REVIEW – In 2012, when the classic Black Sabbath lineup reconvened to record the first new, full studio album since 1978’s “Never Say Die”, 16 total tracks were recorded, but only eight made the initial cut. Deluxe Editions, and Exclusive releases expanded the track listing to twelve tracks, but four tracks still had not been heard. Bassist Geezer Butler explained that he wasn’t sure how, but even though the tracks were really good songs, they just didn’t make the cut, but he envisioned them eventually seeing the light of day.
Sabbath embarked on their final “The End” tour in late January 2016, and if you perused the merch tables, you saw a CD for sale, entitled “The End”. Lo and behold, just as Geez promised us, those elusive four tracks were presented along with four live tracks recorded in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada on their “13” world tour. More new Sabbath tunes? Yes, please!
Staying true to his promises, Geezer again wasn’t lying when he said that the songs were good. Guitarist Tony Iommi delved into his never ending collection of guitar riffs that he’s kept stored on magnetic audio tape since the early ‘70s, and allowed us to hear the magic that is the heavy-rock guitar riff, composed by the master himself. I couldn’t really see why these four tracks were chosen to be considered not as good as the rest. It’s possible that they just had to choose four, and these were the four chosen. The live tracks are a decent selection of tunes, including a fantastic rendition of “Under The Sun/Every Day Just Comes And Goes”, and they all sound pretty good except for “God Is Dead?”, sounding more like an audience recorded bootleg copy than an officially recorded track. It’s hard to believe that they didn’t have a better sounding version of that particular track and I’m confused as to why they settled on an inferior sounding recording.
While it is sad that all the great heavy rock bands from 45 years ago are starting to retire, and in extreme cases, pass away, I’m happy that Black Sabbath are able to retire while still at the top of their game. To me, there’s nothing more sad than a band that tries to continue to live off their past and outstays their welcome, and it appears that Sabbath has enough dignity to know when to say when. Now, gentlemen… there’s still seven months left of your final tour. Let’s please get over this Bill Ward hump, and work something out with him to play one final show, and really, truly go out on top.
BLACK SABBATH “The End”
1. Season of the Dead 7:22
2. Cry All Night 6:59
3. Take Me Home 4:58
4. Isolated Man 5:32
5. God Is Dead? (Live Sydney, Australia 4/27/13) 8:57
6. Under the Sun/Every Day Just Comes And Goes (Live Auckland, New Zealand 4/20/13) 4:37
7. End of the Beginning” (Live Hamilton, ON Canada 4/11/14) 8:10
8. Age of Reason” (Live Hamilton, ON Canada 4/11/14) 7:46
Total length: 54:18