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When it comes to compilations, I tend to not have much use for them unless they offer something aside from songs in some unique ordering that I likely already have on the respective band’s studio album releases. Although a 10 song collection of radio hits that will likely be encountered every couple of days during a routine commute is nice for casual fans of a band who like to control their listening experience at bit more, die hard followers like myself don’t really get much out of it aside from a couple pages thick CD booklet that tells me things that I probably already know. But a compilation of re-released singles that can’t really be found anymore due to the passage of time is an entirely different story.
Black Sabbath had such a compilation released on their behalf back in the year 2000, containing 6 single releases that were originally exclusively on vinyl in CD form. It is loaded with visual perks: from all of the original cover art maintained upon cardboard cases that house each individual CD, which have a design on their top side to make them resemble records, and also includes a rather impressive poster that has all of the album covers from everything that the band officially released between 1970 and 1978.
The selection of singles is a little bit puzzling as “Master Of Reality” isn’t represented at all, and several other prominent albums such as “Sabotage” and “Technical Ecstasy” are only represented through b-side songs. This probably had to do with a desire to try to get as many albums represented within a collection of only 6 releases, but the oddity of having 2 singles from their biggest flop “Never Say Die” and only one single from their first two albums is a bit strange. Nonetheless, the songs that are contained are essential listening, though mostly from a historical standpoint as they highlight some of Sabbath’s most massive leaps from being a mostly 60s rock oriented jam band with a slightly darker character to the beginnings of what would become doom metal.
This is a recommended pickup for anyone who is a huge fan of the band or a completist that wants to proliferate some version of the band’s historical catalog without breaking his personal bank at pawnshops looking for the original vinyl versions. It’s only a limited segment of a band that essentially defined the entire sound of heavy metal and ushered in several generations of very different musical offspring, but it is a worthwhile segment to have if you are so inclined to learn about it.