With the News that Black Sabbath will be releasing a new album, the reaction from metal heads the world over has been mixed. Some fans greet this news with excitement, wanting to here a new Sabbath album, seeking to cap off a varied album collection. Other fans are not so thrilled. Me? Not so thrilled.
The last time I saw Ozzy perform was on Ozzfest 2003 in Atlanta. The build up had been immense, the crowd all waiting for the man of the hour to take stage and show every band that played before that day just exactly where they came from. Unfortunately, the only thing this fan witnessed was an awkward and long set that only pushed me to say to my friends, “You think he’s going to hurt himself? I hope not. Oh… he’s doing the monkey move again, someone kick him, I think he’s stuck in a loop.” To feel that way was not something I was proud of, am proud of now, but to say I felt any different would have been an absolute lie.
That was nearly a decade ago.
I understand that there is something special about seeing living history, about making it easier to pass down that history and say to your kid, who you are introducing to metal, “See him? I saw them 35 years ago, and they played this very song.” That is a powerful thing, and it is a thing that few other genres can boast, but… Most of the time, it’s not good. There are few bands that can pull off relevant work this late in their careers. Metal bands aren’t generally like wine; over time, you most likely end up with a big dose of vinegar. I think what made it possible for Sabbath to do another album this late in the game is because they were fucking amazing in the 70’s. Not because they are capable of recreating the kind of vibe you could find on an old Sabbath vinyl, like Masters of Reality or Paranoid.
While I won’t go out of my way to convince you to hate the new Black Sabbath record, or even say for certain that it will in fact be bad before it hits the public, I like to apply Batman’s life philosophy to metal:
You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. I sincerely hope that the album is good, that it does positive things for metal and satisfies every die hard Sabbath fan, old and new: All I’m saying is I won’t hold my breath.