Modern heavy-metal luminaries pay tribute to a cornerstone of the genre on a new compilation called Vol. 4 [Redux]. The comp, out October 30th via Albany’s Magnetic Eye Records, features covers of every song from Black Sabbath’s classic 1972 LP Vol. 4, home to iconic tracks like “Snowblind” and “Supernaut” — and Rolling Stone’s choice for the 14th greatest metal album of all time.
On Tuesday, the label dropped a rousing and righteously shredding track from the album, a take on Black Sabbath deep cut “St. Vitus Dance” courtesy of prolific Sacramento retro-metal torchbearers Haunt. For Haunt guitarist, singer, and bandleader Trevor William Church, a long-time Sabbath fan who also leads the more traditionally Sabbath-y band Beastmaker, the cover was a chance to try something new.
“Having already done a Sabbath-worship-style band Beastmaker I really wanted to try and do something a bit different as Haunt, which was a bit of a challenge,” he tells Rolling Stone. “It’s a very simple guitar song with very few frills. Haunt is not that at all. So doing some solos just seemed really fitting. But, with the original, the drum style was a bit difficult for me to come up with anything creative solo-wise, so I sped it up to something I could solo over.”
Overall, Vol. 4 found Sabbath stretching out into more epic and ambitious territory, but “St. Vitus Dance” is a straightforward track: a groovy rocker built around a boogie-friendly midtempo section and metallic half-time verses. Ozzy Osbourne sings not about the disorder that gives the song its title but about a man who is wrongly suspicious of his lover’s motives. Haunt give the piece a whole different feel, tightening up the rhythm, playing it a double-time clip, and adding florid guitar leads so that the song more closely resembles one of their own righteous retro-metal anthems. It’s a daring treatment and it works impressively well.
Vol. 4 [Redux] also features contributions from metal lifers like the Obsessed, Matt Pike (of Sleep and High on Fire), and Zakk Sabbath, a Sabbath cover trio led by Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde. As with earlier Magnetic Eye Records “Redux” comps honoring Helmet’s Meantime, Alice in Chains’ Dirt and Pink Floyd’s The Wall, every song on the Sabbath tribute is exclusive to this release. Vol. 4 [Redux] is available for preorder now.