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Encyclopaedia Metallum

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Excellent document - 90%

master_of_reality, November 1st, 2008

This DVD is a re-edition of an old VHS documentary released in 1991, which related the history of the band on their most successful and legendary days, from their early years on late 60's to the lost of Ozzy Osbourne in late 70's.

We all know that Black Sabbath are the godfathers of heavy metal, so having this invaluable document released on this format is something really great. The digital menus are excellently worked and fit perfectly with Sabbath's music and imagery. We have a gallery of the band's albums from this period with their artwork and tracklisting, and direct links to the musical videos of some songs. Also, as an extra feature for this DVD, we have an interview with the band's early manager Jim Simpson, from the days when they were still called Earth and also Black Sabbath's early days.

Now, speaking about the movie, it's a great documentary featuring interviews with Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, and some other musical videos from this era. It's curious the absence of Ozzy Osbourne... The first surprise is the inclusion of (too) short excerpts from the band's early demos, Song for Jim and The Rebel. Also, we have two crushing metal anthems from their gig in the Olympia theatre in Paris (1970), N.I.B. and War Pigs, which has different lyrics, this time dealing with witches instead of politicians. A weird version of Paranoid, recorded for Belgium's TV in 1970, can be taken as a raritie, because it's nothing that interesting. Of course, Black Sabbath's adventure in 1974's California Jam (where they played with Deep Purple and Jethro Tull) is registered here with an amazing live version of the classic Children of the Grave (from their best album, Master of Reality). We also have other live recordings, this time from a British gig: the stomping drug anthem Snowblind and the (rather thrasher) Symptom of the Universe, one of the heavier songs made by this band. The "strange" music video from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is another raritite, and luckily for Sabbath (and humanity in general), MTV wasn't created yet...

The three last songs are only for die hard fans: Rock N Roll Doctor, It's Alright (with Bill Ward on the vocals) and Never Say Die. Never Say Die earned some respect when some speed metal acts like Megadeth and Overkill covered them (because it really goes with their metal), but the other ones had nothing to do with Sabbath. Made me remember some pop metal acts, instead of the heavy doom metal developed previously by the band.

This DVD re-edition is great for all those who saw the original VHS and wanted to have it but couldn't buy it, and for everyone interested in metal's history in general. Reccomended.