BLACK SABBATH’s Tony Iommi Diagnosed with Lymphoma

Legendary BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma. Here is the band’s official statement:

“With the news that BLACK SABBATH’s Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, his bandmates would like everyone to send positive vibes to the guitarist at this time. Iommi is currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan–the “IRON MAN” of Rock & Roll remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery.

“This comes as BLACK SABBATHOzzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums)–are writing and recording their first album in 33 years in Los Angeles (still set for release this fall) with producer Rick Rubin. They will now go to the UK to continue to work with Tony. Further information will be released as it becomes available.”

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.

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.