Confirming what many of us suspected since the summer, the original Black Sabbath line-up of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward announced today (appropriately enough on National Metal Day) that they have reunited to record a new studio album and a world tour. The original roster’s first studio album in 33 years (yes, it’s been that long) is being produced by Rick Rubin. The foursome also plan to headline the UK’s Download Festival next June. While the metal vets recorded two new songs for the 1998 Reunion live album and have toured sporadically since then, they have never managed to record an entire album together since 1978.
An official tweet coming from Sabbath offers a thought from Rubin: “When I’ve sat with them and they’ve played it sounds remarkably like Black Sabbath. As long as it sounds like that.” It is hard for guitarist Tony Iommi not to sound like Iommi. He did keep Sabbath alive between 1979 and 1997 as it went through numerous vocalists, including two extensive periods with Ronnie James Dio and Tony Martin. The question is the vitality of the songs, and given how long it has been, the time seems to be right. Many classic heavy rock bands, including Accept, Judas Priest and Ratt, have been producing excellent work recently, some of them 10 to 15 years after their last release.
Black Sabbath is reportedly holding a press conference in L.A. today, so undoubtedly more details will emerge soon.