Posts Tagged ‘Black Sabbath’

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Released on this day in 1973..“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” is the fifth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath,  the debauchery continued. The band rented a house in Bel Air to write. After a month of no writing and all partying they returned to the UK to Clearwell Castle. The band says the medieval surroundings were inspiring, particularly for Iommi who came up with the riff for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath in one of the castles dungeons. Ultimately they left the castle after scaring the hell out of each other too many times and finished the record at Morgan Studios, where Yes were recording next door. So they grabbed Rick Wakeman to lend a hand on Sabbra Cadabra. As well, some of the guys in Zep showed up. John Bonham wanted to play on Sabbra Cadabra but the band preferred to jam on something other than their own. To be a fly on the wall.. I personally love this record.

It’s got all kinds of things happening. Heavy, spacey, funky, experimental.. although it was getting close to the end.

If you told us even as recently as six weeks ago that we’d be working on a Redux version of Black Sabbath’sVolume 4 and, before the end of March, artists including The Obsessed, Whores, Zakk Wylde, and Matt Pike would have all committed to be part of the project, we would’ve probably answered, “Wow.”

And if you’d then said, “Oh yeah, you’ll also assemble a Best of Black Sabbath companion LP featuring Earthless, Elephant Tree, Year of the Cobra, and tons of other great artists including a whole crop of brand-new Magnetic Eye roster bands, who by the way you’ll find time to sign during all the madness of your Vol. 4 Kickstarter,” we’d have most likely said, “piss off.” And yet, here we are, and all of the above has come to pass.

We are indeed reduxing Volume 4 and offering up a Best of Sabbath companion record, we do have some of the greatest heavy artists in the world committed to be part of this project, and we did somehow find time to sign three new bands during all of this, each of whom we’ll have a new record coming from later this year, and all of whom we’re inviting to be part of the project.

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During their peak in the first half of the 1970s, Black Sabbath set about creating a series of albums that would only grow in stature. And it was with their highly accomplished second album, “Paranoid” where their credentials were solidly double-stamped forever into the heaviest ingot of metal yet to be forged.

And yet, Black Sabbath were beyond metal and in a category all their own. These four young, working class guys from ‘rough, unfashionable Aston in Birmingham, England’ together held one unique chemistry that yielded major thrills of no-frills, downer/lumpen bombast that not only thundered all the world ‘round but continues to do so: leaving in its wake a soundtrack of five insanely powerful albums, dozens of sub-genres and legions of gleeful hard rock enthusiasts and heavy metal aficionados. Although stating the obvious, it is a fact that they remain to the present day responsible for some of the most durable, relevant and unique statements ever carved into Rock.

Sabbath were (and are) still one of the most misunderstood groups in all of Rock. More than any other band of their time, they were a paradox filled with inversions: the inverted cross on the gatefold of their first album, guitarist Tony Iommi’s cherry red Gibson SG a southpaw reverse of Clapton’s psychedelicised one; a so-called ‘Satanic Pop group’ who wrote of compassion, love and dreams while the singer was a baleful messenger perched on the edge of doom with both kneecaps self-tattooed with smileys while the other three ‘Black Princes of Downer Rock’ were down to earth Brummies partial to nothing darker than pints of ale, practical jokes, sitting in the rain to watch Aston Villa football matches whilst being burdened with fearsome nicknames of daemonic possession like ‘Stinky.’ But onstage and on record, what they projected were vocals of life-enhancing woe arcing over a relentless and thorough pounding of riffs set to a solidly swinging beat to make faces grimace, fists to rise on high, the heart beat faster, the head throb harder and the lugholes ring louder (What? I can’t hear you) and one of their best moments was the bludgeon-fest they called “War Pigs.” But it was originally called something else…

aka: “Walpurgis”

Originally, ‘War Pigs’ was called ‘Walpurgis’, about Satan’s Christmas thing, but we had to change the lyrics because all the Satan stuff was going on.” –Geezer Butler

Walpurgisnacht is an ancient celebration that falls on the last eve of April, which renders lyricist Geezer Butler’s use of Walpurgis as a title of a song narrating an event confusing — not least of all because Walpurgis was a Christian abbess born in 710. Travelling from Wessex, England to Germany to take charge of a monastery, she was consequently made a saint in 779 with May 1 accorded her saint day. But reaching further back in time reveals earlier roots of Walpurgisnacht. Deriving its name from the similarly-named Teutonic fertility goddess, Walburga who was celebrated and worshipped in Germany and throughout the Baltic region of Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Sweden, once under the domain of Christianity her previous attributes and symbolic significance as a Northern European White Goddess and The Spring Queen were merged with those of St. Walpurgis.

Errant pronoun usage notwithstanding, Geezer was dialed in to something deeper than just Boris Karloff films and chillums for his taste in literature was more than just a smattering of supernatural paperbacks by Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft and Dennis Wheatley. Goethe’s “Faust” certainly hovered about on in on his bookshelf. In fact, it may have been the single strongest influence on his original concept and lyrics for “Walpurgis.” Dig this:

“The witches t’ward the Brocken strain
When the stubble yellow, green the grain.
The rabble rushes – as ’tis meet –
To Sir Urian’s lordly seat.
O’er stick and stone we come, by jinks!
The witches f—, the he-goat s—…”1

Except for the exclamatory “Oh Lord, yeah!” as punctuation, the translation remains remarkably true to the cadence of “War Pigs” aka “Walpurgis.” Which is appropriate, as the above quote from “Faust” is taken from a scene that occurs on Walpurgisnacht when Mephisto escorts Faust on Der Brocken to consort with a coven of witches.

“Witches Gather at Black Masses…”

“War Pigs” is the first of eight powerful, entirely slackless and perfectly programmed tracks that comprise Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” album. “War Pigs” doesn’t just open their second album so much as split the silence that precedes it down half with a direct hit from the opening bog blast of guitarist Tony Iommi’s Laney amplification up until its instrumental coda crazily speeds up into a wall of silence (unless you’re listening to the Quadrophonic version, of course.) Although constantly shifting in tempo, vocal tone and texturing, “War Pigs” is resolutely focused in fixed defiance throughout its length and was where Black Sabbath laid bare what would be their simplest and most bloodstained indictment, ever. Electrically-charged with myth and atmosphere, the musical backing hangs relentlessly tight and visceral against four bleating stanzas projected from the gob of Oz that switch from opening soaring supplications as though with raised palms faced inwards into a series of perfectly bellowed rant-on sentences and its cumulative effect was a razing declaration on war.

As one of Sabbath’s most compelling and universally themed songs, “War Pigs” began as a piece they’d been working on sporadically in live performance since late 1968. Although the main structure and arrangement remained unchanged since its earliest “Walpurgis” incarnation, the lyrics were an altogether different matter. The opening line “Witches gather at black masses” would endure despite a jumble of permutations and although the narrative runs through a description of a witches’ convocation (with sinners on a hill awaiting Satan’s arrival as “evil doings” ranging from “carrying banners which denounce the Lord” to “eating dead rat’s inners” abound) its location “on a hill, a church in ruins” is but a hint of Der Brocken: the highest peak of Germany’s Harz region best known as the setting of Walpurgisnacht.

When Black Sabbath’s debut album appeared littered with occult references in the lyrics, sleeve photography and (most obvious of all) their own name, several lesser bands followed suit boasting more direct links to black magic, consequently causing a minor sensation in the British music press during early 1970. But as the supernatural mystique foisted upon Black Sabbath became too large an inverted cross to bear, they decided their load would be lightened sizably by jettisoning some of the more provocative occult references from their lyrics. Concerned with their perceived association with black magic and how it could jeopardise their first American tour later in the year, it was unanimously decided by band, management and record company to altogether overhaul the lyrics to “Walpurgis.” Whether inspired by an infamous lapse of the John Osbourne memory banks, a spur of the moment ad-lib off the top of Ozzy’s head or just the thought of having to contend with two sets of lyrics for the same song was enough to make the Mind of O seize up even more than usual — thereby causing the Jovial One to blurt out in a bout of supreme frustration “For fuckssake: ‘Walpurgis,’ ‘Walpiggus,’ ‘Walpurgis,’ ‘Walpiggus’ let’s call the whole thing off and I’ll just sing it in Latin, I can’t be arsed, y’know fuckin’ ‘ell”) is not recorded. Although in those pre-teleprompter days, Ozzy forgetting, adding, dropping, repeating or mixing up lyrics was hardly an uncommon occurrence. Perhaps it was only Geezer sneakily re-arranging the letters on his talking board late one night. But however it happened, it did and although the music and arrangements remained virtually unchanged, the lyrics and title of “Walpurgis” were transformed into “War Pigs.” But it took several months to stay that way.

“…Just Like Witches at Black Masses” 

“I’d get comfortable with the melody line and Geezer or I would write them [the lyrics] in the studio. But other than that, I don’t know where they’re from.” – Ozzy Osbourne

“Listen to me
While I sing this song
You might just think the words are wrong…”
Black Sabbath: “The Writ” (“Sabotage” LP, 1975)

But the newly re-written “War Pigs” did not keep things resolved for long. As both opening track of their forthcoming second album and projected title of said LP, with an important first tour of the United States looming late in the year their record company expressed concern and refused to release it as “War Pigs.” Although it’s never been clear as to which of Sabbath’s labels (Vertigo in Britain or Warner Brothers in America) were responsible for the veto, several causes for rejection would seem to indicate the latter as anti-war sentiment in America had been escalating in tandem with the Vietnam War and a pervading sense of unease and tension had been causing a divisive split throughout the nation for years. Although Sabbath were for the moment out of the satanic frying pan, no one wanted to see them fall outright into the anti-war fire. For as archaic as it now may seem, ‘pig’ was the strongest derogatory slang used at the time to address persons of authority and especially policemen. As well as people of ugly, selfish or greedy bearing, it was also suffixed onto other slang terms like ‘sexist’ or ‘male chauvinist.’ But one association everyone wished to avoid altogether was how “War Pigs” could be misconstrued as an endorsement of the Manson murders of the previous summer where the epitaphs “POLITICAL PIGGIES,” “DEATH TO PIGS” and “PIGS” had been smeared at the gruesome murder sites in the victims’ own blood. At first, the murders were even rumoured to have been the work of a satanic death cult and the sensational image of a long-haired hippie commune on a murderous rampage frightened both the status quo and longhairs alike.

Substituting the potentially offensive title with the safer and more saleable moniker of their forthcoming “Paranoid” single was telling, as it may have also been chosen to reflect the concerned state of the band and record company over the whole affair. Then again, paranoia was a commodity in no short supply in 1970 and Warner Brothers hedged their bets even further with a promotional advertisement that read with the typical hard-sell, tongue-in-cheek “Loss Leaders”-styled copywriting style so beloved of the label: “Black Sabbath is a lot of things — a couple of things they aren’t though, and we and they insist that no one lump them in with witches, warlocks, werewolves or other black magic by-products” (And to think this was the same record company that three years later would vet the cover painting for “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” — one which broke both elbows throwing in the occult kitchen sink all over the front cover.)

War Pigs (Six Different Ones)

A cross-section of six different versions of “War Pigs” illustrates the alterations made to the original “Walpurgis” lyrics during the period of March to November, 1970. Comparing the final studio “War Pigs” lyrics (recorded June, 1970) with those of five live renditions (recorded March, April, June, October and November 1970) highlights immense differences and show the lyrics for “Walpurgis” in a constant state of flux: most notably in the middle pair of up-tempo stanzas that precede the first instrumental break. Instead of beginning with the now familiar “Politicians hide themselves away” and “Time will tell on their power minds” were instead “Carrying banners which denounce the lord” and “Don’t hold me back ‘cos I just gotta go” while the rest of the lyrics also conjured up a pulse quickening mix of unrelated imagery depicting panicked flights of fear underneath ‘Dies Irae’-styled skies set to a high tempo bash. And these lyrics continued to shift wildly from performance to performance for months prior to the American tour.

Konzerthaus, Köln: March 3, 1970

It is fitting that two of the earliest live recordings of “Walpurgis” extant are from gigs in Germany, where the legend of Walpurgisnacht originated. This earliest known recorded version from Köln contains a middle pair of stanzas that go:

“I don’t care if you don’t wanna go
They are the devil in disguise
Carrying banner which denounce the Lord
They are Lucifer inside
(All right, now!)

Look at me, don’t anoint my head with blood
See me burning down [obscured]
Closer and close to you, and you’re not there
Say, what you gonna do now?
(All right, now!)”

And like all versions of “Walpurgis,” the final verse is always a variation of the following:

“On the scene a priest appears
Sinners falling at his knees
Satan sends out funeral pyre
Casts the priest into the fire
It’s the place for all bad sinners
Watch them eating dead rats’ inners
It’s the same where’er you go
Black masses, they’re coming out
(All right, now!)”

BBC, London: April 26th, 1970

Available for a limited time on the second disc of the Ozzy Osbourne compendium “The Ozzman Cometh,” the version of “War Pigs” recorded for the BBC is the highest quality version of “Walpurgis.” The lyrics adhere mainly to the Köln version, except for the ever-changing middle pair of stanzas which are the goriest extant, as well as sharing some of the imagery with the Köln version:

“Carrying banners which denounce the Lord
See me rotting in my grave
See them anoint my head with dead rat’s blood
See them stick the stake through me
(Oh…)

Don’t hold me back ‘cos I just gotta go
Satan got a hold of my soul now
Look in my brain and there was blood and see
Look in my eyes and there I go
(Yeah!)”

Regent Sound Studio & Island Studios, London: circa June 16; 21-25, 1970

Although the dates vary from source to source, it has been loosely determined that the “Paranoid” album was recorded during the period of June 21-25, 1970. Produced by Rodger Bain, here the re-written, ‘de-Walpurgisnacht-ed’ lyrics from “generals gathered in their masses” to “Satan, laughing, spreads his wings” make their earliest known recorded appearance.

Audimax, Freie Universität, Berlin: June 26th, 1970

This gig was promoted with a red and black poster bearing the appropriate legend “LIVE: The Magic of Black Sabbath.” Sabbath blasts into a lumbering and vicious rendition of “Walpurgis.” Directly after the last up-tempo stanza prior to the guitar solo, Iommi makes the only playing error of his career AND winds up saving it by sustaining a single riff that bleeds across several beats as a howling storm. As a massive fan of Iommi, I love it not because it catches him with his pants down, but that even in a pinch his self-assured monochording still could turn a misstep into a fluid, heavy improvisation.

Of note is the third stanza, which varies wildly from all others:

“See me going like my head is gone
See me running down love now
It’s conceived evil, I want to run
I want to know what you’re gonna do now
(Yeah!)”

“Olympia, Paris: December 20, 1970”

Although the famous “Paris 1970” performance of Black Sabbath broadcast on Yorkshire Television has been circulating for decades in collector’s circles, its identifying date and place are still the stuff of speculation. The 2-CD Sabbath “Past Lives” collection not only incompletely collated the performance, but incorrectly listed the place and date as ‘Paris Olympia, December 20, 1970.’ Now in the film it is plain to see the venue is a far smaller hall than the Olympia while the Olympia’s stage was not composed of rough wooden planks. With the faintest of supporting evidence in the form of the film credits comprised mainly of Belgian surnames, the show may very well date from either a day earlier at Vorst Nationaal, Brussels, Belgium or on October 3rd, 1970 from the same city (Although entirely conjecture on my part, anyone with substantiated proof please clue me in.)

But the location and date of this gig do not matter nearly as much as the performance itself for Black Sabbath were captured at the peak of their powers AND on a night when they were totally on (So exactly WHEN is this amazing artifact going to be released?! Clips surfaced from it in the “Ozzy: Don’t Blame Me” retrospective DVD on Sony, and both visual and audio content are PRISTINE. Sanctuary, Sharon, SOMEBODY: please sort this out and SOON as it’s the best Sabbath concert from 1970…or any year for that matter. Then arrange a release schedule for Cal Jam. And the ’75 Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert performance. Before the original tapes deteriorate. Do it…do it…do it…)

Although introduced by Ozzy to zero audience acknowledgment (“We got a number now called ‘War Pigs’, it’s a number off our new LP, hope you like it, thank you”) by the time of the final stanza the audience is blitzed to Hell and clapping along with Bill Ward’s final hi-hat build up like they’ve been banging head to it for years. The version of “War Pigs” performed here may or may not provide a clue as to this performance’s date by pushing it back to the middle of 1970 for as it is the only known recording where stanzas from “Walpurgis” are aligned cheek by jowl with those from “War Pigs”: The second stanza is a merger of both second and third stanzas of “War Pigs,” the third stanza is entirely different to all other known versions while the fourth (and final) stanza is straight up “Walpurgis.” But of all the different takes of “Walpurgis”, this one has gotta take the Beltane carline cake:

“People running like sheep in fields
People blowing out their minds
They’ve got your dying day and know it’s now
They’re gonna rot in the end
(Yeah!)”

Fillmore West, San Francisco, California: November 21, 1970

Sabbath’s anticipated American tour did not get off to the best start. According to a 1992 interview in The Philadelphia Daily News with Rick Green (the promoter of their first U.S. show at Glassboro State College, New Jersey) the band’s passage through customs at Kennedy Airport in New York proved to be “a day-long trauma that left the group tired and humiliated,” causing them to be three and a half hours late for the gig. Finally appearing onstage at 1:00 in the morning, the power to their sound system cut out during the first song. It was fixed within a few minutes, but once they recommenced they caused a second power outage that not only knocked out their sound system but the power to the gymnasium, the campus and “…most of the power in the neighborhood. The street lights were out and there was darkness.” Appropriately enough, the date was Mischief Night: exactly half a year away from Walpurgisnacht on October 30th.

Three weeks later, they reached the Fillmore West in San Francisco and the lyrics to “War Pigs” were faithfully reproduced by Ozzy as per the album (except for the word ‘man’s’ used in place of ‘death’s’ in “Sorcerers of death’s construction…” but seeing as Ozzy even managed to derail “War Pigs” four years later at Cal Jam by repeating the “In the fields the bodies burning…” couplet in the last stanza, it was probably due more to Osbourne’s lackadaisical temperament than any sort of nervous decorum.)
Luckily, the rest of the tour ran smoothly for the band and helped establish their reputation as a top new export of high volume, energy-driven Rock that would continue to grow throughout the 1970s. And ever since that first American tour, “War Pigs” never once reverted back to “Walpurgis” with its best-known lyrics on the “Paranoid” album striking — and continues to strike — a chord up to the present day.

Oh Lord, yeah!

As a 36 year-old album, the iconic power of the “Paranoid” sleeve generally deflects objective visual judgment and criticism. But when viewed under various circumstances for nearly three decades (as I have) one can switch between how stunning AND how ludicrous it is. It was recently mentioned to me that if “Paranoid” had somehow turned out to be a musically weak dud, the derision poured on its cover sleeve would probably equal or surpass even that of the first Toe Fat album. This is not to lay blame at the doorstep of Keef (the gifted photographer whose work adorned not only “Paranoid” but many of Sabbath’s early albums as well as a wide swath of many other early Vertigo releases) for the sleeve art had already been photographed with the projected “War Pigs” title in mind. But riddle me this: what the fuck does a shot of a bearded man wielding a fluorescent blue plastic samurai sword and shield wearing blue undies over pink tights sporting a crash helmet and sash rushing out from behind a late night copse have ANYTHING to do with “generals gathered in their masses”?! It’s enough to almost make me think “Fairies Wear Boots” may have also been under consideration as a provisional title but promptly abandoned when it was discovered that the American audience would be oblivious of its British meaning and lurking entendre. Almost.

But on other occasions the cover falls completely in place: glimpsing or hallucinating something out of the corner of your eye emerging from the darkness is a pretty solid visual metaphor for paranoia. But at other times, the collective visual dissonance of the title, the photography and the mid-sixties Yardbirds-a-go-go-logo all conspire to make it look a little out of time, definitely odd, completely ridiculous, not a little mysterious and in a paradoxical dum-dum zone all its own.

…A lot like Black Sabbath, come to think of it.

Black Sabbath final tour, appropriately titled The End. After Ozzy went solo in 1979, there was no reason to think that these guys would ever be on stage together again. The 1985 Live Aid set and Ozzy’s 1992 Costa Mesa concert encore whet fans’ appetites for an inevitable reunion that’s lasted fitfully since 1997. Now, following the 2013 release of their career benchmark album,13,

There were heavy bands before Sabbath. Cream, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Vanilla Fudge, and The Who were all on the scene well before Earth changed its name to Black Sabbath in 1969. But none bore the intent and follow-through of the boys from Birmingham. There are not many acts from the Sixties that have avoided the death of at least one of its founding members. People are now calling The Who, Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones didn’t even make it to the 4th of July in ’69. Only two Beatles remain. The last band anyone would have expected to survive is Black Sabbath.

Sabbath had already recorded its first album of horror-inflected doom* on October 16th. By September of 1970, the second album was out, with themes of paranoia, war, and drug abuse trumping any fancies that peace and love would conquer this brave new world. When the eponymous Black Sabbath album came out on Friday the 13th of February 1970, it was genuinely scary. People left the room when they heard the rain, the church bells, and the ultimate riff. No matter what has come since, nothing has ever been this heavy, produced in a world so utterly unprepared.

Led Zeppelin were the players, but Sabbath were no slouches. This was largely based on myth and the ill-considered release Live At Last. Sabbath weren’t bad musicians But listen to the playing even on their debut. It’s on par with any band short of King Crimson. Geezer is the missing link between Paul McCartney and Steve Harris. Tony’s leads come direct from the source. Ozzy sounds like he was gargling hot honey, and Bill Ward’s chops will make you want to cry. They were a devastating unit then, and they still are today. Bands no longer apprentice themselves like they did in the Sixties. Black Sabbath used to play seven 45-minute sets a night during its residency at the Star Club in Hamburg. Sabbath played more gigs at the Star Club than the Beatles,

After Ozzy was given the boot in 1979 for a lot of really bad behavior, general ennui, and epic levels of alcoholism, Ronnie James Dio came into the fold. The Rainbow singer was everything Ozzy wasn’t: professional, pitch-perfect, a lyricist, and American. Dio made four studio albums with Sabbath, the fourth and heaviest being 2009’s The Devil You Know under the band name Heaven & Hell. When Dio first split from Sabbath after Mob Rules, Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan was brought in to sing on the 1983 Spinal Tap-esque rave up Born Again. And when Dio refused to sing for Sabbath as an opening act at the aforementioned 1992 Costa Mesa gig, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford stepped in to offer some metal god-level pipes to the party. “I’m not doing that.” Dio said, quoted in Iommi’s Iron Man autobiography.

we all know that Sharon will flog Ozzy back onto the road as soon as she’s able, but this was the last proper tour for Sabbath. Maybe they’ll record again. Maybe there will be a farewell show or three. Maybe we’ll even see them kiss and make up with Bill Ward once and for all. But with the contracts signed, Iommi’s ongoing battle with cancer, and all of the guys pushing 70, this tour is the last chance to see three of the founding members of Black Sabbath on tour together.  If you’ve ever made it to the end of “Dear Father”–the last song on 13—you know that it ends right where the band started.

Альбом 13 получил премию Classic Rock Awards — Roll of Honour в номинации «Альбом года» (Album Of The Year). Помимо этого, группа получила премии в номинациях «Событие года» (Event Of The Year) и «Живая легенда» (Living Legends)[104]. Альбом и песня из него «God Is Dead» были номинированы на получение премии «Грэмми»[105] в номинациях: Лучшее исполнение (Best Metal Performance) Лучшая рок-песня (Best Rock Song) Лучший рок-альбом (Best Rock Album)

Almost five decades ago, the toll of a bell and rolling thunder marked the conception of an ear splittingly monolithic riff. In that moment, Black Sabbath and the sound of Heavy Metal were forged. The band embarked on what Ozzy describes as “the most incredible adventure you could think of”, a journey that would go on to define a genre.

Black Sabbath performing “N.I.B.” live for the very last time.

“The End” is a celebration of Black Sabbath’s final hometown concert at Birmingham’s Genting Arena on 4th February, 2017. This unforgettable farewell show from one of the biggest bands in the world will be released by Eagle Vision on 17th November 2017.

“To bring it all back home after all these years was pretty special,” Black Sabbath said in a statement. “It was so hard to say goodbye to the fans, who’ve been incredibly loyal to us through the years. We never dreamed in the early days that we’d be here 49 years later doing our last show on our home turf.”

“We’re definitely finishing in Birmingham,” he said. “We’re not going to re-form after five years and say, “Because of public demand  …” Black Sabbath has been up and down and ’round the mulberry bush so many times.”

The End is a celebration of Black Sabbath’s final hometown concert at Birmingham’s Genting Arena on 4th February, 2017. This unforgettable farewell show from one of the biggest bands in the world will be released by Eagle Vision.
With a hit packed set list including “Iron Man””Paranoid”, “War Pigs” and many more, the high production values, visual effects and pyrotechnics wowed fans, as the band delivered the most emotionally charged show in their history.
The Deluxe Edition is packaged in a hardback DVD sized box containing the DVD, the Blu-ray, the CD of the Angelic Studio sessions and 2CDs of the full length live show with a 32 page booklet and a merchandise pack containing replica laminate, pin badge and plectrums.
A different cut of the show featuring brief interview clips will be shown in cinemas as a “one day only” event on September 28th. Live show and sessions focus on tracks from their seventies albums and include Black Sabbath, Paranoid, War Pigs, Iron Man, Fairies Wear Boots, Snowblind, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Children Of The Grave and more.

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Black Sabbath’s lavish new 8LP vinyl box set, “The Ten Year War”, which features coloured vinyl pressings of the band’s first eight albums, books, posters, USB stick and more.  BMG issue a new limited edition Black Sabbath vinyl box set called The Ten Year War which features the first eight Sabbath albums pressed on coloured vinyl and re-mastered from the original tapes (by Andy Pearce). The hefty (and pricey) set also includes two two rare seven-inch singles, a crucifix-shaped USB stick with high-res audio of the eight albums and various printed material. Watch the unboxing video of The Ten Year War below:

Albums in the box

Coloured vinyl pressings of:

  • BLACK SABBATH
  • PARANOID
  • MASTER OF REALITY (including original fold-out colour poster)
  • VOL. 4
  • SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH
  • SABOTAGE
  • TECHNICAL ECSTASY
  • NEVER SAY DIE!

Two seven-inch singles

  • Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games With Me)/Black Sabbath (Japanese version)
  • Paranoid/The Wizard (Chilean version)
  • Crucifix shaped Black Sabbath USB stick, exclusive to this box set, with MQA high definition audio of the first eight Black Sabbath albums.
  • The Ten Year War brochure, reproduced from the original publication.
  • Hardback book, featuring accolades from the cream of rock royalty, coupled with official and candid iconic photography of the band during their 1970s tours, recording sessions and photo-shoots.
  • Tenth Anniversary World Tour 1978 Official Programme
  • Reprinted tour poster from the 1972 Seattle Centre Arena show.

Box set cover art has been created by globally renowned street artist Shepard Fairey

All box sets are individually numbered

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Although it wouldn’t appear on American record store shelves until the early months of 1971, Black Sabbath’s seminal sophomore album, “Paranoid”began invading the U.K. (and Europe) on September. 18th, 1970. It quickly raced up the charts in many countries and reached an astonishing No. 1 in the band’s homeland.

Paranoid proved that the wholly unexpected Top 10 success enjoyed by the Birmingham quartet’s modestly recorded self titled debut released barely six months prior, had been anything but a fluke. For vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward, Paranoid was just a hastily assembled collection of the best songs they had to offer, even as they were learning to cope with a hurricane of fame, well beyond their wildest expectations. Black Sabbath released ‘Paranoid’ their second studio album in the US. The album features the band’s best-known signature songs, including the title track, ‘Iron Man’ and ‘War Pigs’. The album was originally titled War Pigs, but allegedly the record company changed it to Paranoid, fearing backlash from supporters of the ongoing Vietnam War.  Its sales were enhanced by the success of the “Paranoid” single. “That single attracted screaming kids,” Iommi recalled in the liner notes to Reunion in 1998. “We saw people dancing when we played it and we decided that we shouldn’t do singles for a long while after that to stay true to the fans who’d liked us before we’d become popular.

But at least the four young men knew better than to mess with their winning formula. They once again retained producer Roger Bain and, other than enjoying the luxury of spending more time in the studio (versus the frantic 24 hours afforded to their debut), also maintained their songwriting penchant for wanton, unrefined musical power. Their lyrics avoided pop music’s traditionally pithy stories of love and lust in favor of more desperate subjects steeped both in the occult and real-life terrors.

To wit, Paranoid’s opening epic “War Pigs” started out named “Walpurgis,” before lyricist Butler swapped satanic ritual for equally evil warmongering. The future doom standard “Iron Man” shrouded apocalyptic allegory under the guise of dark fantasy, while “Electric Funeral” cut right to the chase. The terrifying “Hand of Doom” contained graphic warnings about heroin addiction.

Even a song as surreal-seeming as “Fairies Wear Boots” was actually inspired by run-ins with belligerent skinheads at the band’s shows. And though Paranoid’s sonic wildcard, “Planet Caravan,” professed science fiction musings over its unnaturally gentle, psychedelic dreamscape, the provocatively named “Rat Salad” was clearly just a platform for Ward to shine, based on John Bonham’s “Moby Dick.”

Finally, there was the bite-sized, frantic title track, which was jammed together so quickly in a fit of spontaneous inspirational combustion, that reading too much into its hastily coupled words is both unwise and, frankly, unnecessary — except to point out how its vague ramblings on loneliness, misery, and general confusion about one’s lot in life once again connected with disenfranchised listeners everywhere.

Needless to say, it was precisely this vast population of marginalized youths, feeling excluded by society, that started flocking into Black Sabbath’s growing fan base around the world, lured by Paranoid’s undeniable destiny to become heavy metal’s definitive watershed.

Nothing has changed since Paranoid‘s release. Heavy metal continues to seduce generation after generation of rebellious kids seeking music they can relate to, and vent their pent-up frustrations and aggression to — all of it facilitated by the thousands of subsequent albums that can trace this fundamental purpose and usefulness to Black Sabbath and their most important career’s achievement, Paranoid.

The Limited Edition Box Set Includes: 8 x vinyl LPs meticulously reproduced in their original sleeves, re-mastered by renowned mastering engineer Andy Pearce from the original tapes and pressed on 180 gram splatter-coloured vinyl, each LP with unique and individual colouring.

• BLACK SABBATH
• PARANOID
• MASTER OF REALITY (incl original fold-out colour poster)
• VOL. 4
• SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH
• SABOTAGE
• TECHNICAL ECSTASY
• NEVER SAY DIE!

plus

• 2 x rare 7” singles, reproduced in their original sleeves: *Japanese *version of Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games With Me)/Black Sabbath. *Chilean *version of Paranoid/The Wizard (only 100 copies of the original radio promo were pressed)

• Crucifix shaped Black Sabbath USB stick, exclusive to this box set, which can be worn round the neck and contains MQA high definition audio of the first eight Black Sabbath albums

• The extremely rare The Ten Year War brochure, reproduced from the original publication

• Hardback book, featuring accolades from the cream of rock royalty, coupled with official and candid iconic photography of the band during their 1970s tours, recording sessions and photo-shoots

• Tenth Anniversary World Tour 1978 Official Programme, impeccably reproduced

• Reprinted tour poster from the 1972 Seattle Centre Arena show

• Box set cover art has been created by globally renowned street artist Shepard Fairey

Black Sabbath are one of the world’s most popular and enduring heavy metal bands and are constantly credited with inventing and defining the genre. To this day, the world of metal – fans and artists alike – cites Sabbath as being both influential and inspirational.

From the blues-laden metal which defined the band’s sound on their self-titled debut, to the multi-million selling follow-up, ‘Paranoid’, Sabbath captured the attention of a generation hungry for a new musical direction. However, the all-conquering enthusiasm shown by Sabbath’s rabid fan base wasn’t always mirrored by the gatekeepers within the music press, and it is this disparity which inspired the band to publish The Ten Year War brochure. This document was a playful dig at the journalists of the time with the witty tagline: “More good press than most – more bad press than any”.

With a career spanning 50 years, Black Sabbath have proven time and time again that their musical heritage is unrivaled. Having sold tens of millions of records, sold out global arena tours and bewitched millions of dedicated fans, the band have built a catalogue envied by all.

The Ten Year War box set brings together the first eight Sabbath studio albums in one place, plus a swathe of other rarities, and celebrates the band’s achievements on the stage, in the studio and in the public eye.

Black Sabbath is directly responsible for some of the hardest and heaviest sounds ever created by man or beast. One fateful day in Birmingham, seventeen-year-old sheet metal worker Tony Iommi lost a couple fingertips in a bloody industrial accident, and the world gained heavy metal as a result. Well, Iommi claims it was an accident, anyway. Seems more like a deal with the devil,

Anyway, despite their well-earned reputation as the grandfathers of everything hard, heavy, and unholy in general and the architects of blood-freezing doom metal in particular, early Sabbath wasn’t always heavy, all the time. They mellowed the fuck out on occasion. Brit DJ Robert E. Lee proves the case with the incredible Balearic Sabbath, a 35-minute excursion into Black Sabbath’s most placid moments, a slow n’ easy Sunday morning remix full of free-flowing flutes, jazzy coffeehouse guitar noodles and softly banged bongos. From “Planet Caravan” to “Laguna Sunrise” to “Solitude” and back, this droopy-eyed foray into Sabbath’s gentler side is the perfect soundtrack to your next lost weekend.

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