quarta-feira, 27 de setembro de 2017

BLACK SABBATH (UK) - Live at Hammersmith Odeon (Rhino, CD, 2007)


The three brand new (and very inspiring) songs included on "The Dio Years" compilation sure created quite a buzz around the renewed Dio-Sabbath partnership, and the band (now christened as Heaven & Hell so to avoid confusion with the Ozzy Osbourne version of Black Sabbath) concurrently embarked on a very sucessfull tour across the USA, that kept them very busy through the earlier part of 2007. There was still something to come out under the Sabbath logo though, as Rhino acquired the rights for some recordings made in England between 31 December 1981 and 2 January 1982, at the height of the tour supporting "Mob Rules". The tapes, assembled on a single-CD release baptised (quite unimaginatively, but nevermind) as "Live at Hammersmith Odeon", are hardly a landmark moment in Sabbath's career (the very same tour was the subject of the "Live Evil" set in 1982, you know), so there's not much need to write a book-length article about it or anything. Still, the context surrounding its release is interesting enough to justify at least a short comment, and the fact that the contents are mostly very enjoyable will sure make my job easier, so there you have it.

The sound quality is fine, and the mixing is quite competent too, as all instruments are perfectly discernible and you can even hear the keyboards in places, believe it or not. That's quite a change from the muddied "Live Evil", you see, and though I wouldn't go as far as to call it the definitive live album with Dio or anything, it will sure be a more pleasant listen if you take sound clarity seriously. I also happen to find Ronnie James Dio's performances way more enjoyable than before: he still tends to over-interpret all Ozzy-era songs to a great extent, but his voice is delightfully clear and strong throughout, and songs like "Voodoo" and "Children of the Sea" are truly worthy of mention on that front.

The tracklist also brings some curiosities, as it's the very first time that tunes like "Slipping Away" and "Country Girl" appear on a official live release. Both versions are good, but I like the latter better, the delicate guitar harmonies on the intermediate session being surprisingly soothing and charming in a live environment. The obligatory lengthy version of "Heaven and Hell" is also present as expected, and it's one of the highlights of the album, as its many improvisations never get boring and the confidence with which Dio deliver the lyrics is truly remarkable. I know, many people consider the usual subjects of Dio's poetry to be quite cheesy (and I agree with such a notion on a number of occasions), but sometimes the ethereal, fantasy-laden nature of his verses and choruses actually work to great effect, and this tune is undeniably one of such instances. As for the rest of the record, I guess there's no need to further reiterate how memorable songs like "Neon Knights" and "The Mob Rules" are, so rest assured there will be plenty to enjoy while listening to this one.

Not that the concept of a live album from Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio singing was unheard of, you know, but fact is that "Live at Hammersmith Odeon" was a somewhat unexpected success upon its release, with the limited edition of 5.000 copies being sold out almost immediately. As it was never reissued on its original form, it soon became a rare artifact very sought after by collectors, though it is included on its entirely on the 2010's deluxe edition of "Mob Rules", so it's not like you simply can't buy it anymore. It's one for dedicated fans anyway, so I suspect there's really not much need for another run. A more widespread live recording as Heaven & Hell would soon be around though, and there are plenty of things to say about "Live from Radio City Music Hall", that came out only a few months later. As for "Live at Hammersmith Odeon", there's no need to spend a small fortune to buy an original copy unless you're an obsessive completist, but it's a good one to have around for the occasional spin if you find a less expensive way to add it to your collection.

Ronnie James Dio (V), Tony Iommi (G), Geezer Butler (B), Vinny Appice (D), Geoff Nicholls (K).

01. E5150 1:18
02. Neon Knights 4:37
03. N.I.B. 5:16
04. Children of the Sea 6:07
05. Country Girl 3:53
06. Black Sabbath 8:24
07. War Pigs 7:40
08. Slipping Away 3:18
09. Iron Man 7:04
10. The Mob Rules 3:35
11. Heaven and Hell 14:24
12. Paranoid 3:21
13. Voodoo 5:45
14. Children of the Grave 5:05

Have you been involved with any of the bands mentioned here? Have any extra info and/or corrections? Please e-mail me at drequon@gmail.com and let me know!

terça-feira, 19 de setembro de 2017

BLACK SABBATH (UK) - The Dio Years (CD, Rhino, 2007)


Being a support musician for Ozzy Osbourne would undoubtedly be the dream job for nearly every heavy rock musician around the globe - but such a role gets a whole different connotation when you're Tony Iommi or Geezer Butler, you know. Two of the most important musicians in the entire history of rock 'n' roll, the aforementioned lads would never be contented to just play a handful of shows as Black Sabbath on Ozzfest every year, as turned out to be the case through the best part of a decade, and were eager for a bit of moonlighting whenever possible. Geezer Butler put his "Ohmwork" album as GZR out in 2005, Tony released no less than three solo records as well (all will hopefully be the subject of proper reviews very soon), and both were presumably open to any options back in late 2005, as Ozzy was focused on a new album and there was no prospect for further Sabbath touring on the immediate horizon. The opportunity came in somewhat unexpected terms when Rhino Records shown interest in releasing a compilation culled from the Sabbath albums with Ronnie James Dio, having acquired the rights of such records in the interim. The singer himself seemed very open to work again with his former bandmates, and soon arrangements were made for a few get-togethers in the studio.

Initially named as the drummer for such sessions, Bill Ward shown the first signs of his, let's say, difficult personality and jumped ship even before the sail had started, citing some obscure "musical differences" he never bothered to properly explain. Unwilling to risk losing momentum, the trio just invited Vinny Appice in, effectively reuniting the "Mob Rules" and "Dehumanizer" line-up, and I'm entirely convinced it was the right choice, as many later controversies involving Ward are well enough to testify. This revamped entity later renamed themselves as Heaven & Hell to avoid any confusion - and/or some dreaded lawsuits from the Osbournes camp, as Black Sabbath with Ozzy was still legally an ongoing concern at the time. And, as soon as these talented gentlemen got their feet on the ground, some pretty respectable music came out to make our day.

"The Dio Years" was first conceived as a box set with all Sabbath albums from the Dio period, but the idea was temporarily shelved (it would later come to fruition as "The Rules of Hell" in 2008) in favor of a more compact compilation CD. Those who just never let go of the 70's Sabbath will probably forever disagree, but there's yet another chance for them to realize just how worthy of attention all the albums recorded with Dio are. What we got here is a band that sounds different (less experimental, more concise and, honestly, forceful than most of the Ozzy years), but still is undeniably Black Sabbath through and through - and overlooking it still seems to me as silly as it probably was back in 1980, when the truly classic "Heaven and Hell" LP came out. It's all very enjoyable of course, and the track selection is mostly spot on - I would have let "Turn Up the Night" out and brought "Country Girl" in instead, and "Time Machine" should definitely have made it into the finished product, but that's pretty much it. But there's little reason to exhaustively elaborate upon such already well-know songs, so let's cut the crap and get straight into reviewing the three brand-new compositions here featured, OK?

For starters, let's say that all of the previously unreleased songs ("The Devil Cried", Shadow of the Wind" and "Ear in the Wall") are way better than both "Psycho Man" and "Selling My Soul", the two unspectacular inclusions to the "Reunion" live set in 1998. And it's not a case of badmouthing Ozzy Osbourne or anything, it's just that the band clearly took their time properly writing the songs this time around, rather than just knocking things together at short notice, as it seems to have been the case nine years previously. Both "The Devil Cried" and "Shadow of the Wind" are slower, grinding numbers with atmospheric connotations and riffs aplenty (not to mention some truly nice solos!), delivered with supreme confidence and with some cool (and never intrusive) twists and turns to make things even more interesting - the dramatic ending of "Shadow of the Wind" is no less than outstanding, readers take note. Immensely enjoyable stuff, reminiscent of the most doomy moments on "Dehumanizer" perhaps, but with a charm all of their own. And final track "Ear in the Wall" is a faster, more direct number that could perhaps have benefited from a more memorable chorus, but still holds more than enough good features to be a very compelling listen. All in all, a very strong batch of new compositions, and more than enough to justify every penny spent on buying a copy.

As above stated, the whole project was rebranded as Heaven and Hell even before "The Dio Years" was out, the Black Sabbath name being kept solely for the purposes of this release. It was a wise move if you ask me, as it made clear from the start that the foursome were willing to move beyond their former laurels and do new stuff on a constant basis, and it also offered a good excuse to focus on songs written with Dio when playing live, without anyone among the crowd screaming "Paranoid!" or stuff like that. A nice prospect really, and Heaven and Hell gifted us with some pretty tasty fruits through their (unfortunately very short) lifespan as a band.

Ronnie James Dio (V), Tony Iommi (G), Geezer Butler (B), Vinny Appice (D). Also performed: Bill Ward (D - tracks 1-5), Geoff Nicholls (keyboards - tracks 1-13).

01. Neon Knights 3:52
02. Lady Evil 4:24
03. Heaven and Hell 6:58
04. Die Young 4:44
05. Lonely is the Word 5:51
06. The Mob Rules 3:16
07. Turn Up the Night 3:42
08. Voodoo 4:34
09. Falling Off the Edge of the World 5:04
10. After All (The Dead) 5:42
11. TV Crimes 4:02
12. I 5:13
13. Children of the Sea (live) 6:14
14. The Devil Cried * 6:01
15. Shadow of the Wind * 5:40
16. Ear in the Wall * 4:04
Tracks with * are exclusive to this compilation

Have you been involved with any of the bands mentioned here? Have any extra info and/or corrections? Please e-mail me at drequon@gmail.com and let me know!

domingo, 17 de setembro de 2017

SAXON (UK) - Forever Free (CD, Virgin, 1992)


It would be an overstatement to say "Solid Ball of Rock" set the world on fire upon its release, you know, but the mostly positive response was all Saxon needed to know to decide what to do next. Those were difficult times for heavy metal in general, and many bands felt that adding alternative / noisy / grunge leanings to their compositions would be the right move to keep people interested. But, after nearly biting the dust following an ill-fated attempt to become a hair metal band, Saxon sure knew better, and never threatened to wear flannel shirts, sport shaggy haircuts, detune their guitars or anything like that. Thank God. Instead, they wisely chose to keep on playing heavy metal, period - and it was clearly beneficial to their cause in the long run, as soon the persevering metal fans would be seeing them no longer as fallen heroes, but rather as valiant bearers of the flame. "Forever Free", albeit not yet a triumphant return to top form and with a few perceivable flaws to its credit, was warmly welcome by nearly everyone involved with metal at the time - and it's easy to understand why, as it was easily one of the most bona fide, honest-to-God metal releases of those confuse times.

In fact, the flirtations with glam metal that were still hinted in parts of "Solid Ball of Rock" are almost completely gone here, this CD being unequivocally metal through and through - and you don't need more than the opening notes of "Forever Free", the song, to have some conclusive evidence on that. Everything on it is very evocative of the glorious days of the past: from the straightforward song structure to the emotional guitar solos, from the lyrics dealing with romantic images of freedom to the anthemic chorus, every single detail on it wants to bring to your mind fond memories of days gone by, when things seemed less complicated and metal used to be the law. But don't go for it expecting some melancholic balladry or anything like that: it's all heavy, hard-hitting and very enjoyable, setting quite a nice mood for the rest of the record. A great start, that's for sure.

Fortunately, there's a lot more to enjoy on this one. The near speed-metal of "One Step Away" is absolutely brilliant, while "Get Down and Dirty" could be a (good) song from the 80's period AC/DC - not really thoughtful stuff, you see, but quite light-hearted and funny nonetheless. Yeah, I know, they wrote dozens of these from 1985 onwards, but it's actually quite charming this time around and works way better than most similar attempts from the past. "Iron Wheels" is also a winner, a ballad about Biff Byford's father that shows how poignant Saxon can be if given the chance - and it's also a nice way to rescue the lyrics from "Calm Before the Storm" (one of the worse songs out of the very bad "Destiny" album), as most verses on that one are also featured here. It's sure a good thing, as this touching homage are truly put to better use on "Iron Wheels". "Nighthunter" (fast and furious) and "Can't Stop Rockin'" (catchy) are also nice enough, so I guess there's more than enough good stuff here to please the headbangers.

There are some minor letdowns too, mind you. I'm afraid "Grind" just don't work as planned if you ask me: I see, they wanted to do something a tad more funky to give the album a bit of variety, but it's not something that is going to take you to the dance floor or anything, so what's the point in playin' funky music if no one's going to groove on it, white boy? "Hole in the Sky" have some pretty strong guitar work throughout, but I don't like the chorus at all: the song's strong build-up hints to something really explosive, then an overly-melodic "a hole in the sky, can't you seeeeee?" comes out of the speakers and I feel like magic's lost every single time I listen to it. "Cloud Nine" is OK I guess, but nothing too memorable, and Saxon's version to Willie Dixon's "Just Wanna Make Love to You" is serviceable enough, but not much else. Extra points of minor dissatisfaction goes to the production, with guitars that sound muddy on some numbers and screechy on others - and I would have enjoyed a more careful approach to Biff's voice in the mix, which is actually kinda odd, as the man himself is one of the minds behind the recording desk!

Considering the whole scenario around this release, I'd say that "Forever Free" turns out to be a further step in the right direction: I can't imagine anyone placing it as a favorite album from Saxon, but this offering made a clear point on their ongoing rehabilitation and sure stroke the right note with the band's faithful. It's a somewhat uneven effort just as "Solid Ball of Rock" before it, but both records had more than enough to spread the world around: Saxon were back, maybe not with a vengeance just yet, but no longer embarassing themselves with half-assed pop metal tunes that no one ever really wanted to hear in the first place. There would soon be further turmoil in the band's camp, when a series of odd developments led to a very acrimonious split with guitarist Graham Oliver just after the release of following album "Dogs of War". But it's the music that matters, you see, and Saxon never strayed out of the road ever since, so I guess "Forever Free" deserves a 3-star rating to symbolize its historical place in the band's discography.

Biff Byford (V), Paul Quinn (G), Graham Oliver (G), Tim 'Nibbs' Carter (B), Nigel Glockler (D).

01. Forever Free 5:00
02. Hole in the Sky 4:44
03. Just Wanna Make Love to You 3:57
04. Get Down and Dirty 5:08
05. Iron Wheels 4:15
06. One Step Away 4:59
07. Can't Stop Rockin' 4:05
08. Nighthunter 3:25
09. Grind 4:26
10. Cloud Nine 4:35

Have you been involved with any of the bands mentioned here? Have any extra info and/or corrections? Please e-mail me at drequon@gmail.com and let me know!

segunda-feira, 4 de setembro de 2017

BLACK SABBATH (UK) - Past Lives (2 CD, Sanctuary, 2002)


Not a single sane mind on Earth would qualify the original Black Sabbath reunion as a turkey, you know, but I'm afraid it was a mostly disappointing endeavor to be honest, delivering way less than its original promise. Virtually no new music came out of the quartet at first (only the two bonus tracks on the "Reunion" 2-CD package, and both hardly impressive if you ask me), and the band soon became little more than a staple in Ozzfest year after year, something that would be demeaning to the Sabbath name to a great extent. C'mon, these guys are trailblazers of heavy metal as we know it, and one would expect them to return as way more than just a support band for Ozzy Osbourne when he feels like singing old tunes from the past. It wasn't atrocious, see, but many fans felt very frustrated by this state of affairs, including myself. Considering this scenario, "Past Lives" was pretty much a cash-grab, something to keep the ball rolling in between USA tours and not much else, though I can understand that the chance to finally release the old "Live at Last" recordings in a more legitimate package was very tempting for the lads (please kindly read the review in question to see how illegitimate the whole thing was in its original form).

Actually, the first CD from this edition is a remastered version of the "Live at Last" LP, with no changes in the running order and no further additions from the original shows, as all master tapes presumably got lost in the interim. It sounds better, of course, but there's very little to be said about the tracks here featured, the contents being of real significance only for those who still didn't own the original album (or one of its many reissues, for that matter). With that said, the main points of interest will undoubtedly be available on CD 2 - though most of these recordings have already appeared on earlier bootlegs and will hardly shock obsessive collectors in terms of novelty or scarcity.

For those who never bothered to delve too deep into the never-ending unofficial catalogue of Sabbath, though, there's pretty interesting inclusions on disc two, specially the ones captured in New Jersey 1975, during the tour to promote "Sabotage". You'll hardly have another chance to hear contemporary live renditions of songs like "Hole in the Sky" and "Symptom of the Universe", so these inclusions alone are enough to justify the effort to locate a copy - though Ozzy's performance on "Megalomania" is far from top-notch, to an extent that he simply gives up altogether on singing it in key towards the end. Hardly the most enjoyable vocal performance ever captured on digital format if you ask me, but nevermind.

Taken from the fabled performance at the Olympia Theatre in Paris on December 1970 (the earliest good-quality recording of a Sabbath show known to exist), tunes like "Hand of Doom" and "Iron Man" are also of interest, not only for its historic value, but also for presenting considerably different lyrics from the canonical album versions. Maybe it was only Ozzy botching it, you know, but I kinda doubt it, as he seems mostly very confident and steady while doing so. Who knows? Whatever the story, all recordings are mostly good enough - the rough edges in it are very prominent, and even some glaring sound fluctuations are perceivable in places, but these are recordings from a time when high-quality equipment was not easily available (not to mention very expensive), so let's be grateful that these documents for posterity even exist in the first place.

I would not at all be inclined to describe "Past Lives" as a must-buy for the average metal fan, but it gets some extra points for historical relevance, doing just enough to achieve 3-star territory in my book. With that said, this 2-CD package hardly set the world into wild frenzy upon its release, and the lack of relevant input from Black Sabbath got more and more disquieting as years went on. While waiting for Ozzy Osbourne to record a new solo album in 2006, his third in a row while Sabbath was pretty much his side project (I don't want to be too nasty on the man, mind you, I still love him from the bottom of my heart), Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler decided to rejoin forces with old mates Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice, at first only to record a few brand-new songs for the upcoming "The Dio Years" compilation. But old habits never die, and soon they would all be adjusting their agendas for tentative recording and rehearsal sessions, an arrangement that soon took shape in a new proposition called Heaven & Hell. Not Black Sabbath in name, but surely in spirit, and some pretty interesting developments took shape from such partnership, as I hope to explain on future instalments of the series.

Ozzy Osbourne (V), Tony Iommi (G), Geezer Butler (B), Bill Ward (D).

CD 1
01. Tomorrow's Dream 3:03
02. Sweet Leaf 5:26
03. Killing Yourself to Live 5:29
04. Cornucopia 3:57
05. Snowblind 4:46
06. Children of the Grave 4:33
07. War Pigs 7:36
08. Wicked World 18:55
09. Paranoid 3:14

CD 2
01. Hand of Doom 8:25
02. Hole in the Sky 4:46
03. Symptom of the Universe 4:52
04. Megalomania 9:53
05. Iron Man 6:25
06. Black Sabbath 8:23
07. N.I.B. 5:31
08. Behind the Wall of Sleep 5:03
09. Fairies Wear Boots 6:39

Have you been involved with any of the bands mentioned here? Have any extra info and/or corrections? Please e-mail me at drequon@gmail.com and let me know!

sábado, 2 de setembro de 2017

BLACK SABBATH (UK) - Reunion (2 CD, Epic, 1998)


The concept of reuniting classic line-ups for the purposes of a tour and/or studio recordings have probably been around since the dawn of time, but it sure wasn't that worn out back in 1997, you see. Yeah, you can hark back to Deep Purple in the 80s, but there's not much else to mention on that front before the original Black Sabbath rejoined forces in 1997: Iron Maiden still had Blaze Bayley as a singer, Judas Priest were still to release "Jugulator" with Tim 'Ripper' Owens up front, Guns n' Roses weren't even formally disbanded at the time and oh well I guess you'd catch my drift. When the classic Iommi-Ward-Butler-Osbourne formation first announced their return, it was a tremendous thing for the heavy metal universe, and the expectations for any official products of such get-together were understandably huge. Recorded mostly in early December, on two consecutive dates at Birmingham's NEC Arena, "Reunion" is also of great interest by showcasing two brand-new compositions, the very first the iconic team recorded together in nearly two decades, and it's undoubtedly more than enough to set all fans falling over themselves to buy a copy. And though I'm about to raise some criticism on many aspects of this record (yeah, I know, I never learn), it's still an extremely significant piece in the history of heavy music, and it deserves a careful observation by anyone with even a passing interest on the genre.

The sound quality is obviously excellent throughout the 2 CD set (though I would surely have enjoyed to hear the basslines with a fatter, more sludgy mix), as such a high-profile event would never be the subject of an uncaring, shoddy production, so let's not delve on it too deep and proceed straight to the show itself, shall we? And what I'm about to state may seem a tad absurd to some readers, so I'd rather get to it straight away: there's a bit too much of Ozzy Osbourne here, which is to say that there's a little less Black Sabbath than it should. Calm down, don't go away just yet, please let me try to explain what I mean.

Let's start by taking a closer look to "War Pigs", the very first song here featured. It's perhaps the most important song in the history of heavy metal, and it stars promising enough: the air raid sirens, the groovy bass, the guitars setting the ominous mood quite nicely. Then the Madman starts singing it, and he does it like it's one of the anthemic tunes of his solo career, not one of the most morbid monsters from the whole Sabbath catalogue. He want to see people's hands in the air, he asks the audience to sing with him, to scream louder... c'mon, it's not supposed to be a good time, it's a song about people dying in battle and warmongers being doomed to hell, goddamn it! There's a sort of solemnity you'd expect while listening to "War Pigs", a bit like being in a ritual really, and it's mostly ruined by the God-bless-you-we-love-you-all approach Ozzy brings to the table - and let's face it, lines like "ashes where the bodies burning" and "poisoning their brainwashed minds" are hardly the most adequate ones to ask a crowd to sing along. And don't get me started on that final lead, simply the best theme ever written for a heavy metal guitar and here regrettably marred by Ozzy's ill-fated idea to provoke a "oh-oh-oh" accompaniment by the crowd. I love you, Oz, but don't ever do that again, I beg you.

Though never as uncomfortable as "War Pigs", similar shortcomings are prominent on a number of occasions. I mean, just imagine Ozzy sayin' "I can't fucking hear you! Louder! This is a song called Electric Funeral" and perhaps you'll grasp just how disparate from the musical contents some of Ozzy's interventions are. Fortunately, most of his singing is really cool, and hearing his voice on tunes like "Behind the Wall of Sleep" and "Into the Void" is like coming home really, as maybe he's the only person on Earth really able to do them justice. "Black Sabbath" is also a highlight, just as frightening as it's supposed to be, but trained ears will easily perceive the high amounts of studio magic applied to keep Ozzy's voice in tune on this one, a trickery most evident towards the end of the show (just listen carefully to "Iron Man" and "Paranoid" and you'll see what I mean).

Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler are loud and evil as expected, and Bill Ward does mostly a nice job as well, not as brilliant and untamed as in his prime perhaps, but pounding his drumkit with undeniable competence and also keeping the slow-and-steady pace so necessary to give most Sabbath songs their unique, gloomy vibe. I'm also glad to say that the repertoire goes beyond the usual (and let's face it, truly unavoidable) collection of classics, with tunes like "Spiral Architect", "Dirty Women" and "Lord of this World" being unexpected (and very welcome) inclusions to the set. To my personal dismay, it was the very first time "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" appears in abridged form, and it hurts my soul really, as it's easily one of my personal favorites from the entire Sabbath's repertoire, but I guess I'll just have to deal with it.

As for the new songs, I must say that none of them caused me any lasting impression at the time of the album's release, and now that many years have passed, I still fail to find anything truly remarkable going on. There was a rumour going around at the time that these songs were leftovers from the "Ozzmosis" sessions, reworked by Tony Iommi to sound a bit more like typical Sabbath. I'm not sure if such speculation holds any water, you know, but "Psycho Man" sounds a lot like an Ozzy Osbourne tune to be honest, even with an harmonized chorus that, albeit cool enough, isn't really what I would expect from Sabbath, if I'm to be honest here. Not bad really, but far from remarkable nonetheless. "Selling My Soul" is way more direct, even a bit clumsy in places, and seems to have been knocked together at very short notice, but I must say I like the riffs better on this one, at least. Unfortunately, it also shows the first signs of Bill Ward's physical decline, as his parts on it were deemed too out-of-time for usage and replaced by a drum machine, which only adds to the generic, not-very-impressive results.

All things considered, and despite its shortcomings, "Reunion" is a curious enough souvenir for Sabbath fanatics, and it sure created a wild anticipation for further releases from the lads, most of all a brand-new studio album. Sadly, that would not be the case for a long time: attempts to record new songs in 2001 didn't come to fruition as planned, the resulting compositions never properly finished and finally shelved for the time being. For almost a full decade, Black Sabbath reduced themselves to be a yearly feature on Ozzfest and not much else, a state of affairs that was truly disappointing if you consider the great expectations surrounding the whole shebang at first. I never wanted to see Iommi and Butler reduced to side-men for the Osbourne family's endeavors, you know, and Bill Ward's deteriorating health would keep the man away from many of these outings, making things all the more frustrating. I mean, these guys are more than entitled to do whatever the hell suits them, and I'm the first to admit it - but it would take a long time (almost a decade, to be more precise) until Black Sabbath's name would be associated with something really exciting once again, when good old Ronnie James Dio stepped into the picture to have a final bite at the cherry.

Ozzy Osbourne (V), Tony Iommi (G), Geezer Butler (B), Bill Ward (D). Also performed: Geoff Nicholls (K).

CD 1
01. War Pigs 8:28
02. Behind the Wall of Sleep 4:07
03. N.I.B. 6:45
04. Fairies Wear Boots 6:19
05. Electric Funeral 5:02
06. Sweet Leaf 5:07
07. Spiral Architect 5:40
08. Into the Void 6:32
09. Snowblind 6:08

CD 2
01. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath 4:36
02. Orchid / Lord of this World 7:07
03. Dirty Women 6:29
04. Black Sabbath 7:29
05. Iron Man 8:21
06. Children of the Grave 6:30
07. Paranoid 4:28
08. Psycho Man 5:18
09. Selling My Soul 3:10
(new songs written by Osbourne/Iommi)

Have you been involved with any of the bands mentioned here? Have any extra info and/or corrections? Please e-mail me at drequon@gmail.com and let me know!