With the exception of the solitary single from the brief Glenn Hughes interlude that this band had a few years prior, this is the closest SABBATH ever got to morphing into a Glam Rock outfit, although the album that it came off of was anything but that style of music. It really has little to do with the various parts, but rather how the sum is presented in this particular single. The principle clean section during the verses are a somewhat simplified version of Iommi’s various ballad riffs in the vain of “Children Of The Sea”, “Nightwing”, and even a bit of the intro to “Anno Mundi”. Likewise, the chorus riff is vintage fair SABBATH of the sort that you might have heard on anything in the Dio or earlier Martin albums, with maybe a tinge of the mid 70s portion of the Ozzy era.
The principle reason why this might come off as a hair band power ballad is almost entirely due to the sappy plotline of the music video, which is all but a direct homage to WHITESNAKE, but with somewhat of a more philosophical sense to it and a cynicism that was nowhere to be found in Coverdale’s various personal odes to his supermodel significant other. However, things are helped along quite significantly by the intro guitar solo being slashed out along with a bit of the second solo too. What ordinarily would be a fairly drawn out affair with Iommi developing a good set of lead ideas turns into a straightforward Rock ballad with some lead guitar window dressing, which is basically what every AEROSMITH ballad since the 80s has amounted to.
The silver lining to this though, as well as the real reason why anyone would want to track this down is the live version of “Paranoid”. This is one of very few instances where Tony Martin is able to outdo Ronnie Dio, as the latter’s interpretation of the Ozzy era classic has always sounded a little too theatrical and not as twisted as it should. The guitar solo has been altered pretty significantly to account for Tony Iommi’s more technical lead approach at this juncture. But the kicker of the whole thing is that amazing finale where the reprise the intro to “Heaven And Hell”, and spend about a minute riling up the audience before finally ending the thing. I think at one point Cozy Powell actually starts banging a giant tam-tam in between doing the free time drum ad lib on his kit.
Since the release of “Black Sabbath – In Moscow” about 6 months ago, this has basically become obsolete for anyone who has a European compatible DVD player. But until it becomes available here in the states, my fellow American Metal maniacs might want to think twice about passing this up if they see it in a bargain basket somewhere. It’s probably worth about $5 at the most, but it is something that you can’t really get anywhere else at the time being.
(Online May 21, 2009)