A rare Black Sabbath song called “Slapback” has been shared by the estate of Geoff Nichols, the group’s former keyboardist who passed away in 2017. This track was recorded during a 1979 session, as the song was featured on the Heaven & Hell rehearsal tape.
“Slapback” is a lot more hard rock-oriented than Black Sabbath’s more heavy metal work, with upbeat electric guitar chords and steady drum patterns. The vocals stay true to Dio’s style, as he brings a nostalgic energy to the song.
“This latest upload from the Geoff Nicholls estate I believe is called Slapback from the scrawling on the cassette and the chorus,” the description of the track reads. “This is from the same cassette as the Heaven & Hell upload on this channel. It doesn’t sound like a typical Sabbath song if it is them but it does sound like Ronnie James Dio. It must be a cover, any clues?”
Black Sabbath recently released a boxset in honor of their studio album Vol. 4 last month, which featured several previously unreleased tracks. This collection included rare photos, a poster and cover art from the album’s original title, Snowblind, which is the name of one of the record’s tracks. Snowblind is also a reference to the massive amount of cocaine the band’s members were reportedly using during the album’s recording process. Several of the live cuts from the record were also supposed to be featured on their own project, however the band never officially released the tracks. The group also debuted a Paranoid boxset last year.
UPDATE (3/10): Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler has confirmed that this track was a Black Sabbath song that didn’t make the cut.