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Reviews: Black Sabbath: Paranoid

Reviews: 8

Review by Goodwood September 7, 2010 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
OK I have to declare an obssession with this album. It was the first new album I bought - in fact after the warped second hand mono Sgt Peppers it was the second album I owned. The spiral Vertigo album has been through all of my equipment changes and divine intervention saved it from being sold when I foolishly sold albums as a student to put them on cassette.

The guitar sound was nothing like anything before and I played it to death. I even smoothed out clicks by playing them out!

Fast forward to the CD and the Castle reissue was taken home to meet huge dissappointment. It sounded like a 10th generation bootleg with absolutely no top end. Subsequent reissues and remasters improved things but they never lived up to my expectations (some would say for obvious reasons.

The SACD was always going to bring improvements but I always wondered at what cost. Well I can report that not only does this release benefit from the extra bandwidth but that this is also a very even handed mastering. It really is a case of press play and just enjoy (if - and it's a big if, you enjoy this kind of music). Instrumental separation is great and to my ears the dynamics are much more like I feel we were intended the hear this album. On my system, and to my ears, and despite a detailed top end, the treble is never intrusive so I don't find myself making excuses for it like I do with some SACDs.

The only slightly uncomfortable aspect is a slightly over-blown bass on the title track but I only get this on speakers and I'm sure it's my system.

I am really very happy with this release and short of a total remix (which would come with other issues) I cannot see any reason to buy yet another version.

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Review by analogue September 23, 2010 (11 of 13 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This review will be short and sweet:

I remember this from the analogue days. What a great album.

The very darkest of classic rock albums. And it's on sacd.

This sacd, beautifully remastered puts all digital copies to shame. And thankfully tape hiss has been kept, not de-noised out, and this makes all the difference to the sonic quality and character of this sacd. The remastered cd was compressed and flat sounding due to the conscious elimination of the tape hiss. Along with any tape hiss is also vital musical information that must be kept. And this is why reverb and additional musical cues can be heard on this sacd but not on the cd.

This is one heavy and powerful album. You can feel the menace on War Pigs. All instruments are rendered very nicely. There is no compression on this sacd so the volume can be turned way up and the sound is very excellent.

For the first time in many years I can actually sense that there are musicians playing in unison to create a musical whole. Its not just's music.

What a double pleasure we got here folks.
One is that a great title has been released on sacd and two the sound is extremely good.

Highly recommended............5+++++++++

I think that Universal Japan is onto something great here.

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Review by Tim-sacd December 4, 2010 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I'm quite sure this will be the "definitive version" of this timeless rock album. Get it before it's OOP. Recommended.

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Review by RKLA March 31, 2011 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Thankfully DSD mastered to SA-CD by Hitoshi Takiguchi @ Universal Mastering Studios in Tokyo, Japan. Did Sanctuary England really send them "analogue master tapes"? Sounds like it! The performance and sound is everything that all the other reviewers say it is. It's wonderful that the hiss & inherent harmonic distortion is present; all of the sound that is on the master tape is here.

Will this be the only Black Sabbath SA-CD? Let's hope not!

I am old enough to remember when this album was first released - and first buying a Warner Brothers copy, then springing for a Vertigo UK copy - a world of difference. I really believe that the folks at Phonogram London (who paid for this recording) really had people who understood how to record LOUD music, a new phenomena in 1970/1. Vertigo UK pressings were usually pretty good, nice & quiet.

But this SHM-SA-CD is the definitive version. I have yet to hear the UK multiple disc anniversary set, with a DVD-Audio of this title (I didn't buy it immediately, as my 5.1 system likely can't handle anything but an NTSC AC:1 disc - and nobody can tell me if the "Paranoid" DVD in the set is NTSC or PAL).

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Review by Dave54321 August 27, 2011 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
After hearing a few disappointing pop/rock SACDs (including SHM) I wasn't hoping for too much from this one, but I took the plunge anyway. And wow! This SACD is absolutely marvellous! It is just so lively and dynamic and natural, with not the merest hint of brightness or dipped mids or overblown bass. This SACD is just very easy to listen to at any volume.

Whilst it doesn't quite reach the highs of the Analogue Productions Nat King Cole SACDs (which owe as much to the 3-track source tapes as to the brilliant new mastering), it still gives me a similar kind of feeling; the feeling that I am right there in the studio listening to a live performance. For that reason it easily deserves 5 stars for the sound.

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Review by elduce49 August 28, 2012 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is one of the best metal albums ever recorded. I cringed at the price, but ended up getting it as a gift, so you could say I got a good deal on it. I have to admit that I'd have bought it anyway. It's well worth the cost.


I love this album. The performance absolutely deserves all five stars. If you're a fan of Black Sabbath, heavy metal, hard rock or even just metal curious, buy this album. If you're not that dedicated, at least get the CD. If you're a dedicated fan like me, break the bank and buy the Japanese SHM-SACD. The prices I see on here are pretty high, though. and both have this for $59.99 US Dollars.

As to the sonics, I wanted to be able to describe what was different from what I could hear on the regular CD recording, so I put both of them in my SACD changer and listened to them back-to-back a few times.

The first thing I noticed is that the SACD is louder. It's simply a louder recording somehow. Switching between the CD and SACD required a bit of a volume adjustment to listen to them at the same volume.

The second thing I noticed was that the background hiss was all but gone. There's still a touch of it throughout, but it's dramatically lower than the CD, which I had considered to be a pretty good recording before listening to this one.

As time went on, the SACD revealed a couple of other characteristics that weren't present on the CD recording. The soundstage is bigger. It actually feels like the venue changed. The separation of the instruments is more apparent. I found myself listening to a bass line or drumbeat as if for the first time. Things popped out of the once-muddy background that I'd never noticed before.

Five stars all around. This is a great recording in all aspects of the phrase.

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Review by MacClaus October 24, 2012 (5 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I don't understand the rave reviews... The performance is stellar, the sound is lousy!

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Review by GMONEY May 29, 2013 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is an incredible Sounding SACD. I was lucky and nabbed a used one one ebay for $45. I have been blown away by the sound. Most of the time SACDs provide minor improvements over the RB CD that make the expense not always worth upgrading, especially if you have an audiophile front end or upsampling player. I had no idea that a SACD could sound this good. It feels like being in the studio with them; has to be one of the best sounding SACDs that I own hands down. Highly recommended SHM SACD.

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