The Best Of Black Sabbath
15 June 2009
by Chris Cope
Aren’t there already enough darn compilations and re-issues out there milking the Black Sabbath franchise dry? With Heaven and Hell zimmerframing around the globe, lawsuits making the news and a plethora of re-issues and compilations to finger in record shops, today the gospel of Sabbath is as prevalent as it has been in a long while.
And what better way to package this up by selecting some prime cuts from their illustrious back catalogue and make a nice little compilation out of it?
This particular best of sweeps Ronnie James Dio under the carpet (who?) and focuses on the Ozzy years, and as such, there’s a vintage aura that pervades the spine of this album.
Where better to open the album than with their greatest hit, ‘Paranoid’, the vibrant little number that needs no description, whilst having ‘Iron Man’ as the follow up song makes for possibly one of the most classic album openings you’re ever likely to come across.
The powerhouse tracks keep on coming; ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Black Sabbath’ are both songs which verifiably influenced axe-thrashers for years to come, whilst ‘Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath’ is a droning, sludgy behemoth of Iommi inspiration.
Watch Black Sabbath perform ‘Paranoid’ in Paris in 1970
Picking a best of from a back catalogue smothered in bonafide classics is hard. There’s no ‘Planet Caravan’, or ‘Symptom Of The Universe’ for example, but there are a few oddballs in here that makes the listen that bit more engaging. ‘The Wizard’ is a bluesy rock-out with mouth organ in tow, whilst ‘Fairies Wears Boots’ is a swaying toe-tapper with talk of, well, fairies wearing boots. Oh Ozzy.
The 14-song album closes on ‘N.I.B’, a bass player’s wet dream of sorts, and sums up what this band is all about. There’s the distorted crunch, the infectious melody and some great musicianship. And cash grabbing compilation or not, this music has laughed in the face of trends over the decades and still remains fresh today. And you can’t complain about that.
Sounds like: Who else but Black Sabbath?
Top tracks: War Pigs, Snowblind
Black Sabbath – Greatest Hits tracklisting
Iron Man (Paranoid)
Changes (Volume 4)
Fairies Wear Boots (Paranoid)
War Pigs (Paranoid)
Never Say Die (Never Say Die)
Children Of the Grave (Master Of Reality)
The Wizard (Black Sabbath)
Snowblind (Volume 4)
Sweet Leaf (Master Of Reality)
Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games) (Black Sabbath)
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath)
Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath)
N.I.B. (Black Sabbath)