Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Black Sabbath – Past Lives

Since BS never released a live album during their original incarnation, this collection is here to rectify that omission!

Recorded over several shows during their 70’s hey-day, this double-CD set includes monster versions of some of their most famous songs, as well as a few obscurities – ranging from their first album through Sabotage.

Because they were a ridiculously tight band of great musicians, some of these tunes are so similar to the studio originals that there is almost no need for a live take! Even Tony’s solos are true to the album! But, there are some nice additions to some of the songs.

Of the songs on the first disc, besides some addition heaviness and speed on some numbers, the biggest change is Iommi’s solo spot on “Wicked World” – just a little freer and not so much of a recreation of the first record. Funnily enough, this segues into an unlisted version of “Supernaut” from Volume 4 before delving into a drum solo, another Iommi blast and returning to the original theme.

Disc 2 blasts open with an intense “Hand of Doom” before moving onto later tunes “Hole in the Sky”, “Symptom of the Universe” and “Megalomania”. There’s a stomping “Iron Man” and then Tony gets to show off some more as an intro to their theme song, the evilly and eeriely heavy “Black Sabbath”. Several more cool older tunes, and the set closes with “Fairies Wear Boots”.

While it’s nice to hear what the band sounded like live, there is so little variation from the studio versions (which I’m sure some audience members appreciated) that this set is pretty much just a “greatest hits” package! Good for what it is, but not essential.