With solid Double Plus (A++) sound throughout, this excellent copy ROCKS like nothing you’ve heard
MASSIVE, powerful and spacious throughout – this original pressing is big, rich and solid like you won’t believe
This is one of the few copies we’ve found in a long time that has no bad repeating marks – many of the copies we buy are close to unlistenable on a modern audiophile turntable
The best copies are stunning Demo Discs – crank it up good and loud and if you have the right system for it you can be sure your audiophile friends will never forget it
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
We’ve recently compiled a list of records we think every audiophile should get to know better, along the lines of “the 1001 records you need to hear before you die,” but with less of an accent on morbidity and more on the joy these amazing audiophile-quality recordings can bring to your life. Red Clay is a good example of a record most audiophiles may not know well but should.
If you’re a Sludgy Rock fan, this debut album from 1970 is surely a Must Own
The complete list of titles from 1970 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here
We think this is the band’s best sounding album. Roughly 150 other listings for the Best Sounding Album by an Artist or Group (sounds like a Grammy Awards category, doesn’t it?) can be found here.
Back in 2018 we wrote:
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.
It did in fact make the Top 100, but to what end? We never have this title in stock! They are just too hard to find in audiophile playing condition.
Black Sabbath’s killer second album returns to the site with excellent Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides – remarkably quiet vinyl too
This copy has the kind of energy, presence, and fullness needed to bring the best out of this Heavy Metal classic
This copy is on the second label, which is not a problem for this album because it’s still got the right mastering house mark in the dead wax, which is the main reason it would qualify to be put in a shootout
Drop the needle on a good copy and you’ll quickly hear how correct it sounds — it’s got a HUGE bottom end, excellent presence, a good amount of tubey magic and TONS of energy
5 stars: “Paranoid refined Black Sabbath’s signature sound — crushingly loud, minor-key dirges loosely based on heavy blues-rock — and applied it to a newly consistent set of songs with utterly memorable riffs, most of which now rank as all-time metal classics.”
It’s taken us ages to find good pressings of this album, probably because just about every copy we see has been beat to death by the crazy muthas who originally bought ’em! Let’s face it — this wasn’t an album bought and treasured by people who know how to take care of their records; this was a record bought by kids who probably played it after getting wasted with their buddies. (No shame in that, of course!)
The music is freakin’ great, by the way. Since Ozzy has basically become a cartoon version of himself (as charming as that is) it’s easy to forget that these guys were a serious classic rock band that was duking it out with Zep for the hearts and minds of young hard rock fans in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
This album set the foundation for heavy metal, and I’m not sure anyone ever topped it. Play this album back to back with Zep II and it’s pretty clear the two bands were fueling each other, pushing both bands into creating bigger, bolder, better riff-based rockers.
Allmusic calls this “one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal albums of all time” and when it sounds this good, I’m guessing you’ll agree! “War Pigs,” “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Electric Funeral,” “Rat Salad” (drummer Bill Ward’s answer to Bonham’s “Moby Dick”) and the title track are some of the classic tracks on this album.
Mob Rules returns to the site on this original WB pressing with solid Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER on both sides – exceptionally quite vinyl too
MASSIVE and powerful throughout – this copy is big, rich, full-bodied and solid like you won’t believe
4 stars: “[A] quick follow-up to Heaven and Hell, continuing…that record’s energy as well as its shift away from dark metal to more commercial hard rock. [They] work well as each other’s companion pieces, making the first round of Dio-fronted Sabbath material a bright spot…”
We played the album very loud, as loud as we could, and still we wanted more volume! That’s what a good record is all about — the louder you play it the better it sounds.
If you like the raw, rockin’ sound of early Zep, you should have a blast with this album. It’s a shockingly good recording, and the music is of course as heavy as it gets for 1970.
This Warner Brothers Green Label pressing DESTROYED the import copies we played it against with startling immediacy, tons of ambience, and loads of texture. The soundfield is HUGE — back wall to front wall, floor to ceiling, and WIDE. The bass is Right On The Money — deep, well-defined, and punchy.
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!
Both sides here are really rockin’ — big and full-bodied with tight punchy bass and lots of energy
We agree with Henry Rollins, who said, “Sabbath could be my favourite band… There’s something about their music that’s so painful and yet so powerful.”
5 Stars: “… it does find Sabbath at their most musically varied, pushing to experiment amidst the drug-addled murk… Die-hard fans sick of the standards come here next, and some end up counting this as their favorite Sabbath record for its eccentricities and for its embodiment of the band’s excesses.”
Sabbath’s first album with Dio finally makes its Hot Stamper debut, with outstanding Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
With Martin Birch (Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple) producing, the band put their recent bad albums with Ozzy behind them to record this 4 1/2 Star return to form
Forget whatever Heavy Vinyl LP they’re making these days – if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of this Heavy Metal Classic from 1980, a vintage pressing like this one is the way to go
“The Sabs found a worthy replacement in former Elf and Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio, and bounced back to issue their finest album since the early ’70s… The band sounds reborn and re-energized throughout… One of Sabbath’s finest records. “
Black Sabbath’s fifth studio album finally makes its Hot Stamper debut, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
This is the vinyl embodiment of the Classic Analog Rock sound we love – rich, full-bodied, warm, punchy, dynamic and tonally correct
“an extraordinarily gripping affair”, and “nothing less than a complete success” — The Rolling Stone
4 1/2 stars: “All things considered… Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was arguably Black Sabbath’s fifth masterpiece in four years, and remains an essential item in any heavy metal collection.”
Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? These vintage WB pressings are overflowing with it. Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here.
No recordings will ever be made that sound like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There is of course a CD of this album, quite a few of them I would guess, but those of us with a good turntable could care less.(more…)
The domestic copies we’ve played over the years for all the Black Sabbath titles are clearly better sounding than any import we’ve ever auditioned. It may be counterintuitive but these are exactly the kinds of things you find out when doing blinded shootouts.
We have little use for intuitions (UK recording, UK pressing) and rules of thumb (original = better sound). We call that way of approaching the search for better sounding pressings Bad Audiophile Thinking.
Hard data — the kind you get from actually playing the records — trumps them all.
An excellent original pressing of Black Sabbath’s third studio release, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
These sides are big and bold with plenty of bass and driving rock energy – this is the right sound for this heavy music
It is ridiculously tough to find copies of this album that sound this good and play this quietly, tougher even than it is for Paranoid or the first album
5 stars: “Master of Reality essentially creates multiple metal subgenres all by itself, laying the sonic foundations for doom, stoner, AND sludge metal, all in the space of just over half an hour.”
This vintage pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.(more…)