…In which Black Sabbath tribute band Zakk Sabbath – they feature Zakk Wylde, they play Ozzy-era Sabbath, geddit!?!! – reprise the debut Black Sabbath album, fifty years old this year, in it’s entirety.
Now, whilst this is obviously a record made with the best of intentions, one has to ask, what is the point? They’ve not even covered the original version of the record, opting instead to go for the North American version, meaning that one of the tracks from the band’s first ever single, Evil Woman, doesn’t even make the cut.
So, what do you get for your money? Well, a slickly-produced, ‘modern’ sounding version of the original album I guess. And whilst hearing Wylde and his mates Blasko (bass) and Joey Castillo (drums) hammering away at these cuts live in a sweaty club would probably constitute a good night out in these strange times, sitting back in the privacy of one’s own lockdown and letting it wash over you really doesn’t have the same effect.
It’s faultlessly played, of course, although Castillo doesn’t swing quite like Bill Ward, but part of what made the original such a thrilling, dangerous proposition in 1970 was that it absolutely wasn’t fault-free, and it’s real sense of impending doom and danger is completely lost in these readings. So, where once the listener felt that Satan might actually be coming around the bend (especially if listening through headphones in a darkened room with the aid of, erm, ‘stimulants’) the only menace communicated here is the threat of having to listen to the whole thing again in the aid of ‘research’. I’m nothing if not a professional.
Wylde anoraks will want this for their collections, of course, but I think just about everybody else on the planet can do without Vertigo at this point in time. Sorry.
Vertigo releases on September 4th whether Mickey likes it or not…