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Black Sabbath Vol 4 is the fourth studio album by British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in 1972.
The original UK release was as a gatefold-sleeve, with a page glued into the middle. This gave each band member their own photo-page, with the band on-stage (and photographed from behind) at the very centre. The LP itself was in Vertigo's generic 'swirl' inner. The gatefold-sleeve and pages were retained in subsequent vinyl reissues on the WWA (World Wide Artists) and NEMS labels.
The album was originally to be titled Snowblind, the name of a track on the album which was a reference to cocaine use. The record company felt this to be controversial, for the American market in particular, so the title was altered. The song "Snowblind" had to be re-recorded because in the original Ozzy yelled the word "cocaine" after each verse. He can still be heard whispering "cocaine" in the final version, and he often shouted, "Cocaine!" during live performances of the song, as he does in their Reunion live album and the bootleg album Live at Last. In the liner notes of the album Black Sabbath thanks to "the great COKE-Cola Company," a slightly-hidden drug reference. Also, the picture of Tony Iommi in the original gatefold sleeve showed his Gibson SG sporting a sticker that said "Enjoy CoCaine," a takeoff on the "Enjoy CocaCola" advertising of this period.
The track "Changes" was one of the first Black Sabbath tracks to extensively use keyboards - piano was featured previously, on "Planet Caravan" from the Paranoid album and 'Solitude' from the Master Of Reality album.
The album was recorded in California, the first time Sabbath had recorded a studio album outside the United Kingdom. "Changes" was a piano ballad written by Tony Iommi including some use of a mellotron for the orchestral sounds. A lyrically-adjusted cover version gave Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne a number one single thirty one years later. [Wikipedia]
Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 is just a cut below its two indisputably classic predecessors, as it begins to run out of steam — and memorable riffs — toward the end. However, it finds Sabbath beginning to experiment successfully with their trademark sound on tracks like the ambitious, psychedelic-tinged, multi-part "Wheels of Confusion," the concise, textured "Tomorrow's Dream," and the orchestrated piano ballad "Changes" (even if the latter's lyrics cross the line into triteness). But the classic Sabbath sound is still very much in evidence; the crushing "Supernaut" is one of the heaviest tracks the band ever recorded. [AMG]
01 "Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener" – 7:57
02 "Tomorrow's Dream" – 3:06
03 "Changes" – 4:41
04 "FX" – 1:39
05 "Supernaut" – 4:40
06 "Snowblind" – 5:25
07 "Cornucopia" – 3:49
08 "Laguna Sunrise" – 2:48
09 "St. Vitus Dance" – 2:24
10 "Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes" – 5:49