A day after fans heard the first single from Black Sabbath’s upcoming 13 project, the band debuted a second song, “The End of the Beginning,” live in New Zealand.
“The End of the Beginning” has a very familiar sound to it. After a slab riff from Tony Iommi to open, the song quiets down to a piece that will remind fans a whole lot of that classic tritone of the eponymous “Black Sabbath,” the song that truly ushered in heavy metal. Ozzy warbles over the riff until, also like that classic, the song breaks into a galloping uptempo headbanger.
The videos of the performance that have emerged are kind of rough, as live videos usually are, so it’s tough to get the full picture of the song, but what I can hear sounds pretty damned good. Iommi gets a little shred on later in the song, and though I’m on the side of Bill Ward, I have to admit that Brad Wilk’s drums are hammering. There’s a dark interlude toward the end that’s reminiscent of some of Ozzy’s early solo work, that leads to a bluesier bit of jamming from Iommi to bring the song to a close.
Ozzy’s vocals sound really good on this, a raw live video. Better, in fact, than he’s sounded live in years. There are a few cracks here and there, and his age shows at times, but perhaps he wasn’t blowing smoke when he said recently that he could sing every song on 13 live with no issues.
I actually like this one better than “God is Dead?” The reunion is 2-for-2.