Metal forefathers close an incredible run of gigs on Yas Arena
Time Out Dubai staff
In February, The Rolling Stones proved men in their early ’70s could still serve up rock ’n’ roll which reeks of groove, swagger and bliss. Closing the Yas Arena gig season in late May, Black Sabbath proved men in their mid ’60s can still smash out heavy metal that sounds scary, huge, and technically masterful.
It’s a genre that gets a bad name, but if there’s a band worthy of exemption, it’s Black Sabbath. There was no such thing as heavy metal when they started – but mixing the hard rock of Led Zeppelin and Cream with a gloomy working class outlook and lyricist Geezer Butler’s fascination with HG Wells, they more or less invented it. The band’s first four albums, released in a magnificent run between 1970 and 1972, both defined the genre and stand apart from it as classics of any collection.
Things got a bit silly later on, after Ozzy Osbourne was fired in 1978. Which is why last year’s 13, the first album uniting Butler, Osbourne and guitar master Tony Iommi in 35 years, was a big deal. An even bigger deal, the fact that it was actually a thoroughly decent record, proving their musical menace and studio prowess undiminished.
The band’s Middle Eastern debut proved their live chops equally potent. Sabbath served up an incredible two-hour set, which lent heavily on the band’s heyday, alongside choice cuts from the new LP. Backed by virtuoso session drummer Tommy Clufetos, the reformed trio edged the set towards a single encore of hit ‘Paranoid’, the 8,500-strong crowd, many dressed in black, brought to a simmering moment of catharsis. With talk another new album could be in the works [www.timeoutdubai.com/knowledge/news/52306], we can only hope Ozzy’s onstage pledge of a return visit comes good.
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