At seventy-three years old, Ozzy Osbourne has virtually nothing left to accomplish and even less to prove. TV personality, singer/songwriter, occasional actor and co-founder of an entire genre of music, if there’s anyone in the world of hard rock and metal who deserves to put their feet up with a pair of comfy slippers and a hot cup of cocoa then it’s the lovable Brummie seemingly incapable of using a television remote control.
Although 1976’s Technical Ecstasy (Vertigo/BMG) is unlikely to ever be viewed as a top tier release among most Black Sabbath fans, the fact that it exists at all goes to demonstrate the Birmingham foursome’s resilience and determination in those early days, if not the focus.
Having stayed with Black Sabbath until 1983’s unfairly criticised Born Again (Vertigo) album, founding member Geezer Butler returned to the band in the early nineties but with a growing desire to prove himself as a solo artist. After leaving again in ’94, the iconic bass player and moustache enthusiast teamed up with former frontman Ozzy Osbourne for a while before eventually going it alone to form G/Z/R.
The last of a groundbreaking run of undisputed classics, Sabotage (Vertigo/BMG), often gets overlooked during debates about the studio legacy of legendary metal pioneers Black Sabbath. Considering the seismic impact of the band’s previous five releases, this isn’t entirely surprising but Sabotage has always deserved more time in those conversations.
While Black Sabbath fans tend to agree on most things, the argument over singers Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio still rages on. Just who was the better frontman? Most will obviously side with the former but there are still those who insist Dio will always be number one. Ozzy was responsible for six of the finest albums in the annals of heavy metal but Dio rescued that same band (at least temporarily) from total collapse with two hugely important albums of his own.
We caught up with music legend Burton C. Bell (ex Fear Factory) of Ascension of the Watchers for a new podcast, to chat all about his new album Apocrypha (Dissonance Productions). We chatted about the history of the band, the lead up to making this new album, Burton’s songwriting process, how he derives inspiration from film scores and soundtracks, his bandmates Jayce Lewis and John Bechdel (Ministry, Prong), the spiritual side to his lyrics and themes he writes from, the concept of “modern analog” and how it influenced the recording, memories of the late Paul Raven (Killing Joke/Prong), some thoughts on other projects like City of Fire and G/Z/R, and much more. Order the album here, and check out our chat.
In a new interview with legendary Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler spoke Ricky Aarons from Australia’s Wall Of Sound, in a new interview about how he is spending his time during the pandemic. According to the interview, Geezer lives in Los Angeles and has done some traveling, but mainly he is writing a memoir of his time growing up in the UK. You can read a quote from Geezer on this below. As we previously reported, Butler’s three solo albums — “Plastic Planet” (1995), “Black Science” (1997), and “Ohmwork” (2005) — will be made available for the first time ever on vinyl, with both CD and LP using newly updated cover artwork, via BMG on October 30.
All three of Geezer Butler’s 1990s solo albums apart from Black Sabbath reunions are getting reissued. Plastic Planet (1995), Black Science (1997), and Ohmwork (2005) will be avaialble on vinyl for the first time ever, with both CD and LP using newly updated cover artwork and all will be available via BMG on October 30. Plastic Planet featured Fear Factory vocalist Burton C. Bell, with its incendiary single “Drive Boy Shooting,” and is considered a highlight of that time. In an upcoming interview with Ghost Cult, Bell remarked that he would “jump at the chance” to make another GZR album. That interview is coming soon. Purchase the albums at the link below.
With bands taking so much time between studio albums these days, it’s astonishing to believe that in the space of just three years, between 1970 and 1973, Brummie icons Black Sabbath released no less than five of the most important records in the annals of heavy metal.
The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund (https://www.diocancerfund.org), founded in memory of the late rock legend, will commemorate what would have been Dio’s 78th birthday on July 10 with a video in which rock music celebrities talk about what Ronnie and his music has meant to them. Dio lost his months-long battle with gastric cancer 10 years ago, and the charity founded after his passing has raised more than $2 million to fight the disease that took his life. Largely compiled from red carpet interviews with celebrity guests at various Dio Cancer Fund events, including the 10th Anniversary Awards Gala held at the Avalon in Hollywood in February (see our coverage here) just before the pandemic shutdown, the video contains special video messages from Rob Halford and Geezer Butler, who were close friends of Dio’s. Among those also expressing their thoughts are Dave Grohl, Jack Black, Rudy Sarzo, Craig Goldy, Scott Warren, Simon Wright and Vinny Appice of the Dio band, Fred Coury, Robbie Crane and Ricky Warwick of Black Star Riders, Ahmet Zappa, Joey Vera, Glenn Hughes, Jeff Pilson, Doug Aldrich, Terry Ilous and Eddie Trunk, who hosts most of the Dio Cancer Fund events.Continue reading