Blu-ray REVIEW: Classic Albums – Black Sabbath – Paranoid

More BLACK SABBATH at mikeladano.com:

SABBATH DELUXE EDITIONS:  Black Sabbath Paranoid Master of Reality Heaven and Hell Mob Rules Born Again Seventh Star The Eternal Idol Dehumanizer

Other SABBATH reviews:  13 (new album) Headless Cross Forbidden Bootleg CD: Forbidden Rough Mix  Concert review: Forbidden tour July 22 1995 Kitchener Ontario HEAVEN & HELL: Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live in Europe  BILL WARD: Ward One: Along The Way BILL WARD: “Straws” / “The Dark Half Hour” singles

CLASSIC PARANOID_0001CLASSIC ALBUMS:  Paranoid – BLACK SABBATH (2010 Eagle Vision Blu-ray)

Those familiar with Black Sabbath know that Tony and Geezer don’t necessarily make the best interviewees. Their answers are often monotone, bland, and only vaguely remembered. Maybe somebody gave them some coffee before this video.  Geezer in particular seems more animated, but they both appear actually alive! Bill Ward is Bill Ward, of course.  Ozzy can barely get his voice above a croaking whisper. None of that matters though, because this Blu-ray disc is not about the present, it’s about the distant past, 40+ years distant in fact: the landmark metal album of metal albums, Paranoid.

Everybody reading this knows Paranoid from front to back (I hope so, anyway) and has probably bought it more than once. If you don’t know Paranoid, get the album!  Go!  Listen to it, come back, and finish reading this review later.

Like all Classic Albums discs, this deconstructs classic tunes to the individual layers.  You are invited to hear the basic tracks for songs such as “Iron Man”, “Fairies Wear Boots”, “Planet Caravan”, “Black Sabbath”, and more. Engineer Tom Allom (perhaps best known for his production work with Judas Priest) is your tour guide. Stripped of vocals and guitar, you can hear the rhythm section clearly.  Hearing Bill and Geezer playing together without adornment is a revelation. If anyone comes out looking very underrated in the Sabbath saga, it is Bill Ward and Geezer Butler, who are psychically locked-in and loose.

Meanwhile, in new footage from the here and now, Iommi demonstrates some of the most famous riffs and solos in Sabbath history.  Meanwhile Ozzy explains how he wrote melodies. This story is unfolded within the context of the late 60’s and early 70’s, and what Sabbath stood for in those tumultuous times.

Bonus features are generous, like all Classic Albums discs. About 45 minutes of additional footage is available, discussing songs and topics that didn’t make the cut of the main Blu-ray feature itself. None of it is filler, all of it is worth watching and probably would have made a completely un-boring extended feature anyway, had it been left in.

My only complaint is the resolution of this disc is only 1080i. Minor complaint at that.

As a companion piece, I highly recommend getting Paranoid in its 3 disc expanded edition. The reason being is, on this Blu-ray you will hear demo versions of songs with alternate lyrics. If you want all of these demos complete and uncut, you have to get the 3 disc version of Paranoid which includes them all (as well as the album’s original Quad mix).

Oh, and one last thing:  Henry Rollins.

4/5 stars

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22 comments

  1. The BBC broadcast this, or a very similar doc fairly recently. Damn good it was too.

    It is a perfect LP, you couldn’t add or subtract anything to make it better at all.

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    1. You’re right Mr. 1537. Although I certainly don’t mind adding the bonus CD + DVD from the deluxe version. Worth having in my opinion if you can find it at a decent price. Most people will listen to disc 1 more often than the bonus stuff, and that’s fine, but it’s there if you want it.

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  2. Good point – the album certainly requires no introduction! I’m a big fan of those clips when they isolate one of the tracks in the mix. With Sabbath, admittedly I hear theIommi riffs first and foremost, so it would be interesting to focus on the rest!

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    1. ME TOO. The very first one I ever saw was Fleetwood Mac, Rumors. I was flipping channels on TV when I stopped at the Fleetwood special.

      “What the hell is this?” I said out loud. It was awesome! Stripping down the tracks to Lindsay Buckingham’s isolated guitar…on TV? It was great!

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      1. The only two I’ve seen are The Joshua Tree & Graceland – it was very cool to see “You Can Call Me Al” dissected. On the surface, it seems like just a catchy pop tune but I have a whole new appreciation for the song after each line/instrument feature broken down.

        Looks like YouTube has a bunch of the Classic Albums episode posted – weekend viewing material problem solved!

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        1. That sounds awesome. I’ll definitely look out for the Graceland one. That’s such a genius album, I’d lovbe to hear it broken down!

          Weekend viewing problem solved, as you say! (Although I am also going to try to finish the second season of Breaking Bad. And there’s always hockey on Saturday.)

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  3. I love this series. Henry Rollins was great value in this one and I totally agree that Iommi and Butler seem to be better interviewees these days.

    My favourite classic boring Iommi interview quote from the past: “People ask me if I ever get bored playing Paranoid. But I don’t. I just don’t.” Fascinating stuff Tony!

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  4. I’ve seen the DVD of this in the shops, always thought about getting it but never bit. Why? Oh who knows. I own Paranoid. It rules. And I’m not just saying that because in these parts it’s pretty much expected that I should. It really truly is an amazing listening experience. The first four albums, really, but anyway. This set oughta come home with me, at some point. Thanks for reminding me!

    Yeah, Rollins is a huge Sabbath fan. His presence here does not at all surprise me. In fact, it wouldn’t be too far wrong to imagine that he caught wind of the projecy somehow and asked if he could be in it, rather than somebody looking him up. For Sabbath, ol’ Angry Ass would be there in a flash.

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    1. Hypothetical question: If I walked up to Henry Rollins, slapped him on the back and said, “Hey, ol’ Angry Ass! Good to see ya!” what do you think would happen to me?

      Yeah I wouldn’t be surprised either if he initiated the contact. If not, it probably didn’t take much convincing!

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      1. My first thought was ‘it depends on what era of Hank you did that to… young and angry Black Flag Hank? Don’t think I wouldn’ve done that. Current Hank? Sure. He’d probably say fine and ask how you were. Then again, this is all conjecture. I’ve never met the man.

        There’s a talking show somewhere in which he discusses being at the studio where Sabbath was working, at one point. The jist I recall is Iommi walking into the room and asking Henry why he was on his knees, bowing to and kissing Iommi’s guitars…

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        1. I have to watch the DVD again when I do the review, but I think Rollins was on that bonus DVD that came with the 13 box set. I think.

          I’d be scared to death of knocking over one of those guitars!

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        2. Oh, Henry talks on so many music documentaries. He takes every job offer, admits it. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was all over ANYTHING to do with Sabbath, though. He was in the Lemmy one too, wasn’t he?

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        3. I’ll go with “probably” on that, and he’s also probably done work on one of Ozzy’s documentary projects too. It wouldn’t matter except the guy is so smart and clever with his words. Not like some of the music “experts” that litter documentaries, where you can tell they googled the artists they’re talking about.

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        4. I’m sure the guitars were in a stand, or something. No big worries, unless you actually picked one up and started swinging it around. And for that, I imagine, you’d have to ask permission.

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        5. …or just beg for your life.

          Some of those old Iommi guitars from the 70’s are well worn, I think Tony’s done a lot of work restoring them. If you have the money, they can fix a broken neck as good as new now.

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        6. Haha it’s just a guitar, man. Yes it is HIS guitar that was probably on THOSE songs but I’m pretty sure you could hand him my $200 Gibson knock-off and he could make it sound amazing too.

          Yeah, most guitars can be fixed, by the right person with the right skills. I’d be pretty certain that any broken Iommi guitar will have been an accident, not a result of him smashing a stage with it a la the London Calling album cover…

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        7. Iommi could make my Vince Neil guitar sound good, and I paid like $70!

          I don’t know of any time Tony’s smashed a guitar on stage. Accidents happen though, my sister broke the head stock on my very first guitar. I had it fixed but it never stayed in tune. I can’t afford the kind of artisans that Iommi uses.

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