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Black Sabbath - "The End" (DVD Audio)

Black Sabbath - "The End" DVD Audio cover image

"The End" track listing:

1. Black Sabbath
2. Fairies Wear Boots
3. Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes
4. After Forever
5. Into the Void
6. Snowblind (With band introductions)
7. War Pigs
8. Behind the Wall of Sleep
9. N.I.B.
10. Hand of Doom
11. Supernaut / Sabbath Bloody Sabbath / Megalomania (Instrumental medley)
12. Rat Salad (Followed by drum solo)
13. Iron Man
14. Dirty Women
15. Children of the Grave

16. Paranoid

Reviewed by on February 15, 2018

"We just need to feel, in every possible way, at the loudest level, and for the whole time, that The Prince of Fucking Darkness and the Godfathers of Heavy Metal have taken off their rings and have faded into the void, again, and forever."

Black Sabbath as a touring band are no more, with the long ride ending February 4th, 2017, in Birmingham, England, probably because it’s a short drive home from Genting Arena. “The End” is the video production of that very final show.

Given the above, the weight and destiny of this show should be cascading out from every pixel and decibel. Yet sadly, save for the final few minutes (more on that later), “The End” captures none of the occasion’s significance, weight, or even fun.

The clean, shiny production of the concert itself is a shame, because while Ozzy is always seconds away from polymorphing into purple goop, Geezer’s and Tony’s playing is as vital as ever. Even more, “The End” removes any momentum the concert gathers by repeatedly interrupting the show with bland, cliché-filled band interviews. And while it is always interesting to see close relationships like the one among the band mates, the headline “Tony, Geezer and Ozzy have deep relationship” is not particularly revelatory.

Back at the live concert, the band finishes “Paranoid” for the very last time and things are still predictable. Ozzy prostrates himself to the crowd. Tony smiles broadly with hands on hips and guitar hanging limp, finally spent after all these decades. Geezer chats with the hired hands, not able to acknowledge the crowd head on. But in the movie’s single stroke of editing genius, it ends not with the Birmingham crowd’s chants, but of the last studio rehearsal.

It is this rehearsal that – at long last - delivers the emotional goods. As the trio finishes rehearsal with “Changes” and prepares to leave, each man is struck by the power of the moment. Tony covers and jokes around, grabbing Geezer’s arm (who is not having it). Ozzy feigns professionalism, but not profanity, praising the practice and cursing at the entourage. Geezer plays the emotional lead – as he has throughout the film – as close shots reveal his hands shaking fiercely during the rehearsal, and afterwards he cannot make eye contact with Ozzy and rejects Tony’s affection, hiding in a half-hearted keyboard noodle, confronting his own self.

It’s this level of self-realization, of finality, that this occasion demands, and that isn’t portrayed on “The End” until, well, the very end. Maybe that is the metaphor. Maybe that is what the whole thing was leading up to, the genius of the production. Or maybe that’s too much. For the band that invented an entire genre of music by losing parts of fingers in a factory and saying “Fuck it, let’s play scary music!”, that many layers are unnecessary. We just need to feel, in every possible way, at the loudest level, and for the whole time, that The Prince of Fucking Darkness and the Godfathers of Heavy Metal have taken off their rings and have faded into the void, again, and forever.

Highs: The band's rehearsal's are intimate and emotional.

Lows: The editing is clean, and the content isn't interesting.

Bottom line: For an occasion as momentous as Black Sabbath's last-ever concert, this DVD is a disappointing output

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)