Black Sabbath: Two New Songs

Hot on the heels of Deep Purple’s airing of new material, we have the taster for the other of the year’s most anticipated rock events: the sensational return of (almost) Black Sabbath’s original line-up. ‘God is Dead?’ has been released via an official youtube video, and ‘End of the Beginning’ has been performed live in New Zealand – and I have to pronounce myself delighted with both efforts. What a marvellous early Sabs-esque Iommi riff that is towards the end of ‘God . . .’ , and ‘End . . .’ with its overt nods to the band’s eponymous signature song,  glorious fast section and sizzling Iommi solo, will have the faithful fairly crying into their beer. It’s not just that these tracks are ‘old school’ – the band could easily have gone for that vibe in a ham-fisted way and descended into pastiche – it’s that they’re authentically so, and sound wonderfully fresh and vital. Ozzy, for all his recently publicised travails, sounds great, Geezer’s bass work is as dynamic and imperious as ever, and Tone, once again, bestrides the empire of metal like the colossus that he is. It seems that – in contrast to the late nineties false start that yielded the unconvincing ‘Psycho Man’ and ‘Selling My Soul’ – Black Sabbath, like Deep Purple, really mean business this time. And some people say that thirteen is an unlucky number?

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