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Black Sabbath Finish Recording Album, Plot Tour + Offer Tony Iommi Health Update


It’s official! Black Sabbath have completed recording their upcoming album, “13”. Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler announced the exciting news to Eddie Trunk in a video interview at the NAMM convention, in addition to offering an update on guitarist Tony Iommi‘s current battle with cancer.

In the interview, Butler spoke all about all things Black Sabbath. “We’ve finished recording it,” reveals the bassist of the album.

“Tony’s back in England putting down a couple of solos. Then we start mixing it in Febraury and it will be out in June. The provisional title is ‘13’ — unless we can come up with something more constructive. I’ve written most of the lyrics. Ozzy comes up with the titles and then gives me an inspiration to write the lyrics. I think we’ve got 16 songs and I’ve written 14 sets of lyrics.”

Butler also updated fans on Black Sabbath’s touring plans. And guess what folks? They’re going all over the world! “We start at the end of April in New Zealand, then we go to Australia, then Japan,” begins the bassist. “June, we’ll be promoting the album, then July and August [is] USA. Then October is South America and Europe in November and December.”

Black Sabbath were planning on touring extensively in 2012, but the lymphoma diagnosis of legendary riff master Tony Iommi stalled the heavy metal band’s plans. However, Butler has good news to spread about Iommi’s health. “[Tony]‘s doing well; he’s really responding well,” Butler assures. “He has to go and have his medication every six weeks. But yeah, he’s really coming along well; he’s really doing well.”

As for who will be drumming with the band, that is still not determined. After original drummer Bill Ward left the outfit over contract disputes, Tommy Clufetos filled in for the few shows that Sabbath played last year. However, Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk plays on the actual album. “We’re not sure yet; we don’t know. ‘Cause I think Brad’s got commitments with Rage Against the Machine. So it’ll probably be either Tommy or Brad, depending on their commitments.”

So does that mean Rage Against the Machine might be touring in 2013, too? Fingers crossed!

But getting back to Sabbath, if everything goes to plan, 2013 should be an incredible year!

Graham’Gruhamed’ Hartmann for Loudwire, 2 February 2013

Photo Tim Whitby, Getty Images


Tony Iommi to be presented with "Riff Lord" award at Revolver Golden Gods Awards

Tony Iommi to be presented with "Riff Lord" award at Revolver Golden Gods Awards show on May 2nd 2013.

Adding another honour to his mantelpiece, Iommi says: “What a great honor to receive the Golden Gods Riff Lord Award for 2013, especially with our new Sabbath album coming out. I hope there will be some new favorite riffs in these songs.”

Ultimate Rock, 31 January 2013


The New Laney Tony Iommi Signature - TI15-112 is out now!


Tony’s backstage amp.
The TI15-112 takes all the raw power and tone of the TI100’s high gain channel and crams it into a compact single channel all tube amp.

Utilizing Laney’s unique dual wattage input option means you can push the EL84 output section hard and get 15 watts rms of full on tone or plug into the “less than 1 watt” and get exactly that – your same great tone but at less than 1 watt.

Speaker Emulated Record Out

The TI15-112 also features the cool flexibility of being able to record both silently, for late night recording sessions or in live situations via the SPEAKER EMULATED RECORD OUT feature on the rear panel.

The TI15-112 is finished of in Tony’s trade mark black and cross livery.


Inputs: 1 x Jack 15 Watts & 1 x Jack 1 Watt

Power: 15W

Channels: Single IOMMI channel

Channel Controls: Pre-Boost, Volume, Drive

Equalisation: Bass, Middle,Treble, Dynamics and Tone

Preamp Valves: 3 x ECC83.

Output Valves: 2 x EL84

Class: AB

Footswitch: FS2 (Not included)

FX Loop(s): Yes - variable level FX loop

Drivers: 12" Custom HH driver

Kick Proof Metal Grill: Yes

Speaker Emulated Record Out: Jack for Silent/Phones & Jack for Live DI - Speaker emulated

MP3 Input: Mini jack

Laney Amplification 30 January 2013


Tony Iommi Wins Rock Titan of the Year in the 2012 Loudwire Music Awards


In an incredibly close race that saw multiple lead changes throughout the entire voting process, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi narrowly beat out Slipknot / Stone Sour singer Corey Taylor for Rock Titan of the Year in the 2012 Loudwire Music Awards. 

The legendary axe-man and master of the riff was diagnosed with cancer early in 2012, and although it stopped the majority of Black Sabbath’s tour dates, one thing it never stopped was Tony Iommi.

Despite the lymphoma diagnosis, Iommi continued writing for Black Sabbath’s massively anticipated next album, ’13,’ laying down guitar lines that will surely blow us away once its released in June 2013.

Congrats to Tony Iommi. For his bravery and dedication to heavy metal, fans have voted the Black Sabbath legend their 2012 Rock Titan of the Year.


Poll results:

Corey Taylor, Slipknot/Stone Sour 29.12%

Jesse Leach, Killswitch Engage 2.45%

John Baizley, Baroness 0.99%

Phil Anselmo, Pantera/Down 6.44%

Randy Blythe, Lamb of God 7.94%

Slash 20.73%

Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath 32.33%


Graham 'Gruhamed' Hartmann for Loudwire 16 January 2013



Black Sabbath Announce New Album Title, Release Month


Black Sabbath has announced that their long-awaited new album will been entitled ’13,’ and is scheduled for release on an unspecified date in June of 2013.

The Rick Rubin-produced record will be the legendary group’s first album to feature original singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler working together since 1978′s ‘Never Say Die.’

The band’s press release — which was timed to arrive on the 13th of January — also revealed that Rage Against the Machine’s Brad Wilk was selected to fill in for founding drummer Bill Ward, who was unable to reach a financial settlement with his bandmates for this reunion.

The group will also perform in New Zealand, Australia and Japan prior to the release of ’13,’ and promises that “additional tour plans will be revealed in the coming months.” It is unknown if Wilk will join them for these concerts. Tommy Clufetos from Osbourne’s solo band sat behind the drum kit during the group’s 2012 concerts, including their headlining appearance at Lollapalooza.

Black Sabbath 2013 Tour Dates:

4/20 — Auckland, New Zealand

4/22 — Auckland, New Zealand

4/25 — Brisbane, Australia

4/27 — Sydney, Australia

4/29 — Melbourne, Australia

5/1 — Melbourne, Australia

5/4 — Perth, Australia

5/12 — Tokyo, Japan

Matthew Wilkening for Ultimate Classic Rock, 12 January 2012

Photo Chris Walter, Getty Images


Tony Iommi: 'Black Sabbath will be touring as much as we're able to in 2013'


The guitarist said the band are still working on their comeback album.

Tony Iommi has said that the metal icons will be touring "as much as we're able" next year.

Writing in a post on his website,, the guitar player thanked fans for their support throughout the year and also made reference to his battle with cancer.

He wrote:

What a year! Certainly not the one I was expecting. Thanks to you all for your massive help and support, it was very encouraging. I'm still working on the album and managed to play three shows, not bad given the news a year ago. I'm looking forward to next year, seeing what you think of the record and touring as much as we're able.

He added: "My Best Wishes to you all, I hope you have a great Christmas and New Year, most of all, stay positive."

Black Sabbath recently revealed that they are six tracks into recording their new album, which is due for release in April of next year. Iommi has said that the final album will consist of 15 tracks.

 They will be playing five shows in Australia and New Zealand in April and May of next year and will also be appearing at Ozzfest in Japan on May 12, 2013. 2012

Photo Darkroom Demons 



Black Sabbath voted most important British hard rock band ever


New poll places Birmingham band above Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin.

The Birmingham band were named the most important hard rock group in a BPI poll of 3,600 hard rock and metal fans. Sabbath were far ahead of their competition, taking almost half of all votes cast.

Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin came in second and third respectively. Speaking about coming out on top of the poll, Sabbath stated: “We are honoured and flattered to be acknowledged in a poll like this which is voted for by the fans. We thank you.”

The BPI poll list of the most important hard rock bands is:

1 – Black Sabbath (45%)

2 – Iron Maiden (22.6%)

3 – Led Zeppelin (21.6%)

4 – Motorhead (2.9%)

5 – Deep Purple (2.3%)

6 – Judas Priest (1.9%)

7 – Other (3.6%) 2012



Guitar Player magazine teaches how to play like Tony Iommi!


The last number of Guitar Player dedicated a huge space to our Tony. Let's see what the magazine says about Great Lefty:

When Eddie Van Halen called Tony Iommi the master of riffs, he wasn’t just whistling “Dixie.” Master riffmeister Iommi’s back story, rise to legendary status, and his influence on the New Wave of Heavy Metal have been well documented in the annals of modern guitar lore, but everything might have turned out differently if Iommi had not been so driven to play.

After losing the tips of his right-hand middle and ring fingers in a metal shop accident at 17, which was especially devastating considering it was his fretting hand, Iommi’s strong will and devotion to his craft led him to develop the thimble-like prosthetics he still wears today. Philosophically inspired to continue playing by Django Reinhardt, and musically smitten by Blues Breakers-era Eric Clapton, Iommi recontextualized the same blues-based licks and riffs everyone else was playing at the time into a much darker and heavier oeuvre that soon became Sabbath’s calling card. Like a keeper of the flame, Iommi has defined the heart and soul of the band, from the original ’70s Ozzy Osbourne-fronted lineup, to its later reincarnations with the late, great Ronnie James Dio as both Black Sabbath and Heaven and Hell (as well as honorable mentions for Ian Gillan and Glenn Hughes), with killer riffs and a larger-thanlife sound. Essential listening includes at least the first five Sabbath albums (Black Sabbath and Paranoid [both 1970], Master of Reality [1971], Black Sabbath Vol. 4 [1972], and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath [1973]), a selection of ’80s and ’90s sides, including Heaven and Hell (1980) and Black Sabbath: The Dio Years (1998), Iommi’s two solo albums (Iommi [2000] and Fused [2005]), and of course Heaven and Hell’s most recent release The Devil You Know (2009).

Want to follow in the fretprints of the Godfather of Heavy Metal? First, you’ve gotta...

1. BE A MAVERICK & BREAK AWAY FROM THE PACK While many of his early contemporaries routinely plugged their Stratocasters and Les Pauls into Marshall stacks and Fender combos, Tony Iommi has always been somewhat of a renegade when it comes to gear. (Of course, as a left-handed player, Iommi’s guitar options were understandably fewer.)

He entered Black Sabbath with a good- Strat-gone bad, prompting a switch to a now iconic 1965 Gibson SG Special just in time to record the band’s entire first album, except for “Wicked World,” which features the Strat. With few exceptions, this guitar paired with a Laney 100-watt stack (chosen for the company’s affiliation with Iommi’s home town of Birmingham), was the main instrumental voice of early Sabbath, bolstered only by two equally off-the-beaten-path outboard effects: a Dallas Range Master Treble Booster and a Tycobrahe Parapedal wah. (Fact: Iommi’s oldest go-to acoustic was a Gibson J-45.) In 1975, Iommi added the guitar with which he has become most associated to his arsenal. Custom- built by John Diggens and affectionately known as “Jaydee,” “Number 1,” and “The Old Boy,” this battle scarred SG-style ax sports a mahogany body and 24-fret neck (plus a zero fret), cross fret markers, a Jaydee special bridge pickup, and a John Birch-style Magnum XP pickup (also made by Diggens) in the neck position, and encapsulated everything Iommi was looking for in a guitar.

Similar features eventually appeared on Iommi’s signature instruments, beginning in 1997 with Gibson’s limited edition Tony Iommi Special SG (Fact: Iommi still plays the first two prototypes.), and continuing in 2002 to the present with both Epiphone and Gibson Tony Iommi Signature SGs. The Epi model sports Gibson P94 pickups, while the Gibsons are fitted with Tony Iommi Signature Humbuckers. In 2009 with Heaven and Hell, Iommi used an Engl Powerball head in addition to his GH 100 TI Laney Tony Iommi Signature amp along with both amps’ respective 4x12 cabs (loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers), replaced his Tycobrahe Parapedal with a Chicago Iron Parachute wah, and experimented with several additional effects, including an Ibanez Tube Screamer and a Boss OC-3 Super Octave. (See GP 1/10 for the full lowdown on Iommi’s H & H stage rig.) Through the years, Iommi has always favored light-gauge strings—.008- .032 for half-step dropped tuning, and .009-.042 for tunings below that—and black Dunlop picks of unspecified thickness. Hey, you’ve gotta keep some secrets!

2. MAKE SINISTER SOUNDS Arguably the first band to embrace los diablos en musica, or the dreaded, churchbanned b5 interval (It’s just three whole-steps and the center point of the 12-tone chromatic scale, folks. Honest.), Black Sabbath wasted no time putting this dissonant “devil’s interval” to work. “Black Sabbath,” the opening cut from the band’s 1970 self-titled debut commences with a thunderstorm that lulls us into the ultimate b5 riff gloriously notated in Ex. 1a. Follow the G5 power chords with an octave G, and then add the trill between the b5 (enharmonically notated as C#) and the 5 (D) for the bulk of bar 2. Substitute a lone, vibrated C# for the trill during every other repeat and you’ve got most of the song under your fingers. Ex. 1b, a b5-based riff similar to one found in “Electric Funeral” (Paranoid), features a root-5-b5-4-b3 motif—essentially a descending E blues scale minus its b7—laced with Iommi’s signature vibrato. For total authenticity, play the first beat as four palm-muted sixteenth-notes and change the rhythm on beat four to a sixteenth and dotted-eighth pairing. Iommi can sound equally scary without the b5. The ominous riff in Ex. 1c (also redolent of “E.F.”) relies only on notes derived from the E minor (Aeolian) scale. Add wah articulations to each note, play beat one as two eighth-notes, move beat three ahead to its upbeat eighth-note, and you’re in like Flint. (Tip: Try applying bends and releases to beats two and four.)

3. GET (A LITTLE) JAZZY The first time I heard Sabbath’s music was when a local band called Rockhouse covered “Wicked World” (from Black Sabbath) ca. 1970-71, leading me to believe that Black Sabbath was more of a bluesy British jazz-rock outfit in the vein of John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, Blodwyn Pig, and the Keef Hartley Band rather than the forefathers of heavy metal! “Wicked World” opens with a Buddy Rich-style hi-hat intro (the third to hit Ten Things this year!), followed by Ex. 2a’s swinging call-and-response riff in the key of E. Iommi’s signature trills occur between the b3 (G) and the 3 (G#), a common blues move that’s often applied to shuffle rhythms and packs extra weight in this context. Ex. 2b depicts Iommi’s IVchord figure, which utilizes an A blues scale line for another round of melodic Q & A. Play the example twice as written, add three rounds of A5-C5-D5 power chords using the first three hits of Ex. 2c’s rhythm, break on a seventh-position E5, and you’re ready to pair the full rhythm shown in Ex. 2c with the descending E blues scale in Ex. 2d to complete the song’s next riff on your own. (Tip: Play it three times and land on an open E5.) You’ll find this lick transposed first up a whole step to F#, and then another whole step to G# later in the song.

4. GET (A LITTLE) MELLOW Many Sabbath tunes, including “Sleeping Village” and “Spiral Architect” are prefaced with Iommi’s moody acoustic intros. Learn the arpeggiated Em picking pattern shown in Ex. 3a, and then shift your fretting hand to the Emadd9 voicing diagramed in Ex. 3b to approximate the former. And do the same with the Dm chord and Dmadd9, Em/D, Dm7, Aadd9, and G/A grids in Examples 3c and 3d to simulate the latter. (Tip: Play Dmadd9, Em/D, and Dm7 for a full measure each, and then shift the picking pattern to the next lowest string set and alternate one beat each of Aadd9, and G/A over the course of two bars. Rinse and repeat!)

5. FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY & STING LIKE A BEE Renowned for his lightning fast single-note soloing, Iommi often accomplishes the deed with a slew of strategically placed hammer-ons and pulloffs. Let’s examine four typical phrases built from a 12th-position E pentatonic minor scale and extrapolate a variation from each one. Bar 1 of Ex. 4a shows a cool run with one pulloff per beat, while bar 2 cuts off the last note in each beat, turning it into one of Iommi’s signature start-and-stop staccato motifs. Similarly, bar 2 of Ex. 4b transforms the run in bar 1 into a stuttering staccato lick by cramming the first three notes into a hammered-and pulled sixteenth-note triplet. In bar 1 of Ex. 4c, we add another sixteenth-note to the previous lick, and then displace and double-time the triplet in bar 2. Finally, Ex. 4d makes the important distinction between six-note-perbeat groupings. In bar 1, we have two accented triplets per beat (3x2), while in bar 2 we find each beat divided into sextuplets (2x3) with accents on the first and third notes. Try reversing the rhythms in bars 1 and 2 while keeping the notes the same. (Tip: Mix-’n’-match ’em as you please!)

6. REPEAT YOURSELF You’ll find a blizzard of ostinatos, or repetitive, single-note lines played in unison with or counterpoint to the rhythm section, evident throughout both the Sabbath and Heaven and Hell catalogs. Ex. 5a takes us back to “Black Sabbath,” where Iommi breaks out of Ex. 1a’s b5 riff with this palm-muted, low-register ostinato, first over a pedal G, and then over a descending G-F-E-Eb bass line. Iommi turned the common suspended D lick in Ex. 5b into a blazing interlude during “Sweet Leaf” (Master of Reality) by starting it on beat four. (Savvy readers will recognize the notated rhythm motif as half-time version of bar 2 in Ex. 4c.) Sometimes simple is best, as in Ex. 5c’s Em-based sequence of descending thirds. (Tip: Try it over other chords from the key of E minor, especially D and C.) Ex. 5d falls more into the category of hemiola (repetitive 3-against-4 rhythmic patterns) than ostinato, and incorporates three important Iommi trademarks: 3-against-4 rhythmic phrasing, a whole-step bend and release from the root (E) to the 2/9 (F#), and rapid trilling. (Tip: Check out “War Pigs” [Paranoid] for some similar action.)

7. DOUBLE (OR TRIPLE) YOUR PLEASURE Speaking of “War Pigs,” Iommi often created double- tracking effects in the studio using tape delay, but this solo was triple-tracked, sometimes in unison and sometimes not, much in the spirit of Clapton’s “Politician” solo (the studio version from Wheels of Fire) and most of Jeff Beck’s Beck-ola. Inspired by this threeguitar solo, Ex. 6 simulates how Iommi unleashes a controlled chaos of pre-Cream Clapton-isms first with two guitars in unison (Gtrs. 1 and 2, bar 1), and then by adding a third in bar 2, where each guitar does its own thing for the remaining three measures. Considering how all three guitars are playing in the same twelfth-position E pentatonic blues box, the result is pretty remarkable.

8. MAKE IT BIGGER Though he began tuning down a whole-step much earlier for Sabbath’s live shows (their first two albums are in standard tuning), Iommi later dropped his tuning an additional half-step beginning on Master of Reality. With this C#, F#, B, E, G#, C# configuration, songs like “Into the Void” reached new depths of heaviness, inspiring the likes of Edward Van Halen. Ex. 7a presents the song’s main riff in all its glory. (Extra Credit: Can you spot the hemiola in bar 2?) For whatever reason, by the time Sabbath recorded Heaven and Hell with the late Ronnie James Dio, Iommi and company were back to tuning down only a half-step, but with heavy-ashell riffs like the one in Ex. 7b, culled from the album’s title track, who even noticed?

9. BECOME ONE WITH YOUR BASS PLAYER One of the keys to Iommi’s heaviosity is his tightness with bassist Geezer Butler. While many shy away from unison bass-and-guitar figures for fear of redundancy, both Sabbath and Heaven and Hell embraced the concept in dozens of songs. The intros to Heaven and Hell’s “Atom and Evil” (Ex. 8a) and “Fear” ((Ex. 8b), both from The Devil You Know, are prime examples of the power of octave reinforcement. Both riffs create a sinister vibe via the inclusion of the “other devil’s interval” (I just made that up), the b2/ b9 located a half step, or minor second, above the root, with the former utilizing root+5 power-chord diads, and the latter relying on single notes. (Tip: Repeat Ex. 8a as written, but on the second round substitute Db5 for C5, C5 for B5, G5 for F#5, F#5 for F5, and F5 for the single-note Gto create the full, four-bar rhythm figure.) Ex. 8c takes us back to where we left off in Ex. 2d. Preface this riff, which is played twice in the lower octave (downstems) and twice in the upper octave (upstems), with the descending Eblues lick you built by merging Examples 2c and 2d. For total authenticity, swap rhythms on the first and third beats, and for extra credit segue to the F# and G# transpositions discussed back in Examples 2c and 2d.

10. DO IT WITH DIADS Perhaps the most important factor in Iommi’s massive sound is his use of two-note diads in the form of root+5 power chords, and his insistence on playing them on the bottom two strings whenever possible for maximum girth. Let’s wrap it up with a couple of must-know Sabbath classics to illustrate the point. The title track from Paranoid begins with a trio of grace-hammered double stops applied to a traditional clave/rock-and-roll, three-plusthree- plus-two rhythm motif followed by two beats of hammered E pentatonic minor sixteenth- notes exactly as notated in Ex. 9a. (Tip: Feel it in double time.) Precede the bVII-bIII-bVII-I figure shown in Ex. 9b with a bar of palmmuted E5 sixteenths to construct the first half of the verse rhythm figure, follow up with E5 held for two beats, C5 and D5 for one beat each, and another measure of E5 sixteenths, and you’ve pretty much nailed the whole tune. Hot on the trail of his apocalyptic, whole-step, behind-the-nut bend and gradual release of the low open E string and Ozzy’s Godzilla roar, Iommi’s main rhythm figure from “Iron Man” rides the sixth and fifth strings exclusively with root+5 power diads. Ex. 9c reveals some minute and often overlooked details in Iommi’s secondary intro, including sixteenth-note ghost slides (bar 1/beats one and four, and bar 2/beat two) that allow smooth position shifts, and a strategically placed moment of silence. (Yes, that’s a rest!) During the song’s verses, Iommi plays a single-note version of this figure by omitting the top note of each diad, changing the second sixteenth-note of bar 2/beat two to another F#, and most likely incorporating both the sixth and fifth strings. So, does playing every power chord on the bottom two strings really make a difference? Check it out and you’ll have to agree that this guy has definitely been on to something for the past 40 years.

Jesse Gress for Guitar Player, 1 October 2010


Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” covered by children’s Orff Rock Band in Portugal


There has been no shortage of “Paranoid” covers throughout the years but no one has transformed the Black Sabbath staple quite like these creative youngsters. Meet the Orff rock band made up of a group of ambitious students in Portugal.

The music club kids infuse the classic tune with unexpected instrument choices like xylophones, recorders, flutes and metallophones creating their own unique take on the song. There’s something truly endearing about seeing the students join forces to sing out the chorus of the song as clips of their classmates playing the instrumental parts are intertwined throughout the video.

Let’s raise our horns to this teacher for encouraging a whole new generation of metal enthusiasts!

By Mary Ouellette for Loudwire, 29 June 2013


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