In 1972, “Vol. 4” was released. This record is another favorite of mine from Black Sabbath. It’s very sludgy and very gritty. The tone is very deep and the sound is very heavy. But, there are certain songs on here, that I wish would have been omitted from the record and replaced with something else that would have made this record flow even better. To me, the band is getting burned out and is looking elsewhere for direction, both personally and musically.
Musically and song structures, this record although is great, you hear the band beginning to experiment with different sounds and melodies. Which for that aspect of the record, they proved that they can make good use with those experiments. There’s a lot of weird offbeats on some of the tracks that are very complex in nature, which sounds great. You also begin hearing a little more filler. “FX” is a great example of the filler that I hear. It also features Ozzy singing a ballad. “Changes” is a decent song, but I just didn’t really care for it in the style in which Ozzy was singing. Ballads are not his style but compared to his other ballads, this is a really good song.
Tony Iommi still throws out those hard, dark, and deepened toned guitar riffs. His leads still kick total ass. Butler’s bass proves to be the key that gives Black Sabbath that heavy and crunchy sound. Ward’s drums to me are still so very good. His style of incorporating new influences seems to be very complex. “Cornucopia” and “Supernaut” are great examples of that.
Still, “Vol. 4” builds on the foundation that will influence Sludge Metal in coming decades. It also contains that certain Stoner Metal and Doom Metal sound that will inspiration a generation of musicians. It also contains some of the influences for Goth Metal. And not just Heavy Metal in general, but those Hard Rock genres as well.
This record is among one of the best from the original band and you can’t go wrong with it. The band will continue to build on this experiment which will take the band to new heights in the Heavy Metal and Hard Rock world. As such, this killer record will continue to be one of my favorite records of Black Sabbath.
1. “Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener” 8:02
2. “Tomorrow’s Dream” 3:12
3. “Changes” 4:45
4. “FX” (Instrumental) 1:44
5. “Supernaut” 4:50
6. “Snowblind” 5:33
7. “Cornucopia” 3:55
8. “Laguna Sunrise” (Instrumental) 2:56
9. “St. Vitus’ Dance” 2:30
10. “Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes” 5:53