Released: 2015, Laser Media
Warning: This CD review falls may fall into the category of ‘Who cares? ’ or ‘You have too much time on your hands, JP!’. However, I prefer to think of it as providing a public service to my fellow Black Sabbath fans. Enjoy!
Wal-Mart is one of the world’s largest music retailers. I was picking up some stuff lately and noticed a new Black Sabbath compilation. My immediate reaction was, ’Great, yet another generic Ozzy-era Sabbath comp’. However curiosity got the best of me I discovered it is not like that at all. I looked at the track listing and was quite impressed with the number of rare tracks and cover tunes. But upon closer inspection (as a die-hard Sabbath fan into Metal trivia) I also realized this is a generic reissue and repackaging of many previously released songs from other sources. However, I was curious and spent the $12.00 for the 28-song, two and half hour CD. Good value!
The title is ROOTS OF BLACK SABBATH-RARE COLLECTION. The initial impression is nice despite the annoying and ugly, giant ‘2 CD SET’ printed right over the nice cover art. There is no booklet, just a single card insert with the track-list which is disappointing. The CD is a Laser Media production and it appears they have licensed a bunch of Sabbath and Sabbath-related songs for this set. I believe they are one of those IPR (Intellectual Property rights) holding firms that buy up songs for constant reissues that end up in the bargain bins of Wal-marts. I suspect that it might actually be an unauthorized release because there are certain little clues that indicate something is not quite right in terms of proper credit to the artists.
I have love/hate relationship with this CD. Let’s start with the hate. By using slick advertising, deception and a lack of accurate information ROOTS OF BLACK SABBATH is a total rip-off. All of this material has been released previously. The actual artists are not properly credited. The Black Sabbath logo is a cheap copy using a similar font to trick buyers into thinking it is an official release. Most importantly, 11 of the 28 tracks have virtually nothing to do with Black Sabbath. The people who created this compilation have collected songs by other bands that have an appearance by former members of Black Sabbath and the correct band is not even credited. For example, Track 6 (CD 1) is ‘Tower of Lies’ by Axel Rudi Pell from his 2014 studio album INTO THE STORM released by SPV. Why is it on here? Because Bob Rondinelli drummed for Axel Rudi Pell on INTO THE STORM and was in Black Sabbath 20 years ago on the CROSS PURPOSES album. The aforementioned song is incorrectly listed as ‘Tower Of Lies’ by Bob Rondinelli! Another example is track 10. It is listed as ‘Paint It Black’ by Rick Wakeman. Let us wrap our heads around that for a minute. The former keyboardist of the Prog band, Yes, does a Rolling Stones cover tune, that was previously issued in 1992 on a Rick Wakeman solo album, and it reappears on a Black Sabbath rarities compilation in 2015 because he was a guest musician and played keyboards on ONE song (Sabbra Cadabra) on ONE Black Sabbath album (SABBATH BLOODY SABBTH) in 1973 over 30 years ago! Talk about a ludicrous reason to include that some that has NOTHING to do with Black Sabbath. How the people who created this CD could possible think that song was worthy of inclusion or valid in anyway, is beyond the realm of human comprehension.
Another negative of this CD is that all 28 of the 28 songs have already been released. Lastly this was already issued in 2014 in the UK with the title THE MANY FACES OF BLACK SABBTH. It was originally a three disc set and had different cover art. Many (11 of 17) of these covers songs originally appeared on studio albums, various Sabbath collections, then on the EVIL LIVES-A TRIBUTE TO BLACK SABBATH (2004) compilation, then on the MANY FACES OF BLACKS SABBTH collection (2014) and now finally here on ROOTS OF BLACK SABBATH. What a total rip-off. There is an alternate version floating around from Blueline Media that has the track sequence in a different order and adds a couple of interview tracks. These people are just recycling the same songs over and over with new packaging. And to add insult to injury they get band names wrong, song titles wrong, spelling mistakes, or typos…it’s just an ugly mess in terms of presentation.
However, it is not ALL bad! This CD, no matter how you package it, is actually a very cool collection of songs. The first 10 songs on Disc One are songs that feature past or present members (mostly past) members of Black Sabbath. As mentioned the songs have nothing to do with actual Black Sabbath but they are still neat to gather these alternate tracks and guest appearances in one place. The last two songs on Disc One and all of Disc Two are Black Sabbath covers by Heavy Metal bands. There are some cool bands on here; Iced Earth, Primal Fear, Jag Panzer, Steel Prophet, Icarus Witch, Dofka and Yngwie Malmsteen. There are dozens of Black Sabbath tribute albums and in a sense this is a more of a tribute album collection than anything else. To own the original versions of all the songs on this two CD set you would have to buy about 16 other CD’s and almost all of them are rare or out of print.
Musically, all of this is generally superb and of very high quality. Agent Steel’s version of ‘Hole In The Sky’ is just skull-crushingly killer and the Ripper Owens/Yngwie Malmsteen collaboration of Mr. Crowley is also utterly fantastic. In my final analysis, it was worth the 12 bucks, it is a cool, little compilation, but this has very little value for any die-hard Black Sabbath fan, like me who already has the vast majority of these tracks in my collection already. Approach with caution.
Bonus feature: Here is (to the very best of my knowledge) a list of the correct track-listing omitted by the people who produced this compilation. The incorrect track listing as it appears on the CD itself is listed to right of this review in the traditional track-listing box. This will help you decide if it is worth it to buy this collection based on how much of this you already own and/or really want to hear. My goal is to provide accurate information so the buyer doesn’t get tricked into buying a Black Sabbath rarities collection packed with songs that they already own.
1. BOBBY HARRISON-King Of The Night (1972) (feat. Tony Iommi)
2. VARIOUS ARTISTS-Welcome to My Nightmare (1999) (Originally appeared on Humanary Stew: A Tribute To Alice Cooper) (Feat. Dio)
3. QUARTZ-Mainline Riders (1977) (produced by Tony Iommi)
4. VARIOUS ARTISTS –Only Women Bleed (1999) (Originally appeared on Humanary Stew: A Tribute To Alice Cooper) (Feat. Glenn Hughes)
5. BEDLAM-I Believe in You (1973) (Feat. Cozy Powell)
6. AXEL RUDI PELL-Tower Of Lies (2014) (Feat. Bobby Rondinelli)
7. IAN GILLAN BAND-Finally The Finale (2003)
8. QUARTZ-Devil’s Brew (1977)
9. VARIOUS ARTISTS-School’s Out (1999) (Originally appeared on Humanary Stew: A Tribute To Alice Cooper) (Feat. Eric Singer)
10. WAKEMAN AND WAKEMAN-Paint It Black (1991)
11. THE MOVE-Flowers In The Rain (1968) (Feat. Bev Bevan)
12. VARIOUS ARTISTS-Paranoid (2000) (Originally appeared on BAT HEAD SOUP-A TRIBUTE TO OZZY OSBOURNE)
13. RACER X –Children Of The Grave (1999) (Originally appeared on TECHNICAL DIFFFFICULITES
14. AGENT STEEL-Hole In The Sky (2004) (Originally appeared on EVIL LIVES-A True Metal Tribute To Black Sabbath)
1. ICED EARTH-Black Sabbath (2002) (Originally appeared on TRBUTE TO THE GODS)
2. FOREVER SAY DIE-Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Originally appeared on EVIL LIVES-A True Metal Tribute To Black Sabbath)
3. DOFKA-N.I.B. (Originally appeared on EVIL LIVES-A True Metal Tribute To Black Sabbath)
4. LOS NATAS-Paranoid (Originally appeared on SABBATH CROSSES-A Tributo To Black Sabbath)
5. NATIVO-War Pigs (2004) (Originally appeared on SABBATH CROSSES-A Tributo To Black Sabbath)
6. HORCAS-Children Of The Grave (2004) (Originally appeared on SABBATH CROSSES-A Tributo To Black Sabbath)
7. PRIMAL FEAR-Die Young (2004) (Originally released on DEVIL’S GROUND)
8. STEEL PROPHET-Neon Knights (2000) (Originally appeared on GENESIS)
9. JAG PANZER-Children Of The Sea (1999) (Originally appeared on HOLY DIO-A TRIBUTE TO DIO)
10. ICARUS WITCH-Falling Off The Edge Of The World (2004) (Originally appeared on EVIL LIVES-A True Metal Tribute To Black Sabbath)
11. ORDER OF NINE-Disturbing The Priest (2004) (Originally appeared on EVIL LIVES-A True Metal Tribute To Black Sabbath)
12. VARIOUS ARTISTS-Mr. Crowley (2000) (Originally appeared on BAT HEAD SOUP-A TRIBUTE TO OZZY OSBOURNE)
13. VARIOUS ARTISTS-Crazy Train (2000) (Originally appeared on BAT HEAD SOUP-A TRIBUTE TO OZZY OSBOURNE)
14. FOREVER SAY DIE-Bark At The Moon (2004) (Originally appeared on EVIL LIVES-A True Metal Tribute To Black Sabbath)
1. King Of The Night - Bobby Harrison (Feat. Tony Iommi)
2. Welcome To My Nightmare - Ronnie James Dio
3. Mainline Riders - Quartz (Prod. By Tony Iommi)
4. Only Women Bleed - Glenn Hughes
5. I Believe In You (Fire In My Body) - Bedlam (Feat. Cozy Powell)
6. Tower Of Lies - Bob Rondinelli
7. Finally The Finale - Ian Gillan
8. Devil's Brew - Quartz (Prod. By Tony Iommi)
9. School's Out - Dave Mustaine (Feat. Eric Singer)
10. Paint It Black - Rick Wakeman
11. Flowers In The Rain - The Move (Feat. Bev Bevan)
12. Paranoid - Vince Neil (Mötley Crüe) & George Lynch (Dokken)
13. Children Of The Grave - Racer X
14. Hole In The Sky - Agent Steel
1. Black Sabbath - Iced Earth
2. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath - Forever Say Die
3. N.I.B. - Dofka
4. Paranoid - Los Natas
5. War Pigs - Nativo
6. Children Of The Grave - Horcas
7. Die Young - Primal Fear
8. Neon Knights - Steel Prophet
9. Children Of The Grave - Jag Panzer
10. Falling Off The Edge Of The World - Icarus Witch
11. Disturbing The Priest - Order Of Nine
12. Mr. Crowley - Yngwie Malmsteen
13. Crazy Train - Dee Snider & Jason Bonham
14. Bark At The Moon - Forever Say Die