- Amazing sound throughout — Triple Plus (A+++) on the second side and Double Plus (A++) on the first
- MASSIVE, powerful and spacious throughout – this original pressing is big, rich and solid like you won’t believe
- The best copies are stunning Demo Discs – crank it up and blow your friends away
- 4 1/2 stars on Allmusic and one of the best sounding hard rock recordings from the era, or, to be honest, from any era
Amazing Sounding Hard Rock
If you like the raw, rockin’ sound of the early Zep albums, you should have a blast with this album. It’s a classic of early hard rock/metal, as you most likely know. But what you might NOT know, particularly if you’re listening to the average pressing, is just how good it can sound.
If you want this effect:
“Sabbath’s slowed-down, murky guitar rock bludgeons the listener in an almost hallucinatory fashion, reveling in its own dazed, druggy state of consciousness.”
You need a copy that sounds the way this one does!
Size and Space
One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.
Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.
We often have to go back and downgrade the copies that we were initially impressed with in light of such a standout pressing. Who knew the recording could be that huge, spacious and three dimensional? We sure didn’t, not until we played the copy that had those qualities, and that copy might have been number 8 or 9 in the rotation.
Think about it: if you had only seven copies, you might not have ever gotten to hear a copy that sounded that open and clear. And how many even dedicated audiophiles would have more than one of two clean British original copies with which to do a shootout? These records are expensive and hard to come by in good shape. Believe us, we know whereof we speak when it comes to getting hold of original British pressings of Classic Rock albums.
One further point needs to be made: most of the time these very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy do what this copy can, it’s an entirely different – and dare I say unforgettable — listening experience.
This title will surely make the cut next time we update our Top 100 Rock and Pop List. I would go so far as to say that the best copies of this album have sound as good or better than anything I’ve heard all year, and that’s an awful lot of great sounding records, hundreds and hundreds of them.
AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review
Black Sabbath’s debut album is given over to lengthy songs and suite-like pieces where individual songs blur together and riffs pound away one after another, frequently under extended jams. There isn’t much variety in tempo, mood, or the band’s simple, blues-derived musical vocabulary, but that’s not the point; Sabbath’s slowed-down, murky guitar rock bludgeons the listener in an almost hallucinatory fashion, reveling in its own dazed, druggy state of consciousness.
Songs like the apocalyptic title track, “N.I.B.,” and “The Wizard” make their obsessions with evil and black magic seem like more than just stereotypical heavy metal posturing because of the dim, suffocating musical atmosphere the band frames them in. This blueprint would be refined and occasionally elaborated upon over the band’s next few albums, but there are plenty of metal classics already here
Wasp/Behind the Wall of Sleep/Bassically/N.I.B.
A Bit of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning