"In the beginning, there was Black Sabbath".
Those were the words of former Metal Hammer editor and Twin V founder Alexander Milas as rock and metal fans gathered at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to launch a new exhibition dedicated to the Birmingham icons.
The immersive exhibition celebrates Black Sabbath from the perspective of their fans, showing the impact and cultural legacy of the band as pioneers of heavy metal and celebrating a unique part of British music heritage.
WATCH our tour of the exhibition in this video:
Presented by Home of Metal, it features historical photos and memorabilia sourced directly from the Brummie metallers themselves, as well as donated items from fans documenting the 50-year relationship they have with the band.
As a special treat at the opening event on Tuesday, band members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler spoke to fans about the exhibition and the impact Birmingham has had on their work.
"It's fantastic to see our music celebrated in this way," enthused guitarist Iommi.
"It's a great honour for us to be here and it's great to see so many people here."
Take a look at our bumper exhibition gallery:
Bassist Butler added: "It's incredible, you just don't realise that 50 years has gone by so fast.
"Walking around the exhibition brings back so many memories that I just can't believe were so long ago.
"All the hard work that has gone into it is just overwhelming, to see it really makes you understand what it took to put together.
"It's great so many fans wanted to be involved with it."
But what honoured the duo the most was the fact that the exhibition is taking place in their hometown.
"For us, this happening is incredible. Birmingham accepting us and celebrating us really is incredible," Tony told the crowd.
"We never could have imagined that when we started in Aston, we would be involved in something like this," Geezer continued.
"The whole thing is surreal. This is a place that I used to come as a child - because it was free - and now I'm coming here and seeing Black Sabbath in huge letters in the town."
Motorbike, crucifix and costumes
And Geezer certainly wasn't exaggerating when he said that seeing that exhibition helps you appreciate the hard work and dedication that went into its creation.
As we walked into the spacious Gas Hall, we were immediately greeted by a towering Black Sabbath logo embellished with gold glitter that had visitors gasping "wow'" in unison.
The exhibition as a whole is similarly jaw-dropping, featuring everything from a bedazzled Black Sabbath motor bike - Tony and Geezer's favourite piece in the exhibition, they revealed - as well as vocalist Ozzy Osbourne's crucifix, Tony's home studio, and outfits worn on stage at some of the band's most infamous shows.
One superfan, Stephen Knowles from Dudley, has seen his living room rebuilt in the museum complete with gig tickets from across the decades and posters and photos with the band.
The 57-year-old has also donated hundreds of his prized band t-shirts which are displayed in a captivating line-up reminiscent of a concert crowd.
The spectacle is truly a sight to behold, helping to illustrate the influence that Black Sabbath has had on music fans across the world.
The space also features many interactive exhibits, such as a guitar station where visitors can play a few riffs, and video footage from across Black Sabbath's career including interviews with the band.
Speaking ahead of the exhibition, Ozzy stated that he would be nothing without his dedicated fans - and this event helps to include visitors from across the world just as the band has done for the last 50 years.
Home of Metal founder and exhibition curator Lisa Meyer welcomed guests to the opening event on Tuesday and thanked everyone who helped to make it happen, including Capsule, Arts Council England, Laney Amplification and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
"We have people attending from all over the world, from Mexico to New Zealand and more," Home of Metal founder and exhibition curator Lisa Meyer said at the opening event as she thanked Capsule, Arts Council England, Laney Amplification and the Heritage Lottery Fund for helping make the display happen.
An absolute must see for all rock and metal fans, this celebratory exhibition helps confirm Black Sabbath and Birmingham's place on the musical map.
Black Sabbath: 50 Years opened to the public on Wednesday and runs until Sunday, September 29.
For more information and to buy tickets, click here.