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September 22, 2017


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Black Sabbath
Symptom Of The Universe: The Original Black Sabbath (1970 -- 1978) (Black Sabbath)

By: Vinnie Apicella

"Symptom Of The Universe--" or to put it another way, "The Ozzy Years." And hey, who'd blame 'em to want to capitalize on the Ozzman's "Second Cometh" from stage to small screen as reality TV's animated joke gone monstrously awry. But veteran Rock bands and newcomers bear witness to something remarkable; personality sells! Millions of kids who couldn't have known Ozzy, the Heavy Metal singer, tune in night after night after night-- and guess what? I'd love to see the sales figures of the long dormant old catalog since the beginning. Who's next? Should we be eventually surprised to see A Welcome To Alice's Nightmare? Bring back to B&W imaging and resurrect the ol' Addams Family plot? How bout Marilyn Manson's Mansion or Rob Zombie resurrects the dead? Of course they might need to start work on the families fairly soon-- But way back when, Ozzy "John" Osbourne fronted a "black" Metal band that was pure cardiac arrest to the 1970's music scene. The Rock music scene was fresh off of this silly psychedelic trip and folksy, flowery shit where every day was Family Affair or The Brady Bunch-- Black Sabbath was the element of seriousness; that antithetical danger that the industry needed; they began as the dark shadow cast over the sunlight of a generation of seed soaked sandal wearers and so their image was genuine. Their influence on droves of followers to this day is incomparable. So while we might question the necessity of another Sabbath comp'd campaign or complain about the exploitative effects of corporate capitalism overkill, it is Black Sabbath after all, and for many it began and ended with Ozzy's departure. While this two-disc set boasts no miraculous digital effects or lost classics, no Iommi signed guitar picks or convenient cardboard cut-outs, the folks over at Warner/Rhino don't pull any punches when it comes to set quality. And if you're going to do it yet again, do it bigger and better, and they have. From the powerful packaging, to the thick glossy 50 plus pages of the history spanning cover book, to the priceless images contained therein, it's dressed to impress the true fan and collector and alone worth the price of admission. However, the fact that one might bask in the originality and clarity of 29 of the band's mostly essential classics spanning their 8 albums together while realizing how they went from The Polka Tulk Blues Company, to Earth, from six to four, from Geezer's "dream" to Black Sabbath, to a revealing album by album and track breakdown by the members and Mick Wall's insightful etchings, serves well, the long in the tooth LP-era listener or just acquainted young-in scraping up enough to secure a spot. So is it necessary? You have to be your own judge. What Warner's done is create an unbeatable combination of images, words, trivial rarities and music, and sewn them together for an appreciable two and a half hour nostalgia trip collection that can only increase the status of a still growing legend. And is it worth it? Absolutely!
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