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The Roundhouse, London 3 July 2010

Filled by a motley crew of iTunes competition winners the atmosphere at the Roundhouse tonight is surprisingly in keeping with the music, young and old banging their heads to the heavy sounds of tonight's opening act The Sword, from Austin, Texas.

Combining chugging doom riffage with speedy guitar work not unlike Fu Manchu and Nebula, The Sword create their own contemporary blend of Sabbath-like heaviness and get the crown heated up nicely.

Their lead guitarist Kyle Shutt, who could be mistaken for a young Zakk Wylde, flowing white hair and all, complements J. D. Cronise (vocals, rhythm guitar)'s chord progressions perfectly and the heavy rhythm section, made up of bassist Bryan Richie and drummer Trivett Wingo, make sure that the bottom end parts of the tracks are taken care of at all times.

Even the somewhat tacky and faux psychedelic 3D graphics that form part of The Sword's stage set up tonight can't undermine the denim clad group's relentless sonic caterwaul and serves as a delicious appetizer for the main event of tonight's show.

Ozzy kicks off the gig old skool style with 'Bark At The Moon' which turns even the most meek of free ticket holder into a raging metal head.

Tonight, the Ozzmeister plays only one new track during which he commands the crowd to 'Scream'. The rest of the set will consist of a mixture of songs taken from his big selling No More Tears record, the classic Blizzard of Oz album, The Ultimate Sin as well as a healthy dose of Black Sabbath.

The days of chomping on bats heads and throwing live chickens into the audience might be a thing of the past yet everything else is still safely in place for tonight's show - Osbourne still doddles from one side of the stage to the other like a crazed zombie out for blood yet at the same time he's got the crowd safely in the palm of his hand commanding them to clap along and wave their arms wildly from side to side at any given moment.

Ozzy also still enjoys drenching the front rows with bucketloads of water that he also occasionally douses over himself during the course of the show.

And apart from vintage stage antics the execution of songs is very much in keeping with the original recordings - Alan Wakeman, Rick Wakeman's son, on keyboards re-creates the wonderfully eerie 80s keyboard intro to 'Mr Crowley' for example and the atmospheric synth layers for the classic soft rocker 'Shot In The Dark' are also played to a tee during this show.

Having said that the group gets their chance to ad lib a little during a drawn out version of the Sabbath instrumental 'Rat Salad' which first sees Ozzy's new axewielder and Firewind guitarist Gus G solo the crowd into a frenzy before Ozzy's latest addition, drummer Tommy Clufetos, properly gets the audience screaming.

Towards the end of the evening Ozzy has a few powerful surprises in store and proves the strength of the Black Sabbath back catalogue - 'War Pigs' and 'Fairies Wear Boots' get the crowd to sing along wildly but it is the gig closer 'Paranoid' that really makes the mob boil over and turn the venue into a raging sweatpit, hair flying and fists punching the air. Make no mistake, Ozzy's back and stronger than ever. But no surprises there really. After all he is Iron Man.

Review by Dino Gollnick

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