Black Sabbath, the band generally recognized as one of the creators of heavy metal, will do something its frontman Ozzy Osbourne has threatened to do on his own for at least two decades — retire. This year they will release their final album and perform their final show.
Before you get too excited, there is one catch in seeing Sabbath perform for the last time — you will have to fly to Japan to see it. That’s right, their final show will take place Nov. 22 at Ozzfest Japan, because when you think gloomy metal and haunting vocals, Japan is usually what comes to mind.
Also announced is that Korn, the band that made kilts, JNCOs and cornrows popular in the late 90s, will also perform for some reason. So, if you fly all that way, prepare to sit through a set of bad nu metal that died out 15 years ago.
Black Sabbath has a colorful history of stopping and starting again. They have gone through numerous lead singers (the only real notable ones being Ozzy and Ronnie James Dio), battled with one another, both in-band and out in many court rooms over the years. The only member whose been a part of every version has been guitarist Tony Iomi, though he has been dealing with health issues as of late, so it makes sense he may want to spend the rest of his golden years not playing the same riffs he’s been playing since the late 60s to drunken metalheads all over the world.
I actually saw them on their 1999 reunion tour, at an Ozzfest in Somerset, Wis. It was quite fantastic, despite some flat notes from Ozzy (which I give the man a pass on, he was very entertaining as a frontman, engaging the crowd and shooting at them with a giant fire hose). The band was pretty solid, considering they were well into their 50s at that point.
Another highlight of that show: A visibly drunk Rob Zombie rambling incoherently about Black Sabbath on stage before their set.
It was also announced that Ozzy has invited original drummer Bill Ward (who has sat out this current reunion due to a contract dispute, and has also dealt with health issues over the years). While at this point it remains unknown if he will, or even be able to, perform with the band. My guess is he probably will not, but who knows? I never thought when I was 15 that I would see a reunited Sabbath and three years later I did, so anything can happen.
Their final album will be produced by Rick Rubin, who produced their last album, “13.”
Here are some of my favorite Black Sabbath songs (including some from the Dio years):