Black Sabbath - The End

Black Sabbath The End EP cover
Black Sabbath
The End
Independent Release
Well Black Sabbath are about to go on their last hurrah, of a tour, mainly out of consideration for the diminished health condition of their guitarist Tony Iommy, rather than anything else… and it remains to be seen, if this is really gonna be the end – or if a “We’re still alive, so let’s do it one more time” Tour will happen in a few years, unlikely as it may seem.
To celebrate the “End” and go out in “style” the band has created a special limited edition CD “The End” EP to be sold exclusively at shows of their worldwide “final” tour. It is comprised of eight previously unreleased tracks: four songs that are outtakes from Black Sabbath’s Grammy Award-winning album “13” and four live songs from the ensuing “13 World Tour”. The former made me scratch my head, as they sound probably a bit better than most of the stuff on “13” and along with its “bonuses” they could have formulated a “new” album.
Despite being a little generic, they are more focused that most everything that ended up on “13”. “Season of the Dead” is sturdy mid-tempo and heavy with a riff that’s typical of Iommy’s style, while “Cry All Night” is more epic and swampier, exploring another aspect of vintage Sabbathism...
“Take Me Home” has a nice riff and a thunderous rhythm section that rumbles, in a way that’s a little reminiscent of things like “NIB”, sans the “sorrowful” parts and mixing it all up rather well.
Lastly, “Isolated Man” is another interesting attempt with its urban riff and its drone Ozzy vocal… Ozzy is decent I suppose, but probably a bit doctored up, to sound the way he does.
The “live” tracks sound as if they were recorded inside a tank, quite raw with the vocals surprisingly upfront and the instruments low, almost no bass at all for “God is Dead” (Live Sydney, Australia 4/27/13), “Under the Sun” (Live Auckland, New Zealand 4/20/13) fares a lot better with its mix way more rounded off, but Ozzy, is a little underwhelming here… the best balance is possibly achieved on “End of the Beginning” and “Age of Reason” both recorded (Live Hamilton, ON Canada 4/11/14) where the mix isn’t best, but the performance sounds more spirited and the overall sound is “pretty good” all-around. If priced for “beer money” or close, it should be a decent memento for whoever attends one of the shows, or I’m sure these will sooner or later find their way in some special edition…
Sad that the band didn’t develop these songs and included them into “13”, in the place of others and if this is indeed the end, it’s with sadness I’d say goodbye, but… who knows, right?!