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Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978)

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  • Well, after reading a lot of reviews, and hearing people talk about how long they’ve been listening to Sabbath, let me add my take on The Box. I have been listening to the mighty Sabs since 1970 – yeah, I’m that old, but what a thrill to have been able to discover each album upon its release. Since then and forever, they are my favorite band of all time. I bought the Castle remasters a few years ago, and compared to the vinyl I had, WOW – what an incredible sonic difference. I have always felt that the Castles were an excellent remastering, along with great packaging (raised lettering on the “Master of Reality” sleeve, for Chrissake!). The box set masters, to me, don’t really sound much different. I’m listening through new $900 Klipsch speakers, 5.1 channels through an Onkyo receiver. Both pretty equal (other than the hardly-noticeable-till-you-read-about-them dropouts in a few songs). The packaging – well, not that impressed. Where are the additional photos from “Volume 4″? The inner-sleeve production info on “Never Say Die”? All on the Castles, but not here. Sonically, perhaps the volume was pumped on the new versions, but the remasterings are not that different to my ears. But it’s all really a moot point. The sound is superb, but I have yet to see any mention of the excellent production by early producer Roger Bain in any of the reviews I’ve read. Sabbath’s sound made a noticeable change to a less-ominous, less-heavy direction with the fourth album (and new producer), meaning that Bain really was the one who gave us the sound we now know literally CREATED the genre of heavy-metal. I really wish we could hear more about, and from, this most unsung hero of the Sabbath sound. Imagine if another producer had been hired instead of Bain – perhaps the dark, thunderous, genre-defining sound of Black Sabbath as we know it may never have come to fruition! Love live Roger Bain!!

    Posted on November 16, 2009