Black Sabbath – Vol 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage, Technical Ecstasy, Never Say Die! (8/10)

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You can plot Sab’s decline and disintegration by the de-metallification of their cover art across these 5 albums. In the early seventies, the Gothic script and demonic fantasy art of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath shows the godfathers of metal at the height of their powers. By late in the decade, however, we get the brightly coloured sci-fi conceptualism of Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die!, and a corresponding drop-off in the quality of the music.

Still, any self-respecting metal fan should own Vol 4 and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and even on their ropey later albums there are still occasional moments of big dumb riffing brilliance.

Remastered but still pretty muddy by today’s standards, there are no extra demos, alternate versions, or other goodies included here. Whether you’ll bother to replace your existing CDs will depend on your devotion to the band.

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