The rumors have finally come to an end, and the decades of metalhead fantasies have at long last come true: the architects of heavy metal themselves, Black Sabbath are reuniting to record their first studio album with original frontman Ozzy Osbourne since 1978, and will support it with a massive 2012 tour.
Legendary producer Rick Rubin will produce the album, which would be the first since 1978's Never Say Die. The group is planning a press conference later today at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Los Angeles, where Sabbath played its first show in the city exactly 41 years ago.
The band has also announced that they will be the second headliners for England's Download Festival, to be held in June of 2012. Metallica announced recently that they will headline the first day of the fest, playing their landmark self-titled "Black" album in its entirety.
Osbourne split with Black Sabbath in 1979 and went on to an iconic solo career, with hits like "Crazy Train," "Mama I'm Coming Home" and "Bark at the Moon" He rejoined the band in 1997 and toured on-and-off with them through 2006.
Rumors of new Sabbath activity have been churning literally since the band split. However, Osbourne recently told Billboard.com that new material was "a very, very strong possibility. It's in the very early stages, so we haven't recorded anything yet."
Since their inception in 1968, the metal pioneers have racked up album sales to the tune of 15 million, according to the RIAA.
Ironically, Just six months ago, Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler put out a press release saying a reunion would never happen. "I would like to make it clear, because of mounting speculation and rumours, that there will be definitely no reunion of all four original members of Black Sabbath," he wrote. "Whether to record an album or to tour."