Metal pioneers Black Sabbath are reuniting with the original lineup and hitting the road, more than 40 years after the band's inception.
Guitarist Tony Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne, bass player Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward are plotting a world tour as well as a new album, as they announced at a press conference today. The band will headline England's Download Festival in June 2012 and then head out.
Rick Rubin has been tapped to produce a new effort, the same role he had when the band made their first go at reuniting back at the end of the '90s and into the new millennium. If the album's completed, it will be Rubin's first for the band.
Black Sabbath hasn't released an album of all-new material with that lineup since 1978's "Never Say Die!"; Osbourne was fired that following year, and replaced by Ronnie James Dio. Thus, the inaugural quartet left eight studio albums in their wake.
Sabbath made their last concerted, formal reunion starting in 1997/1998, an earnest but ultimately doomed attempt at becoming a full band again. Bill Ward had a heart attack while they were on tour. Iommi pursued putting out his first solo album while Ozzy worked on a couple of his own, setting the band back on what was thought to be a temporary hiatus. The MTV's "The Osbournes" was permanently conscripted into Ozzy's life and that was that, in 2002. To show for it: 1998's decent and mostly live album "Reunion," which included two new studio tracks, with one that thankfully showed some spark ("Psycho Man").
Black Sabbath, without contest, is among one of the most influential rock bands of all time, trailblazers for metal, helping in defining an era of post-Beatles British music and yielding a template of heavy music frontmen. I am a great admirer of the band; and I won't be the first or last fan to say, that this reunion just seems sad.