Various Artists

Masters of Misery-Black Sabbath: The Earache Tribute

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Very few artists have as many tribute albums dedicated to them as Black Sabbath, the original heavy metal band. Four or five of these tributes came out around the mid '90s, and this is without a doubt the heaviest of the bunch. The songs are mostly taken from the Ozzy Osbourne years (the sole exception being 1983's "Zero the Hero"), but in many cases it would take a good ear to recognize these songs when compared to the originals. Godflesh makes "Zero the Hero" into a grinding blast of industrial metal; Fudge Tunnel turns "Changes" (originally Ozzy Osbourne's piano ballad) into a faceless doom metal track, while Ultraviolence takes a daring dive into techno territory with its energetic cover of "Paranoid." Many of the bands just turn the songs into death metal, which sometimes works (O.L.D.'s "Who Are You?") but mostly doesn't. A few of the tracks are faithful to the originals, but Cathedral and Confessor don't really add anything to these songs except for different singing styles. Still, these are really good songs to begin with, so the results of this album are at least very interesting. Hardcore Sabbath fans probably won't like this album, but fans of underground metal will probably enjoy this musical experiment.

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