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metal talk
5th January 2017

tony iommi

The riffmeister, the Godfather of Heavy Metal, the inventor of the music we love, Tony Iommi, has recorded a choral work with the Birmingham Cathedral choir and cellist George Shilling.

Premiering tonight, Thursday 5th January 2017, in front of a specially invited audience in the Cathedral in Tony's home town is the five minute long 'How Good It Is', inspired by Psalm 133.

Tony plays acoustic guitar in the track and you can get your first listen right here.

Tony said earlier today: "They're a fantastic choir but the guitar player's crap!

"It's a bit different to Sabbath!" says Tony, in probably the biggest understatement of all time. "We've done instrumental work before with orchestras and it's something I enjoy doing – but this is completely different.

"It’s something we have started from scratch, a completely new piece of music unlike anything I have done before."

And of course, the massive sense of irony that a guitarist once accused of espousing Black Magic should write for the church is not lost on Tony.

"People used to think we were Satanists but we weren't. The songs were the opposite – they were all about the dangers of Black Magic.

"The closest we came was Black Magic chocolates!"

tony iommi

Black Sabbath play their last-ever shows at Birmingham's Genting Arena on Thursday 2nd and Saturday 4th February and Tony says that 'How Good It Is' will be just the first of many new challenges he hopes to explore after the founding fathers of Heavy Metal pack up for good.

"I like new challenges," he says. "Things that are a bit out of the ordinary. Don't get me wrong, I have loved my time in Black Sabbath but the constant touring has worn me down. I want to work at home now – anything without all that travelling.

"I will still be making music, and I have a number of interesting offers and projects that I will look at in good time. I would like to do some film soundtrack work, maybe something else for TV and I would like to resume my mentoring work."

Tony worked with his friend, the Dean of Birmingham, the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, on the work which celebrates peace, harmony and the Cathedral's role in the heart of the city.

"We met through our mutual friend, Mike Olley," he says.

"He suggested that we should work on something for the choir together.

"Catherine and I gave it a lot of thought, then I recorded the tune on which the piece is based at my home recording studio. I sent it to Catherine, she liked it, and came up with the words, which are based on the Psalm.

"Then we recorded the choir inside the Cathedral, which has gorgeous acoustics.

"The whole process took around nine months because I was out on Black Sabbath's final tour and there were lots of things happening at the Cathedral, where work was being done.

"We called in cellist George Shilling, and invited him to work his magic, too, and we're all very happy with the finished result."

Whether Black Sabbath diehards are as happy remains to be seen.


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