Black Sabbath



by RavenRock USER (25 Reviews)
June 7th, 2011 | 12 replies

Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: They're baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

When I first listened to Reunion, I could practically hear Ozzy Osbourne, wailing "Can you help me?" on Paranoid, Iommi beginning the guitar riff to "Iron Man", and Butler picking away at his bass in "N.I.B.". It's hard to believe that it was almost twenty years since Ozzy left the group, almost fifteen since Iommi and Butler left.

Perhaps the most difficult thing to swallow about Reunion is that, with the exception of Heaven and Hell / Mob Rules, Black Sabbath had gone downhill like an accelerating cadillac. Ever since 1983's Born Again, the band was putting out records that were universally panned time and time again, and the cycle continued and continued until it had been beaten to death, and Forbidden was the last record to ever be released. So now that they've returned: the famous guitarist, the infamous vocalist, and the similarly infamous bassist in 1998's Reunion, the question still remains: was I overcome with a wave of awe and nostalgia, the same that astounded me throughout the band's first three albums, the albums that created heavy metal? Well...yes and no. A hefty time with Reunion will prove that this is the album fans have been waiting years for, but is also an example that you're forced to endure the occasional torture of live performances for a glimpse of perfection.

There's no denying this: nothing more can be asked of the reunited band members. They are still, without a doubt, some of the best metal artists, despite their ripe ol' age. Be it the heavy guitar riffs, the pounding drums, excellent solos, or cataclysmic bass work, Sabbath is still brilliant, years after the break-up, and still will be for decades to come. And there are some damn fine tracks: the overwhelming anti-war statement War Pigs and Into the Void, the eerie Electric Funeral, or the famous riff of the self-titled track.

But what does degrade Reunion? The times when the spastic energy fails to deliver, no matter how small the parts be, turn out to be painful and dull at times. It's sometimes a victim of it's own identity. For a reunion, one of the most ambitious and expectation-setting Sabbath albums since Heaven and Hell, it's terribly aged, and Ozzy can sometimes sound bad. Everybody doesn't have the same ignited power as they did in their mid-20's, which is understandable, but there's further problems.

There's sometimes little or no reactions to the audience, and, annoyingly so, almost every cuss word is lashed out. Well that's a ***ing piece of ***! For starters, the absence of audience reactions in performances such as "Snowblind" and "Into the Void" are great examples. It is a pain in the ass when Ozzy's vocal performance doesn't match the power it did in Black Sabbath. Let's be honest, I understand they're much older now, but Osbourne never really was the best vocalist, Dio was far more superior. He's not bad, but it can become annoying to the eardrums.

So how is it that a live album REUNION, an album that sets ambitions sky high, manages to annoy me so many times, manages to get even more than a passing glance in the realm of purchasing? When this album is at its best, there are some of the most impressive sequences in a live album I've ever heard. There are times when the album is so damned good, times when it does a lot of things right, that you'll forget every annoying pitch of Ozzy's voice, every ripe song performed (Some songs are worse than others, let's admit). It's still engrossing, and the vision many fans wanted years ago have come full circle is this near-phenomenal live entry, and it's a great rehash of the early days.

Will the high points be enough for you to endure the occasional breakdown? It is not the ultimate expression of metal genius, as many people, if not everybody, would of called it more than twenty-five years ago (at the time of release). But if you think that the reunion of the Paranoid and Master of Reality brothers is worth the purchase, then buy all means go ahead. It just may surprise you.

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user ratings (155)

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 7th 2011


Nobody had reviewed this album yet, so I thought I'd take a crack at it.

There's more to do in the near-future.

June 7th 2011


Weren't they supposed to make something new anyway? I'd love to see them before one of them dies.

Contributing Reviewer
June 7th 2011


How does this not have more reviews?

June 7th 2011


good job here

June 7th 2011


They'd organised a reunion earlier this year and were going to headline a festival here in Australia, but it fell through.
Probably because of Ozzy. @eternium

June 7th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

Album is cool

June 7th 2011


haha eternium

sonic did he see them with the main line up? because that would own omg

June 7th 2011


I doubt they're rejoining. I did see them live before Past Lives was released, I was younger then, and they were great.

February 9th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

This is a great review, Ozzys vocals can be a little annoying at times but this is still a great live album, Iommis guitar work is phenomenal.

August 8th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

A great album, but the setlist could have been better. It irritates me that they choosen to play "Dirty Women" over any song from Sabotage.

Also, the studio tracks are not interesting enough.

July 8th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0


July 28th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

At least it sounds good, most vintage live stuff sounds like it was recorded under water, I think their best live release

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