This compilation should come as no surprise to fans of Black Sabbath. They had so many great songs in their early career that it made perfect sense to release this compilation as an early retrospective of Black Sabbath’s music. This covers the first five albums of Black Sabbath’s career, with legendary singer Ozzy Osbourne on vocals. This should be an exciting and interesting retrospective listen, so let’s take some time to listen to the band that pioneered the darker side of music. This is a double album as well.

We launch into the compilation with Black Sabbath. This begins with the sound of falling rain, a clock bell and thunder. It sounds eerie from the beginning, which it is supposed to do so. It quickly launches into an awesome piece of proto-Heavy Metal, with guitar lines taken from Gustav Holst’s Mars composition from The Planets. Ozzy Osbourne eventually gets singing, and he articulates the darkness and doom of this recording very well. The drama and suspense on this song are top-notch, and Tony Iommi’s Gibson SG sounds very amazing and definitive of the sound of Black Sabbath. The song itself is about meeting satan himself, and the whole thing is very disturbing listening and eerie. All four members of Black Sabbath put in key contributions to this song. Before long, there is a very upbeat section that emerges in the second half of the song which increases in intensity and dramatic playing. A very uplifting and excellent song that covers the dark side of humanity. Excellent effort.

Following is another key early track from Black Sabbath The Wizard. It has a very odd harmonica based intro but is captivating and interesting all the same. It quickly launches into a fun and enjoyable listen from Black Sabbath with a brilliant amount of rhythmic and intricate melody playing. Ozzy gets singing about the said wizard, which is likely a drug influenced story, knowing these guys. Musically, it is really top class and Geezer Butler and Bill Ward’s contributions are not to be overlooked, as much as Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi’s contributions are excellent as well. A really top and inspired listen by Black Sabbath that is a great story from these music makers. The harmonica throughout is very irresistible.

Warning begins with some eerie violining on guitar, followed by some awesome lead guitar breaks that sound really interesting. The lyrics are about having a broken relationship with a lady who ultimately breaks up the love that one has for her. After the first part is sung by Ozzy there is an awesome guitar solo by Tony Iommi which sounds very powerful. This sounds really awesome and is very much a perfect fit for this song. Ozzy then sings again, in a very raw and revealing way. Towards the middle of this song are some awesome drum fills by Bill Ward, with some equally awesome playing from Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi to match it perfectly. Before long, everything almost stops for a little bit, before the guitars creep in and the next section begins. This is a really enjoyable and tremendous sounding effort, it just sounds very cool. Black Sabbath do subtlety well, just as much as the loud Rock stuff as well. This music is legendary and pioneering, it just sounds really excellent and amazing to enjoy, even today. There are some lone lead guitar shredding parts in the second half, which are really fantastic to listen to. A really awesome and nicely delivered piece of music, Tony Iommi reveals himself as a true talent on the guitar. He uses a great amount of playing styles and techniques to show the world of music how it’s done. Towards the end, the rest of the band re-enters to conclude this awesome 10-minute long song. It certainly does not feel like that and is a brilliant warning indeed. Fantastic music.

Paranoid is the title track of the second Black Sabbath album. It is a short piece that sounds really excellent and well delivered and is a great blast of proto-Punk music that has a load of paranoia, self-loathing and despair. It is very catchy as well, and the whole group puts in a brilliant effort. There are some interesting multitracked guitar parts in the solo section to listen to as well. A really amazing and awesome listen from Black Sabbath. Great effort.

Next along is War Pigs which is loud and anthemic from the start. It was originally intended to be the title of the second Black Sabbath album but was changed due to possible problems with the Vietnam War running around the time of release. It quickly goes into a section with hi-hats, occasional guitar breaks and Ozzy’s awesome vocals. It shows a world full of misery, war and despair that is destroying humanity from soul to soul. The riffs on this song are really amazing and are enough to get one to bang their head along whilst listening. A really amazing, suspenseful and excellent listen from Black Sabbath, this just sounds really brilliant. The guitar solos are amazing throughout and show that Tony Iommi was a great guitarist, and very underrated as such. The second half returns to the song section with a descriptive bunch of vocals from Ozzy Osbourne and some extra awesome drum fills by Bill Ward. Some interesting guitar riffs then follow as we near the end of this legendary song. A really fine and timeless effort by the entire group, this does sound really amazing. Great piece of music, with a sped-up and pitch-shifted outro. Brilliant work.

Following is Iron Man which begins with a lone kick drum, before some doom and gloom guitars enter, followed by the rest of the group. It is a great story about said robot who is ignored by society and people in general, only to seek revenge upon those he helped in the world. The music and lyrics match each other very much perfectly, and this is proof of how wonderful Black Sabbath was as a group. Indeed, this piece does look at science fiction based concepts and sounds really awesome. In the second half, the whole piece changes tempo at the drop of a hat with some expressive guitar solos. Before long, the piece finishes up with an interesting conclusion. After this is a great instrumental section with a great amount of rhythmic and melodic work by the band. A great warning about AI and the future of mankind.

Wicked World comes next, and is the first song Black Sabbath ever recorded. It has Tony Iommi playing a Fender Stratocaster and is a joy to listen to. Before long, a drum solo enters by Bill Ward and this piece gets going. The guitar riffs on this piece are really fantastic listening, and the song itself is a great classic piece by Black Sabbath. Towards the middle, everything goes quiet before a guitar arpeggio enters which is very interesting and listenable. Tony Iommi plays some guitar parts that are absolutely awesome, and the band follows nicely. A really great and excellent piece of music, and an underrated song by Black Sabbath. Very catchy and different, it ends with a load of guitar work and whammy bar feedback. Excellent.

Tomorrow’s Dream begins with some drop-tuned guitars that sound really amazing and awesome. There are some awesome vocals by Ozzy on this song, and the whole piece sounds different, yet uplifting. A very great and well played three-minute song, this is a really enjoyable and different listen. There is some pitch-shifted trickery before the song resumes. A really top piece of music all the same, short and cool.

Next is Fairies Wear Boots which has some palm-muted and delayed electric guitar parts, before quickly launching into the song at hand. There are some tremendously great guitar parts throughout that sound very awesome and interesting. The song eventually gets going nicely and is a strange piece of music to hear. It’s obviously drug-influenced but sounds heavy, rifftastic and great fun to listen to. This is no doubt a really awesome and interesting piece of music that is very cleverly played and executed by Black Sabbath. There are some different guitar parts and solid drum rolls, before the song section returns. A really cool and awesome piece of music, the piece reaches a humourous conclusion about drug use. Great to listen to, and very enjoyable indeed. The guitar outro is really fantastic.

After that is Changes is the popular ballad piece by Black Sabbath. It’s about losing one’s best love in their life, and is mainly piano-led, with some interesting mellotron and excellent vocals by Ozzy Osbourne. It’s a sad song for when the mood strikes and is a great melodramatic piece of musical work. This song is a warning to those who fall in love thinking that there are no consequences to it. A really deep and meaningful sounding piece of music, this sounds really fine and awesome. An amazing and heartfelt listen throughout, this is extraordinarily good and touching, too. This piece of music shows the variety and depth of Black Sabbath’s music. Great song from start to finish.

Sweet Leaf is obviously about marijuana. It begins with the iconic cough, before launching right into a drop-tuned masterpiece that is 420 friendly. This is for the stoners out there who like loud and heavy guitar-based music, and the riff from this song was used in the Red Hot Chili Peppers Give It Away. A very catchy and impressive piece of music, “I love you sweet leaf, although you cannot hear,” is sung by Ozzy Osbourne, who is known to have done a load of drugs during his lifetime. A really cool and interesting tune, even if you don’t like weed, it is still enjoyable listening to. If you are experienced, you will know what this song means. A really fine song and a great musical effort. It ends with a repeated gong sound over the top of the band playing away.

Children Of The Grave launches straight into it with palm-muted guitars and a prominent bassline by Geezer Butler. This whole piece sounds interesting, minimal and fantastic. Ozzy Osbourne sings about science fiction concepts which are really cool. Rotating tom-tom drums are here in this piece as well, and the whole thing sounds really brilliant and marvellous. A really awesome and fun listening experience, there are some interesting and intelligent sounds in this piece. The whole thing sounds really great, and this is a very catchy and nicely delivered piece of music. There is a descriptive guitar solo by Tony Iommi, and it reaches an excellent climax. This is followed by some eerie guitar sounds and sound effects that are super cool.

Next here is Sabbath Bloody Sabbath which begins with some drop tuned and palm-muted guitar parts that sound really awesome and brilliant. It is a more upbeat and really great piece of music that is a standout from the album of the same name. This piece sounds really solid and interesting lyrically, and this sounds really classy and clever. No doubt a really classic and cool song, this does sound very different and amazing. In the second half are some heavier guitars and a section with Ozzy singing in a very high register. The riffs continue throughout, and this piece is very memorable. A very good listen by Black Sabbath, and definitely worth hearing. It has an interesting outro with some great guitar playing in the fade-out. Excellent.

Following is Am I Going Insane (Radio Edit) which begins with Progressive Rock keyboard sounds, before launching into a song about losing it. It is a really cool and amazing listen which is a little different compared with other Black Sabbath songs. Ozzy’s singing perfectly describes the way one can lose their own mind. The second half is quite odd sounding compared to the first half, with marching drums and some rather Yes like sounds to listen to. Ozzy then returns, singing about one losing their mind. The laughter at the end which is a bunch of multitracked samples that are pitch-shifted are really brilliant. Great stuff.

Laguna Sunrise is an acoustic guitar piece that is an instrumental. It sounds really excellent and decent listening, complete with a melodic string section to match it. A nice, gentle and soothing listening experience, this sounds really great. The music of Black Sabbath makes for some surprises, this being one of them. A nice tranquil tune for when the mood strikes. Great work by Black Sabbath to create something different. It fades out gently.

Snowblind refers to cocaine use, another drug song by Black Sabbath. The main riff on this song is really catchy and different, and it just sounds like another masterful work by the group. Indeed, these guys did like their drugs and the music piece sounds really great on this compilation, even being about drug use. A really excellent and enjoyable listen, there is a very cool guitar solo that is very descriptive musically. The second half has a completely different riff and a strange time signature compared to the usual Black Sabbath. A very anthemic and excellent piece of music, Black Sabbath knew how to have a great time. Excellent work, a great listen for those who enjoy their drugs. The fade-out is brilliant.

The last song on this double-disc compilation is N.I.B. It begins with some wah-wah bass guitar by Geezer Butler, which is really cool. This makes for an interesting introduction before the band kicks straight in with this song. A very good and decent piece about longing for a lover that is much desired by a man. It is a very deep and meaningful statement by Black Sabbath, and Ozzy Osbourne perfectly articulates the lyrics and takes it to a whole different level. Multitracked guitars on this song sound really great and excellent, and this is an underrated classic by the group. The line: “Your love for me has just got to be real…” indicates a man who is absolutely desperate for care and affection from a lady. Great music and a decent listening experience to conclude this double album. It ends with a load of dramatic drum rolls and guitar fills. Excellent.

This is the perfect compilation for those of you who are keen on hearing the early Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne and do not know where to begin. This is a great collection of sounds, period. Black Sabbath may be no more, yet the music that they made changed the world forever. Great compilation and a must-have in your collection.

Brilliant.

9/10

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