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Black Sabbath - The End of The End review

Grizzled godfathers of metal bow out to a home-town crowd

Cover art for Black Sabbath - The End Of The End

Sabbath’s epic farewell tour was a heart-warming spectacle, with Ozzy sharper than he has been for decades and the whole band on crunchy, gnarly, visceral form.

Shot at their home-town finale in Birmingham in February, this no-frills concert film has an agreeably raw feel, but inevitably loses some of the live show’s sensory assault. From a creaky cold start, the founding fathers of analog metal build slowly into a steam-powered behemoth for anthems such as Behind The Wall of Sleep, War Pigs and Iron Man. The super-sized stage visuals, heavy on flames and blood and split-screen effects amplify the heady early-70s mood.

An odd omission from this DVD edit is the interview footage featured in the cinema version; a little more background context might have given this momentous farewell the gravitas it deserves. That said, the extra rehearsal room footage packs a pleasing punch as Sabbath jam hard like the bluesy young psychonauts they were half a century ago.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.