San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Black Sabbath descends on Costa Rica's National Stadium

When four guys in Birmingham, England, got together to form Black Sabbath, it was 1968. They were critical of the Vietnam War, which was still in full swing. Their sound was hard and loud, and their vocals had the apocalyptic tone of Revelations. Today, it’s hard to believe that heavy metal is nearly a half-century old, but Black Sabbath is still rocking out – and on Oct. 22, they descend on the National Stadium, alongside thrash-metal superstars Megadeth.

The band’s Latin American tour started in Santiago, Chile, and has worked its way northward, landing in San José thanks to local promoters RPMTV. For Tico fans, the concert is a kind of redemption: the band was originally scheduled to play in 2012, but the full tour was cancelled because of guitarist Tommy Iommi’s lymphoma diagnosis.

Unlike a lot of classic rock bands, Black Sabbath never really stopped working. Yes, Ozzie Osbourne was dismissed in 1979 because of his drug binges. Yes, there was a hiatus in the 80s, and lots of bumps and breaks along the way. But the band has persevered and become more legendary than ever: Osbourne has enjoyed a long running solo act, plus a reality show (“The Osbournes”), and 2010 memoir (“I Am Ozzy”).

Last June, Osbourne sat in the recording booth with Black Sabbath for the first time since 1978, and their latest album, “13,” topped charts in the U.S. and U.K. Their themes, often described as “occultist,” have remained pretty constant: The primary single from “13” is entitled “God Is Dead?” and all eight minutes and 53 seconds feature the same style of power-chord the band invented in their heyday.

While thousands of fans will crowd the stands to cheer for Black Sabbeth and Megadeth – the 1980s metal band that has long followed in Sabbath’s footsteps – the concert will also feature some local flavor. Tico outfit Sight of Emptiness will serve as openers, and with their aggressive sound and shrieking English-language vocals, metal heads will revel in the pre-Halloween spirit.

Black Sabbath plays San José on Oct. 22 at the National Stadium, La Sabana. ₡18,000-₡70,000 ($36-$140). Tickets: 2549-5030,


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