BAND: BLACK SABBATH (of course..!) supported by cyber metallers FEAR FACTORY
 CROWDS: 12 000+

Note that this review has been contributed by Dr. R. old-school metalhead...currently working in Birmingham....keep up the fucking good work !!!

The original Black fucking Sabbath has returned ! After 18 bloomin' years, too. After the news that Bill Ward was in, we knew that these two-night gigs will be the ultimate history lesson in metal one will never forget. The gig opened with Californian thrash/industrial/cyber metal act, Fear Factory, fronted by Burton C. Bell. Ironically, Fear Factory will have Geezer (the Sabs' bassist's side project) opening for them in London the following Sunday.

The lights went out at 8.30 pm with a five-minute snippet on two large screens with clips of performance by Black Sabbath in the 70's. Then all hell fucked loose as Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward kicked off the evening's historic gig with 'War Pigs'. The whole arena joined Ozzy during fill-ins of "...just like witches at black masses" and bouts of "Oh, Lord ! Yeah !". 'N.I.B' was heralded by Butler's swirling bass solo, and this was followed by 'Fairies Wear Boots' from the 1971 'Paranoid' album. They then went on to belt out old favs like 'Sweet Leaf', 'Snowblind' and 'Into The Void'. Ozzy was ace that evening with his trademark running and leaping around the stage, clapping his hands like a maniac. Iommi's laidback, doom-and-gloom and send-you-to-hell riffing (now that's a Sabbath riff !) kicks off 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath'.

The arena was then blackened. The tolls of a church bell echoes in the winds while the stage's 30-foot cross (it's non-inverted !) motif swirls with projected Runic inscriptions. The demonic riffs of 'Black Sabbath', the song that started it all, followed suit and it felt like being at Walpurgishnacht ! As Ozzy sang "...Satan sits there, he's smiling", red beam shone giving the arena a pure fucking hellish atmosphere. 'Iron Man' followed suit with the whole arena singing to the riff. After 'Children Of The Grave', we were dying for more. As an encore, they came back onstage for the obligatory 'Paranoid'. The gig ended with a standing ovation (more or less, we were all standing throughout anyway !). It was good to see that Bill was back and to think that all after these years, that drummer really kicked ass ! The rising of these minions of Satan from its ashes in Birmingham was truly the best comeback as we all fucking know it !
Playlist of the night
1. War Pigs
2. Behind The Wall Of Sleep
3. N.I.B.
4. Fairies Wear Boots
5. Electric Funeral
6. Sweet Leaf
7. Spiral Architect
8. Lord Of This World
9. Snowblind
10. Into The Void
11. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
12. Dirty Women
13. Black Sabbath
14. Iron man
15. Children Of The Grave
16. Paranoid
17. Symptom Of The Universe


          The original line-up of Black Sabbath (1970)

This review has been blessed fortimes since Dec 25, 1997...salute !!!