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4.6 out of 5 stars
Paranoid
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2010
What the hell can you say about this classic that hasn't been said already?

Not much, so I'll simply say, if you haven't heard this album, and you call yourself a metalhead - you're not you know.

Black Sabbath's second album is a masterpiece, pushing aside much of the blues of their first album, and if anything, becoming even darker in tone, as the topics of war, drug abuse and erm... fairies in boots fuelled the imagination of Geezer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne, while Iommi's riffs were forged of purest metal.

War Pigs, Iron Man, Electric Funeral, the jazz toned Planet Caravan, Bill Ward's moment of glory on Rat Salad, the bleak Hand of Doom.... these alone justify getting the album.

Paranoid itself has become a classic track - and one of the signature tunes of Black Sabbath - but I liken it to the first albatross around Sabbath's neck - fortunately they finally stopped playing it when Heaven and Hell was formed - I'm not going to deny it's legacy in Sabbath's hallowed career, but the only way this song works for me is Sabbath and Ozzy performing it, and it isn't overly Sabbath in sound - sounds more like a quick Zeppelin jam musically (but considering it was the last song recorded for the album as a "filler track", it's not surprising given it was very melodic by Sabbath's standards at the time, that it became a single, and placed Sabbath into superstar status).

The deluxe edition of this album released recently is brilliant - the quadrophonic mix is amazing - true Sabbath fans who haven't heard this yet - go and get it, it's well worth it.

This album is immortal - and rightfully one of the albums by which all metal is judged against.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Rejoice, people - this is truly the exception from the "rule" that new remasters sound worse than the older CD editions! This is probably the best "Paranoid".

It's definitly better than the 2004 Black Box release (don't believe what J. Siegler says), and I believe it's better than the 1996 Castle CD. There are some other CD editions which I have never listened or I heard them a long time ago, but I don't believe they are better.
And there's edition which I own for some time, 2001 Sanctuary mini vinyl replicas 8-disc box-set.
This new 2009 edition is released 5 days ago on the same label - Sanctuary. I must say that guys there now their job. So - congratulations and respect to Sanctuary!

After detailed analysis it seems to me that they used the same source as in 2001, but remastered it in a different way. Both 2001 and 2009 editions have loudness boosting just very slightly over the edge, almost unnoticeable, which makes them incomparably better than most of today's releases with ridiculously boosted loudness. So there's almost NO trace of small dynamic range, distortion and compression.
When I compared 2001 and 2009 edition:
2001 has less noise and more bass; 2001 sounds muddy, with prominent low range, while 2009 sounds more natural, with prominent mid-range.
They both sound good, and eventually it's up to the listener to decide which sound he/she prefers. I don't know which one sounds closer to the original 1970 vinyl, I could know that only if I put that LP (but in mint condition!) on a high-end turnatable and make comparison - but that will never happen. So, my final conclusion is: I FEEL that this 2009 CD is the closest thing to the original record.

But this new remaster also came out as a double LP 10 days ago - if someone is interested in that. That vinyl edition should sound even better, if you have the right equipment in your home.

All this being said, for me the most important value of this new edition is not remastered sound of the original album (disc 1), but bonus tracks.
Disc 2 is NOT CD, but DVD audio, which contains 1974 QUADROPHONIC MIX. I'm not really interested in that, but I know there are some who are.
The reason I bought this (I didn't know and didn't believe that disc 1 will have such a superior sound!) is disc 3. It contains 8 album tracks, but in a way that no-one has ever heard before! 5 of them are instrumentals and 3 are alternative versions! All unreleased for 38 years and 9 months! Maybe some will not be thrilled with that, but I am! It was fantastic experience yesterday for me to listen those songs, which are full of interesting surprises. Because when you intuitively feel/expect to hear something at some moment, you don't hear that, and so that gives you completely new listening experience of that classic!

Also, there's beautiful 24-page booklet, with tons of linear notes and related pictures, even from the original Paranoid tour programme!

There was several times when this CD was announced, and then stopped at the last moment, but I guess now Iommi definitely lost legal battles. There are already announcements of releasing the other Sabbath classics as expanded deluxe editions. I feel that we won't have to wait much to get "Master of reality" unreleased out-takes...

I'm sorry if all this happened against the will of Iommi & Sabbath, I do respect them and their wishes, but only up to a point - because as much I love Sabbath, even more I love myself. :D And I want Sabbath unreleased stuff... me and thousands of other Sabbath fans. And I feel that we are true fans, even if we'll give money for something that Iommi didn't want to see the light of the day. And these 2001 and 2009 Sanctuary releases, although without blessing from the band, are infinitely better products than 2004 Black Box which had all the blessings.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Disc 1 the main album is worthy of 5 stars the album which brought black Sabbath to prominence via the single `Paranoid', and its spooky follow up `Iron Man'. What can you say about an album which has inspired many a guitarist over the last 40 years? If it's not 'Smoke on the water' then it's the riff from 'Iron man' you hear in guitar ships to this day. This deluxe 3 disc edition gives us a nicely mastered original album complete with an original looking vertigo swirl LP image on the disc. The mastering seems to be quite well regarded and certainly does not suffer greatly from that modern compression that so many reissues discs do suffer from these days.

Disc 2 is an Audio DVD and NOT a DVD Audio (no MLP) or SACD, this amount to a disappointment for me of this set. While it is nice to have a version of the original QUAD mix for the album it is only in lossy DTS and is not from a very good source. So full marks for effort in providing this disc but marks dropped for not getting a better source. That said the quad mix does open up the sound field quite a lot and manages to enhance the power of the original album on many of the tracks. Also of concern for a deluxe edition where you expect good sound quality the stereo track on the disc is lossy Dolby Digital rather than high bit rate LPCM as stated on the cover of the package?

Disc 3 is a disc of early versions of the songs on the original album in the order they appear on the original album. Of interest are the original lyrics to `Paranoid' and `Planet Caravan' which appears to have originally been almost 2 minutes longer. The other tracks offer little to the casual listener and are really for fans only.

For the price this is a very good set and deserves the deluxe tag, however there are flaws in the set and while its great to have the original quad mix it would be better to have it sourced for a good tape and as a DVDA.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2010
I bought this album on vinyl in 1975. I've also got it on Castle remastered and mini LP album CD remastered in a boxed set.
It is one of the greatest Sabbath albums ever, and one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time.
To be honest, there isn't much difference to the any of the remastered versions, except the Vertigo logo is nicer than the other re-issues and the packaging and booklet is good and informative.
I played the vinyl copy to compare and it has much deeper sound than the CD, not so much top sound (which is typical of CD, and also re-mastered versions - I can ignore the clicks and scratches from the LP).
With exception of 'Planet Caravan' and 'Paranoid' which have alternate lyrics, the one bouns CD is basically the whole album, minus Ozzy's vocals - which makes it a bit a waste of time except for the two tracks, unless you want to Kareoke to it!
The other CD is Quad and 5.1 remix. I don't have quad and playing the 5.1 means the PC, which is not like the full on stereo system.
Glad I waited until it was reduced by half price.
Nice for the collector/completist.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2009
I recently visited the studio where they recorded this(Regent Sound Studios, Denmark St, London) and was sad to see that it was now just a guitar shop.

I say that only upon hearing the second disc of this set. The studio had an amazing sounding tracking room, period. The second disc is the record from the multi-track masters mixed with a "fader's up" type of mix. No effects or double tracks, NO VOCALS, none of the overdubbed guitars...just the basic foundation tracks. This allows those of us who are tweaky musicians who really care about the history of music to explore what made this band tick...the fact that they played very well together and GROOVED in their own way.

I love this set! I really wish they would release Vol.4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabatage in the same manner...that would be the completion of the study of why we all love Black Sabbath...no Pro Tools editing or Beat Detective or flown in drums, etc...just good old fashioned playing, warts and all...or in this case, playing to their strengths and getting great takes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2001
Sabbath at their best? Definitely. The Osbourne/Iommi partnership was on top form for for this album, and 30 years on, its STILL an essential metal album. From the classic "War Pigs", through to the infamous "Paranoid", Ozzy and co. demonstated the sheer power of their own special sound - one that remains amazing to this day. Metallica and the others all owe this band an enormous debt.If you don't own this album, BUY IT NOW. If you already own it, put it on and turn it up loud!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2009
I wanted to comment not so much on the over-reverberant, dull sound of the 5.1 DTS, but on the mastering of the two CDs.

The CDs (the original album and rehearsals) do sound good. I was surprised therefore when I transferred them and opened with a wave editor. Both have substantial amounts of clipping (that is, the level is set so high waveform peaks flatten at full scale).

I think the reason they sound better than the "Black Box" is that they have not been compressed by volume maxing software, and most of the clipping is knocking the tops off snare drum beats, where it is hard to detect. Still, I'll stick with the 1996 Castle remasters, free of any form volume maxing efforts.

Regarding the second CD, where the final album makes much use of multi-tracked guitars, the rehearsals on the second CD have only a single guitar. Other than that they are close to the final takes in terms of arrangement and mix.

What struck me most about the alternative lyrics on Planet Caravan was that the singing is free of electronic treatment - just raw, rough sung/spoken words. I think prefer this to the final version.

My conclusion - this package is only for the serious fan, and buy knowing the serious shortcomings highlighted in many of the reviews.

Cheers.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2000
Black Sabbath were the fathers of modern Heavy Rock (Zeppelin never claimed to be 'heavy'...just 'Rock' incidentally)and this album contains some of their greatest tracks...Paranoid, Warpigs, Fairies.. Having ownes all the Sabbath on vinyl for the past 20 years, I'd say that if you only have enough for one Sabbath album, get this one..chapter and verse of 1970s British Heavy Rock.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Black Sabbath were one of those bands from my youth it seemed totally impossible to like, they were for older, rockier types than a young entrant to the world of music. They also seemed terrifying with their mystical connection with the dark arts.

So, buying this album aged 43, I felt pretty secure that I would not suddenly start eating the heads of bats or burning churches down in rage whilst spouting the words of Paranoid backwards.

Right, to the music. Stone wall classic is a well used description, but it fits the bill. Ozzie sings each and every song with a tenderness and power that I had no idea he could, having truthfully only seen him as a TV former alcoholic. The man can sing, the band could play like demons and this album is an incredible experience from track one to the finale.

Drugs, paranoia, war and more are covered with some of the finest musicianship you are likely to hear. The band are as tight as hell, the guitar playing is magnificent and the overall feeling is dark, but with much more lightness of touch than I would imagine.

Stand out tracks, nope, can't help, it is an ALBUM, one of those old fashioned art works that has a start and end, with a track order that you have to follow to get the full effect. Kind of not the best news for the digital throwaway generation, but hey, live with it.

If you like music you need this album, whether a fan of rock, indie, punk, whatever, just buy it, grab a bottle of fine red and sit back late in the evening and play this on repeat.

Outstanding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2011
I feel a little out of my depth here as I seem to be the only reviewer here who doesn't think this is as good as the winds of time have lead me to believe. Apologies in advance to any hardcore Sabbath fans (I myself have been a fan since the mid 80s but have been more interested in the bands they have influenced) but as an album this doesn't really come together as well as it should for a supposed 'classic'. It is in no way bad and yes there are classic songs on here, but most of the rest is rather underwhelming. Similarities can be made with Alice Cooper's School's Out: the classic title track and a couple of ok tracks was all there was, the rest was average. Especially when compared to the awesome debut and the properly seminal Master of Reality, it does not hold up as well.

The first 2 tracks are a gimme. 'War Pigs' has a great verse/chorus/riff etc but it does enter noodle territory for the middle section of the track. However, it is a classic and will always be. Unfortunately hearing a song too much can be a hindrance that has nothing to do with the quality of the song and that is what has happened here and on 'Paranoid'. The 2 tracks have almost become like jingles, advert music. But classics they still remain. 'Planet Caravan' is an odd one. After the stormimg punky rock of the first 2 tracks we are treated to a psychedelic, bongo lead trip of a song. Its melody is hypnotic but it is very slight and too long as the tune itself is rather pedestrian. Not awful, not great. 'Iron Man' is another of those tracks that falter due to overexposure. The riff is great but the song is not. However, as before, it is undeniably a classic.

The first really good song, classics excluded (and last unfortunately) appears on side 2. 'Electric Funeral' is a great track with a fantastic, distorted wah-wah riff. 'Hand of Doom' is ok but it lacks a bite. A track with such a powerful title should have been so much better ( a bit like 'The Warning' from their debut). 'Rat Salad' is a bit of a curio. It has a great drum solo but I'm of the ilk that drum solos are for live shows. It's average. 'Fairies Wear Boots' is again ok, but doesn't do anything very interesting. It's punky and rocking and has another winner riff but kind of dwindles towards the end.

As an album it's good. It's far less blues-lead than their debut and lends itself to punk frequently. I cannot seem to shake the feeling that this could have been a lot better. Maybe I am missing something but it doesn't gel as well as the debut or Master. If you are new to Sabbath, I would suggest Master or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. I'm going to be shot for this but even Never Say Die is better....
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