Friday Full-Length: Black Sabbath, Technical Ecstasy

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Black Sabbath, Technical Ecstasy (1976)

 

Alright, let’s do this. Let’s talk about Technical Ecstasy. In a world where the saying goes, “you can only trust yourself and the first six Black Sabbath albums,” it’s the seventh. Widely regarded as the nadir of the doom forebears’ original lineup, including by the band itself, it was released in 1976 through Vertigo Records and there’s no question it was a departure from their prior work. That’s been blamed on a number of sources, whether it’s commercial or indeed more technical aspirations in the songwriting, but most centers around the fact that production was handled by guitarist Tony Iommi on the part of the full band. But really, even on paper it was kind of a recipe for disaster. They were a bunch of coked-out rockstars recording in Miami in 1976. That’s not an album. That’s a movie.

But history has been awfully kind to Iommi, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward. Let’s remember that it was their late-’90s reunion tour that solidified their singular place in the pantheon of heavy metal, a comeback that followed an era of confused recordings like 1995’s Forbidden (discussed here) as the band tried to fit a modern context a quarter-century after getting their start. The truth is Technical Ecstasy does have some elements that show the band wanting to move forward from the prior darkened sound that would eventually become their legacy. The penultimate “She’s Gone” is based around acoustic guitar and a string arrangement in a way that feels grown out of “Fluff” from 1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and presages some of the more grandiose sonic reaching of the Ronnie James Dio-fronted era that began in 1980.

At the same time, Technical Ecstasy wasn’t without an edge. I won’t attempt to defend the ultra-sleazed-out lyric of closer “Dirty Women,” but the song had a riffy crunch that fit with what the band had done a year earlier on Sabotage and though opener “Back Street Kids” reaffirms a working class origin that the band had readily given up in favor of fame and fortune, its drive was also a foreshadow of what the band would do on cuts like “Neon Knights” or “Turn up the Night” in their second iteration, or even on the title-track of the subsequent 1978 LP, Never Say Die! — a barnburner to lead-off. Experimentation with keyboard prominence in “You Won’t Change Me” came coupled with some fair tonal heft and a suitable vocal performance from Osbourne, whose voice was continuing to take on the affect it would further develop in his solo work also beginning in 1980, and a concluding solo that could please even a discriminating Iommi fan.

It was the album’s attempts at commerciality that came up lame. “It’s Alright” put Ward on vocals, and he handled it ably, black_sabbath_technical_ecstasy_retail_cd-frontmoving into a falsetto series of “oohs” to complement the McCartney-esque piano bounce of the initial verse before Iommi‘s out-of-nowhere sweeping solo. But for a band who made their name with raw impact, it was too stark a contrast for many. I won’t take away from the honky-tonk piano line of the later “Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor” or the riff that accompanies, but the track sounded like the work of a band running on empty, and after “Gypsy” and the rolling groove and highlight bassline of “All Moving Parts (Stand Still),” it just seemed like Sabbath had run out of things to talk about. “She’s Gone” and “Dirty Women” would do nothing to dispel that notion in closing out the record.

That left “Gypsy” and “All Moving Parts (Stand Still)” as highlights one way or the other. They moved Sabbath‘s sound forward from Sabotage and introduced a more lush sense of melody (“Gypsy”) and were able to toy with structure in interesting ways. I’d put “You Won’t Change Me” in that category as well, despite its lyrical redundancy to the opener and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor.” It had only been five years since the band went “Into the Void” on Master of Reality (discussed here), but Black Sabbath were a different group than they were in 1971, in concept if not yet in personnel, and Technical Ecstasy represented the turmoil that was beginning to take hold that would ultimately result in the ouster of Osbourne and the arrival of Dio following Never Say Die! It was a step along a much longer, broader path.

Does that make it the worst original-lineup Black Sabbath record? Well, something’s bound to be at the bottom, and it certainly isn’t Vol. 4. I wrote a post nearly six years ago about a live version of “Dirty Women” that was so sloppy, raw and high-sounding that it encapsulated for me the crashing-out of Sabbath as a whole, and defenders of the late-Ozzy era rallied to tell me how wrong I was to malign that period of their work. So maybe bad Sabbath is still better than a lot of other things. I have the feeling if the commercial experiment had paid off and “Gypsy” or “It’s Alright” had been huge hits, the band wouldn’t be so quick to write them off, but that’s here or there. And doesn’t change the fact that their most influential work remains across the first six records, if not the first four.

Technical Ecstasy has more than a little contextual appeal. It’s part of the narrative of Black Sabbath, and an important part for what it would lead to and the changes that would come in the band in the years that followed, but on its own, the powerhouse songwriting and performances, the sheer urgency of their earlier work was largely gone. And fair enough as the popular consciousness had largely moved on from early ’70s rock and the NWOBHM had yet to take hold. Technical Ecstasy resides in that somewhat awkward between-place: mature but stoned, classy but sleaze, loud but soft. And while in hindsight one can look back and appreciate the confusion for what it is, how it represents that pivotal time for Black Sabbath as a whole, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be the record you reach for when you want to listen to them. But hey, every now and then, you could certainly do much worse.

And seriously, how great would the movie about recording it be?

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

My alarm was set for 4:30 this morning. I was giving myself a break since I got in late from the Crowbar/Lo-Pan show last night and didn’t get to sleep at 8PM as I otherwise might. Lose like four hours, gain a half-hour back. Whatever. I woke up at 3:50AM and that was it. Blew that plan like a vacuum tube.

Worth it though. Show was low key, but the bands sounded good and I was glad I went, not the least for having bought a Hawaiian shirt from Lo-Pan. Best $25 I spent all week.

Next week is packed, so let’s do notes:

MON: Horseburner track premiere; Weird Owl track premiere.
TUE: Ghost: Hello track premiere; Rancho Bizarro video premiere; Holy Grove mixtape.
WED: Hound the Wolves/Glasghote stream; Gurt video premiere.
THU: Warcrab track premiere.
FRI: Oblivion Reptilian review.

Busy busy busy.

This week has been much the same, I guess. Couple six-post days in there. I’m still pretty surprised about Des leaving High on Fire and interested to hear how they sound with someone else in that spot. Everyone on the West Coast seems to give the new guy a rousing endorsement, so either he’s a beast or just a generally awesome person or maybe both. Both would be nice in a good-for-him kind of way, but if he’s a prick and can drum, well, it’s not like I’ll have to hang out with him. Low stakes for me, is what I’m saying.

This weekend, yeah, I don’t know what’s up. I think I’ll try and take tomorrow and not to Obelisk stuff at all. We’ve got a lot going on with getting this house ready to receive the rest of our crap from Massachusetts — including like 35 boxes of CDs that allegedly are going to go somewhere other than a storage unit — so yeah. Having a toddler pull ladders down on himself does not make that process any easier, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to find out.

Dude was like CRASH and then lost his mind for like a minute and then was fine. Two black eyes and a bloody nose this week. Oy.

He’s gonna be one of those kids who breaks his arm falling off the roof. When he’s four.

No Gimme Radio show this week, but thanks for asking. I’ll get a playlist together for the next one though, so if you’re not tired of me being like, “Duh, songs,” there will be plenty more opportunity for that.

Until then, I wish you a great and safe weekend. Thanks again for reading. Have fun, be safe, live long, prosper, all that silly whatnot.

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Friday Full-Length: Black Sabbath, The Eternal Idol

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Black Sabbath, The Eternal Idol (1987)

It’s taken me a really, really long time to come around to anything from the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath. I’d say without hesitation it’s still a work in progress. In a way, it’s a matter of overcoming the narrative of the pre- and between-reunion years of Black Sabbath‘s ’80s and ’90s as a lost era for the heavy metal godfathers; a time spent wandering the wilderness for founding guitarist Tony Iommi that arguably began with 1983’s Born Again (discussed here) bringing in replacing Deep Purple‘s Ian Gillan to replace vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who himself took the reins following the band’s ultra-crucial first eight albums with Ozzy Osbourne. Aside from having an outright impossible standard to meet in following in the footsteps of three of rock and metal’s greatest frontmen ever, plus short-lived incarnations of the band as they worked with Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) and Ray Gillen (Badlands), the Birmingham-born Martin was nowhere near the veteran presence of the likes of Iommi, who by 1987 was just coming off releasing the would’ve-been solo album Seventh Star with Hughes in 1986 and was long since the only remaining founding member of the band.

So what did Tony Iommi‘s Black Sabbath sound like on The Eternal Idol? Unsurprisingly, the band’s days of the innovative blend of heavy rock, dark psychedelia and blues that we’d come in the decades since to think of as doom were long gone. They’d settled into a mature, largely straightforward, hyper-produced commercial form of heavy metal, still very much driven by Iommi‘s guitar work, but without the loose swing and dynamic of their earliest days or the progressive majesty that emerged on the Dio-fronted albums, 1980’s Heaven and Hell and 1981’s Mob Rules. 30 years later, the snare from former KISS drummer Eric Singer sounds dated. Does that mean that The Eternal Idol and thus Martin‘s tenure were doomed from the start? If so, Martin still had a pretty good ride with the band. Admittedly, not every track on The Eternal Idol is a gem — “Nightmare” on side B feels like filler, despite being catchy, and though its last-minute uptick of energy is appreciated, the penultimate “Lost Forever” doesn’t accomplish much that “Hard Life to Love” and the following “Glory Ride” didn’t already bring to bear earlier on in dudely ’80s keyboard-drama — but even in opener “The Shining,” the subsequent “Ancient Warrior” one can hear shades the band working on a self-referential level, calling out pieces of the live version of “Heaven and Hell” (think “A big black shape…”) and “Children the Sea,” respectively. Which is to say nothing of the closing title-track’s semi-political bent — something Sabbath had proffered since “Hand of Doom” on 1970’s Paranoid — but rendered largely toothless on “The Eternal Idol” with a more generic, less pointed social critique. Ah, the Thatcher years.

So rather than necessarily pushing brazenly forward, as one might argue even the Gillan-fronted Born Again did in 1983 as arguably the harshest sounding record Sabbath ever put out, The Eternal Idol seems to be playing to form even as it presents a new incarnation of the band that would continue for the better part of the next decade, interrupted only by the temporary reunion with Dio for 1992’s triumphant Dehumanizer LP and corresponding tour. What, then is the appeal that finally won me over? Well, first of all, Martin is a killer vocalist. Having bassist Bob Daisley, who just a couple years before had played on the first couple Ozzy solo records, alongside Singer in the rhythm section didn’t exactly make for a powerhouse in the Butler/Ward tradition, but they could certainly hold down the straightforward roll of “Eternal Idol” or the motor-thrust of “Hard Life to Love,” and that allowed both Iommi and Martin to shine in their own performances, and while again, they’re not really breaking any ground, they did manage to give a more than solid showing of what Black Sabbath could be in the bizarre heavy metal climate that was the pre-grunge late ’80s. Big as their hair got — it got sort of big — Iommi was the spearhead of a prior generation, and The Eternal Idol was the beginning point of the band becoming stable and sustainable for the better part of the next decade. Like Black SabbathHeaven and Hell and Born Again before it, it set a tone that future outings would follow. Granted, they’re hardly considered the pinnacle of the band, but without The Eternal Idol, no question the shape of 1989’s Headless Cross1990’s Tyr (my personal favorite of this era), 1994’s Cross Purposes and 1995’s Forbidden — which was the final Black Sabbath studio recording until the band got back with Ozzy to record the “Psycho Man” single in 1998 and then the Dio-fronted bonus tracks included with the 2007 compilation The Dio Years that prefaced the splintering off of what became for all too short a time Heaven and Hell.

I’m not saying it’s all gold, or that the decade Iommi spent working with Martin — split up in ’92 by the reunion with Dio, overshadowed subsequently by the reunion with Ozzy — is some magical lost trove of groundbreaking heavy rock and/or metal. But it’s got some choice Iommi riffing, and whatever else you can say about Martin‘s style being very post-Dio, he’s better at it than most, so what the hell is there to lose? Hardly the first point in their career Black Sabbath went through the motions to keep themselves on the road, and frankly, I’m not inclined to hold that against them, especially now that their career is — allegedly — over.

You certainly know the drill by now. Whatever your preconceptions about this stage of Sabbath‘s tenure, I hope you’ll give The Eternal Idol a fair shot, and of course, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

So far this week I’ve had The Pecan home alone — that is, sans The Patient Mrs. — for parts of three days. On each of those days, he has taken food from me out of a bottle. Given our prior experience in this regard, this is a huge fucking triumph. Huge. Yesterday, she came home while he was still eating and he kept going — didn’t even stop because she was there. No way that would’ve gone down like that before. He’d have immediately been like, “Fuck this, give me the real deal,” and gone for the boob. I get it, but was still frustrating when it happened.

What led to turning that corner? I kind of just realized he doesn’t want to be held by me when he’s eating. I’ve alternated putting him flat on his back on the playmat and in his sit-upright chair in the kitchen while giving him the bottle, and that’s been okay. I’ve also been having oranges with breakfast, so I’ve been kind of rubbing my finger on the pulp there and giving him a taste of the juice off my finger, just to get him more used to different flavors and taking food from me in general. He still takes bites of scrambled egg from me as well and we have some sweet potato in the fridge that we’ve been waiting to try, but we haven’t really needed to because it’s gone so well with the bottle. I’m not willing to say we’re 100 percent out of that woods, but it felt really, really fucking good this week to be able to feed my kid after three months of complete and total failure at it.

I guess I should follow up on last week’s Friday post. Shit was pretty dire feeling and I conveyed that in the most honest, truest-to-my-mindset language I could. I spent a good portion of last week thinking of death as an easier out than the way I was living. That’s just how it was. I don’t apologize for that, and I don’t expect sympathy, or “tough love” or whatever else. I can only be the person I am at a given moment and I can only write from that perspective about being in that place.

If you’re concerned, I’m under the care of several professionals. I have a nutritionist I’ve started seeing twice a week for eating disorder counseling — she’s making me eat; it’s fucking torture but I’m doing it — as well as a regular therapist and my primary care physician, who just this week put me on klonopin in addition to the 30mg anti-depressant dose I take every day. It seems to put me to sleep, which may prove somewhat inconvenient in the long run, but after being up half the nights last week I’m at very least looking at as something of a win for the immediate.

That’s where I’m at. I’m in a really, really hard place, working through a lot of really, really hard shit that I think unless you’ve been where I am you probably neither understand nor particularly give a shit about. Even then, probably questionable on that second part. But I’m doing the work I’m supposed to be doing. I’m doing what I’m told. I ate roasted potatoes the other night. I’ve been eating bread. Fruit. Lots of fruit. It’s madness. I never knew I was into pineapple. Or grapefruit. Let alone mixing them together like I just did. Sheer madness. It has me out of my head.

So that’s that. For what it’s worth, I had to put on a second pot of coffee just to get through those paragraphs. Light roast, but still.

Next week is packed. Here’s what’s in the notes for next week. It’s stupid how full it is:

MON.: Beneath Oblivion track premiere; new Ararat video.
TUE.: Malady full-album stream/review; other stuff I don’t want to give away yet.
WED.: MaidaVale video premiere; Six Dumb Questions with Somnuri.
THU.: Lowburn EP stream/review.
Fri.: Cataclysmic Events track stream.

Goes without saying that all this is subject to change with no notice whatsoever. I’ve kind of decided to nix my 2018 most-anticipated list for the time being. Not enough hours in the day and I’ve got a lot going on otherwise, but if I can still make it happen even in some preliminary way — a list of names — I will try to do so. I’ve also started kicking around the notion of doing more t-shirts if there’s a way I don’t have to ship them out, because that was awful. We’ll see where I end up on that. I said “never again” on merchandise which would seem to make it inevitable, right?

If you’re interested or not, I’ll probably keep you posted.

Thanks again for reading, and please have a great and safe weekend. Don’t forget to hit up the forum and the radio stream.

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Friday Full-Length: Black Sabbath, Live Evil

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Black Sabbath, Live Evil (1982)

Black Sabbath had already done the impossible by the time they released Live Evil in 1982. After a run of six albums resulting in several timeless and formative landmarks in the history of heavy metal, they’d seen something of a decline in the late ’70s with frontman Ozzy Osbourne and, after separating with him and hiring Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio for the vocalist role, managed to bounce back and not only produce two more records in 1980’s Heaven and Hell (discussed here) and 1981’s Mob Rules (discussed here), but to use those albums as a means for redefining their personality as a band and reclaim their place at the forefront of a heavy metal movement they helped to shape at its outset. When ’82 rolled around, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was underway, and rather than languish as so many ’70s heavy outfits did with those not already undone by punk either breaking up or fading into obscurity, Sabbath — guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer ButlerDio on vocals and first Bill Ward and subsequently Vinny Appice on drums — stormed forward into the new decade and continued to have an impact and an influence still felt today. Unbelievable. How many bands get to do that twice? How many get to do it once?

But for the fact that the lineup was once again falling apart at the time — with friction between Dio and Iommi documented in the latter’s memoir and other sources — and perhaps in spite of its terrible here-are-our-song-titles-turned-into-people (note the War Pig, the Neon Knight, etc.) cover art, one might consider the 14-track Live Evil a victory lap. Its 14 tracks span an 80-minute runtime and find Black Sabbath hitting with maximum force and presence that comes through clearly from each player. I don’t know if Dio ever sounded so powerful again as he does on this version of “Children of the Sea,” and certainly I’ve never heard a thrust from Appice to match the surge he puts into “Neon Knights” at the outset. Ozzy-era classics like “N.I.B.” and “Children of the Grave” find Butler and Iommi utterly refreshed compared to how they sound on 1980’s band-unsanctioned Live at Last (nothing against that release, but if you want primo live Ozzy Sabbath, chase down the Asbury Park ’75 soundboard bootleg), and in extended versions of “Voodoo” from Mob Rules and the Heaven and Hell title-track brim with vitality no less than the screaming rendition of “The Mob Rules” or the nine-minute take on “War Pigs.” Captured while the band was on the road for the second of the LPs issued with Dio during their first run together, Live Evil has a stateliness and fury in kind, and though it would ultimately mark the capstone for this version of Black Sabbath, it perfectly summarizes the absolute mastery they conveyed at this point on every level — style, structure, charge and poise.

Of course, even when a band releases a whole show officially, let alone a live record compiled from multiple sources like this one, they’re putting the best representation of themselves forward, but even with that caveat, Live Evil absolutely soars. With a crisp mix much bolstered by the keyboard work of Geoff Nicholls (who, sadly, passed away earlier this year) and an absolutely vital blend of songs like “Sign of the Southern Cross” and “Black Sabbath,” it represents Black Sabbath acknowledging what by then was already their history as well as their unwillingness to be bound by it. As they finish with “Children of the Grave,” they leave no question as to their place in the lore of metal and the NWOBHM specifically, and though the language of their serving as forebears of doom didn’t really exist at the time, that too is no less chiseled in stone here via Iommi‘s solo in “Heaven and Hell” than by the swing of “Voodoo” or the lumbering heft of “Iron Man.” This incarnation, this band, this moment: Untouchable.

And temporary. Within a year of Live Evil‘s release, Ronnie James Dio would be out of Black Sabbath. His debut with his own Dio band on Warner Bros., 1983’s Holy Diver, kicked off a trio of releases with the lineup of Dio, Appice, guitarist Vivian Campbell and bassist Jimmy Bain rounded out by 1984’s The Last in Line and 1985’s Sacred Heart that further affirmed his place among metal’s greatest frontmen while achieving massive commercial success in the studio and on tour. Sabbath, meanwhile, tried to go three-for-three in bringing aboard Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan for 1983’s Born Again (discussed here), and while the result was one of their darkest, grittiest albums and one that’s only flourished in appeal in the years since, at the time it didn’t have the same kind of far-reaching success as either Heaven and Hell or Mob Rules before it, and the lineup didn’t last. Iommi would work with another former Deep Purple singer, Glenn Hughes, for the Seventh Star album in 1986 — reportedly supposed to be a solo record that was later stamped as a Black Sabbath release — before settling in with singer Tony Martin to begin the band’s next era in earnest, which would carry them until their 1992 reunion with Dio for the Dehumanizer LP, and then pick up again for two more outings in the mid ’90s — 1994’s Cross Purposes and 1995’s Forbidden — before Iommi, Butler and Bill Ward eventually reunited with Osbourne in 1997.

That’s not the end of Sabbath and Dio‘s complicated history together by any means. They’d get together again under the guise of Heaven and Hell in the aughts/early ’10s, tour and produce both a live and a studio album, the latter being 2009’s The Devil You Know (review here), and perform together essentially until sidelined by Dio‘s declining health and the battle with cancer that took his life in 2010.

If their work as Heaven and Hell proved anything at all, it was the continued relevance of this lineup and the sonic persona that made it distinct from any incarnation of Sabbath before or after. Live Evil represents that at its best and most vivid, and as always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

In the middle of a conversation about something else — I don’t remember what, but can only imagine it was baby-related as most things these days seem to be — The Patient Mrs. turned to me the other day and said this exact quote: “Also: we should listen to some Dio.” Sometimes a relationship provides you with a moment when you’re so filled with love that you feel carried by it, like you’re floating in its warmth and safety. My wife suggesting we put on Dio was, for me, one of those moments. Naturally I chose Live Evil to close the week in her honor.

This coming Monday is the 13th anniversary of our marriage in 2004. Next Thursday, Sept. 28, is an even bigger one, marking 20 full years since we got together in 1997. Staggering. Well more than half my life at this point. It is my marriage and my life with The Patient Mrs. that defines who I am as a person — whatever else I am and whatever else I do, I am hers first — and of all the courses I could have imagined for what my life would become in my childhood (which I still arguably was at 15 when we became a couple), I could never have dreamed of being so fortunate as to have her in that central role. Every day, I continue to be so, so, so lucky and so, so, so much in love. 20 years is nothing. Give me forever.

We’re celebrating this weekend by returning to Ludlow, Vermont, which has kind of become an “our place,” at least in my mind. You’d be forgiven for not recalling we rented a small cottage there last year after spending a month on the same property in 2010, and I think the intent is to make it as much of an annual anniversary-marking sojourn as we can. Sounds awesome. Three hours on the road this afternoon will be well worth it to see those mountains again with their already-changing leaves and to feel the cool clarity of the air at altitude. We’re there until Wednesday morning, and aside from the absolute-must of watching the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery on Sunday — please don’t suck please don’t suck please don’t suck — I believe the plan is to hang out mellow, maybe get some work done, and enjoy each other’s exclusive company before The Pecan arrives and transforms our life together as we know it.

Due date is in about three weeks. Oct. 15. Getting close now.

We had another ultrasound appointment yesterday. He looks like a person, is one, and seems to be healthy and hearty enough that if he was born today, he’d be small but otherwise fine. That’s good to know. I should probably note that when The Pecan arrives, I’ll probably put up a post about it, but if there are a few days there where I’m occupied outside this site, I hope you’ll forgive me. As it could happen anytime, the situation obviously requires flexibility. Allowances to be made, etc.

So of course I’m going to try to sneak in a six-day Quarterly Review starting this coming Monday. Ha. 60 albums written up between Monday and Monday. I’ve still got links and players to embed in the back ends of the posts — ugh — but otherwise we’re good to go. Here’s a full look at my notes for what’s coming:

Mon.: QR day 1, Doomstress announce/song premiere, Scream of the Butterfly video premiere.
Tue.: QR day 2, Radio Moscow review.
Wed.: QR day 3, Fungus Hill video.
Thu.: QR day 4, Windhand video.
Fri.: QR day 5, whatever else comes along.

Might not look like it, but that’s a packed week. The Quarterly Review is a huge amount of work on my end in a way that nothing else I do for this site is, but I’ve yet to put one together and not feel like it was worth the effort, so I expect to get there once again. There’s a lot of cool stuff included. It’ll be good. Stay tuned.

That’s gonna do it for me. The Patient Mrs. and I have another doctor’s appointment on this rainy-as-hell morning, because babies, doctors, that’s how it goes, and then it’s back home to pack and hit the road to Vermont. Whatever you’re up to, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks again for reading and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Can We Talk About Ozzy Osbourne for a Minute?

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features on August 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ozzy osbourne

Yeah, I know. In the realm of heavy, there have been few topics as thoroughly discussed as just what to do with the legacy of Ozzy Osbourne. The founding and on-again-off-again frontman of Black Sabbath, solo bandleader and unparalleled metallic figurehead has had a half-century-long career with more than several lifetimes’ worth of ups and downs, highs and lows, and hyperbole-worthy triumphs and failures. Among living metal singers, he stands alone in needing only his name to conjure strong feelings on either side: Ozzy.

If you’re reading this, chances are I don’t need to lay out for you the ongoing influence of Osbourne’s work with Black Sabbath, whose first six albums played an essential role in forming the gospel on which heavy metal dogma was shaped. Likewise, Osbourne’s “solo” career, his bringing to light and fostering the playing and songwriting of guitarists like Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee and Zakk Wylde, has possibly been just as — if not more — influential. Artistically and commercially, the man is a giant in a way that no one else in heavy metal is.

My question is, how should we feel about Ozzy in 2017? Is it okay to love Ozzy again?

I remember going to see Ozzy in high school. I did the Ozzfest thing in the mid and late ’90s. Ozzy had his Prince of Darkness days, had put out the relatively strong Ozzmosis in 1995 and No More Tears in 1991, and yeah, neither of those records would have the impact of 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz, ’81’s Diary of a Madman or ’83’s Bark at the Moon — even 1986’s The Ultimate Sin and 1988’s No Rest for the Wicked had their moments (I don’t care what you say, “Crazy Babies” rules) — but for a guy who’d said he was retiring, there was still plenty of energy left in his work. He had more in the tank. And that showed live as well.

Was there ever a more charismatic metal frontman? Robert Plant — a peer — was always too pretty. Ian Gillan too poised. Lemmy was rawer and less directly engaged with the audience. Halford, Dickinson and Dio were always far better singers, but in his stage presence, Ozzy could have an entire arena on his side by doing little more than showing up and saying hi. He still can. He’s screwed up lyrics onstage for as long as he’s been playing songs. He’s become less and less able to carry a tune. It’s arguable he hasn’t had a decent record out under his own name this century, but as much as one can level cash-grab accusations his way at nearly every turn, isn’t there something appealing about the fact that Osbourne just can’t bring himself to quit? Can’t leave the stage behind? Can’t stop that direct link to his fans? And so long as people keep buying tickets, should he really be expected to?

When MTV began airing The Osbournes 15 years ago, it was impossible to know the damage it would do to Ozzy’s reputation, but real quick, he went from the Prince of Darkness, the guy who gave us “Suicide Solution” and “Over the Mountain,” to an utter buffoon. In some ways, he’s never recovered from that cringe-inducing scene of him shaking, lost in his own garden, calling for his then-wife and manager, Sharon. The show, which was hammered into the ground and dead-horse-beaten across increasingly painful seasons, was only one of many questionable business decisions throughout the years.

Do we even need to talk about replacing Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake’s tracks on album reissues? The list goes on. Ozzfest by then was on the wane. Sabbath’s late-’90s reunion had produced one mediocre single, some righteous touring, and then fizzled once again, and neither the 2005 covers collection Under Cover nor 2007’s Black Rain full-length did much to dissuade anyone from feeling like a slide into uninspired mediocrity was complete. What the hell had happened?

Was it decades of drug and alcohol use catching up? Had Ozzy simply lost it? As Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler reunited with Ronnie James Dio in Heaven and Hell, Osbourne seemed left in the dust, and his 2010 album, Scream — his most recent studio effort — was forgettable at best.

Hopes were high when it was announced Osbourne would reunite with Black Sabbath and that the band would set to work with producer Rick Rubin on what became 2013’s 13 (review here). The results were debatable, and debated, issues of integrity not at all helped by a lengthy, ugly and public contract dispute with original drummer Bill Ward. But even as Iommi was ailed with a cancer fight, touring ensued. Once again, Sabbath was bringing their show (review here) to the people. Landmark songs, some new stuff in the mix, and though he was off-key as ever, Ozzy’s charisma was still there, still intact.

Let me put it this way: We’re now a decade and a half removed from The Osbournes, and whatever else Ozzy has done, he’s really never stopped touring. It’s not like he needs the money, so isn’t it just possible he’s doing it because he loves it? He turns 69 in December. On the basic level of physical exhaustion, it can’t be a pleasant experience for him to be onstage for an hour-plus at this point, even with nights off between shows on tour. His well-documented history of substance abuse notwithstanding, he’s held it together better than some, and while the shape of the brand has changed, he’s still overseeing and headlining an Ozzfest Meets Knotfest this Fall in San Bernadino, California. The leadoff single from Black Rain was “I Don’t Wanna Stop.” Isn’t it possible that’s the truth?

I don’t know Ozzy and in my time have gotten to ask him precisely one question in an interview, so I can’t speak to his motivations, but whatever his ultimate reasoning is, I think it’s worth stopping for a minute and realizing how special his career has been, how pivotal his contributions to heavy music have been, and how much of his life he’s dedicated to bringing joy to his audience. Yeah, he’s made a pretty penny doing it, and done as much to tarnish his persona as to hone it over the years, but whether it’s through the sheer longevity of his relevance, the classic nature and ongoing influence of his work with Sabbath and the early incarnations of the Ozzy Osbourne band, or the smile on his face when he steps out in front of a crowd, it still seems to me that there’s plenty to appreciate about Ozzy in 2017.

That’s worth considering as well as all the rest when we think about the man, his music and the impact both have had on our lives.

Ozzy Osbourne website

Ozzy Osbourne on Thee Facebooks

Black Sabbath, Paris 1970

Black Sabbath, California Jam 1974

Ozzy Osbourne, “Mr. Crowley” live in 1981

Ozzy Osbourne, “Crazy Babies” official video

Ozzy Osbourne, Live in Minnesota, Aug. 2017

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Friday Full-Length: May Blitz, May Blitz

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

May Blitz, May Blitz (1970)

The story of May Blitz should be recognizable to anyone who’s ever immersed themselves in the history of any number of acts from their era. Or, I suppose, any era. Dudes from other bands got together in this band, put out a couple of records, called it quits and moved onto other projects. Up to and including the connections to Uriah Heep, it’s a pretty familiar tale, but what it doesn’t take into account is the quality of the two records May Blitz offered during their time together. Issued through Vertigo Records — see also Black Sabbath, Warhorse, Nucleus, Status Quo, Gentle Giant, the aforementioned Uriah Heep, Nazareth, etc., etc. — the first of them was a 1970 self-titled seven-tracker with terrible artwork that over the course of about 43 minutes managed to sum up the shift that was taking place between heavy blues groove and what would in the next several years take shape as British progressive rock. Elements of psychedelia remain in cuts like “Dreaming” and “Tomorrow May Come,” but even more than that or the post-Hendrix smolder of “Fire Queen,” what’s most abiding in May Blitz‘s May Blitz is the chill factor. Even when guitarist Jamie Black (also vocals) tears into the solo on “I Don’t Know,” the vibe is thick as molasses and the groove is so laid back that one can’t help but lazily nod along 47 years later.

May Blitz got together the year before the self-titled arrived, founded by bassist Terry Poole and drummer Keith Baker, both of whom had been playing in blues rockers Bakerloo. They’d be gone by the time the band recorded, with Black bringing in bassist Reid Hudson and drummer Tony Newman. As a rhythm section, they add formidable drama to the rushing freakout midsection of “Dreaming,” and are largely responsible for the comfortable pace at which the material is executed, though that’s not to take away from Black as a frontman either. Power trio? Power trio. Whether they’re dug into the ambience of “Dreaming,” marked out aside from that unhinged midsection by its acoustic strum, spacious drumming and harmonized vocals, or digging into the blown-out jam at the culmination of “Virgin Waters,” there’s little doubt the guitarist makes his presence known as one would have to expect.

In the bouncing centerpiece “Squeet,” the elements find perhaps their best balance, with Black noodling away on a repetitive figure as Hudson‘s bass rumbles out a particular tonal warmth and Newman makes his way around the kit and back to the crash cymbal prior to smoothing out on a who-the-hell-knows-what-they’re-talking-about hook that remains catchy nonetheless. Sandwiched by “Dreaming” and “Tomorrow May Come,” it’s a reminder how much of the appeal of this kind of band could rest in their not taking themselves too seriously, but neither is it void of progressive edge. Again, that was the moment at which May Blitz happened to arrive. The Deep Purples, Led Zeppelins and Black Sabbaths were taking over the terrain that had belonged to the Creams and Hendrix, and the parallel development of progressive rock from King CrimsonJethro Tull and countless others was very obviously a factor here as well. None of this happened in a vacuum, but few and far between are the records that seem to emphasize this creative conversation as fluidly as does May Blitz.

But still, the ultimate victory of the outing is that consistency of mood. As exploratory as it might get or as heavy as it goes, May Blitz doesn’t lose that relaxed character, perhaps until “Fire Queen” and the ending of “Virgin Waters,” but even then what May Blitz do remains informed by the context preceding. They’d release The 2nd of May in 1971 and be done by the end of that year, moving onto different projects and outfits and leaving these two records to languish in heavy ’70s obscurity, along with so many others on the collectors market. Like I said at the outset, it’s a pretty common narrative, but a pretty special record.

As ever, I hope you enjoy.

I went to the doctor yesterday, and in addition to taking what seems to be the standard three vials of blood for sundry vitamin and other tests, he gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant to help with the anxiety issues I’ve been having the last however long. I’ve been taking herbal supplements at the recommendation of someone on here, and that’s a thing on which to spend money, but I had a buddy come through with some Xanax last weekend and after a day or two of that I could tell a real difference. I’ve been on this anti-depressant before, which I think is basically how I wound up on it again, and we’ll see if it helps. It’s been rough of late.

Because my appointment was in the morning, I took the day off work, so after some copious errand-running with The Patient Mrs., the bulk of the afternoon was spent working side-by-side, which I like. She had grading to do, while I put together the posts for today and started in on Monday’s whatnottery as well. Sunday being Mothers Day, our schedules for the weekend are kind of wonky, going to Connecticut, coming back north early Monday morning to get me to work on time, etc. I don’t really like to do that — because who the hell likes to go anywhere at 6AM? — but, you know, moms.

Some good stuff coming up next week. At some point soon I’m going to be posting a travel guide for Psycho Las Vegas — basically how to do the festival on the cheap and survive the desert heat — and that should be fun, but I’m not sure when it will start. Anyway, keep an eye out. Here’s what’s in my notes, subject to change as usual:

Mon.: Steak review and full album stream, Cosmic Fall video premiere.
Tue.: Geezer review and full album stream.
Wed.: Six Dumb Questions with Telekinetic Yeti; The Cold Stares track premiere.
Thu.: Abronia review and full album stream.
Fri.: Siena Root review and track premiere.

I’m hearing now that the Steak stream might not happen, so that’s a definite maybe. If that doesn’t work out, I might just nix the review for the day and do a podcast or another Six Dumb Questions post instead. It’s been a while since I did a podcast and at this point I’ve got a backlog of SDQs waiting to go up, so one way or the other a day will happen. The Cosmic Fall video is cool, so I’m happy about hosting that, and the rest of the week is pretty locked in. UPDATE: It’s a podcast. It rules. Will be up Monday.

There’s more to say but I think I’ll leave it there. If you’re celebrating Mothers Day, I hope your mom is kicking ass, and in any case I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Shit is weird so be careful out there. Thanks for reading and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

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Friday Full-Length: Black Sabbath, Born Again

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Black Sabbath, Born Again (1983)

Among the several maligned periods of Black Sabbath‘s almost-50-year history, from the late-Ozzy era to the Tony Martin years to the various reunions, “Psycho Man” and all that, I don’t think any single album has found redemption over the years more than 1983’s Born Again. It’s simply a record that won out over time. Condemned in its day for its mix, its sloppiness of sound and off-balance, coked-up, thrown together feel, it’s now appreciated for many of the same reasons. Until the 2011 charity one-off project WhoCares?, whose single was reviewed here, it would be the only collaboration between founding Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and frontman-of-frontmen Ian Gillan, of course known for his work in Deep Purple. The stories by now are legion, and don’t need my retelling. Gillan has discussed at length over the years how the whole thing was put together by management, how he barely took part in writing these songs — almost apologizing for an album that was poorly received — and that’s fair enough. Born Again is likewise something different from anything he’d done before as well, and for Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward and keyboardist Geoff Nichols, it was a stark contrast to the grandiose reach of the band’s (first) era fronted by Ronnie James Dio, which produced two brilliant, landmark albums in 1980’s Heaven and Hell (discussed here) and 1981’s Mob Rules (discussed here), before coming to a close in time for Dio to issue his solo debut, the also-landmark Holy Diver, a few months before Born Again, in Spring 1983.

I’m not interested in defending Born Again against detractors — it still has many. Rather, in considering it as the pivot point for Black Sabbath in the ’80s, which is a time when it’s easy to think of them as wandering in the desert, working with GillanGlenn HughesRay Gillen, etc., en route to the decade Iommi would team with Tony Martin, the nine-track/41-minute offering might be the first Sabbath record that knew it was heavy metal and that being heavy metal was coming to mean something different from even a few years earlier. Born Again strips away the acoustic flourish of “Heaven and Hell,” the expansive progressivism of “The Sign of the Southern Cross,” in favor of raw tracks like “Zero the Hero,” the dissonant and jagged “Disturbing the Priest,” and barnburners like opener “Trashed” — a car song, which shines as a vehicle (pun totally intended) for Gillan post-Purple — and the almost unfortunately catchy “Digital Bitch,” to which, admittedly, history and context have not been as kind. The title-track meanders as a proto-ballad, and with the rocker “Hot Line” and the semi-sleaze of “Keep it Warm” closing out, Born Again is not without filler, but that’s precisely the point. It’s not a perfect record, and if one considers even the most basic measure of creative intent behind that stripping down, it not only sets up what Sabbath would do for the rest of the ’80s and well into the ’90s, but it makes for a standout from their catalog even in comparison to their earth-shattering, genre-defining early albums, which coalesced blues rock, weighted tones and darker themes into what eventually became the heavy metal from which Born Again could be seen as drawing influence.

As Sabbath move inexorably toward retirement, I’m keeping my fingers crossed Iommi and Gillan renew their studio collaboration. It’s a long-shot, granted, but even if they didn’t tour together — Gillan still hits the road with Deep Purple on the semi-regular — a studio album perhaps under the working moniker Born Again would certainly be welcome.

Love it or hate it, I hope you’ll take on Black Sabbath‘s Born Again with an open mind and enjoy the process of paying it another visit. Thanks for reading.

If closing out the week with Sabbath felt too easy or cliché, I’ll ask you to note that in the four-plus years I’ve done “Friday Full-Length,” it’s only been Sabbath in two prior instances, both linked above. That’s tied with KyussMonster MagnetDozerGoatsnake and Masters of Reality, among others. Not outlandish in that context to push for a third, what with them being Sabbath and all. There. I told myself I wasn’t going to justify it and I did anyway.

Short week at work with Monday off. Apparently when you have a real job they give you Columbus Day. First time that’s ever happened to me. Somewhat problematic from a colonial standpoint — all that rape and pillage — but a day off is a day off, and given where the rest of the week went work-wise from Tuesday on, I’ll especially take it. A mess of emails, meetings, emails about meetings, reading copy over and over and taking on more and more assignments. I’m also looking at starting another part-time gig on the side to hopefully give me some saving/playing money. And yes, I know how troubling it is to put “saving” and “playing” so close to each other in this context. Oh, Canon 5D Mark IV. You will be mine.

But anyway, it was stressful and I’m glad it’s just about over. Just about. Next week I’m doing myself a couple favors. I’ll be reviewing stuff from TruckfightersWorshipper, and Asteroid, as well as hosting album streams from Dorre/Bethmoora and Zaum. Not exactly taking it easy, but none of it is going to be a slog to write about by any means. Also look for news on Samsara Blues ExperimentFreedom Hawk and others, and videos for Sergio Ch. and members of Across Tundras. If I can, I’m also going to squeeze in an extra stream of a couple tracks from lost-but-way-ahead-of-their-time NY riffers Begotten that have come into my possession. I’ve been fortunate enough to be granted permission to host them, so don’t want to let that opportunity slip by. Look for that Wednesday or Thursday.

I think I mentioned something last week or the week before about wanting to shave off my beard. That didn’t happen, but I did get my hair cut last week and asked the dude who does that to take the facial hair in considerably as well. No regrets, as far as that goes. The Patient Mrs. noted that it completely changed the shape of my face. I’m fine with that.

So that’s your Beardwatch 2016 update. I’m sure you were glued to the edge of your seat waiting for news.

The Patient Mrs. has a friend in this weekend from abroad, so I expect there will be some running around probably in Boston on Saturday. My ankle’s resurgent soreness notwithstanding, sounds fine. I also at this point don’t care if my fucking foot falls off though, so maybe that’s not the best attitude. It’s cool. Not like it’s been two years or anything. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but between that and the barrage of fascist bullshit this election cycle, from which even Star Trek and the MLB playoffs have ceased to provide respite, it’s rough going.

Oh, and I started Luke Cage. First episode was a bunch of racial tropes — really? a Biggie portrait? — and not much compelling character development. Haven’t gone back to it yet. Jessica Jones and the second season of Daredevil were kind of disappointing as well, so I may or may not get there anytime soon. If you’ve seen it, I’d welcome any opinions on whether it’s worth the effort or if I should just say screw it and keep going with my Deep Space Nine/Voyager deep-dive.

Alright. Can’t imagine anyone’s still reading, but if you are (and I suppose if you stopped), I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please make sure to check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

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Friday Full-Length: Buffalo, Volcanic Rock

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Buffalo, Volcanic Rock (1973)

Issued in July 1973, the sophomore outing from Aussie heavy rockers Buffalo falls right between Deep Purple‘s Who Do We Think We Are? (Jan.) and Black Sabbath‘s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Dec.), and when it comes to Volcanic Rock itself, that’s not a bad way to think about where it was coming from generally. The Sydney-based band formed in 1971 and released their debut, Dead Forever, in 1972, and so missed out on taking part in the barrage of self-titled offerings that showed up in the few years prior, 1970-’71 serving as a nexus point from which heavy rock and roll still seems to be expanding. Still, if they were a little behind the times, Volcanic Rock is no less sincere than any of its 1971 counterpart offerings from gritty rockers like Atomic Rooster, Cactus or countless others. If anything, Buffalo are harder-edged from the start of the propulsive “Sunrise (Come My Way)” through the epic proto-metal finish of “Pound of Flesh/Shylock.” Led by John Baxter‘s guitar and with Dave Tice‘s bluesy vocals, Buffalo represent much of the best of their era, and if the fact that Volcanic Rock showed up two years later means anything in the long run, it means the band’s time was well spent in making it.

To wit, the lurching groove of the nine-minute “Freedom” is an absolute high point, swinging and patient with Jimmy Economou‘s drums and Peter Wells‘s bass. It would be easy for this song and any number of others to fall into post-Led Zeppelin theatric posturing, but it never quite does. Instead, it captures a dead-on nod-jam that sets the tone for some of what “Shylock” will offer later on before giving way to “Till My Death,” in which one can hear the seeds of what Judas Priest would soon enough turn into classic metal. Through that track and “The Prophet,” which thickens up hard-blues grooves and plays off a traditional American gospelism, Buffalo cast an identity for themselves that remains resonant to this day, their methods simply burlier and more roughed up than a lot of heavy rock was and would become as it continued to grow under a progressive influence. Buffalo had their own path, and after Volcanic Rock — the bizarre cover art of which is discussed here — they would continue down it with 1974’s Only Want You for Your Body, 1976’s Mother’s Choice and their final album, 1977’s Average Rock ‘n’ Roller, all through Vertigo Records.

As will happen with this kind of thing, there are numerous editions of the album in existence. I don’t know from which the bonus tracks included in the video above are culled, but whatever. The record itself ends after “Shylock” at 37:25. If you want to push beyond that into the rest, that’s cool too. None of it sucks.

Hope you enjoy.

Quiet start to the New Year, all things considered. I knew it was midnight last night when someone down the way started setting off fireworks. I was still up, but kind of lost in the process of putting together the Year-End Poll Results that went up earlier today. The Patient Mrs. was already asleep. Guess I wasn’t paying attention. Happy New Year.

Also woke up early this morning to finish laying out images, players and links and to start writing the Quarterly Review, which starts next week and of which I got a pathetic amount done between the hours of seven this morning and one this afternoon. I’ll get it done. It’ll be fine. I’m not gonna stress about it (yes I am), or the La Chinga full-album stream that’s slated for Monday, or any of the news posts I’m already behind on (Graveyard playing Freak Valley, etc.). Why stress? Why get upset?

Oh right, because I’m compulsive.

So anyway, yeah, next week is the Quarterly Review. 50 albums written up across Monday to Friday, 10 per day. Since I’m counting it as the end of a quarter of 2015 even though we’re into 2016 already, that will make 200 records covered this year under that format. Next one should be at the end of March/early April, depending on how I can time it with going to Roadburn. Let me get through this one first. Then I’ll start on the next.

The Quarterly Review will eat up a good portion of the week’s posts, but where and when I see news, videos, audio, whatever else there might be, I’ll get as much of it in as I can. That’s the deal around here anyway.

One more time before I sign off for the weekend: Happy New Year and thanks to everybody who took part in the Year-End Poll. At some point this month I’ll have a list up of albums to look forward to in 2016. Last I checked, I was over 100 names. No idea how I’m going to organize it yet, but I will. Gotta see if I can write Mars Red Sky and Neurosis in extra-big letters.

Have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

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Black Sabbath Extend Farewell Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 28th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

I think if Black Sabbath were going to extend their tour based on “overwhelming demand,” they probably wouldn’t ever be able to retire. Still, the forefathers of modern doom — and, less relevantly, metal as a whole — have added dates to their “The End” 2016 tour, which will head to Europe after completing an initial North American run and then circle back for summer dates in the US. It will be the band’s first run since 2013, when they came through heralding their first Ozzy Osbourne-fronted release in over 30 years, 13 (review here).

And yeah, I know you’ve seen this. Everyone’s seen it. Shit, it was trending on Thee Facebooks, so let alone those who’ve made riffs into a lifestyle, people who in no way give even the remotest shit about Black Sabbath have seen it. Consider it here for the ICYMI crowd and for posterity. Never know when you’ll want to refer back to it later. Or at least I will.

And yeah, no Bill Ward.

PR wire-esque info follows:

Black Sabbath (Photo by JJ Koczan)

BLACK SABBATH TRIUMPHANTLY RETURN TO NORTH AMERICA

DUE TO OVERWHELMING DEMAND, “THE END” TOUR EXTENDED INTO FALL 2016 WITH ADDITIONAL NORTH AMERICAN SHOWS

Due to overwhelming demand, the road to THE END just got longer.

On the heels of their much-anticipated performances in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, BLACK SABBATH will end the epic journey they began nearly five decades ago with another run of North American dates in fall 2016. These shows will follow a mix of summer headlining and festival performances throughout Europe.

The second run of North American dates kicks off August 17 at Jones Beach Amphitheater in New York and includes stops at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles (where the band last performed a sold-out show on their wildly successful 13 world tour in 2014), Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto, Detroit, and Dallas, among others, before wrapping September 21 at AK-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix, AZ.

The massive 2016 world tour by the greatest Metal Band of all time marks THE END for Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler as they close the final chapter in the final volume of the incredible BLACK SABBATH story with this tour. BLACK SABBATH’s THE END farewell tour promises to surpass all previous tours and will feature the band’s most mesmerizing production ever.

When this tour concludes, it will truly be THE END, THE END of one of most legendary bands in Rock ’n Roll history…BLACK SABBATH

BLACK SABBATH’s 2016 Tour Dates are as follows:

NORTH AMERICA
1/20 Omaha, NE CenturyLink Center
1/22 Chicago, IL United Center
1/25 Minneapolis, MN Target Center
1/27 Winnipeg MN MTS Centre
1/30 Edmonton, AB Rexall Centre
2/1 Calgary, AB Scotiabank Saddledome
2/3 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena
2/6 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
2/9 San Jose, CA SAP Pavilion
2/11 Los Angeles, CA The Forum
2/13 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay
2/15 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
2/17 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
2/19 Detroit, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills
2/21 Hamilton, ON First Ontario Centre
2/23 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
2/25 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
2/27 New York, NY Madison Square Garden

AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND
4/15 Perth, AU Perth Arena
4/17 Adelaide, AU Entertainment Centre
4/19 Melbourne, AU Rod Laver Arena
4/23 Sydney, AU Allphones Arena
4/25 Brisbane, AU Entertainment Centre
4/28 Auckland, NZ Vector Arena
4/30 Dunedin, NZ Forsyth Barr Stadium

EUROPE
6/1 Budapest,Hungary Groupama Arena
6/8 Berlin, Germany Waldebuhne
**6/11 Donington, UK Download
6/13 Verona, IT Arena Di Verona
6/15 Zurich, Switzerland Hallenstadon
**6/17 Dessel,Belgium Grasspop
**6/23 Halden, Norway Tons of Rock
**6/25 Copenhagen, DE Copenhell
6/28 Vienna, Austria Stadthalle
6/30 Prague, Czech Rep. 02 Arena
7/2 Krakow, Poland Tauron Arena
7/5 Riga, Latvia Riga Arena
**7/7 Helsinki, Finland Monsters of Rock
**7/9 Stockholm, Sweden Monsters of Rock
7/12 Moscow, Russia Olympisky Arena
**Denotes festival appearance

NORTH AMERICA
8/17 Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
8/19 Philadelphia, PA Susquehanna Bank Center
8/21 Washington DC Jiffy Lube Live
8/23 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
8/25 Boston, MA Xfinity Center
8/27 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
8/29 Toronto, ON Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
8/31 Detroit, MI DTE Energy Music Theater
9/2 Indianapolis, IN Klipsch Music Center
9/4 Chicago, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
9/7 Dallas, TX Gexa Energy Pavilion
9/9 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Ampitheater
9/11 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Ampitheater
9/13 Portland, OR Sunlight Supply Arena
9/15 Oakland, CA Oracle Arena
9/17 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena
9/19 Hollywood, CA Hollywood Bowl
9/21 Phoenix, AZ AK-Chin Pavilion

https://www.facebook.com/BlackSabbath
http://www.blacksabbath.com/

Black Sabbath, ‘The End’ Tour Announcement

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