BLACK SABBATH @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Irvine, California (08/28/13)

Three quarters of the original SABBATH line-up returned to their old stomping grounds of Orange County, California last night.  I underestimated how many of the devoted would turn out for a show on a Wednesday night as it was nearly a sell out with people making the pilgrimage from near and far.

Black Sabbath
As the house lights went down, the sound of the sirens signaled that “War Pigs” would be the night’s opening song.  Even from right outside the amphitheater, the absolute heaviness could be felt.

To nobody’s surprise, the band’s set focused on the first three records, Black Sabbath, Paranoid, and Master of Reality.  While you can’t question the love the masses have for SABBATH, it is a safe assumption that the majority do not spend much time with Vol. 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, or Sabotage, and would quickly complain if the band started playing “obscure” tracks such as “The Writ” or “Tomorrow’s Dreams.”  One gem from Vol. 4 did make the set in the form of “Under the Sun.”  They also performed three songs from the solid reunion album, 13.
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BLACK SABBATH Post Video of Recording Sessions

The reunited BLACK SABBATH have posted a video, which highlights a look into the recording sessions with producer Rick RubinAs previously posted, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE/AUDIOSLAVE drummer Brad Wilk will play drums on the record in place of Bill Ward, who is no longer part of the reunion.

Can’t wait for the new record, 13!

BLACK SABBATH’s Comeback Album Set for June 2013 Release

Black SabbathBLACK SABBATH have announced the title of their new album, 13, which will be released this June (exact date TBA).  The original BLACK SABBATH (sans Bill Ward) have recorded the album primarily in Los Angeles and were joined at the sessions by drummer Brad Wilk (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE).  Produced by Rick Rubin (seven-time Grammy winner), the album will be released on Vertigo (worldwide) and Vertigo/Republic in the U.S.  13 marks the band’s first studio album together since 1978’s Never Say Die!  The original line up have sold over 70 million albums.

In advance of the album’s release, BLACK SABBATH will head to New Zealand, Australia and Japan for live performances (see below for tour dates).  Additional tour plans will be revealed in the coming months.

BLACK SABBATH’s initial tour dates are as follows:

Sat 4/20 Auckland, New Zealand Vector Arena
Mon 4/22 Auckland, New Zealand Vector Arena
Thu 4/25 Brisbane, Australia Entertainment Centre
Sat 4/27 Sydney, Australia  All Phones Arena
Mon 4/29 Melbourne, Australia  Rod Laver Arena
Wed 5/1  Melbourne, Australia Rod Laver Arena
Sat 5/4   Perth, Australia Perth Arena
Sun 5/12 Tokyo, Japan Ozzfest – Makuhari Messe

Concert Memories: BLACK SABBATH, OZZY OSBOURNE, PANTERA, TYPE O NEGATIVE, MARILYN MANSON @ Glen Helen Blockbuster Pavilion, June 29, 1997, San Bernardino, California

Ozzfest 1997Back when I was a senior in high school, a friend called me up and was yelling at the top of his lungs about an “Ozzfest.”  When he told me about the dream line up, I was beyond excited.  Who on this earth wouldn’t have wanted to see OZZY, DANZIG, SLAYER, SEPULTURA, and FEAR FACTORY in 1996?  Unfortunately, my friend didn’t care enough to actually go with me to the show and I was the only person in my school that cared enough to go.  Thus, I missed the show.

So 1997 rolls around and I’m a freshman in college and working as a school teacher during the summer.  Most importantly, I had my own damn car.  When the announcement for the second Ozzfest came out, I was beyond excited.  To be able to see the reunited original line up of BLACK SABBATH meant everything to me.  SABBATH were my favorite band at the time (and still are).  Those first six albums changed my life.  Not even Technical Ecstacy or Never Say Die hurt my feelings as much as Load but that probably has more to do with the fact that I was born in ’78 and not ’68.  I still have those first SABBATH albums on cassette tape.

Unlike 1996, I wasn’t going to be deterred by the fact that I did not know a single soul who wanted to go.  Armed with a Thomas Guide map, I set out in my car on the furthest drive of my 19 year old life.  After the over two hour drive, I arrived at the venue, which is out in the middle of shitsville (AKA San Bernardino County, California).  Lots of dirt, rocks, scorching heat, and rednecks.  As I pulled up to entrance of the venue, there were the obligatory Christian groups protesting the show with a focus on Ozzy.  They were holding up signs about damnation and devil worship…completely harmless stuff.

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Video of the Day: SABBATH’s “Killing Yourself to Live” at California Jam 1974

Let’s try to get through this work week with SABBATH‘s classic song, “Killing Yourself to Live” off of the band’s 1973 masterpiece, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.  This performance of the song comes from the band’s famous appearance at the legendary California Jam in 1974.  It’s not often that we get to see a moustache-less Tony Iommi.  Enjoy!

BLACK SABBATH Remove Bill Ward from Band Photos at His Request

Some buzz has spread around the web about Bill Ward being cropped out of BLACK SABBATH photos on the band’s website.  Here is the band’s statement regarding the situation:

“At the request of Bill Ward, through his attorney, so as to not give the public the wrong impression about his involvement in the current BLACK SABBATH lineup, we have temporarily removed Bill Ward‘s images from the main pages of the blacksabbath.com  official website.  In accordance with Bill Ward‘s attorney’s request, we are doing so for the duration of the forthcoming shows.”

BLACK SABBATH Issues Statement Regarding Plans to Play Upcoming Shows Without Bill Ward

BLACK SABBATH, currently comprised of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and Geezer Butler, have released a statement in response to drummer Bill Ward‘s online statement regarding his absence from the upcoming SABBATH shows and reunion as a whole:

“We have decided not to make any  detailed  comment  on Bill‘s latest statement. There are two sides to every story. We have been working hard at rehearsals making excellent progress after Tony‘s treatments and we have engaged a substitute drummer for the forthcoming shows. See  you at Download.

“–BLACK SABBATH, 5/17/12″

On May 15th, 2012, Bill Ward posted the news on his website that he would not be apart of the upcoming SABBATH reunion shows scheduled in Birmingham  on May 19th, 2012, Download Festival on June 10th, 2012, and Lollapalooza on August 3, 2012.

Here is his statement:

“Dear SABBATH Fans and Fellow Musicians,

“I sincerely regret to inform you that after a final effort to participate in the upcoming SABBATH shows a failure to agree has continued. At this time I have to inform you that I won’t be playing with BLACK SABBATH at the Birmingham gig dated May 19th, 2012, nor will I be playing at Download on June 10th, 2012. Further, I will not be playing at Lollapalooza on August 3, 2012.

“It is with a very sad heart that I bring you this news. I am sincerely passionate in my desire to play with the band, and I’m very, very sorry that it’s fallen to this. This statement is even more painstaking to write, as I was particularly excited to play alongside Tony Iommi after the recent treatments he underwent. I wanted that to become a reality.

“To express my thoughts about you, the SABBATH fans, I’m going to speak to you all through an experience my brother James had recently. My brother Jimmy lives in the U.K. When speaking with him a couple of days ago, he told me that an acquaintance had stopped him on the street and confronted him, “is your brother playing Birmingham? What’s going on? I waited in line with my son and paid x amount for the concert tickets…”

Read the whole statement here.

BLACK SABBATH’s Tony Iommi Issues Update on Cancer Treatment

BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi has issued an update regarding the progress of his cancer treatment:

“Hiya,

“A little update on how it’s all going:

“Well, I’ve had the last dose of chemotherapy so hopefully my body will start to get back to normal soon, the steroids were the worse. I’ve now got three weeks of radiotherapy coming up which I’m told can be very tiring so we’ll see.

“A big thanks to Ozzy and Geezer for coming over to England, it was a big incentive for me, we managed to work most days and have some great new tracks.

“And, importantly thanks again for your kind messages, hope to be seeing you soon.

“- Tony

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.