CD Review Directory Mott the Dog's CD Collection

Mott the Dog's review on....

Black Sabbath - Volume 4

Review: 099
Date: 28 Oct 02


Rating: 5 Stars

Tony Iommi - Guitar
Geezer Butler - Bass Guitar
Ozzy Osbourne - Vocals
Bill Ward - Drum
(and Geoff Nichols - Keyboards uncredited)

Tracks Listing:
1. Wheels Of Confusion
2. Tomorrows Dream
3. Changes
4. FX
5. Supernaut
6. Snowblind
7. Cornucopia
8. Laguna Sunrise
9. St. Vitus Dance
10. Under The Sun


As a big “Black Sabbath” fan I have to tell you that, if you can only own one Sabbath album, then this should be it. Now I’m not saying that most Black Sabbath albums are not good. (How can anything with Toni Iommi on lead guitar be bad?) In fact, the first six are out and out classics with “Heaven & Hell”, “Born Again”, and the wonderful “Re-union” album joining these ranks. It’s just that Volume 4 has got it all.

Already international superstars upon its release, “Volume 4” consolidated their position as the world’s number one Heavy Metal band, a position that has never seriously been challenged. (have you heard Creed’s new album “Weathered”? Talk about a load of Sabbath Wannabes.)

Whilst recovering from tour exhaustion, Sabbath promised that their new album would be more experimental, more progressive, and unbelievably heavier than anything they had ever done before. This was quite a claim from a band whose last album had been the classic “Masters Of Reality”.

The opener “Wheels Of Confusion” was straight away a departure for Sabbath, clocking in at over eight and a half minutes. This was not some rambling heavy blues based jam, but a well structured epic with its inspiration coming from what was termed at the time as Progressive Rock, only, of course, played the Sabbath way. It proved that the band had no lack of inspiration either musically or lyrically. Ozzy singing Geezer Butler’s words with real menace.

“Lost in the wheels of confusion
Running Thru Valleys of trees
Eyes full of angry delusion
Hiding in everyday fears”

“Wheels Of Confusion” transforms from crunching power chords into a glorious Sergio Leone pastiche, overlaid with thundering guitars.

Bursting through the speakers after this was the new single at the time “Tomorrow’s Dream”, the Sabbath first single since worldwide smash hit “Paranoid”. A song that is about as commercial as Heavy Metal can get.

Then came the real shock, horror of horror, Sabbath do a ballad. Not only a ballad, but a piano led ballad that would not have been out of place on a Barry Manilow album. Fans were always prepared for Sabbath to experiment with different styles, and after the hard rockin “Paranoid” had given them a well deserved hit and a following of teenage girls. It is still frightening to imagine the audience of Radio 2 (Britain’s very staid radio channel) listeners this song would of attracted, had it been released as a single and been a hit.

But from here on out it’s pure Sabbath with Toni Iommi taking the lead and laying down some of his best known heavy riffs. Although it’s not all just a bunch of loud detuned e-chord riffing as there are plenty of subtler moments, especially in the two instrumental Iommi solo spots “FX” and “Laguna Sunrise”, Vol 4 also catches Ozzy at his outrageous best. You can almost hear the frills on his jacket bashing together as he stomps along with the rest of the band in the heads, down no nonsense mindless boogie sections of the songs. Geezer Butler not only gives Ozzy some wonderful lyrics to sing, but lays down some bass work that was going to become the temple plate for all players of the four string guitar for years to come. Bill Ward is the only drummer for Black Sabbath. Full stop no argument.

If you are a stranger to Black Sabbath’s Volume Four and you like your rock music hard heavy with genuine excitement, acquaint yourself.


Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew


Back to Top


[an error occurred while processing this directive]