• BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid - Super De Luxe Editon (2020)

    I remember with great satisfaction the performance of Black Sabbath on Jazz Bilzen (Belgium) in 1970. It was nothing short of an absolute wow moment. The first album had already turned my musical world upside down an 'Paranoid' just stuck its nose around the corner. The power and energy that came from this band from Birmingham was never seen and continued to rumble. Fifty years later (2020), the band treats us to a luxurious reissue of 'Paranoid', the album that catapulted the group to the top of the world. The box contains five LPs including the 2012 remaster of the original album with the original artwork, a stereo-based remaster of the 1974 quadrophony mix and a triple live LP with recordings from 1970, respectively at the Casino in Montreux – the same tour that brought them to Bilzen in August – and an October recording for RTBF at the Théâtre 140 in Brussels. Both sets contain virtually the same pieces, but in a different order. The recording quality is excellent and so is the performance. Furthermore, in the box there is a 30 x 30 cm hardback book with the early story and many photos, a replica of the tour book of the American tour in the spring of 1970 and a poster. Everything is nicely packed in a sturdy box. If you prefer this remix to the original is a matter of taste. The 2002 has a bit more loudness and sounds a bit more detailed, but the groove is heavier on the original of 1970. The quad mix approaches the sound of the original Seventies pressing. The live LPs have never been released on vinyl before and are an interesting bonus anyway, especially for those who experienced the band in 1970 or who want to hear how grand Black Sabbath already sounded in the early years. (Geert Ryssen)

  • BLACK SABBATH - Vol.4 Super Deluxe Box set (2021)

    'Vol. 4' was the fourth studio album by Black Sabbath in three years time (1972). The band was huge now and wanted to expand its sonic horizon by moving to the United States to record its new album at het famous Record Plant in Los Angeles and choose a new producer with Patrick Meehan. The end result was a more sophisticated album with some progressive influences and more light and shade. For this expanded re-release, the original album was remixed by Steven Wilson and it sounds more dynamic with more detail. The box set adds four more lp's, two of them contain outtakes and studio excercises that are most interesting to the fans or musicologists, but will add nothing to the original album for the casual listener. There's also an extra double live album with recordings made during Black Sabbath's 1973 United Kingdom tour with Badger and Necromandus as support bands. As the live recordings of the original line-up are scarce, these are a welcome addition to the Sabbath catalogue. Some of these tracks may have appereared on 'Live At Last' or on 'Past Lives', but here they are totally remixed and updated and put in a real live flow. It's a pity that the artwork of the original album is not reproduced here (no fold-out cover and no photo booklet) but that is more than compensated by the brilliant 12"x12" hardcover book with full information on the sessions and lots of photo's and documents. To top all of that, there's also a large poster. 'Vol. 4' has some classics on it like the ballad 'Changes' and heavy songs like 'Snowblind' or 'Under The Sun' with gitarist Tony Iommi's riffing full blast. According to the liner notes, this album was made in a time where the band was exhausted form extensive touring and it was recorded in a cocaine-fueled mood. Even then, the band knew how to deliver. (Geert Ryssen)

    (There's also a cd-editon box)

FLYING CIRCUS - Flying Circus

German progressive rockband Flying Circus releases a 'Best Of' with re-recordings by the current line-up of songs that were released before 2004 (3 albums and one EP) and remixes (with eventual overdubs) of songs that were recorded between 2005 and 2016. There's one new song and two songs left untouched of their 2020 album '1968'. With a total of fifteen songs this sounds like a new and fresh album. Due to extensive re-recording or remixing everything sounds up-to-date, fluid and with a unity in sound. Until last year this band from the Köln/Düsseldorf area remained a well kept secret to many music lovers. Signing with Fast Ball Music for its '1968' album started a new and more international life for the band. '1968' is a well crafted album keeping alive the positive reputation of so called 'krautrock'. This retrospective album gives a well balanced overview of the best work of the band, with songs from every album they made before. Some new arrangements were written that bring keyboard player Rüdiger Blömer more in the picture as a violin player. Listen to his briljant work on 'Seasons' or ''Derry'; wonderful! This album is full of beautiful music that sounds like typically high quality German rock with roots in late sixties and seventies progressive music. Giving references is a hard thing to do, but one band they make me think of now and then is Grobschnitt and that's probably because of the singing of Michael Dorp (original member!) who does a fantastic job and fits the band perfectly. And let's not forget the guitarwork of Michael Rick. And yes, boys of the rhythm section, you guys do a good job too. Another great point about this release is the fact that the digipack is full of information about the band and its history (previous line-ups, previous recordings, the purpose of this album). What a good way to celebrate 30-years of existence and an excellent way to get an overview of this wonderful band. (Geert Ryssen)

'Flying Circus' will be released on Fast Ball on February 26 2021.

Line-up (left to right):

Rüdiger Blömer: keyboards, violin, orchestral programming

Michael Dorp: Vocals, percussion

Ande Roderigo: drums, percussion, backing vocals

Roger Weitz: bass, backing vocals

Michael Rick: guitars, backing vocals