Live... Gathered In Their Masses [DVD]Featured review by: UG Team, on december 10, 2013 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Everybody (at least at UG) knows Black Sabbath. They are the de-facto inventors of metal music. They were likely the first ones to tune their guitars so low (C# standard). They were the first band to fully embrace the devil in their music. They brought us such memorable hits as "Paranoid" and "Iron Man." They brought us such groundbreaking ideas as using the tri-tone in rock ("Black Sabbath") and they brought us the first songs to which we could truly headbang and mosh to ("Into the Void" and "Children of the Grave").
Unfortunately, they are likely coming to the end of their run. The band members are approaching their seventies; Tony Iommi has cancer; Bill Ward is apparently too debilitated to get through a whole set and; Ozzy well... On the other hand, we are extremely lucky that Ozzy decided to rejoin Tony and Geezer Butler to do one, possibly last, album and tour.
And thus, they came to Rod Laver Arena in Australia. Whether or not this ends up being the final official release from the band, this DVD is certainly great. Tony, Geezer, and Ozzy appear not to have lost a step since the '70s, when they last released an album together. Tommy Clufetos plays the drums excellently, as any hired gun of this caliber should. Honestly, if Bill Ward couldn't successfully get through a whole set, I'm happy that Black Sabbath brought Clufetos along because it would be awful for anybody to ruin this masterpiece.
And honestly, the old age of the original members plays nicely into their new, un-appointed personas; Tony the immortal doctor of black magic, Geezer the wizened, nimble fingered professor, and Ozzy the demon child running around and ingesting their teachings (his wrinkles from aging and drugs just add to this effect). Aside from these new monikers, Ozzy can still do a great, "I can't f--king hear you!" Geezer can still nimbly weave through his fretboard, and Tony can still play all his solos to mostly un-improvised perfection. The sound of each instrument breaks through the mix well and I can perfectly pick out each of them at all times. Probably because of newer technology, each band member's signature tone, especially Iommi's screaming, treble-boosted guitar, is heard with high fidelity.
Although the band members seem slightly restricted by their age, in terms of movement, Black Sabbath still shows a fitting amount of stage presence; not too much and not too little. As I said before, they show no signs of failing in terms of musicianship (OK, well, Ozzy stresses at some points). Everything seems to be perfect in terms of sound and performance for a Black Sabbath concert on this DVD except that the crowd isn't really moving a whole lot or responding to Ozzy's calls to action. Still, this is a banner performance and it is certainly worthy of Black Sabbath's farewell to the world in terms of touring. As a side note, it appears to me that all the original members have started to develop bellies, so they would look much better if they buttoned their jackets a little. // 10
Overall Impression: This DVD is rock solid. It is just an awesome thing to behold and to listen to. Black Sabbath's performance is outstanding, though it somehow failed to get the crowd going. The production quality is second to none (well, almost) and the DVD as a whole is, again, an awesome experience, much better than any previous Sabbath release.
In short, if this DVD is Black Sabbath's last, it sure lets them go out with a bang. // 9