First of all I am a huge huge Sabbath fan and have all original releases as well as tons of bootleg and rare audio and video. That said, I can understand why Iommi may have been less than thrilled about the release of this. I thought it would be thrilling to hear alternate versions of Planet Caravan and Paranoid. I suspect though that these were just place-holder lyrics. Scratch vocals. The lyrics on these versions are really sub par and I doubt Geezer had worked them yet. The quad mix I hear sounds muddy and not good. I don’t hold Sabbath at fault at all for this. I just see it as one more example of how greedy record companies are. And it bothers me no one bit that they are suffering now from their own greed and stupidity. And they still don’t get it.
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Don`t get me wrong, I thought the remaster sounds great. Haven`t got to hear the bonus disc yet. My problem is with the Quad transfer. As well I thought I was having problems with my surround system. Not sure if this from the quad master itself and they just released it as is with no frills or a poor transfer from an old home retail tape that was laying around in somebody`s garage. Maybe the book will say what. All I know is you can barely hear Ozzy`s Vocals on “War Pigs”. Had my surround speakers all the way up. And sounds muddy as can be.
The images for the dvd is a pretty nice change from just 1 picture but in my opinion got a little monotonous after awhile (Repeating pictures-but that`s not really an issue. This is DVD Audio).
I could rant on but I won`t. I`m stil giving 4 stars though.
UPDATE: After really listening to this mess a second time(the dvd that is) and finding out it was sourced from vinyl,My question now is “Why even Bother?!”
Why bother to even pull such a stunt if the quad masters don`t exist? I`m no professional but come on! Lets get real here!
I feel like I`ve been ripped off now. It would have been just fine if it was just released with the 2 cd`s by themselves and leave the dvd out.
Too bad I can`t get a refund otherwise this would be shipped back. What a way to treat a classic album and screw the Fans over! I Wonder if the record company reads these reviews. Maybe they would get the hint.
1. Some are reporting that the Quad mix is muddy and are giving this release low points because of it. First of all, the quad mix is not just the album put in 4.0. This was an entirely new mix done in 1974 (using alternate guitar, bass and drum parts) when the album was given a more psychedelic sound by the original engineers. The only change made to it was to put it from 4.0 to 5.1 adding subwoofer and center channel to the mix, and it’s amazing to hear! While it’s a softer sound than the original album, it does not sound muddy on my equipment at all (I’m playing it on a Denon DVD-2910 and Denon AVR 1909 — so nothing crazy high-end in terms of the equipment), in fact it sounds wild! (Make sure you choose 5.1 from the screen menu b/c there’s a standard 2.0 mix for those who don’t have a home-theater set-up).
2. Of the original album itself this is the single best remaster job bar none. The original CDs are terribly muddy. The Rhino remasters are a joke of overcompression that completely squashed any mid-range. The Castle and Japanese remasters were decent, but this Sanctuary remaster is the only one to get it 100% RIGHT, as in how the album sounded new on vinyl (which meant the correct blend of mid, high and low-range), allowing the instruments’ individual flavors to be properly represented. Absolutely brilliant!
3. The disc of extras are for real fans of the band who get excited about embryonic versions of songs. This is a treasure trove of material, with Master of Reality and the debut album containing even more exciting things, including alternate instrumentation (“Lord of this World” played on slide guitar!), never-before heard songs (“Weevil Woman ‘71) and uncut songs (Iommi’s original version of “Warning” was 10 minutes longer!) On Paranoid, we get demo versions that include prototypes of “Paranoid” and “Planet Caravan” before proper lyrics were given them (and Ozzy singing whatever came into his head to establish the melody lines). Again, for real fans of the band, this is a serious treat!
To clarify the band’s position: While Iommi has never cherished this kind of thing like fans do, the band were behind this release (as evidenced by interviews and their quotes in the sleeve — which btw is well-written and loaded with information); the albums were held back solely due to the apportioning of royalty rights, which have thankfully been settled.
I bought this for the SACD mentioned in the description. However, after receiving it, I found that it does not contain an SACD, but a standard DVD (not even DVD-Audio). I did a little research and discovered that Paranoid was never released on SACD. THE DESCRIPTION IS WRONG – NO SACD. I contacted Amazon about the blatant error, and they responded with “…blah blah blah, talk to the seller…” They didn’t even acknowledge the erroneous description that I brought to their attention. I noticed that another review mentioned that the error was corrected, but as of the time of my purchase, and of this writing, it is still wrong.
Rejoice, people – this is truly the exception from the “rule” that new remasters are worse than the older CD editions! This is probably THE BEST sounding “Paranoid” CD.
It’s definitly better than 1996 Castle CD and 2004 Black Box release (don’t believe what J. Siegler says). There are some other CD editions which I have never (or a long time ago) listened to, but I don’t think they are better.
And there’s edition which I own for some time, 2001 Sanctuary “mini vinyl replicas” 8-disc box-set.
This new 2009 edition is released on the same label – Sanctuary. I must say that guys there know their job. So – congratulations and respect to Sanctuary!
After detailed analysis it seems to me that they used the same source as in 2001, but remastered it in a different way. Both 2001 and 2009 editions have loudness boosting just very slightly over the edge, basically unnoticeable, which makes them incomparably better than most of today’s releases with ridiculously boosted loudness. So there’s almost NO trace of small dynamic range, distortion and compression.
When I compared 2001 and 2009 edition:
2001 has LESS NOISE and MORE BASS; 2001 sounds muddy, with prominent low range, while 2009 sounds more natural, with prominent mid-range.
They both sound good, and eventually it’s up to the listener to decide which sound he/she prefers. I’m not 100% sure which one sounds closer to the original 1970 vinyl (I could know that only if I put that LP in mint condition on a high-end turnatable and make comparison – but that will never happen)… but my final conclusion is: I think that this 2009 CD is the closest thing to the original record.
This new remaster also came out as a double LP – if someone is interested in that. That vinyl edition should sound even better, if you have the right equipment in your home.
All this being said, for me the most important value of this new edition is not remastered sound of the original album (disc 1), but bonus tracks.
Disc 2 is NOT CD, but DVD, which contains 1974 QUADROPHONIC MIX of “Paranoid”. I’m not really interested in that, but I know there are some who are. DVD has menu, where you can choose the songs and audio options (stereo or 5.1), and after the playback starts, you have video too! Nothing important, but nice – different pictures (artwork from all Sabbath releases related to “Paranoid”) move on screen in the tempo of current song.
I didn’t know and didn’t believe that disc 1 will have such a superior sound, so the reason why I ordered this was disc 3. It contains those 8 album tracks, but in a way that no-one has ever heard before! Because they are in fact studio out-takes: 5 of them are instrumentals and 3 are alternative versions! All unreleased for 38 years and 9 months! Maybe some will not be thrilled with that, but I am. It was fantastic experience to listen those songs, which are full of interesting surprises; gives you completely new listening experience of that classic.
Also, there’s beautiful 24-page booklet, with tons of linear notes (haven’t read them, but some say they are not too great) and related pictures, even from the original Paranoid tour programme.
And one more thing…
From what I heard, it was a long, hard battle… between Tony Iommi camp and record company… maybe even for a couple of years. This release was several times announced and then stopped at the last moment. But I guess now that Mr. Iommi definitely lost legal battles. There are already announcements of releasing the other Sabbath classics as expanded deluxe editions. I feel that we won’t have to wait much to get “Master of reality” unreleased out-takes…
I’m sorry if all this happened against the will of Iommi & Sabbath, I do respect them and their wishes, but only up to a point – because as much I love Sabbath, even more I love myself. And I really WANT Sabbath unreleased stuff… me and thousands of other Sabbath fans. And I feel that we are true fans, even if we’ll give money for something that Iommi didn’t want to see the light of the day. And these 2001 and 2009 Sanctuary releases, although without blessing from the band, are infinitely better products than 2004 Black Box which had all the blessings.