Black Sabbath Vol. 4 (often shortened to Volume 4) is the fourth album by the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in 1972. The album was originally to be titled Snowblind, after one of several songs referring to cocaine use, and features several Sabbath classics, such as "Tomorrow's Dream," "Snowblind," "Supernaut" and "Changes.". In June 1972, Black Sabbath reconvened in Los Angeles, California to begin work on their fourth album at the Record Plant Studios. The recording process was plagued with problems, many due to substance abuse issues. While struggling to record the song "Cornucopia" after "sitting in the middle of the room, just doing drugs", Bill Ward was nearly fired from the band. "I hated the song, there were some patterns that were just horrible" Ward said. "I nailed it in the end, but the reaction I got was the cold shoulder from everybody. It was like 'Well, just go home, you're not being of any use right now.' I felt like I'd blown it, I was about to get fired". Despite the copious amounts of cocaine, the band produced another first-rate album that pushed the boundaries of heavy metal and would influence countless bands. However, the seeds were planted for what would eventually be the excessive demise of the classic Sabbath lineup. As Butler told Guitar World in 2001, "Yeah, the cocaine had set in. We went out to L.A. and got into a totally different lifestyle. Half the budget went on the coke and the other half went to seeing how long we could stay in the studio...We rented a house in Bel-Air and the debauchery up there was just unbelievable." In the same interview Ward opined, "Yes, Vol. 4 is a great album but listening to it now, I can see it as a turning point for me, where the alcohol and drugs stopped being fun."
Volume 4 demonstrates Black Sabbath beginning to experiment with the heavy sound they had become known for. Although some songs are in their trademark style, others demonstrate a soft, orchestral approach. This is exemplified by the song "Changes". Written by Tony Iommi, it is entirely in the form of a piano ballad with mellotron. Although the band had used piano on some songs previously, it had played only a minor role in the songs.At least two songs on the album reference the use of cocaine. The lyrics and title of "Snowblind" is an example of this. The band originally intended to name the album as Snowblind, but it was retitled by their record company. This was likely to avoid controversy in the American market. The song "Snowblind" also had to be re-recorded because the original version features Osbourne yelling the word "cocaine!" after each verse. On the officially released version, "cocaine" is whispered quite audibly after the first verse, approximately 41 seconds into the song (During live performances Osbourne would again scream the word at the top of his lungs).
The album cover features a monochrome photograph of Ozzy Osbourne with hands raised, taken during a Black Sabbath concert. The album's original release (on Vertigo in the UK, on Warner Bros. in the US and on Nippon Phonogram in Japan) features a gatefold sleeve with a page glued into the middle. Each band member is given their own photo page, with the band on-stage (and photographed from behind) at the very centre. The reissues on WWA and NEMS duplicated both the
gatefold sleeve and, unusually, the pages.
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Exact Audio Copy V0.99 prebeta 5 from 4. May 2009
EAC extraction logfile from 13. August 2009, 16:03
Black Sabbath / Vol 4
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