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Black Sabbath - The End album and dvd review

Heavy metal’s founding fathers go out with a bang

Cover art for Black Sabbath - The End album and dvd

We all know what this is – a celebration of the last show from Black Sabbath, appropriately in Birmingham on February 4 this year. This could easily have been a maudlin, emotionally overwrought indulgence, but such is the brilliance of the way the event has been captured that you’re left with an indelible memory of a truly special event. As this DVD shows, Sabbathwere at the top of their form for this night, as they should have been. Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler play with an extra frisson and energy, while Ozzy brings it all into focus, as he did during the band’s glory years in the 70s. What also comes through is the indelible rapport between the trio, and also with the thousands of fans. There really is nothing contrived about these relationships, and the camerawork delves through all aspects and angles of the night, emphasising what an amazing occasion it was. Of course, the music is at the core of it all, from the opening chimes of Black Sabbath through Snowblind, War Pigs, Hand Of Doom… immortal songs that helped to shape metal as we know it. It all ends with Paranoid, as the band take their final bows in a shower of confetti and pyro. Naturally, the absence of Bill Ward and late keyboard player Geoff Nicholls is noticed, but Tommy Clufetos and Adam Wakeman do magnificent jobs in their stead. There’s also footage of the band three days later playing five songs at Angelic Studios. In these cramped conditions, Sabbath are even more at home as they perform songs left out of the set for the farewell gig. The way they tackle the likes of The Wizard and Wicked World seems to transport them back to their early days. The End is required viewing for all metalheads.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.