By now you're probably heard. Black Sabbath has announced that they will be reuniting in 2012 to play the eclectic Download festival, manage some kind of world tour, and record an album together for the first time in 33 years. They've launched a new website and have pledged to delve ito the world of social networking. Which strikes me as funny, only because we're talking about four sixty year old men who are generationally closer to Sonny and Cher than Bieber and Twitter.
Oh boy. A host of mixed emotions are bubbling up in the ole' cauldron here. No one can refute my adoration for Sabbath (the Black Sabbath Tribute back in the beginning of the year being the most obvious example,) but even the most devout, ardent followers of the foursome must be approaching this news with some pause.
Assuming it actually happens (and this is anything but a certainty, as the dissolution of past Sabbath reunion tours can attest to,) what could the band possibly sound like now? It is easy to forget amidst the immense, immeasurable legacy of Black Sabbath that while six of their albums are legends that will never be duplicated, the foursome's last two, "Technical Ecstasy" and "Never Say Die!" are pretty crappy. Plus, there are the outlying questions that require varying degrees of extrapolation to dissect.
1) We heard Ozzy "sing" on 2010's "Scream," and is was milquetoast at best. There is (pardon my saying so, as the man is a favorite legend of mine,) almost no conceivable chance that the man can belt out the notes, even the more crooked ones required for "Electric Funeral." So, what can Ozzy's vocal capacity, in the style of Black Sabbath, truly be?
2) The rest of the band (Bill Ward notwithstanding) has spent the last few years playing as Heaven and Hell (it's worth nothing that the front page of the Black Sabbath entry on Allmusic features Dio in the picture,) and whether fans like it or not, Dio Sabbath and Ozzy Sabbath are two different bands. How long has it been since Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler wrote a prototype early 1970's Sabbath riff?
3) While I can understand doing the reunion tour, the purpose of the album eludes me. The odds that any track from this album takes over the fans' minds to a greater degree than the ultimate hits of the past are fairly long. As a calculated gamble, there's a lot of risk here.
I remain at least a little excited. If anyone can pull it off, it will be these four guys and this band. Blinders on, people. Black Sabbath is back.
You can check out details at the all new Black Sabbath website.