Sound: MTV refugees, who miss the days when things called music videos were actually on regular rotation, have likely discovered a suitable replacement with VH1 Classic. If you have delved into more than the cable channel's typical video fare, then you're also familiar with Classic Albums, a show that has sent music geeks across the world into a state of ecstasy. The documentary series, which has become a staple of VH1 Classic, chronicles the making of such groundbreaking records as Dark Side of the Moon and Electric Ladyland. Eagle Vision has heard the call of Tony Iommi devotees everywhere and released a DVD/Blu-ray version of one of the most fascinating episodes in the franchise, Black Sabbath Paranoid.
With Paranoid celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Classic Albums/Black Sabbath episode is particularly timely. Music buffs will relish at the 97-minute DVD that touches upon everything from Black Sabbath's influences, the songwriting process behind tracks like War Pigs and Iron Man, the band's introduction into America, and even hands-on explanations of the riff work from Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. In stark contrast to the band's self-titled debut album (recorded over two days and mixed in one), Paranoid was allowed an opportunity to be crafted in more accommodating studio environment. Those sessions bore a variety of intriguing stories, specifically one that details how Paranoid was written off-the-cuff after executives requested a short song.
The audio quality is amazing on Black Sabbath Paranoid, with several instances where the original takes are played back in their rawest form. It's difficult not to be entertained by moments during which you can hear a young Ozzy improvise slightly nonsensical lyrics to what would eventually be the song Paranoid. If you're a musician, you'll pretty much geek out over one-one-one sessions with Iommi, Butler, and drummer Bill Ward, all whom essentially provide step-by-step guides to playing songs like War Pigs. // 10
Overall Impression: In the end, Black Sabbath fans will not be disappointed. You're receiving first-hand accounts and anecdotes about Paranoid, which was inspired by everything from jazz to 12-bar blues to The Beatles. With the album celebrating its 40th anniversary, Eagle Vision should be commended for commemorating the event with the DVD/Blu-ray release. The price tag on the traditional DVD format isn't too steep, and it will likely be worth every penny if you're seeking to emulate the Black Sabbath sound. Thanks to some incredible close-up material of Iommi's solo work and his in-depth explanation, you're essentially getting a guitar lesson as an added bonus. // 9