Black Sabbath is out with their first full-length release with Ozzy Osbourne at the helm since 1979! Do the originators of heavy metal still have the power, or is this just a cash grab to support a tour? 411's Andy Rackauskas takes a loot!
Release Date – 6/10/13
All lyrics written by Geezer Butler; all music composed by Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Butler.
No. Title Length
1. "End of the Beginning" 8:07
2. "God Is Dead?" 8:54
3. "Loner" 5:06
4. "Zeitgeist" 4:37
5. "Age of Reason" 7:02
6. "Live Forever" 4:49
7. "Damaged Soul" 7:46
8. "Dear Father" 7:06
Total length: 53:36
Deluxe Edition bonus tracks
No. Title Length
9. "Methademic" 5:57
10. "Peace of Mind" 3:40
11. "Pariah" 5:34
Total length: 68:49
Tony Iommi – guitar, acoustic guitar on "Zeitgeist" and "Methademic"
Ozzy Osbourne – lead vocals, harmonica on "Damaged Soul"
Geezer Butler – bass guitar
Brad Wilk – drums, percussion on "Zeitgeist"
Rick Rubin – production
Greg Fidelman – engineering
Mike Exeter – additional engineering
Dana Nielsen – additional engineering
Andrew Scheps – mixing
Stephen Marcussen – mastering
Stewart Whitmore – mastering
When one hears the rain and bells of doom on Black Sabbath’s classic song, “Black Sabbath,” you know you’re in for trouble. Then the hard rock kicks in after a bluesy slow burn intro. That song began it all. It started the whole genre of metal. That was 1970. A mere 43 years later, Black Sabbath has delivered more of that same classic sound on their latest release, 13.
It’s been over 34 years since they guys released a full length album. Unfortunately, drummer Bill Ward couldn’t join in the fun. But, former Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave/Josh Homme (Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys soundtrack) collaborator drummer, Brad Wilk fills in so well you sadly do not miss Ward. But the classic trio of Ozzy on vocals, Tony Iommi on guitar and Geezer Butler on bass is in bloom. Ozzy sounds fantastic. Who care how many takes it took to nail the vocals! Iommi delivers some more amazing riffs that stick with the listener. Butler knocks out bass lines that are so thick that you know where the “heavy” in heavy metal comes from! Lastly, the entire effort is produced by legendary producer, Rick Rubin (Slayer, Johnny Cash, Danzig, Beastie Boys, Metallica, Public Enemy, AC/DC…the list goes on and on my friends…). If all that isn’t a match made in hell, I don’t know what is! It’s almost so perfect in design, that you think it has to fail. Good news. It doesn’t. It succeeds gloriously.
There isn’t a bad track on the album. Some are a little more epic than others, but every one is worthy of a listen. Tracks like “Live Forever,” “Loner,” and “Peace of Mind” are probably the weakest of the lot. But that’s kind of like saying the Hulk is a little weaker than Superman. Hulk still crushes it! “Live Forever” is based on a good riff that kicks in a little like “Paranoid.” “Loner” is a fun stomp with some great Iommi evil guitar flourishes. “Peace of Mind” is a short burst of prodding thickness.
The most memorable tracks on 13 are “God Is Dead?” (the lead single off the album), “”Methademic”, “Damaged Soul,” “Dear Father” and “Age of Reason.” “God Is Dead?” is pure unadulterated Sabbath. It’s a 9 minute epic. It’s chock full o’ evil riffs, eerie vocals, and all kinds of crunch and bombast. It starts very chill, and then builds to a fury. Listen for the kick in the teeth around the 6 ½ minute mark. “Methademic” is a relentless hard rocker. After a mellow sinister acoustic blues intro, it hit you upside the head with the power of rock! “Damaged Soul” is built around an amazing Iommi power riff. It’s crunchy and slow. Butler and Wilk contribute greatly to the vibe with a steady and beefy rhythm section. The track even ends with a flourish including some well placed harmonica that harkens to their classic jam, “The Wizard.” “Dear Father,” the album’s closing cut (on the non-deluxe version), is loaded with all the Sabbath tropes we all know and love. There’s a nice crunchy riff, great drum fills and it ends with rain and bells as an obvious homage to their legendary song, “Black Sabbath.” “Age of Reason” is a pure headbanger. It’s really Iommi’s shining moment. He lays down some of the best riffs on the album, and has an incredible solo.
The remaining 3 cuts on the album are super solid. “End of the Beginning” is basically a 3 part epic. “Zeitgeist” is a somber mellow track with Spanish guitar elements. The acoustic intro is reminiscent of songs like “Planet Caravan” and “Laguna Sunrise.” The solid percussion by Wilk is mesmerizing. “Pariah” is just a good old rock stomp.
All in all 13 simply delivers the goods. It’s no doubt Ozzy fell off the wagon during the time of the recording of this album. Hard rock tends to be fueled best by inner demons and trying to resolve conflict. This album is simply yet another classic record by a classic act. It must be in every hard rock/heavy metal fan’s collection.
(Just a quick word to the wise…don’t cheap out and get the short version of 13. Get the deluxe. It’s well worth the 3 extra tracks.)
Black Sabbath – "God Is Dead?"
Black Sabbath, working with Rick Rubin
The 411: Listen to Black Sabbath's 13. It’s exactly the album you would want from these heavy metal veterans! It’s virtually hard rock perfection. It picks up more where “Sabotage” left off than “Never Say Die!” Ozzy sounds great. Tony Iommi’s riffs are as evil as ever. Geezer Butler’s thick bass is rock solid. Brad Wilk fills in perfectly since Bill Ward did not contribute. Lastly, Rick Rubin’s production is as amazing as always. Seriously…how can a hard rock fan not like this? 13 just rocks. Plain and simple.