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I do not understand this release at all. It just doesn't make any sense to release songs that have already been heard by everyone that is interested in heavy metal in general. I can't believe that 34 years later they are still trying to make money off of the same few songs. I would have been pleased to hear this single if there was something different like an old demo's from way back in the 70's but this single just doesn't cut it. No one can deny that "Paranoid" and "Iron Man" are classic songs but this single is nothing that any you would want to buy by itself. Another thing is that this single comes with the "black Box" release which has the whole "Paranoid" cd on it so I just can't see the point of this release.
After 20 best of collections gone wrong, somebody finally got it right! Put the two best Black Sabbath tracks from their sophomore album on a CD and sell it for $3. Actually, I normally hate compilation albums, but I was quite pleased with this CD. Part of it was for the CD case itself. It looked just like the outside of the black box with that awesome little winged Lucifer demon in a grey color with the black background. But there was a semi-circle carved into the side of the cardboard shell, and there was a black tab that invited me to pull it open. And out slid a black plastic tray that held a CD that was decorated in the same fashion as the coverart.
But on a serious note, it's nice to hear a decent remastering of two classic Black Sabbath songs: Iron Man and Paranoid (in reverse order).
First off, you get Paranoid. This song was originally written as filler for their sophomore album, and you can hear everything so clearly. From that awesome beginning hammer-on power chord to the distorted sounding fuzz-box that runs along with Tony's amazingly memorable and perfectly fitting bluesy solo. In fact, I think I've read somewhere that this is one of the few solos that Tony doesn't change live (at least he does it rarely, since I saw him change the last half of it for The Queen's Jubilee in 2002) because of how memorable it is. I also like how you can actually hear the variation in the middle part of the main riff where the bass plays this four note climb when the guitar just shifts down the power chord.
Then secondly, and not to mention lastly, you get Iron Man. I love how clean sounding it is. The bass drum seems even louder in the mix, and the intro behind the nut bend that is like a monster roaring just wails. Same goes for the metallic sounding "I AM IRON MAN!" It definitely raises some highly emotional childhood memories for me, being my first heavy metal song I ever heard and all. The solos, Ozzy's singing, even Geezer's bass... It's all so clear and audible! Then kicks in the faster tempo part, and everything is still so clear. Whomever did the remastering deserves many a commendation for their skill.
That aside, I'd like to point out that basically, this single is good for three types of people:
1. People who think that Black Sabbath only has two songs, and these songs are both it... And you don't want them to think otherwise for the sake of humanity.
2. People who have never heard Black Sabbath before, but want to know what they are going to be getting into for little money at all.
3. The hardcore Black Sabbath collectors (like yours truly) who have to have every album (okay, but we don't care about the compilation albums... since they already released the decently inclusive first five album compilation called WSOSFRAR [We Sold Our Souls For Rock And Roll] in the 70s).
So if you're in one of those three groups, then yeah go ahead and get it. But really, if you don't already own Paranoid (the album)... Then go out and get it. It's THE essential Black Sabbath (and for that matter, heavy metal) album. But they at least captured to two most well known songs and did a very nice job of remastering them for our listening pleasure. And for that, I commend them.