover six albums only out of a catalogue of more than a dozen. This is a regression back to 1977's Greatest Hits, the flaws of that one tenfold. If this had been the first Sab compilation I'd have drooled all over it, but come on. It's got some cool tracks that rarely get any respect like "Killing Yourself to Live" and "Wheels of Confusion", true, but visions of Heaven and Hell, The Mob Rules, The Eternal Idol, and The Headless Cross keep filling my head with an urge to break stuff.
It enrages me to see such a blithe dismissal of an incredible series of records, particularly by a no-name sub-distributor of a real record company, these hallowed gems whored out to sharks who just don't give a damn. Fuck 'em.
Oh, and dear lord, "LAGUNA SUNSHINE" AGAIN!?
Stand-Outs: Go to hell.