Black Sabbath - The End
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Recorded in February 2017 in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal legends' industrial hometown of Birmingham, The End chronicles Black Sabbath's final live performance, the last evil deed after five decades of brutality and a yearlong sprint across the globe. The set itself yields little in the way of surprises, but that sonic efficiency is not without pathos, as omitting too many of the band's signature cuts would have been a disservice to fans -- this is an entity that's been more or less operational for half a century. "Paranoid," "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," "War Pigs," "Iron Man," "N.I.B.," "Children of the Grave," "Fairies Wear Boots," and "Black Sabbath" are presented with little in the way of fanfare. Ozzy's song banter is as stock as ever, and the songs are tuned down a bit -- but they hit hard, and with the kind of shrugged-off confidence that can only come from a band that's spent the last 365 days in their thrall.Ozzy's voice is surprisingly robust throughout, and Iommi and Butler cast undulating swells of might without relinquishing a bead of sweat -- Bill Ward opted out, but seasoned session drummer Tommy Clufetos proves more than up to the task, even going so far as to a deliver a classic '70s beer run/bathroom break drum solo.