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Black Sabbath: 13

"Paranoid", "War Pigs", "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", "Black Sabbath", Iron Man" and so the list goes on with many influential and highly regarded songs, recorded by a group who's musical significance can never be denied and one that brought with it a style that would come to be known as Heavy Metal. All those songs mentioned above were of course released during the Ozzy era of Black Sabbath who now returns to the band he was dismissed from in the late 70's, after which Ozzy went on to enjoy a successful solo career. Of course Black Sabbath also continued and recorded other fantastic metal albums like Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules but it was that early incarnation of the band that had the most impact.

With the exemption of drummer Bill Ward Sabbath's highly anticipated new album 13 features three original band members Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne. Completing the line-up in the drum spot is Rage Against The Machine's Brad Wilk and the album was produced by Rick Rubin. Ozzy's vocals are Ozzy's vocals and I do prefer how they sound here compared to his last solo outing, Butler's bass is the perfect companion to Iommi's guitar together they remain such an ominous duo and they are backed up effectively by Wilk who provides the appropriate feel for their gripping music. Butler once again wrote the bulk of the lyrics for this release which cover a range of topics like "Dear Father" which tells of a pedophile priest and the consequences of his actions. Eight tracks feature on the album with three available on the deluxe CD version, which is the one that I suggest you get as these tracks are more than worth the extra not to mention the very cool packaging. "Methademic" is one such song as I was so drawn to the energy the band exudes on this wonderful Sabbath track.

All of those involved have put in so much effort to create something special with this album, especially Tony Iommi with his continued commitment to the album despite having ongoing treatment for his illness. The doom masters begin with "End Of The Beginning" and Sabbath sure haven't mellowed with age riff lord Tony Iommi sounds fantastic with so much potency performing those titanic riffs and solos, and Geezer Butler has a great deal of input and when he duplicates Iommi's guitar well it just doesn't get much better. "God Is Dead?" follows a similar pattern as the track intensifies and they get rocking Sabbath style, "N.I.B." off their ground breaking debut from 1970 came to mind when I first heard the riffs on "Loner" it's not identical but it does remind me of that earlier song. "Zeitgeist" takes a different path being the albums lightweight track, Wilk's drums shatter the tranquillity as "Age Of Reason" bursts to life and Iommi's solo brings a classic feel. These new Sabbath tracks like "Live Forever" and "Damaged Soul" really wouldn't have sounded out of place back in the 70's that's the sort of vibe you get from this album, it's like a musical voyage to the past through songs that are still so relevant today. I love the hard edged guitar and bass sound in parts of "Dear Father" it has such a heavy bite and that marvellous groove that the band then drops into the mix for a short time just tops it off. As "Dear Father" closes the storm clouds open up and the bells toll as 13 comes to a conclusion just as their debut Black Sabbath began so maybe this is the end, lets hope not.

It may have been a long time coming, 35 years actually since 1978's Never Say Die and 13 was well worth the wait, the Sabbath of old have retuned with the kind of album that the fans have been longing for it really is that good. But you better warn the neighbours as there is only one volume that this album should to be played at and that is cranked right up, as the songs of Black Sabbath deserve no less.

Track Listing
1. End Of The Beginning
2. God Is Dead?
3. Loner
4. Zeitgeist
5. Age Of Reason
6. Live Forever
7. Damaged Soul
8. Dear Father
9. Methademic (Bonus Track)
10. Piece Of Mind (Bonus Track)
11. Pariah (Bonus Track)

Added: June 17th 2013
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3894
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Black Sabbath: 13
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-06-17 14:38:21
My Score:

I have to be honest, though Black Sabbath are one of my all time favorite bands (right there alongside Deep Purple and Whitesnake), I didn't exactly have high expectations going into 13. Although Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler always stand for quality in my book, it's been a while since Ozzy has done anything of real merit, and the lack of Bill Ward somewhat tempered this 'reunion' album. Well, to my surprise, 13 is a hell of a lot better than I ever expected, in fact, it's damn good.

Despite all the furor amongst fans (mostly on the internet) that Rick Rubin's production is sub-standard and Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk's parts are somewhat generic (that could be true to a degree), close observation to 13 reveal some excellent material, with Iommi firing off some monstrous riffs (as always!), Geezer's bass rumbling & menacing, and Ozzy surprisingly sounding much better than expected. Highlights are the awesome "End of the Beginning" (a track that should have all longtime fans drooling with delight), the crushing doom of "God is Dead?", the plodding headbanger "Loner", the psychedelic "Zeitgeist" (long lost sister of "Planet Caravan" perhaps?), the punishing riff-tastic "Age of Reason", the grinding stomp of "Live Forever", and the metallic metal blues that is "Damaged Father". Let's not forget the wah-wah soaked crusher "Dear Father", or, if you get the Best Buy Deluxe Edition, the superb bonus tracks "Pariah", "Methademic", "Peace of Mind", and bruising "Naivete in Black".

Iommi seems to be playing like his life depends on it, and with his current battle against cancer, he's no doubt feeling his mortality and tossing in some of his best riffs here as if they might be his last. Let's hope that is not the case and the Riff Master continues to crush us for years and years to come. Sure, some of the passages from time to time do hint at songs from their classic period, but in the end that almost adds to the enjoyment factor here. While some fans are being quite nit-picky about the production, Ozzy's vocals, the drumming, or the pacing of a few of the songs, in the end, if you are a real fan, just close your eyes and soak it all in. It's Black Sabbath after all, and I'm sure not many of us expected another album from these guys, let alone one this good. Is it the second coming of Paranoid, Master of Reality, Volume 4, or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath? No, but was that every possible to begin with? Enjoy this for what it is...a damn good Sabbath record, end of story. Let's hope it's not the last.

And, back to my statement above about Sabbath, Deep Purple, and cool is it that all three have come out with stellar releases like 13, Now What, and Forevermore this late in the game? Very cool I must say!

» Reader Comments:

Black Sabbath: 13
Posted by Don Rowe on 2013-06-20 02:37:05
My Score:

An amazing return. One of the best albums of recent years. A great review. Thank You.

Black Sabbath: 13
Posted by Jordan Farquharson on 2013-06-09 23:04:22
My Score:

Did you have the actual CD of 13? Just asking because people that have the CD already are complaining the CD was mastered too loud. Btw, great review. It's great that 13 is getting so many great reviews.

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