Black Sabbath – Definitive Brescia 1973 (Zodiac 398)

Definitive Brescia 1973 (Zodiac 398)

Palazzo E.I.B, Brescia, Italy – February 21, 1973 

(52:50) Intro, Tomorrow’s Dream, Sweet Leaf, War Pigs, Snowblind, Killing Yourself To Live, Wicked World, Guitar Solo (incl. Orchid), Instrumental Jam, Wicked World (reprise), Embryo / Children Of The Grave, Paranoid 

There have been a few tapes from Italy in the early 70’s circulating on various torrent sites as of late. The recordings are from a taper named Walter D.W and featuring mastering from dadgag so the quality is certainly top notch. So far the taper has given us his recordings for a second source for Led Zeppelin’s disastrous Milan 1971 gig, as well as concerts by Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, The Charisma Festival 1973 and this recording by Black Sabbath. Walter would also record the opening act for Black Sabbath, Badger who featured keyboardist Tony Kaye of Yes fame. 

The recording from Brescia, Italy comes towards the end of the touring cycle for the Vol. 4 record. Most Sabbath fans know their time well as it was the source for the Live At Last record. In fact this recording comes just three weeks before the London dates that would make up the Live album. The sound quality of this recording is, for a 1973 audience recording, excellent. All instruments and vocals are clear and well balanced and has great atmosphere making for a wonderful listening experience. If one uses the Australian set lists from January 1973 as a guide we can assume that the recording is incomplete as both Iron Man and Cornucopia are missing. Nonetheless, this concert sounds great when turned up and has a nice frequency range as well and with the transfer and mastering by dadgad, quality is expedited and delivered. 

The recording begins with a bit of a drum warm up then goes right into Tomorrow’s Dream and finds the band in good form. The taper certainly was close to the stage, you can hear Bill Ward’s count in clearly for Sweet Leaf. The song is slow and heavy until the fast section that leads to Tony’s guitar solo, it inspires the audience and screams and clapping are evident…no way they contain themselves any longer. Ozzy is very articulate in his song introductions, of course War Pigs is warmly greeted by the crowd. This recording does an excellent job capturing the heaviness of the band’s live sound and performance. Lots of shouts and screams and the audience is jazzed to be hearing the song. 

Ozzy screams at the crowd “Stand Up” and some punter screams “yyeeeaaaahhhh” just before the band launch into the cocaine fueled Snowblind. There is a tape cut after the song and the recording continues just before the band begin Killing Yourself To Live. Like the version on Live At Last it has the alternate lyrics that slightly differ from that version and musically it sounds close to the official released version later in the year on the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath record. The song swings and injects a bit of adrenaline into the set after the slow sludge of the previous numbers. 

Wicked World is a number featuring Tony Iommi and is a great vehicle for improvisation. The main riff is devastating in this recording, the song begins as a shuffle then turns into a thick Sabbatarian onslaught of heaviness. One part of these Wicked World jams I always enjoy is Tony’s haunting live renditions of Orchid, his playing is just wonderful and is always a highlight. While the jam sections does not include a Supernaut or Into The Void tease there is a lot of great solo Tony and Tony with band Jazzy meanderings to satisfy even the hardened Metal fan. The last song of the main set is a blistering version of Children Of The Grave, Ozzy again demands the crowd “FREAK” and it works, you can hear the audience become animated while the band blasts into the song, so much that the sound quality drops a bit for the first couple minutes of the song. Children Of The Grave is a force of nature, when played at this part of the song is just hammering the audience into complete hysteria as evident from this recording. A nice fast version of Paranoid is the sole encore, like Grave, it finishes the job of delivery a Metal onslaught to the Italians, their first trip to the country is a certain success. A stunning recording and performance by Black Sabbath. 

The packaging is excellent, they use the actual picture used for the Vol. 4 record with the rest of the inserts featuring posed shots. Yes there is a picture on the CD and a sticker to boot, Zodiac seems to always do well on their art work. Excellent title and for me, a must have.   

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