Black Sabbath gets the full coffee-table history treatment in this hardcover book by Joel McIver, providing excellent photos and recollections from the band. Most interesting is the early section on the quartet’s roots in grim, post-war Birmingham, and how they escaped to become the world’s greatest metal band. Tony Iommi also relates how he lost the tips of his fingers on his last day working in a factory, then re-learned how to play guitar. It’s rum stuff.
If there’s a weakness, it’s that more than half the narrative is about the post-Ozzy era. Granted, the Dio years were brilliant and Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan delivered a strong album (Born Again), but subsequent lineups with frontmen Glenn Hughes, Tony Martin, and the late Ray Gillen were not that memorable.
In sum, What Evil Lurks is a light, engrossing read, but more focus on Sab’s fabled classic era would have been preferable.
Now, on to the music. While Sabbath’s second album, Paranoid, has been reissued endlessly, this latest four-CD set features a quadrophonic mix “folded down” to stereo, plus two fresh European concerts from 1970.
The quad mix sounds cool – Iommi’s guitars occupy different places and volume levels in the audio spectrum. Check out “War Pigs,” where the guitars are panned hard and right, giving fresh life to these old Sab tapes.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’17 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.