History Lesson: BLACK SABBATH’s 1975 Masterpiece, Sabotage

The final great BLACK SABBATH record with the band’s original line-up rarely gets the love it deserves outside diehard SABBATH fans. Most every tribute album or SABBATH cover song skips over this massive album.

While I love the five albums that preceded 1975′s Sabotage, this is the SABBATH album that spoke to me most as a teenager who was totally immersed in discovering all the heavy music I could get my hands on. To this day, I only own this album in cassette format. It’s the most depressing and emotionally powerful album in that disillusioned and maddening sense. The band were undoubtedly living life to full excess but were very much in touch with their souls.

After the first three songs, “Hole in the Sky,” “Symptom of the Universe” (the first thrash song ever written) and “Don’t Start (Too Late),” Sabotage really takes off on its epic journey through alienation, disillusionment, and liberation. The band wore their heart on their sleeves and that is something that really resonated in and connected with me as a disillusioned kid at the time.

While it is a crime to be a casual SABBATH fan, it’s never too late to learn about and subsequently worship at the altar of the gods. Let us enjoy some selections from this great work of art.

Metal Legend Ronnie James Dio Passes Away

Metal legend Ronnie James Dio (ELF, RAINBOW, DIO, BLACK SABBATH/HEAVEN AND HELL) passed away early this morning after a battle with stomach cancer. His wife and manager, Wendy Dio, posted this message on www.ronniejamesdio.com:

“Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever.

- Wendy Dio

Fans may leave their condolesces on Dio‘s facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio

Free JUDAS PRIEST Tickets with Album Purchase

While supplies last, when you purchase any configuration of the initial pressing of JUDAS PRIEST’s double disc concept album, Nostradamus (release date – June 17th), specially marked CD’s will contain an insert with a exclusive code inside the CD package for one free lawn ticket to see JUDAS PRIEST on selected dates of the Metal Masters Tour this summer. Visit www.judaspriest.com for details on this special offer. This seemingly too-good-to-be-true offer will be good while supplies last. Also, this offer will not pertain to all the dates of the Metal Masters Tour (see below for complete list of dates that the offer is good for).

The Metal Masters Tour will undoubtedly be the top metal concert attraction of the summer. In addition to a headlining performance by JUDAS PRIEST, fans will also be treated to sets by HEAVEN & HELL, MOTORHEAD, and TESTAMENT. “As ever, we look forward to screaming out loud with our metal maniac fans when we hit the road,” enthuses PRIEST singer, Rob Halford. “The PRIEST is back!”

The album takes you on a nearly two-hour journey. It is without a doubt best looked at as a complete work as all true concept albums are. You can really see it living out on a stage. It sounds like PRIEST have truly created something special and once again lived up to their rightful billing as ‘Metal Gods’.”

As to why they chose to make a concept album about Nostradamus, Glenn Tipton explains: “We didn’t – he chose us. We feel it was meant to be!”

Tickets for all shows on sale now at www.livenation.com.

Offer good only for one of the following shows, while supplies last:

06-Aug-08 Camden, NJ
07-Aug-08 Bristow, VA
09-Aug-08 Holmdel, NJ
16-Aug-08 Pittsburgh, PA
19-Aug-08 Chicago, IL
22-Aug-08 Dallas, TX
23-Aug-08 Houston, TX
24-Aug-08 San Antonio, TX
27-Aug-08 Albuquerque, NM
28-Aug-08 Phoenix, AZ
30-Aug-08 San Bernardino, CA
31-Aug-08 Mountain View, CA

Metal Legends JUDAS PRIEST, HEAVEN AND HELL, MOTORHEAD, and TESTAMENT Unite for Metal Masters Tour

After weeks of speculation, Live Nation has put together a killer package that is bound to go down as the heavy metal event of 2008 – JUDAS PRIEST, HEAVEN AND HELL, MOTORHEAD and TESTAMENT will be touring together for the first time.

Dubbed “The Metal Masters Tour,” the fifteen-date U.S. trek kicks off August 6th at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey. Tickets go on sale to the public beginning this weekend at www.livenation.com. JUDAS PRIEST will be supporting their epic concept album, Nostradamus, arriving June 17th via Epic Records, which tells the tale of the renowned 16th century prophet. A few tracks from Nostradamus will make their in-concert debut on “The Metal Masters Tour,” but the majority of PRIEST’s set list will include some of metal’s all-time classics, as well as fan favorites that span the quintet’s entire career. Without a doubt, this will be one of PRIEST’s most powerful sets ever.

HEAVEN AND HELL will be supporting the release of The Rules Of Hell, a five-CD boxed set available July 22nd from Rhino Records, which features re-mastered versions of all four Dio-era BLACK SABBATH albums (Heaven And Hell, Mob Rules, Live Evil and Dehumanizer) in a deluxe package with new liner notes.

Perennial road rats MOTORHEAD will be offering a blistering barnstormer of a set spanning more than three decades of molar-rattling biker metal. A new studio album – the 20th of their storied career – is currently being recorded at their old pal Dave Grohl’s studio with an August release date targeted. Frontman Lemmy, named by the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper as “the nation’s greatest living Englishman,” blairs out, “Here it comes everybody, the test of your Metalness in 2008 and the years to come! Come one come all and be abused!”

Rounding out the line-up will be legendary thrash metal titans TESTAMENT, whose new album, The Formation of Damnation, (April 29th) displays TESTAMENT as the quintessential modern heavy metal band, whose experience and accumulated skill allows them to attack with reserves of anger, energy and finesse that make them more powerful than ever. Lead singer Chuck Billy says, “Uniting these bands is the heavy metal event of generations. We are so proud to be a part of it.”

“As ever, we look forward to screaming out loud with our metal maniac fans when we hit the road,” enthuses PRIEST singer, Rob Halford. “Thank you once again for your devotion and support. The PRIEST is back!”

This tour will be limited to fifteen very special engagements, and Citi cardmembers will have pre-sale access to tickets through Citi’s Private Pass® Program, available to all Citi cardmembers at www.privatepass.citi.com.

Metal maniacs seeking the ultimate concert experience can access unique VIP ticket and fan experience packages that offer premium seats, meet & greets, pre-concert parties and more brought to you by the band’s official websites,
www.judaspriest.com and www.heavenandhelllive.com.

VIP packages for the first events will be on sale by 10 a.m eastern time on Friday, April 25th. Also, not all VIP packages are the same, so be sure to pick the right one that suits you best.

See the official web sites for continually updated tour information and on-sale dates.

The dates are as follows:

Wed 06-Aug-08 Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ – PUBLIC ON SALE APRIL 26, 10 am
Thu 07-Aug-08 Nissan Pavilion, Bristow, VA – PUBLIC ON SALE SOON
Sat 09-Aug-08 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ – PUBLIC ON SALE APRIL 26, 10 am
Sun 10-Aug-08 Nikon at Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY – PUBLIC ON SALE APRIL 26, 10 am
Wed 13-Aug-08 Molson Amphitheatre, Toronto, ON – PUBLIC ON SALE APRIL 25, 10 am
Sat 16-Aug-08 Post Gazette Pavilion, Pittsburgh, PA – PUBLIC ON SALE APRIL 25, 10 am
Mon 18-Aug-08 DTE Energy Music Theatre, Detroit, MI – PUBLIC ON SALE SOON
Tue 19-Aug-08 First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, Chicago, IL – PUBLIC ON SALE APRIL 25, 5 pm
Fri 22-Aug-08 Superpages.com Amphitheatre, Dallas, TX – PUBLIC ON SALE SOON
Sat 23-Aug-08 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Houston, TX – PUBLIC ON SALE SOON
Sun 24-Aug-08 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, San Antonio, TX – PUBLIC ON SALE SOON
Wed 27-Aug-08 Journal Pavilion, Albuquerque, NM – PUBLIC ON SALE SOON
Thu 28-Aug-08 Cricket Wireless Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ – PUBLIC ON SALE SOON
Sat 30-Aug-08 Glen Helen Pavilion, San Bernardino, CA – PUBLIC ON SALE SOON
Sun 31-Aug-08 Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA – PUBLIC ON SALE APRIL 27, 10 am

MEGADETH’s United Abominations Hits Stores May 15th; On Tour with HEAVEN AND HELL

MEGADETH will release their 11th studio album, United Abominations, May 15 via their new label, Roadrunner Records. Frontman Dave Mustaine recently completed tracking and mixing the album in rural Derbyshire, England with producer Andy Sneap.

Of the new CD, Mustaine says listening to it “puts a smile on the inside of me for the first time in years. We all can smile on the outside, but the project has satisfied me, and I am completely content deep inside. I can’t remember when I had such a pleasant time making a record. It is fast, heavy, melodic, and of course controversial, as well as hooky with some unexpected twists.”

The album was recorded in Los Angeles and England by Mustaine (guitar/vocals) with Glen Drover (guitar), Shawn Drover (drums) and James Lomenzo (bass). “Metal needs a really good old school record again,” says Mustaine. “I believe I have delivered.” The album’s first single is “À Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free),” a newly recorded version of the early MEGADETH classic that now features guest vocals by Cristina Scabbia of LACUNA COIL. The album’s 10 other songs are: “Sleepwalker,” “Washington Is Next!,” “Never Walk Alone…A Call To Arms,” “United Abominations,” “Gears Of War,” “Blessed Be The Dead,” “Play For Blood,” “Amerikhastan,” “You’re Dead” and “Burnt Ice.”

In other news, the band recently announced they’ll tour North America with HEAVEN AND HELL (BLACK SABBATH) and MACHINE HEAD beginning March 11 in Vancouver, BC.

Meanwhile, MEGADETH released the electrifying live DVD, That One Night: Live In Buenos Aires, March 6 via Image Entertainment.

Tour dates w/HEAVEN AND HELL and MACHINE HEAD:
Tue 3/13 Edmonton, AB Rexall Place
Wed 3/14 Calgary, AB Saddledome
Fri 3/16 Regina, SK Brandt Centre
Sun 3/18 Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre
Tue 3/20 Sault St. Marie, ON Steelback Centre
Thu 3/22 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
Sat 3/24 London, ON John Labatt Centre
Mon 3/26 Montreal, PQ Bell Centre
Tue 3/27 Quebec City, PQ Colisee Pepsi Arena
Wed 3/28 Ottawa, ON Civic Center
Sun 4/22 Phoenix, AZ Dodge Theatre
Tue 4/24 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion
Wed 4/25 Los Angeles, CA Forum
Thu 4/26 San Diego, CA Coors Amphitheater
Sat 4/28 Albuquerque, NM Journal Pavilion
Sun 4/29 Denver, CO Broomfield Events Center
Tue 5/1 San Antonio, TX Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Wed 5/2 Houston, TX Cynthia Mitchell Woods
Thu 5/3 Dallas, TX Nokia Theatre
Sat 5/5 Chicago, IL All State Arena
Sun 5/6 Minneapolis, MN Theatre at Target Center
Tue 5/8 Cincinnati, OH US Bank Arena
Thu 5/10 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Arena
Fri 5/11 Cleveland, OH Tower City Amphitheater
Sat 5/12 Detroit, MI Cobo Hall
Mon 5/14 Albany, NY Times Union Center
Tue 5/15 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
Thu 5/17 Lowell, MA Tsongas Arena
Fri 5/18 Baltimore, MD Merriweather Pavilion
Sat 5/19 Holmdel, NJ PNC Arts Center

Rhino Records to Release BLACK SABBATH: The Dio Years and Live at Hammersmith Odeon

Together for a short but memorable time—a trio of studio albums, a classic live album, and a couple of tours—the second coming of BLACK SABBATH began in 1979 when founding members Tony Iommi and Terry “Geezer” Butler were joined by Ronnie James Dio. The former singer of ELF (and later RAINBOW and DIO) added his fiery, demonic howl to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group’s crushing mix of iconic riffs, gloomy grooves and doom-soaked imagery.

In late 2006 Dio, Iommi and Butler, joined by drummer Vinny Appice, reunited to record three new songs for Rhino Records’ era-spanning collection, BLACK SABBATH: The Dio Years. These recording sessions went so well that the quartet—billed as HEAVEN AND HELL—will launch a highly anticipated world tour this spring. The group will play a dozen dates in Canada in March before taking the stage of the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City on March 30 to play their only U.S. date until the band launches a full tour of the States later this year.

The first comprehensive introduction to the band’s legacy, BLACK SABBATH: The Dio Years features a dozen classic studio recordings, plus one live track—“Children of the Sea” from 1982’s Live Evil. The collection also contains the three brand-new tracks—“The Devil Cried,” “Shadow of the Wind,” and “Ear in the Wall.” The disc will be available April 3rd.

Arranged chronologically, the compilation spotlights Dio’s time with BLACK SABBATH and draws heavily from the lineup’s 1980 debut and 1981 follow-up, Heaven and Hell< /strong> and Mob Rules respectively. The Dio Years also features “After All (The Dead),” “TV Crimes” and “I” from the singer’s brief reunion with SABBATH for the Dehumanizer album and tour.

On May 1, Rhino Handmade will release BLACK SABBATH: Live at Hammersmith Odeon, which features Dio, Iommi, Butler and Appice getting hot one December night in London during their 1981 tour for Mob Rules. Previously unreleased, the concert spotlights SABBATH as they storms through 14 of the Dio-era’s best. The band also performs several pre-Dio classics including “Paranoid,” “Children of the Grave” and a white-hot version of “War Pigs.” The album will be available from Rhino Handmade as an individually numbered limited edition of 5,000 copies.

BLACK SABBATH: The Dio Years tracklisting:
1. “Neon Knights”
2. “Lady Evil”
3. “Heaven And Hell”
4. “Die Young”
5. “Lonely is the Word”
6. “The Mob Rules”
7. “Turn Up the Night”
8. “Voodoo”
9. “Falling Off the Edge of the World”
10. “After All (The Dead)”
11. “TV Crimes”
12. “I”
13. “Children of the Sea” – Live
14. “The Devil Cried”*
15. “Shadow of the Wind”*
16. “Ear in the Wall”*

*Newly recorded track

BLACK SABBATH: Live At Hammersmith Odeon tracklisting:
1. “E5150”
2. “Neon Knights”
3. “N.I.B.”
4. “Children of the Sea”
5. “Country Girl”
6. “Black Sabbath”
7. “War Pigs”
8. “Slipping Away”
9. “Iron Man”
10. “The Mob Rules”
11. “Heaven and Hell”
12. “Paranoid”
13. “Voodoo”
14. “Children of the Grave”

BLACK SABBATH’s Dio-Era Reunion, HEAVEN AND HELL, Tour Dates Announced

Putting to bed the longstanding rumors of a reunion tour, HEAVEN AND HELL have announced their first tour dates for 2007. The tour will feature 11 Canadian shows, along with an exciting one-night-only performance at one of the most prestigious venues in the world, New York’s Radio City Music Hall. HEAVEN AND HELL reunites Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice for the first time in 15 years.

Currently there are 12 scheduled stops, starting on March 11 in Vancouver and ending on March 30 in New York City. The world tour will continue until the end of the year with shows in the US, Asia and Europe. Additional dates will be announced shortly.

Multi-platinum recording artist MEGADETH will be joining the tour, and previewing never before heard material from their upcoming release on Roadrunner Records, United Abominations. The tour also brings the return of DOWN, featuring Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown from PANTERA, as well as Pepper Keenan of COC.

The heavy metal icons are also scheduled to release a new anthology entitled BLACK SABBATH: The Dio Years. Anticipated release date is April 3, 2007 on Rhino/Warner Bros. Records.

The HEAVEN AND HELL Tour 2007 will include the following stops:
March 11 Vancouver, BC Pacific Coliseum
March 13 Edmonton, AB Rexall Place
March 14 Calgary, AB Saddledome
March 16 Regina, SK Brandt Centre
March 18 Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre
March 20 Sault St. Marie Steelback Centre
March 22 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
March 24 London, ON John Labatt Centre
March 26 Montreal, PQ Bell Centre
March 27 Quebec City, PQ Colisee Pepsi Arena
March 28 Ottawa, ON Civic Centre
March 30 New York, NY Radio City Music Hall

For more information about HEAVEN AND HELL please go to www.heavenandhelllive.com. Tickets are on sale January 26th/27th .

Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward to Reunite

The highly anticipated reunion of the legendary BLACK SABBATH line-up of Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward appears to be shaping up and taking a new form. After various promoters have approached their respective management; the guys have started taking all of this very seriously, as they have wanted to reunite for some time now. It looks as if the new shape may be that of “HEAVEN AND HELL.” Yes, that’s the moniker that the band is likely to use on their new venture (Sharon Osborne owns an interest in the BLACK SABBATH name.).

If all goes well, HEAVEN AND HELL should be hitting the road in early 2007.