**UPDATE Aug 17th**: Tony Iommi denies reunion talk, calling it "absolute nonsense".
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has confirmed to Birmingham Mail that the band's original lineup has reunited and is rehearsing for a tour and new studio album.
Iommi and singer Ozzy Osbourne wrote new material in June for a record that will be released next year.
"We're really looking forward to it and I think the stuff we've been writing is really good," said Iommi. "It's more back to the old original stuff."
He added that the reunion has been kept under wraps for some time.
"It's all been very hush-hush. Ozzy's been the worst at trying to hold it back. He's doing a lot of TV and he's being asked stuff about a reunion and he's going, 'Well, I never say never.' He told me, 'I don't know what to say."
Iommi told the Birmingham Mail that his only apprehension about a reunion of Black Sabbath's original lineup was the health of drummerBill Ward who in 1998 suffered a heart attack.
"He hasn't been 100 percent. He had an operation a few months ago, so we'll see how he is."
Ozzy was asked by QMI Agency in a recent interview why the four members of Sabbath couldn't seem to agree on playing together again.Ozzy replied, "I haven't got a clue. If they want to call me, they can call me. I never say never. If it works, fine. If it don't, I'll move on. It ain't the end of the world. I ain't gonna get a box of Kleenex and cry my eyes out for the rest of my life."
Ozzy added, "I would love to do a great album with Back Sabbath. I would love to get the credit we so roundly deserve. At the same time, the pressure would be really intense. I could go tomorrow and make an album with them, but it wouldn't necessarily be something I would be proud of."
The original Sabbath lineup has not toured together since summer 2005, and last convened for their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Famein early 2006.
Sabbath did try to record a new album 12 years ago, their first since 1978, but abandoned the attempt after just a couple of songs.
Osbourne and Iommi last year amicably resolved their problems over the ownership of the Black Sabbath name and court proceedings in New York were discontinued.
Ozzy filed a lawsuit against Iommi in May 2009, claiming that Iommiillegally took sole ownership of the band's name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Osbourne sued Iommi for a 50 percent interest in the "Black Sabbath" trademark, along with a portion of Iommi's profits from use of the name.
The Manhattan federal court suit also charged that Osbourne's "signature lead vocals" are largely responsible for the band's "extraordinary success," noting that its popularity plummeted during his absence from 1980 through 1996.
Lawyer Andrew DeVore argued that Osbourne signed away all his rights to the Black Sabbath trademark after he quit the band in 1979.
Osbourne's lawyer, Howard Shire, called that agreement a "red herring" that was "repudiated" when the singer rejoined in 1997 and took over "quality control" of the band's merchandise, tours and recordings.