Biohazard’s After Forever

Back in 1971, Black Sabbath released their third album, Master of Reality.  On that album is one of the more unusual songs in the band’s entire recorded catalogue, that being “After Forever”.  After Forever is interesting, because in all the songs that Sabbath has recorded, it’s the only released one that has lyrics that are directly pro-Christian in nature.  That song has always spoke to me for that reason, so I was quite pleased when I read that it was to be covered in 1994 by the New York band “Biohazard”.  At the time, I didn’t know much about them, but I was intrigued to hear a cover of one of my favorite Black Sabbath tracks.

So the Nativity in Black tribute album comes out in 1994, and After Forever is not just on there, but it’s the FIRST track.   That was cool to me, and Biohazard injected a power and a strength into the song with their vibe that I really REALLY enjoyed.  To me, it set the tone for the entire NIB tribute album.   I’m not one to get off on swearing in music (hello P. Anselmo), but in this cover, I think it works.  Added an emphasis and a power that I really got off on.   I’ve mentioned to a few people that I’ve felt that Biohazard’s cover was better than the original, which has garnered me some hate mail, but hey – what can I say?  I really liked this cover  (not that I disliked the original AT ALL – it’s killer, but I really REALLY liked the cover).

Around the time when MTV used to play actual videos, the video for this was in heavy rotation, especially on the old Headbanger’s Ball show (Hey, Riki R!).  So when I heard this come on, I also was quite intrigued.  I wanted to see what they had in mind for the video, and almost straight off I was blown away – they had gotten Bill Ward to appear in there.   That was quite cool to me, as Bill Ward was back in my mind, which was a good thing.  At this point, Bill’s first solo album (sadly out of print these days) was just four years old, he had come back and played some gigs with Sabbath & Tony Martin in South America, so that was cool.   Then he popped up in this video, so all that stuff got me thinking Bill Ward again.  Here, check out the video:

Fast forward a few years.  Given I do Bill Ward’s website, I decided to ask him about this, so I sent in a query, and got back a response that I don’t quite recall, but the gist of it was something like “I don’t remember how that came about”.   No big deal, if Bill didn’t remember, I’d have to hope someday to run into the guys from Biohazard and ask them.   That finally happened this morning (Aug 22, 2012).

Biohazard’s drummer Danny Schuler started following the twitter feed for this website.  If you have Twitter, you know you get notified when people follow you.  I log all that, in case someone cool (like this) follows me, so I chatted him up, and basically asked him what the deal with the After Forever video was, why the song was chosen, and more importantly (to me), if he recalled why and how Bill Ward made an appearance in the video.   Danny was most gracious and  wrote me back.  Here’s what he had to say about all of this.

Thanks Joe!! I would agree, that is sacrilege!

So way back in like 1993 or so, concrete marketing in NYC asked us to be part of the sabbath tribute record. We were like the last band asked to participate so by the time we wanted to pick a song, all our choices were already being covered by the other bands. So we contacted Bob Chiappardi (head of concrete) and told him we wanted to do a more obscure sabbath song, and would that be OK?  He said which one, we said “after forever”, he said ” no way”! Long story short, we stood our ground and just went ahead and recorded it anyway, not really changing much about it at all, to be honest.

Soon after that we were in los angeles at the concrete foundations forum convention, doing a show. When we got there our manager at the time asked us if we would do a video for “after forever”,and concrete was gonna pay for it. We said of course! The video directors were our good friends from NYC Parris Mayhew (former cro-mags gtr player) and Drew Stone (singer for nyhc band Antidote). Drew and Parris were crazy motherfuckers who in 1992 shot the video with no permits on the Brooklyn bridge for our song “Punishment”, shutting down the bridge and snarling traffic in NYC all day! They had run into Bill Ward at the hotel where the convention was being held and asked him if he would be in a few shots. I remember being in my room and Drew calling us “get the fuck down in the lobby right now!! Bill Ward is here and we’re gonna put him in the fucking video!!!” Simple as that, no lawyers, managers, agents or clearances, just a humble legend agreeing to hang with a few huge fans who happen to have a band called BIOHAZARD. So we ran downstairs and shot the scenes with Bill in about an hour! In the video you can see me literally hugging Bill Ward!! He was/is such a great person and huge influence to me, doing that video with him is one of our finest moments for sure! I told Bill, if it wasn’t for him, there’s no way I would be a drummer, I learned how to play by drumming along to Paranoid and the 1st sabbath record, Bill is the greatest, I owe him a lot!! Black Sabbath for life!!!

Danny Schuler

That’s a very cool story by Danny, and I’m quite grateful for shining some light on one of the more obscure bits of Black Sabbath’s history.  Hope y’all enjoyed it.

You can also check out the discography page here on my site for the NIB Tribute album, as well as some cover art specifically for the Biohazard version of “After Forever” below.

UPDATE: Since I posted this, one of my site visitors below made me aware of another cover of this track – this time by the Christian Metal Band “Deliverance”.  Check it out at this link where you can hear a sound sample.

Comments

  1. I’ve always loved Bihohazard’s version of After Forever too. I think it’s by far the best track on the Nativity in Black album, which in all is a fantastic album. So that says something about how good I really think this cover is.

  2. Bunch of melodramatic clowns who fucked up this song!

  3. Ben Gonzales says:

    Wow, 18 years later and that’s the first time I have seen this video, and I watched headbangers too! I always liked the opening “Yo this is biohazard from Brooklyn New York, dropping some respect for the almighty Black Sabbath, 94, mother “F””. Another favorite of mine is Corrosions cover of Lord of This World, a fresh approach yet very true to the original.

    • Shawn Ellinwood says:

      sends chills down my spine every time i hear it !!!!! some of the best props ever givin…. then again nothin else comes into it… period. oh yeah by the way VOTE WITH A BULLIT C.O.C. video checkin it out for the first time i said to my self – NOW THATS REPRESENTING- can you dig it ? VOL. 4 RULZ

  4. fishtowner says:

    I have the Nativity in black cd’s one and two. I like this version of a song that I always loved. It is a very powerful cut. If you have never checked these two cd’s out you should. Some awesome covers on them.

  5. Jeff Downing says:

    Great story Joe! I have a promo poster for that Nativity In Black tribute (the first one) with the Tarot cards etc…. I did not know there was a video for this! Greatness.

  6. Jeff Downing says:

    Something worth mention on this song- on the Master of Reality LP sleeve , the song is credited to F. Iommi , who we know is Frank Iommi, aka Tony Iommi. Though I believe on all other format reissues all songs are credited to Iommi-Butler-Ward-Osbourne.

  7. TomOzzy123 says:

    I like this version, but the original is better. It has atmosphere and a real message.

  8. Abdullah Rashad Dawood Main(or-Dylan) says:

    I must add that I enjoyed the cover and video that Biohazard did.They kept it faithful to the original but added the- Hardcore Punk/ Metal- gang chants.That was awesome! They added profanity for some odd reason.Maybe to make the song- less religious?It is odd it would be in a Sabbath song when their songs don’t use it.Well,I find it interesting they would do the song considering Evan Seinfeld’s(bassist)background of (born and raised)Jewish.

    No offense to the Jewish people.But,they don’t like words like-Jesus,Christ,Yeshua(his original Hebrew name),or-Chritianity and Christian.I am referring to mainly Orthodox and practicing Jewish individuals.But,Islam loves and honors him and always has.So,I thought it was great hearing it from somebody Jewish(practicing or not).Too many don’t reconize that he was a holy man who stayed true to Jewish practice.Some don’t bother to reconize he was a prophet,the messiah,and a good man and person.

    Anyways,I like the song and the pro-religion message.Black and Death Metal gets annoying with the Satan worship.Most of them don’t follow that to begin with.It is all show , Hollywwod and fake! I like the guitar playing and drumming of it.I cannot listen to growling all day.I like singing and melody better.

    The Christian Metal band -Deliverance(not the book and movie)covered-“After Forever”,as well.I like their version,as well.It was of no suprise they would cover the song.However,nobody in Sabbath follows Christianity(Glenn Hughes and Ian Gillan-maybe does).I believe Geezer was Catholic,once.But,not anyone else(Dave Walker-maybe).Not that it matters- to begin with.I just like the music and songs.

    I like when Stryper did-“Heaven and Hell”.That is another band of faith to cover Sabbath.If anybody knows of others,let me know.Glenn Hughes done the song with Sabbath.I liked that version,as well.I am glad people are covering the Sabbath.Everyone from the Metal people to The Cardigans to who knows else.

    I would like to see Weird Al do a parody of a Sabbath song.That is long overdue,for sure.Maybe add a Sabbath song to one of his hilarious Polka medley’s.Anyone agree?That would be neat.That would make my day.Maybe he could spoof “Iron Man” or “War Pigs”?

  9. You have my thoughts , you know that many people thinks that Black Sabbath sings about satan and thinks like that… I believed that Black Sabbath had a christian/Catholic fate and I notice about After Forever song, and seeing in Geezer Butler bass , there is a photo of the Virgin(Virgen de Guadalupe). The other thing I know is about the crosses they have… maybe they had it because, in some documental , i don’t know which one, they dream the same dream about seeing a black shadow…Anyways , thanks to Black Sabbath songs I have a big imagination, and their songs make my soul happy literrally…I hope they keep living so they can make great songs like they did back in the 70’s .. GOD BLESS THEM!!

  10. Bill RULZ!

  11. andy desjarlais says:

    Regarding Jeff Downing’s comment….I’ve noticed the same thing, and have always wondered if Iommi wrote both the lyrics and music for the song…or if it was a label misprint, thus the change on all other released versions of the album. Does anyone know who officially penned the lyrics?

  12. Biohazard made me hate 90s metal. Don’t know how the can be influenced by Black Sabbath while they sound not like them at al. By the way, “After Forever” isn’t necessarily a pro Christian song I think, perhaps it was written to confuse people, who thought they where satanic :-)

  13. This version is great! But I still love the original one.

  14. Alexandre says:

    Hi Joe, Alexandre from São Paulo – Brazil writing. Amazing post. Recently i got my original copy of “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne” and the final scene of the movie made me think again about this song. So i checked both Sabbath and Biohazard versions, and to tell you the truth; try to choose between the two versions is a question like: “what hand do you want to chopped off, your left or right ?”. Here in Brazil eMpTyV (believe or not) used to play videos, and the Biohazard version of this song had heavy rotation in a program called “Furia Metal”. For the record, one of the shows that Bill Ward played in South America was the late “Philips Monsters of Rock”, August 28th 1994 at Pacaembu Stadium. To this day, i still have the ticket for this show !!!

  15. Nothing is better than the original version, but as far as 90s hardcore bands covering After Forever, the Hare Krishna- affiliated band Shelter had my favorite version:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI85Ue1G42s

  16. I don’t know how Machiel post on sept 30 can say After Forever is not Pro Christian…. Yes, he or she is entitled to there opinion but could not be any more wrong about this. Actually, there are many lyrics that reference Lord. Lord Of this World on same album for example. You can say the album is named after Jesus, although I have no clue if that was there intent. Reality means Truth. Jesus Christ is the Master Of Reality (truth)
    As far as this version of song, why bother! No one can Match Original Black Sabbath from 1st album to Technical E… Never Say Die, I believe does not belong in the original albums… Never the same that album on… BTW adding curse words in After Forever is just plain stupid, of course just my opinion

  17. I don’t know if Sabbath turned to Christianity all of a sudden in 1971, but what I do know is that lyrics can tell us about other ones ideas and believes, “Liar” for example isn’t about Henry Rollins himself :-)
    “After Forever” has lyrics with can make religion people seem a little narrow minded, something like ‘If you don’t believe God, something terrible is gonna happen to you after you die’. I don’t like that at al, because I don’t believe in sugh a God. May be Black Sabbath wanted to make a dark song with lyrics that could have come from the religion people who criticized them for being satanic, which they also weren’t.
    I do believe in God btw. And I could be wrong about all of this :-)

  18. Not my favorite Sabbath song, but I think the cover is pretty poor IMO. Horrible vocals.

  19. George Pringle says:

    After many a years, I just listened to the original and I was bit shocked at the pro Christian words. 35 or so years ago it was one of fav Sab songs “would you like to see the Pope at the end of a rope” is what I replyed to God Squaders quite a bit for quite a few years.

    Teen agers eh.

    I don’t think it was a statement anymore than a defensive move against attacks of satanism.

  20. Mike in Utica says:

    Great Song. My absolute favorite. FYI, “The Lord of this World” is a reference to Satan. Read your Bible and do a search. 2 Corinthians 4:4

    • Mike in Utica says:

      Also, listen to the lyrics. There is nothing remotely related to Jesus in the tune “Lord of this World”. Awesome riffs though…

  21. Nativity in black (I & II) are surely the best tribute albums one can think of. Great stuff and a true proof that that Black Sabbath started and influenced it all!

  22. I remember so much about this time in music and Biohazard and this video. Music was so much better then. Sabbath was relevent, and still are, but metal I am not sure with this fag ass country maybe is not…

    Either way such a great CD NIB was – I collected all things Sabbath, including Sabbath cover albums, and this was the best. The whole scene in music was better then. you had rock, punk, metal, industrial, ,grunge,alternative, MTV, and lots of radio stations that played it all.
    Now what do you have? Grown men with no testosterone covering Pink and Lady Gaga, and rap, lots and lots of rap.. disgusting..

    God bless Bill Ward and Biohazard -

  23. The original is the best by a country mile and the only one worth listening too, and the Black Sabbath are greatest ever in the world, god bless all of the Sabbath family

  24. Steve from Australia says:

    After Forever has had the biggest impacted in my life of any song bar none, but I have to say to the arguments that I have heard for close to twenty years about Black Sabbath being pro God or not . God can use whoever He wants to, so that His message may go around the World. If He used a donkey to speak so that Balaam was warned of impending judgement ( Numbers 22:21-41) I am sure he can use Black Sabbath. Jesus said that if His followers will not speak up the rocks and stones will cry out His praises (Luke 19:39-40). After Forever is not the only Black Sabbath song that has an eternal message, there are quite a few. Take for example War Pigs, it was supposed to be about the Vietnam war and I am sure that was the intention when it was written. But if you listen to the lyrics it is not written about any particular war in time but a sweeping look at men in power using other men as pieces in their own chess game the whole length of time till we see at the end the War Pigs groveling before God who is going to judge them. Now read Psalm 2 and you will see the same picture but the Psalm calls them Kings of the Earth instead of War Pigs. There are numerous other songs that Black Sabbath sing that have an eternal message but have not time to mention, but my question to you is Have you ever thought about your soul – can it be saved? Is God just a thought within your head or is he a part of you? Are you prepared when you’re lonely and scared at the end of our days?Open your eyes, just realize that He’s the one,The only one who can save you now from all this sin and hate.

    Blessings my Black Sabbath friends and remember as someone has already brought to our attention, that Jesus is the Master of Reality.

    Steve

  25. RICARDO Clemens says:

    I think we over- analyse the songs .You can be a believer in god without being a fundamentalist .Not all christians are crazy bible bashing hypocrites.Black Sabbath to me raise questions and look at the world through their eyes wondering and questioning things that we accept for granted that is why I love their songs.It was a very different time when these songs were written.Look at a song like ” A NATIONAL ACROBAT ” or maybe ” INTO THE VOID ” the topics are relevant today, the questions are the same , but time and context are different.Death metal and even heavy metal were terms which didn’t even exist in popular language when these songs were written.Biohazard does a good job but hey no one can sing like Ozzy- I saw Black Sabbath in Sydney only a few weeks ago and oZZY AND THE BOYS WERE FANTASTIC AND OZZY WAS TOTALLY TOGETHER AND HIS VOICE WAS IN TOP SHAPE !!!

  26. Hey Joe (no pun intended),

    Here’s another cover of After Forever for you to check out, it’s my band, Troglodyte Dawn:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR13ts_Wclk

    The lyrics and title have been altered to place it in the “parody” category, because TRO would not issue licensing for me to record it directly. I have always had great respect for this song and my changes in no way are meant to be disrespectful in any way to the Sabbath legacy. I’m kinda glad TRO turned me down because it forced me to get more creative with the song and inject my own personality into it.

    Hope you enjoy…

    – Randy Michaud

    https://troglodytedawn.bandcamp.com/music

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