Crank up the magna opus that is "Paranoid," the rockin’ sophomore creation by the venerable English heavy metal maestros, Black Sabbath. Like a radiant celestial event, this masterpiece graced the auditory realms in the bountiful September of 1970, storming in with its melodious presence through the esteemed conduits of Vertigo Records in the enchanting lands of England, and Warner Bros. Records in the large expanse of the United States.
There is such a sonic marvel which harbors within its detailed progressive elements, a treasure trove of the band's most cherished and iconic compositions. Among these revered sonnets, one shall encounter the mighty "Iron Man," the formidable "War Pigs," and the eponymous anthem that etched its legacy into the annals of musical history. Most noteworthy to mention, the title track ascended to the pinnacle of musical accomplishment, gracing the splendid top of the UK charts at number 4.
High resolution and quadroholics have been drooling for years over the possibility of such an auditory delight on Blu-ray. Now Rhino has unlocked this treasure for the first time after a prodigious hiatus of almost half a century. Revel in the DTS Master Audio lossless 192kHz / 24-bit quad and stereo mixes lovingly extracted from the original half-inch four-channel masters and arriving at mellifluous vibrations that will undoubtably be ecstasy to any audiophiles’ ears. The quad mix alone dances around the room, encapsulating listeners within an opulent panorama of sonic grandeur at a level of detail that is simply exhilarating.
Tony Iommi’s guitar solos swirl around the room at points in classic 70’s ear candy flamboyance with vigor and crunch during rhythm sections. Lead vocals are often focused toward the left front channel placing Ozzy Osbourne into an ominous reverberance that gives the feeling of a giant soaring across the space. Growling basslines from Geezer Butler are centered up front pairing with guitar riffs that are the foundation of the songs. The riveting kick drum, full snare, along with powerful tom-toms spread across the front on certain tracks, while others focus Bill Ward’s drumming between the front speakers. The quad mix is wonderfully spacious, spreading out to the corners ever so perfectly.
Packaged in a super jewel case, collectors have already been shaking their walls, brought forward from this historic album which has ascended to the ranks of legendary status. Heralded as one of the zeniths of the heavy metal art form peaking at #12 on the Billboard 200, a monumental feat that garnered Paranoid the coveted title of being certified fourfold platinum.
Listeners with a Home Theater configured for Surround and Atmos may wonder how well a quad mix will sound on their system. Quadraphonic mixes utilize four audio channels that are best heard with four identical floor speakers ideally positioned at the corners of a listening space. However, through system configurations, listeners may find that directing the low frequencies to a sub-woofer will allow for an equally compelling aural experience with satellite speakers that differ from the front channels. Still, be clear that the original quad master tape is mixed into a dimensional space that immerses the listener from the corners of the room, with no center, nor sub-woofer as part of its design.
Just to hammer it home, fans like me have been enamored with the overarching fidelity that is found on this Quadio Blu-ray edition from Rhino. There is an aura of unparalleled brilliance, a remarkable level of detail, and certainly a realistic discrete nature that has never been available until now. The auditory tapestry woven here is nothing short of a masterpiece, a canvas upon which the vibrant hues of sonic virtuosity are expertly painted. For my ears, this Blu-ray Audio edition is a paragon of sonic splendor, a true gem that occupies the uppermost echelons of auditory quality that leads me to a resplendent torrent of musical euphoria. Get it before it is permanently sold out!
Released June 23, 2023.
Blu-ray Audio featuring DTS HD Master Audio 192kHz / 24-bit 4.0 Quad and 2.0 Stereo mixes. Also available for streaming as an earlier edition.
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About the Author
Wesley is a lifelong music enthusiast. He started his career in the recording industry in New York City as an audio engineer, producer, and studio manager. Subsequently he toured across America as a guitarist with the short-lived band Land's Crossing. After many years in the technology sector and amassing a substantial vinyl and CD collection, he delved into immersive audio and created Hi-Res Edition to share with other listeners about the sound quality and discrete mixes available on many formats. He recently upgraded his system to 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos and continues to seek out and share about the best sounding releases.