|1. War Pigs (Live)|
|2. Behind The Wall Of Sleep (Live)|
|3. N.I.B. (Live) [Explicit]|
|4. Fairies Wear Boots (Video for EVS 41588/Live)|
|5. Electric Funeral (Live)|
|6. Sweet Leaf (Live)|
|7. Spiral Architect (Live) [Explicit]|
|8. Into The Void (Live)|
|9. Snowblind (Live)|
|1. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Live)|
|2. Orchid/Lord Of This World (Live)|
|3. Dirty Women (Live)|
|4. Black Sabbath (Live)|
|5. Iron Man (Live)|
|6. Children Of The Grave (Live)|
|8. Psycho Man|
|9. Selling My Soul|
"Reunion" is as close to an official live album as the band has had in their 34-year career. 1980's "Live At Last" was released without their permission, and 1982's "Live Evil" featured then-singer Ronnie James Dio.
But here it is, finally, and "Reunion" does not disappoint. Culled from a series of concerts in their native Birmingham in December 1997, it includes their most enduring classics ("Black Sabbath", "War Pigs", "Paranoid", "Iron Man").
And Sabbath manages to avoid the most common pitfall of live recordings: speeding up the songs. This patience is crucial, since such staples as "Sweet Leaf", "Black Sabbath," and "Snowblind" owe much of their unique personality and somber atmospherics to the band's trademark snail's pace.
I wouldn't have put "Behind The Wall Of Sleep" on right after "War Pigs" (it becomes very obvious that "Wall" is just "Pigs" with a slightly altered melody and a different arrangement).
And Ozzy Osbourne's vocals aren't quite as strong as the were 30 years ago (he can't hit the high notes on "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"). But he can still carry a tune, something which he couldn't always 30 years ago, and guitarist Tony Iommi has lost absolutely none of his impressive chops.
Bill Ward lays down an appropriately heavy beat, one which doesn't just plod along without variation, but actually shows what a fine heavy metal drummer Ward is. And Terry "Geezer" Butler was always one of heavy metal's best and most orginal bass players.
Tony Iommi's searing lead guitar belies the fact that he lost the tips of his fingers in an accident back in the late 60s (it was that which caused him to tune down, slackening the strings enough for him to fret them without too much pain). And he plays a rare but grandiose solo during
Highlights include the old concert favorite "Children Of The Grave", a roaring "Paranoid", a monstrously heavy, doom-laden "Black Sabbath", an appropriately epic "War Pigs", and a wonderfully macabre "Iron Man", which sends the crowd into a frenzy as soon as Tony Iommi strikes the opening F chord.
And listen to Iommi's playing on "Into The Void" and the impressive "Spiral Architect", proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sabbath never did need a second guitarist.
Unlike many of their early-70s counterparts, Black Sabbath still manage to sound inspired, and they rock with totally believable sincerity on "Reunion", proving once and for all that they were not only the first true heavy metal band, they remain the greatest one as well.
4 1/2 stars.
Ozzy hasn't the best voice, but he is an amazing live performer, Tony Iommi, Geezer... Read more
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