According to NME, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi is not happy about the leak of the band’s previously unreleased song “Slapback.” The track reportedly dates back to sessions for the group’s 1979 Heaven And Hell album and features Ronnie James Dio on vocals.
Iommi told SiriusXM’s Eddie Trunk that he is “not at all happy with it at all,” going on to say that “it’s left a really bad taste in my mouth.” The song was shared by the estate of Geoff Nichols, the late keyboardist of the band.
Former bassist Geezer Butler confirmed that “Slapback” is a genuine Black Sabbath song that never wound up making the cut. He told Trunk, “that was one of the songs that we did before I left. It’s probably the reason I did leave. It was just one of those songs that didn’t make the grade.”
The artist went on to state that he did play bass on the song, and it was recorded “right before I left.” Explaining, “It was just a one-off thing. We just jammed it and didn’t think anything more of it. It didn’t really work.”
In February, Black Sabbath released a box set for their 1972 LP Vol. 4. The box set contains more previously unreleased tracks, outtakes, a live performance from 1973 and more. Ozzy Osbourne announced in October of 2020 that his last performances will take place in 2022. Osbourne, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2019, is said by his daughter Kelly to be making “mind blowing” progress with his condition following stem cell treatment.
In October of 2020, the group released a 50th Anniversary box set of their 1970 album, Paranoid. Shortly after the announcement of the upcoming box set, Black Sabbath’s producer Martin Birch passed away at the age of 71. Founding member of the band, Bill Ward, released a selection of poems in April of 2020, inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.