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No one saw them coming in an era that was still toying with tie-dye and shakin’ it to the Beatles. With ominous riffs and discordant melodies accompanied by a lyrical narrative channeling the insidious energy of Satan himself; Black Sabbath had finally unleashed heavy metal upon the general populace on this day with its self-titled debut album, exactly 43 years ago.
The year was 1970 and Ozzy Osbourne was still intelligible enough to spearhead a crew of talented rockers rather than serve as the punchline for a vapid reality TV show. Before AC/DC, Slayer, and Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath was the trailblazer of thrash, the founder of foul, the original in uncivil. Several platinum albums, a break-up, and many spiritual metal band successors later, three of the original four members have gone back to work in the studio for a reunion album called 13, the first since 1978’s Never Say Die.
The comeback has been far from seamless, however. In Jan. 2012, guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma and original drummer Bill Ward never reached a satisfactory contract agreement with his former bandmates. Despite these setbacks, however, the band performed at the Download Festival in the U.K. during June 2012 with the drummer of Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, Tommy Clufetos , in Ward’s place.
According to SomethingElse! Osbourne told the crowd in between songs at the festival that, “When [Black Sabbath] first formed 40 odd years ago, I had no idea we’d be here doing this.”
With the show coming to an end, just before rockin’ out “Children of the Grave,” Osbourne then begged his bandmates, “You have do something for me on this last song; Go f____ing nuts.”
The whole devil worship thing may have gotten cliché in the days since Osbourne faced the devil on the first track of Black Sabbath’s debut album, but the band is not quite done making your grandparents cringe.
“If you try to live up to the expectations of the past album, then you just fail dismally.” bassist Geezer Butler told SomethingElse! Osbourne agreed, saying “I want it to sound current but yet still have that Sabbath vibe.”
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