Various Artists – Vol. 4 [Redux]
Reviewed: January 2021
Released: 2020, Magnetic Eye Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Tribute albums are usually a mixed bag. At best, you get a new interpretation of a classic song that works really well. At worst, you get a new interpretation of a classic song that misses the mark entirely. And more often than not, you get faithful recreations of classic songs that might get you as a far as “huh, that wasn’t bad…” Our good friends at Magnetic Eye Records seem to have gotten into the tribute album business lately, recently releasing not only Zakk Sabbath’s reimaging of the first Sabbath album, a tribute to Alice In Chains’ DIRT, and not one but TWO might multi-artist tributes to Black Sabbath. Truthfully, each of these albums have their merits and would sate fans of any of the original source material, but we’re here today specifically to talk VOL. 4 [REDUX].
Using the aforementioned rubric, let’s focus on the great and the not so great.
NOT SO GREAT
The Obsessed – “Tomorrow’s Dream”. I love The Obsessed almost as much as I love Black Sabbath, and their take on “Tomorrow’s Dream” should’ve been a layup. But Wino tries too hard to match Ozzy’s coke induced higher vocal pitch and ends up sounding completely unnatural in the process. That, and this is the wrong tune for such a guitar centric band to tackle. A missed opportunity for sure.
Haunt – “St. Vitus Dance.” Trevor William Church turns what one of the proggiest tracks on the original album into a Celtic speed metal jig. Points for originality, but totally a square peg in a round hole.
High Reeper – “Changes”. This is probably the best cover version I’ve yet to hear of this tune. Transforming a solemn piano/vocal accompaniment into a full blown swinging groove may seem like sacrilege, but the bluesy interpretation of such a classic song works amazingly well.
Green Lung – “Snowblind.” The sharp guitar harmonies and Hammond organ sounds like a hybrid of Queen and Glenn Hughes era Deep Purple. Maybe the best track on the album?
Zakk Sabbath – “Under the Sun.” Yes, Zakk Sabbath is basically a full time cover band fronted by Ozzy’s main enforcer, but you can’t dismiss how convincing and faithful their take is here.
Tony Reed – “Laguna Sunrise.” The multi-instrumentalist mind behind Mos Generator translates an already beautifully serene interlude into a fully orchestral arrangement that manages to create the same kind of meaningful pause of reflection here that the original version did 48 years ago. Bravo sir.
And everything else is pretty good. Not great, not awful, but pretty good. Paraphrasing a wise sage, “tribute albums are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” But VOL. 4 [REDUX] largely succeeds at delivering worthy homage to what many revere to be one of Sabbath’s most important moments. At worst, you’ll recognize some of the artists on the tracklist and be curious enough to check it out. At best, you’ll stumble into a band you hadn’t been as familiar with (cough, cough, Green Lung) and find your new favorite band. We’re all going through changes, but Vol. 4 is timeless, and this tribute proves as much.