Black Sabbath Vol. 4 Song by Song Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Zoot Marimba, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    This is the Black Sabbath album I mostly listen to. I'm playing now my Brazilian pressing from 1976.
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  2. sons of nothing

    sons of nothing Forum Resident

    It's difficult to talk about this album without talking about coke. The whole album has a cold, metallic feeling to it, and at times will give you the shivers.

    The opener starts it off, with a meloncoly riff. The protagonist is isolated, lost in his thoughts. Everything he knew was fake, a byproduct of rail riding. It picks up steam in the middle section, like a heart racing towards an unseen finish line, and comes to a somber, crashing lyrical conclusion. You know you'e a loser, but can't stop.

    The Straightener is where they get ready for the next salvo, cutting up lines, if you will.

    Musically, it's one of their strongest opening tracks. The Lord Of All Riffs delivers some of his best chord work, and the final solo is a tremendous rush. Poor Geezer, buried in the mix, but he shines through during key passages in the song. And Bill? One of his strongest performances. Throw in Archangel Ozzy, wailing like a banshee in pain, hitting some pretty high notes. It's no longer the downer rock of the previous three albums, but the start of something new for them.
  3. Efus

    Efus Forum Resident

    Jackson, NJ, USA
    Real nice review.
    The only quibble I have with it is rating WoC as "the closest they got to prog"

    I'd say that "Into The Void", MoR's closer as definitely "prog" hard rock, amazing amount of tempo changes in that song,
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  4. Paulette

    Paulette Your love for me has just got to be real.

    I love this :love:
  5. BlueSpeedway

    BlueSpeedway overground | underground

    London, England
    “Straight” is / was also used to describe someone in the opposite state to intoxicated (intoxicated or “confused”?).

    Something like..

    “Ozzy just arrived at the studio”

    “Oh, we have a lot to do, what state’s he in?”

    “He’s okay, pretty straight tonight”.

    etc! :)
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  6. 303 Squadron

    303 Squadron Well-Known Member


    Great lyrics. Terence Butler is the man.
  7. yarbles

    yarbles Too sick to pray

    Well I'm not 'most people', but I disagree with both assertions, particularly the 2nd. WoC is outstanding; TD is at best average. IMO. But there's a lot of 'average' on 4, again IMO. In fact, there are only 3 really great songs. IMO.
    Vintage1976 likes this.
  8. shakti

    shakti Forum Resident

    Ramnes, Norway
    Will we even get past Wheels of Confusion?

    I mean, you could write volumes about this one track alone. It's probably my favourite Sabbath track bar none, and it's just frighteningly good. Someone else noted how Incredible it was to have the entire verse built on one chord and yet have it sound so interesting. And that's what gets me about it - it's dead simple and yet very complicated. It's all in the nuances and the details and the sound. It distills everything that is great about Sabbath into one giant, heavy chord, and then you also get their trademark tempo changes and the jumping between different "sections". As good as Paranoid and their other two early records are, this is where they take a huge leap up in quality. Compare Iron Man With this...what a joke!

    Vol 4 used to be my favourite Sabbath album. These days it'll have to accept a draw with SBS and Sabotage, but these three are in a class of their own.
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  9. Mook

    Mook Forum Resident

    Wheels of Confusion is a great opener, one of Bill Ward's best drum tracks as well (in fact a few of them are on Vol.4).
  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    that's the only logical assessment one can make lol wheels of confusion - wow my brain is spinning ... the straightener - man i need to get it together hahaha
  11. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    I don't have a strong relationship with classic Black Sabbath. Heard a few of their albums. Quite liked Paranoid and Technical Ecstasy, didn't get on so well with Masters Of Reality or Heaven Or Hell. Heard nothing else apart from the Tony Martin era, which I like a lot.

    Therefore I'm coming to Vol 4 completely cold. Got to say, Wheels of Confusion is terrific. A real psychedelic roller coaster ride. If the rest of the record gets anywhere near this, I will be purchasing it, forthwith!
  12. Standoffish

    Standoffish Don't you dare call me an ostrich!

    Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener

    After reading all the glowing reviews, I guess I'll be the wet blanket. :(

    A cool bluesy opening that leads into a bland riff. At the 2:27, 3:33 and 5:19 marks the song starts to cook. But it falls back and meanders. It's kind of plodding and hippie-dippie. Sabbath in prog mode is a cool idea, but this song just goes nowhere, with Iommi's solo just noodling.

    And I don't really like the way Ozzy's vocals are recorded. They sound a little thin, and a little to far back in the mix. I dunno.

    One thing that saves this song, though, is Bill Ward's drumming. My goodness. You can hear his jazz influence, and he does an awesome job mixing it with a heavy metal feel. Love his tempo changes. I can listen to this for the drums alone.
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  13. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    I like it because it's plodding and hippie-dippie. :)
  14. Standoffish

    Standoffish Don't you dare call me an ostrich!

    Fair enough! :) I like some psychadelic stuff, too, but just not here (except for the drums).
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  15. tinnox

    tinnox Forum Resident

    Just a side note my Castle remaster cd of Vol. 4 on Wheels Of Confusion after the song there is a couple of seconds of an outro of guitar playing
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  16. perplexed

    perplexed Forum Resident

    Northeast NJ, USA
    Particularly dig the arpeggio rhythm guitar behind that great mournful opening lead guitar at the start of Wheels of Confusion. Kind of wish they did a little more of that.

    To me this track as the opener really sets the stage. All the classic mid period Sabbath elements are there: down tuning, multiple sections of songs, time changes, dark lyrical themes of depression, isolation, bitterness.
  17. ModernDayWarrior

    ModernDayWarrior Forum Resident

    Rahway, NJ, USA
    I agree. Geezer doesn’t get enough credit for his incredible lyrics. He’s one of my favorite lyricists of all time.
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  18. Doggiedogma

    Doggiedogma Forum Resident

    William Wards drumming on this tune is what really makes this song for me, he is all over the place but keeping steady at the same time - just great! Of course, if Terence was higher in the mix, we would be saying the same thing about his bass playing. Iommi has great crunchy riffs as usual - the master! The lyrics are intelligent and universal. Great song - 9/10
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  19. Smokin Chains

    Smokin Chains Forum Resident

    Nashua, NH
    I never knew Tony's real first name was Frank!!!
  20. Sandinista

    Sandinista Forum Resident

    Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener

    One of Sabbath's high water marks. It sputters, it lurches, it weaves, it slams.
    One of my favorite Sabbath qualities is the hybrid of power and sadness that inhabits much of their material. Sheer power on its own gets a bit numbing after awhile (to me at least) and unrelenting sadness is simply to depressing to listen to on and on.

    Sabbath straddled that line like pros.

    Wheels is a murky masterpiece. Perfect opener.

    I've always been partial to Vol. 4 as it was my first Sabbath album.
    Over the years, various other albums threaten to claim the top spot (SBS, MOR, Paranoid usually) but Vol. 4 is always in my top 3.
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  21. Mook

    Mook Forum Resident

    Where does the name 'The Straightener' for the coda come from? I've been listening to this LP for 20 years & have never heard of this...
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  22. Silksashbash

    Silksashbash Forum Resident

    Regular fade-out on the UK Vertigo.

    There's no mention of The Straightener in the original UK pressing. The same goes for Wasp, Bassically, A Bit of Finger, Every Day Comes And Goes, Luke's Wall, and Jack the Stripper. All those names of song parts are special treats for all you Americans.
  23. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Tomorrow’s Dream:

    We go right into Tomorrow’s Dreams, which is the only single from this album, with Laguna Sunrise as it’s B-Side.
    The track opens with a sludgy riff backed by Bill’s drumming, and a great call and response occurring between guitar and drums, perfectly complimenting each other. Ozzy comes in at :17, belting out his vocals and delivering a very strong melody that really raises the music to another level. I love where it slows down, and then goes back up while Tony jams some over the spacey Mellotron.
    This is another winner for the album, and we are off to an excellent start.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  24. Tomorrow's Dream is the correct title :)

    And another killer track, great riffage and a great chorus...Love it!
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  25. SonicBob

    SonicBob Forum Resident

    West Virginia
    One of my all time favorites, "Tomorrow's Dream" has a groovy, stoner melody that still has a bit of "black" or "gloom" feel due to its power chord progressions; Geezer's pulsating bass and Ward's meticulous drumming skills continue to be the "engine room" within the institution known as Black Sabbath. Ozzy's vocal has a nice hint of reverb in the recorded mix along with a tinge of psychedelia in the instrumental arrangement, which offers an excellent nod of a (then) contemporary feel and sheds light on another musical influence of theirs. The number is short and sweet and absolutely "on point". 10 out of 10 or an A+ rating.
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