Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Black Sabbath: Titans of 70s metal finally play debut gig in Belfast

Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi

It has been a triumphant year for reformed heavy metal titans Black Sabbath.

First they overcame guitarist Tony Iommi's cancer.

Then they saw off legal threats from disgruntled former drummer Bill Ward, who has been excluded from the reunion.

And finally they recorded their first album with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals in 35 years, and saw it go to number one in nine countries.

But one statistic is arguably even more of a milestone.

Amazingly, last night at the Odyssey Arena was the band's debut show in Northern Ireland.

And was it worth the wait?

In the words of opening track War Pigs... "Oh Lord, yeah!"

From the pulverising riffs of the 1970 classic to the closing strains of classic hit single Paranoid, Sabbath proved definitively why they are such a revered name.

Iommi and Butler remain a magical musical pairing, new drummer Tommy Clufetos pummelled away, and it was all topped by Osbourne's otherworldly wail.

The frontman's voice sounded better than it has in some time, and he put as much into the show as his rock 'n roll-ravaged, 65-year-old body would allow.

"I'm sorry it took so long to get here," he said at one point. "But we got here in the end."

And he seemed as thrilled to be in Belfast as the audience were to have him.

Tracks from 13 made more sense in a live setting than on the rather over-produced record, but it was the oldies that really got fans' heads banging.

Signature song Black Sabbath still sends shivers up the spine, while NIB had the whole arena roaring along with its refrain of "Oh, yeah!"

Paranoid finished the night on a massive high, with Osbourne promising not to leave it so long next time.

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