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The end of the end - 80%

kluseba, November 26th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, Blu-ray + DVD + 3CD, Eagle Rock Entertainment

There it is: the end of the end. Black Sabbath has massively influenced heavy rock music in the first ten years of its gigantic career and has managed to go out with a bang over the past five years of its career, including a strong comeback album, an outstanding final extended play and a series of concerts including the very last one from their hometown of Birmingham included here. There exist numerous versions of what might be Black Sabbath's final release. Any fan should definitely go for a version including the entire concert plus a final recording session of five Black Sabbath classics in a vivid live in studio approach. The band shows that it hasn't lost any of its atmosphere, charisma and energy after forty-nine years and it will be missed dearly.

The concert summarizes one last time everything Black Sabbath has always stood for. Bluesy, gloomy and precise riffs, hypnotizing guitar solos, dominating bumblebee bass guitar sounds, tight drumming with occasional percussive elements, eerie melodic vocals, mysterious and occult lyrics and a show with only few special effects but a true front man with a humble attitude, great sense of humor and, most importantly, a close connection to the audience. The sound of the release is authentic, energetic and unpolished. The video section is acceptable even though it includes a few too many cuts and split screen sequences which is a problem most contemporary concert movies suffer from but it certainly isn't among the worst of its kind. The atmosphere at the beginning and the end of the show is amazing but I found that the audience was at times surprisingly quiet in between.

Obviously, some elements such as the set list could be criticized here but that wouldn't do the band justice. Is this concert the best show ever recorded by the band? It certainly isn't but it's clearly above average and the historical context of the show makes it an unforgettable milestone in the history of music. Should you own this package? If you like rock and metal music of any kind, you most definitely should. Thank you for the music and God bless Black Sabbath.

A Strong Ending to the Ones Who Started it All - 90%

NintenTheMetalhead, November 22nd, 2017

Well, it's over folks. The guys who pioneered heavy metal are done for. This is the album where they say goodbye and give it all they got. Damn, do they deliver. This album has their best of the Ozzy discography pretty much, including some bits of songs that haven't been played live in years! The band overall delivers a great performance, with the exception of Ozzy, but his performance isn't terrible though, and it's really good for his age honestly. He was hitting some high notes that he hasn't hit all that much in recent years, and overall he was giving it all the effort he could possibly give at his age. Of course, he couldn't hit all the high notes, but you could tell he was trying, which is okay! Iommi's performance is probably the highlight of this album though, as his solos are just as good as they've always been. Also, that drummer is pretty damn good. His drum solo was repetitive at times but he has got some skill. Geezers' playing is also very audible and as good as he's always been. Especially his solo. That was really good honestly, almost better than the original solo. It's not like 70s Sabbath appeared out of nowhere, but the guys still deliver a killer performance.

I'm gonna go a bit more in depth on the individual performances. So basically, as you expect, Ozzy's vocals aren't that great, but for what his age is, they are pretty damn good. He was hitting the high notes on Under the Sun very well, and he eventually got tired and hit lower notes, which is understandable. Also, he did bring down his vocals on Children of the Grave, which was disappointing, and probably the worst performance in the show, but it's still not terrible. Now for Iommi, he was killer this entire show. His solos are just on point on every song, despite the fact that they are usually different than the original studio versions. The solos never fail to be bad in any way, as he sticks to his usual style of soloing that can please any Sabbath fan. His guitar tone is also quite good, and it's even better when he's tuned down, which makes the songs sound even heavier than they already were. That's what I like about live Sabbath performances, the songs sound really heavy. As for the bass, what more can I say other than Geezer is a great bassist? I mean, his solo after Behind the Wall of Sleep is just as good as the original solo. It has a lot of wah though, which could've been reduced, but it didn't mess up the performance too much. Geezer plays beyond what the original solo was, which makes it more interesting, but still true to the original solo. When not soloing, he plays his lines well. It's audible as well, which shouldn't be surprising since Sabbath isn't known for degrading the bass in the music. The drummer shines the most on the Rat Salad solo. It isn't really anything like the original solo, and I prefer the original solo, but he does a great job. The main gripe with the solo is that he repeats some patterns a bit too much, and it sounds less like a solo when he does that. Nonetheless, he has a good amount of drum technicality, and in the songs themselves, he does his part in playing Bill Ward's parts. Having Bill Ward play there would've been better, but Tommy is an adequate replacement. There's not much to say about the keyboardist. He just does his job and that's it. Nothing spectacular, but nothing bad either.

I'd also like to comment on the fact that Sabbath played snippets of songs that haven't been played in years, specifically Megalomania. That's a great, and underrated Sabbath classic that needed to be played more when Ozzy still had his voice. Of course, they leave it to the middle part where Ozzy takes a break so he doesn't sing there, but it's still nice to hear. Supernaut and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was also nice to hear as well, despite them being cut short like Megalomania. All 3 of the songs are 1 track on this album, which works out because they're not playing the full songs, but some riffs from the songs. The Megalomania performance had me mouthing the words actually.

Overall, this is a highly recommended release for Sabbath fans who missed their last show. It shows them at their best in years, and it's enough to satisfy fans. The performance is killer from everyone but Ozzy, and his performance wasn't terrible. If you see this in stores, you should pick it up. I know I will.