The Big Issue : Edition 509
THEBIGISSUE8–21APR2016 35 road excess, it was a severe case of sinusitis that struck down the vocalist during the North American portion of the current tour. It should also be noted that one of the key reasons why original drummer Bill Ward is no longer performing with the group is because of health concerns – although he claims to be fine, the rest of the group have cited his history of shoulder and heart issues as being incompatible with a gruelling tour schedule. Also suggestive of a split is that all members of the group have maintained active solo careers outside the confines of Black Sabbath, and therefore don’t necessarily rely on the band creatively or financially. Bassist Geezer Butler has intermittently recorded with his side project, GZR, since 1995, and has reportedly been working on a new album since 2014. Osbourne has publicly stated that after the conclusion of Black Sabbath he intends to return to his work as a solo artist, which has largely been on hold since the release of his last album, Scream (2010). Iommi has a history of collaborating with former Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes, so it’s entirely conceivable that he could continue down that avenue in the future. So is The End really going to be the end? On balance, probably. Despite the fact that their most recent album, 13 (2013), received positive reviews, Osbourne has ruled out recording a follow-up, stating that “people aren’t really interested in hearing the new stuff”. The release of a tour-only EP, also called The End, featuring all of the remaining leftovers from the 13 sessions, lends further credence to this view – suggesting that the group have no intention of ever returning to the studio together. Whatever happens, Black Sabbath’s legacy is secured. Their first four albums – Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), Master of Reality (1971) and Vol. 4 (1972) – are widely considered classics that form the bedrock upon which all heavy metal is based. Their intermittent ventures with legendary vocalist Ronnie James Dio showed an ability to grow and adapt to changing musical tastes. Even their comparatively fallow years during the 80s and 90s don’t look quite so bad in retrospect. It’s been a long road but, if this truly is the end, there’s not much more the group could have hoped to achieve. by Matthew Woodward » Black Sabbath tour Australia 15–25 April. BLACK SABBATH NOW (LEFT) AND BACK IN THE DAY (RIGHT).