With the rumour mill churning out fetid whisperings of an imminent throwing in of the towel, this mammoth showing from heavy metal forefathers Black Sabbath takes on a certain air of heightened gravitas (if indeed a festival headline performance from the seminal brummies could excite any further). Delivering a career best set of imperious highlights, retirement plans seem to be the furthest thing from the band’s intentions as they turn in a powerhouse display of strident muscularity and nebulous melody.
From the apocalyptic opening one/two salvo of ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Into The Void’, it’s apparent that the quartet are on their best form in recent memory, with Ozzy in particular knocking out impressively masterful renditions of their ground zero metal anthems. When clicking into top gear, such as with an extraordinary ‘Children Of The Grave’, the undeniable significance of these songs hits home with almost tear jerking force, stable cuts ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Paranoid’ remaining as insurpassably important to our world as they were almost forty five years hence.
If as we fear Hyde Park does represent the final curtain for Black Sabbath, it would be without doubt more than a fitting adieu. Yet, as those iron clad riffs thunder clap across the London greenery and we bare witness to very vocal hook propelled back at Ozzy a thousandfold, the appetite for more from our metallic padres is palpably concrete. Going out on a bang is one thing, but on this evidence, Sabbath have more than enough in the tank to give us one more go around the block.
Written by Tony Bliss