Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi debuted new music Thursday that showed a new side to his songwriting. The song “How Good It Is” is a classical-sounding choral work, which he recorded with the Birmingham Cathedral choir and cellist George Shilling, according to Birmingham Mail. He gave the song, inspired by Psalm 133, its live debut at the cathedral located in the band’s hometown.
The piece, recorded in the cathedral, is meant to celebrate peace, harmony and the cathedral’s role in the city, according to the paper. He worked on it with the Dean of Birmingham, the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle. Iommi recorded the music in his home studio and then sent it to Ogle, who wrote the words.
“We’ve done instrumental work before with orchestras and it’s something I enjoy doing – but this is completely different,” he told the Mail, possibly referencing “Supertzar,” a choral work on Sabbath’s 1975 album Sabotage that the group used to open its concerts for years. “It’s something we have started from scratch, a completely new piece of music unlike anything I have done before.”
The guitarist told the Mail that “How Good It Is” was a preview of sorts of some of the new directions he’d like to explore after Black Sabbath plays their final-ever gig in Birmingham on February 4th. “I like new challenges,” he admits. “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 traveling.
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“I will still be making music,” he continued. “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.” (Iommi has worked with students at Coventry University on music, and he has mentored contestants on the British music competition TV show Guitar Star.)
Iommi said that dedicating the piece to the church was special to him as he’d grown up in Birmingham. “It’s good to be able to give something back to the city after everything the city has given me in terms of a career in music, and a place I am proud to call my home,” he said.
Black Sabbath will be heading out for a final leg of their last-ever tour, “The End,” later this month. They will be playing in German, Ireland and the U.K., eventually saying goodbye at Birmingham’s Genting Arena.