While the world may have damn near exploded with joy upon hearing the news that the architects of heavy metal themselves Black Sabbath are reuniting to record their first studio album with original frontman Ozzy Osbourne since 1978, a sad update arrives to darken the mood: guitarist Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with lymphoma.
A statement just released on the band's Facebook page reads:
"With the news that Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, his bandmates would like everyone to send positive vibes to the guitarist at this time. Iommi is currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan–the “IRON MAN” of Rock & Roll remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery."
"This comes as Black Sabbath–Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums)–are writing and recording their first album in 33 years in Los Angeles (still set for release this fall) with producer Rick Rubin. They will now go to the UK to continue to work with Tony. Further information will be released as it becomes available."
In addition to recording and releasing a new album (which tops our list of Anticipated Albums in 2012), the band plans to support their new music with a massive 2012 tour – but no word yet on how Iommi's health will limit those plans.
Legendary producer Rick Rubin will produce the album, which would be the first with the original lineup since 1978's Never Say Die.
This Rubin quote from the same press conference is certainly encouraging: “I’ve been in the room while they’ve played, and they sound remarkably like Black Sabbath. It’s inspiring hearing what’s coming out.” Or, as bassist Geezer Butler put it, “It really is back to the old Sabbath sound.”