Black Sabbath – The End of The End  

4th February 2017 marked the end of Black Sabbath as their farewell tour drew to a close in the city it began in almost fifty years ago. The devastation of losing the mighty Black Sabbath has been felt deeply by so many heavy metal fans around the world. Since the agonising months after the tour ended, fans have been eagerly anticipating the DVD release of Black Sabbath: The End. Thankfully though, as the wait continues, the hard work of director Dick Carruthers and his team have captured the legend that is Black Sabbath awakening the spirit they created back in 1968.  

The film begins with the band talking about how they’re feeling about this final gig and as it unveils we see the rapport they have continued to have with their fans and each other over the years. Their love for their craft comes through from excerpts of them reminiscing about Ozzy’s ongoing endeavour to make Geezer and Toni crack up and the visible passion they have for making this final performance spectacular. There are also clips of the fans reactions, showing mainly their emotional side, and the power they have when singing along to the songs.  

As the gig draws to a close, it’s clear to all –Black Sabbath, the crowd and the cinema audience– that this is the end that no one wants. We all want it to continue, this is reinforced when Ozzy states that ‘I nearly said we’ll see you next time’, especially as the final gig turned out to be ‘one of their best ever’, it makes the sadness incredibly palpable. As it begins to sink in for the viewers, the film then cuts to Toni, Geezer and Ozzy being driven to a studio, the viewers are now eagerly anticipating seeing them either rehearse or record together.  

For the first time in their history, three of the original members can be seen in a recording studio together performing some of their most beloved songs. For the sessions in the recording studio, the band is joined by Tommy Clufetous on drums. He is most notably known for being Ozzy Osbourne’s drummer. In the clips of them together, it’s obvious that the four of them are having an awesome time playing together, in spite of the fact that Bill Ward does not make an appearance.  The chemistry that they have may seem disingenuous to some due to the fact that they are one man down, but the footage of their final gig and the studio sessions prove it isn’t which is indeed a relief to all their fans. When they part ways their chemistry is obvious as Ozzy ends their time together with his usual charm saying “that was great, now f*** off”. But we’d expect nothing less from him.  

After the session in the studio, the film cuts to interviews with the band. They discuss struggles the band and its members have faced over the years at length, beginning with the strange notion that connected them to Satanism. Geezer talks openly about how weird they all found that; especially as War Pigs is ‘an anti-war song’. Over time the band grew to ignore the media depicting them as a part of the satanic idealism, as they felt the press never cared for their opinion. Then they move on to the topic of the serious illnesses and addictions they have faced in the past, and also recently, Ozzy chimes in to say how Toni’s persistent resilience with facing cancer gave him the strength to become ‘sober again’.   

The interviews conclude and the film begins fading to black, making it apparent that the film is over. However, after a moment or two, a few more clips of titled interviews are shown one after another with each one ending with the classic sound of clapperboard. Some feature only one member and others feature all three of them. Throughout the interviews in this documentary, it’s clear that Dick Carruthers and crew have taken great care in producing the film, as they have included the most important aspects of the ending of Black Sabbath’s touring career. The film has evidently been a labour of love for all involved. This, in turn, makes it an essential part of keeping the spirit of Black Sabbath alive, for their fans. The End of The End is a heart-wrenching experience for all the right reasons.   

If you want to relive the final gig or see it for the first time pick up your copy of Black Sabbath: The End set to release on 17th Nov.

Posted by Emma Towers

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