RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Black Sabbath – Live…Gathered in Their Masses
Republic

www.blacksabbath.com

Rating: B+

Three founding members of Black Sabbath, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler, hit the road in support of their latest studio effort 13.  The concert set list was stuffed full of Sabbath classics, a few tunes the fans were thrilled to hear, and the best cuts of the new album making this one hell of a live DVD listening experience.  Of course, in this day of marketing madness, there is a DVD release, a Blu-Ray release, a combo release that comes with a CD of the show and a deluxe release, so head over to the link above and choose which one you want to purchase.

One name was missing in the first sentence of this review, and that is founding drummer Bill Ward.  Bill did not go on the tour or record the album, as he did not agree with the business arrangements.  Die-Hard Sabbath fans are upset about this, including this writer.  But on the live performance, the band has drummer Tommy Clufetos (Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie) in the drum seat, and damn that boy can play.  Technically, as a drummer, well, his more modern skills surpass Ward’s.  Sure, Bill is missed as he is Bill and he did the drum pounding on those classics songs…but man, oh man, Tommy is so fricking good that one can’t help but just dig what he is doing back there.  Also, one can’t help but watch him either, as he is dynamic performer.  So, suffice it to say, we ALL wish Bill could have been there…but since he wasn’t…Tommy is the man.

Iommi, even though he has cancer, gives a chilling performance.  He is the inventor of this kind of guitar playing and his performance is second to none.  He will go down in history as the inventor of Heavy Metal and it would not surprise me that in 100 years there is a Church of Iommi worshiping his legacy.  Vocally, Ozzy still has it.  He is into the performance, and though he looks a bit frazzled and worn down by life, he still delivers big-time.  There is something magnetic and magical that happens with Tony and Oz when they are standing next to each other.  They prove that ageism does not belong in Metal music as they kick ass from start to finish.  Geezer…oh Geezer…he plays the bass like a lead guitar and he is the unsung hero of this band and performance.

The big hits are there…”Iron Man,” “Paranoid,” “War Pigs,” “Children of the Grave” and “N.I.B.” yet there are other Sabbath classics trotted out that thrill the crowd.  Hearing “Into the Void,” “Snowblind” and “Symptom of the Universe” once again is epic.  “Fairies Wear Boots” and “Black Sabbath” are both performed well, as are some new tunes, the best of which are “End of the Beginning” and “God is Dead.”

What would have made this review an “A”?  Two things: a bonus interview/ features with the four men on stage, and the entire “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” being played instead of just a tad of it as an intro to “Paranoid.”  Other than that, this is one bad-ass concert. 

By Jeb Wright

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