The first Black Sabbath studio album to feature vocalist Ozzy Osbourne since 1978′s ‘Never Say Die!’ will likely come out next fall, which leaves even skeptical fans crossing their fingers, hoping to hear Ozzy’s trademark howl with Tony Iommi’s legendary crunchy, downtuned minor-key riffs.
On Nov. 11, the original members — Osbourne, Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward —announced in a press conference that they were working on new material for the album, which will be produced by Rick Rubin (Slipknot, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers).
There was a time when it looked like it would be a cold day in hell before Ozzy and Sabbath worked together again. The bad vibes started when Black Sabbath (sans Ozzy) reunited with ’80s-Sabbath singer, the late Ronnie James Dio and formed the band Heaven & Hell. Lawsuits and saber-rattling followed before Heaven & Hell toured a bunch, recorded their sole album, ‘The Devil You Know,’ and released a couple DVDs. Meanwhile, Ozzy continued on his solo career with ‘Scream.’ Tragically, Dio died from stomach cancer at age 67, on May 16, 2010.
After taking time to mourn, Iommi, Butler, and Ward entered conversations with Osbourne and his wife/manager Sharon, and following a series of baby steps, announced their efforts to work together. The as-yet-untitled album will come out on Vertigo/ Universal Republic in North America and Vertigo in Europe and is expected for release in the fall.
Ozzy last performed with Black Sabbath during 1999′s Ozzfest. The band started working with Rubin on new songs in spring 2001, but the sessions were halted when Ozzy returned to work on his 2001 solo album ‘Down to Earth.’
During the Nov. 11 press conference, Iommi said, “It’s now or never. We are getting along great. Everything’s really good. We know that this time it’s going to happen.” Osbourne weighed in on the new music falling into place, saying, “It’s just time. This time, for some magical reason, we have written about seven or eight songs so far and they’re really good.”