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.
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.
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.
In a new interview with Guitar World, Queen guitarist Brian May has said that there is still “a chance” that his much-rumored collaboration with Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi will see the light of day. “We do more talking than anything else, but we do a lot of talking,” Brian said. “He is really my dearest friend in the business and has been for so many years. I could write books about Tony because he’s just the most [pauses]… I don’t even know how to put it into words. You know, he’s a luminous human being is Tony, with a wonderful, kind nature and an incredibly baffling sense of humour. And, of course, he is the father of heavy metal. He did that. He made that happen. And it’s from his fingers and his mind. That young ex-welder, he made that happen. So, you know, he forever wears that medal, I think. He founded this stuff, heavy metal, in my opinion. I mean, I think probably most people would agree.”Continue reading
Tyrant’s long-awaited fourth album, Hereafter (ShadowKingdom Records), has come out under some rather interesting circumstances. In addition to serving as the Pasadena veterans’ first full-length since 1996’s King of Kings, Hereafter sees journeyman vocalist Robert Lowe at the helm in place of Glen May. The prospects of this collaboration are certainly intriguing, especially as a fan of Lowe’s work with Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass. I wouldn’t go so far as to think of it as Tyrant gone doom, but it approaches their established sound from a noticeably different angle.
Queen are sharing their famous 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness via Youtube. The band is raising money to donate to COVID-19 relief efforts and they’ll be sharing the show for 48 hours via their Youtube live on Queen’s Youtube from 2pm EST on May 15th. May. Queen’s’ Benefit Concert took place in London’s Wembley Stadium on Easter Monday (20th, April). The surviving members of the band: Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor wanted to perform the benefit concert in memory of Freddie Mercury, who had passed away the previous November. The concert featured Queen and friends like David Bowie, Elton John, Axl Rose, and James Hetfield among others to pay tribute to Freddie Mercury. The setlist included some real treats like Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, and a special rendition of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
Black Sabbath, one of the greatest bands ever, was an act in transition as it entered the 1980s. Less than a year earlier they sacked their legendary lead singer Ozzy Osbourne and replaced him with equally great Ronnie James Dio, previously of Rainbow. The flailing former greats and the hungry vocalist reignited each others passion for Heavy Metal to create something incredible in Heaven and Hell (Vertigo/Warner Bros) The album not only gave the band a shot in the arm, but it also launched their second era with a bang, one their fans would never forget. Continue reading
One thing every metal fan can agree on is the eternal majesty of Ronnie James Dio. Whether you liked his music or not (and if you didn’t, then why are you reading this?), the simple fact is that the man’s talent was unquestionable. Whether you preferred his solo work or his time with Rainbow, or Black Sabbath, (or for you picky little contrarians out there – The Electric Elves, Ronnie Dio and the Prophets, or Elf), the fact remains that there is still a gaping void in the world of metal, even now, nearly ten years(!) after his death.Continue reading
On the sleeve: a grainy picture of a woman dressed in black. A stagnant pond. A creepy looking mill house.
And two words. Black Sabbath.
On the record: Rain. Thunder. A tolling bell. Those three notes. That voice.
And just like that, in February of 1970 – appropriately enough on the 13th – the face of music was changed forever.