Few bands throughout history have better represented the fight between good and evil than heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath.
The group even had an album and song titled "Heaven And Hell" during one of the periods when the late Ronnie James Dio had replaced Ozzy Osbourne as the band's lead singer. That song's main refrain of "Oh, it's on and on and on/ It goes on and on and on, Heaven and Hell" pointedly captured that sense of an eternal struggle.
It's a war that's not at all unfamiliar to current Black Sabbath members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler as they've consistently wrestled with the devils and angels on their shoulders over the years.
See, despite what conservative types might think, Black Sabbath aren't evil. Or at least not totally evil. They've also accomplished a lot of good over the years. We decided to track some of the best and worst things the band members have ever done. Let the showdown begin:
GOOD: The Song 'War Pigs'
This anti-war song from the 1970 album "Paranoid" is a vicious takedown of war mongers and politicians who are "Treating people just like pawns in chess." The song concludes with the world's destruction and those same war pigs begging mercy for their sins.
EVIL: Dead Shark Wallpaper
Tony Iommi says that Ozzy Osbourne once decided to redecorate a hotel room they were in using a dead shark. According to the Mirror, Iommi said: "With drugs always you get bored, so you must do something to one another. Like Ozzy hauling a shark through a window, dismembering it and soaking our room in blood."
GOOD: Tony Iommi Guitar String Bracelets
Despite having a song called "Children Of The Grave," Sabbath are doing their part to help living children. For $100 you can get guitarist Tony Iommi's old guitar strings fashioned into a fancy bracelet. All the profits from these sales go to <a href="http://www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/" target="_blank">Nordoff Robbins</a>, "a national music charity dedicated to transforming the lives of vulnerable children and adults across the U.K."
EVIL: 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' Album Cover
Musically, Sabbath's 1973 album "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" represented a sophisticated switch-up for the metal band, with the inclusion of keys and strings. Visually, however, it was straight up shock 'n' awe. The album cover, created by Drew Struzan, features naked demons surrounding a man on a bed who's being choked by a snake. Adding to the macabre scene, the bed's headboard prominently features a skull and "666," the universally recognized number of Justin Bieber.
GOOD: Ozzy Osbourne Covers John Lennon's "Imagine"
Because of Sabbath's heavy sound and dark worldview, the band was often seen as killers of the hippie movement. But you can't get much more hippie than having the figurehead of your band record a version of the ultimate song about peace and goodwill.
EVIL: Blowing Up Richard Branson's Fish
Tony Iommi wanted to pull a prank on temporary replacement vocalist Ian Gillan when the band were recording the 1983 album "Born Again" at The Manor Studios, owned by Virgin adventurer-entrepreneur Richard Branson. Using leftover pyrotechnics from the band's tour, Iommi rigged a number of explosions to go off near a tent where Gillan was sleeping. They went off alright. Unfortunately, the explosions also killed a number of Branson's prized carp in the nearby lake.
GOOD: The Song 'Into The Void'
This ripping number from 1971 album "Master Of Reality" tackles the environmental destruction of the Earth where "Pollution kills the air, the land and sea." Sabbath's solution: Rocketships into space to "Escape from brainwashed minds and pollution/ Leave the earth to all it's sin and hate/ Find another world where freedom waits."
EVIL: 'Evil Woman' And Other Songs
For whatever reason the members of Black Sabbath have had a really tough time in their encounters with women. Starting with their cover of Crow's "Evil Woman" on the band's self-titled debut album, they've also recorded songs like "Lady Evil," "Dirty Woman" and "Digital Bitch."
GOOD: Geezer Butler vs. Fois Gras
Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler has been active in challenging retailer Fortnum & Mason and calling on fans to boycott the sale of fois gras, the fattened livers of ducks or geese who've been force-fed grain that's pumped into the animals' stomachs.
EVIL: Geezer Butler Visited By (Satan?) Black Cat
From <a href="http://www.black-sabbath.com/faq/faq.html#faq18" target="_blank">Black Sabbath FAQ</a>: "On one occasion during the early '70s when Geezer was heavily into the occult, Ozzy gave him a handwritten book some 400 years old. When Geezer took the ancient book home he had the most frightening experience of his life. A black cat just appeared in front of him. As he turned back to the book, he found that it had simply disappeared. Geezer said 'It freaked me out, I knew it wasn't a cat -- I knew what it was.'"
Black Sabbath perform August 14 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and August 22 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, alongside U.S. tour dates that will see them criss-crossing the continent until September.