Since their reunion in November 2011, Black Sabbath has called the attention of almost every metalhead on the planet by announcing a new record, and a world tour. For many of us this means the cornerstone of metal itself getting back together to teach us one last lesson on how metal is melted, pounded and shaped.
After the reunion was announced, Black Sabbath surrounded themselves by controversy as original drummer Bill Ward quitted the band due to ‘contractual disputes’ with the rest of the band, and management. This was obviously a hard blow for fans that have waited this reunion for so long. The drummer selected to play on the album was Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine) while on tour Tommy Clufetos (Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Rob Zombie) would take the drumsticks. A decision that was not well received among fans, and is one of the reasons that makes this album so difficult to understand and embrace. How could it be Black Sabbath without Bill Ward? Well it was Black Sabbath without Ozzy for a while, and it was Black Sabbath without Geezer for a while too. So this band always had a history of multiple and diverse lineups, that had shaped their sound and legacy. So stop whining, listen to the album, and you might find one or two surprises along the way.
Now, Black Sabbath called upon the services of legendary producer Rick Rubin (Metallica, Slayer, Slipknot) to produce The band’s 19th studio album titled 13, and the first studio album released by Black Sabbath since Forbidden (1995), and their first studio recording with original singer Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler since the live album Reunion (1998). It is also the first studio album with Osbourne since Never Say Die! (1978), and Butler since Cross Purposes (1994).
13, opens with End Of The Beginning, a song that from the first riff would give you chills down your spine, as the atmospheric aura around it is quite macabre. Not doubt an ice breaker that around the 5 minute mark would unleash the talent of the ‘Iron Man’ Iommi and his magical guitar playing. God Is Dead, is a Nietzschean allegory to the disappointment of men and their weak beliefs. The music is dark as the lyrics of the song. I respect the effort of Wilk on this song that almost hit the Sabbath sound, but it fails in delivering solid results at the end. Loner, could be a description of what we call a modern teenager; Alone, troubled, reserved, misunderstood, and at times bullied. Musically, the guitar playing coming out of Iommi‘s fingers on this song would keep you in a trance. His solos are just pure gold.
Zeitgeist, is the weird song of the album, the one everyone would frown upon, but that after a while you would understand and love it for its minimal simplicity, and acoustic beauty. Now, one thing that I notice about this song is how the voice of Ozzy brings all that sorrow and demands blood every time it goes higher. Age Of Reason sounds more like an Ozzy Osborne solo song if it wasn’t because Iommi‘s guitar playing, a very catchy and the most bright song of the album. Not too bad, but it doesn’t fit Black Sabbath‘s style. Live Forever and Damaged Soul are a real doom metal treat, these songs feature some amazing heavy bluesy guitar riffs and slow tempos, that makes them alive, but dark at the same time. A pair of pure old school Sabbath songs stranded in the 21st century. On this song Wilk‘s drumming captured the band’s essence as he transformed it into his own style. At least but not last Ozzy’s vocals are as desperate and suicidal as they were back in the 70’s. Dear Father, is definitely a fresh Sabbath song that carries the elements of the band from beginning to end.
13 is not what many people expected from Black Sabbath, but nonetheless is Black Sabbath at its best, as the band still got that dark magic spark, and the ability to scare the crap out of you. Even though, the original line is not present on this album, the session musician used on this record is fair to the result of the album. One thing that got me through the album was the skill of Tommy Iommi on the guitar, and the way he can make it cry at will. As every guitar solo is better than the one played in the previous song. Black Sabbath is back, and we must be glad of it, because only destiny knows for how long we would have them together. So enjoy them while they are here.
Black Sabbath North American tour 2013
Thu- Jul 25 Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sat-Jul 27 Austin, TX @ Frank Erwin Center
Mon-Jul 29 Tampa, FL @ Live Nation Amphitheatre
Wed-Jul 31 W. Palm Beach, FL @ Cruzan Amphitheatre
Fri-Aug 02 Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
Sun-Aug 04 Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
Tue-Aug 06 Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
Thu-Aug 08 Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
Sat-Aug 10 Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
Mon-Aug 12 Boston, MA @ Comcast Center
Wed-Aug 14 Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
Fri Aug 16 Tinley Park, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Sun-Aug 18 Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
Thu-Aug 22 Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
Sat-Aug 24 Seattle, WA @ Gorge Amphitheatre
Mon-Aug 26 San Francisco, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View
Wed-Aug 28 Irvine, CA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Fri-Aug 30 Phoenix, AZ @ US Airways Center
Sun-Sep 01 Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena
Tue-Sep 03 Los Angeles, CA @ Los Angeles Sports Arena
1. End Of The Beginning
2. God Is Dead?
5. Age Of Reason
6. Live Forever
7. Damaged Soul
8. Dear Father
Genre: Heavy Metal
Record Label: Vertigo Records/Republic Records
Playing Time: 53 Minutes
Tony Iommi – guitar
Ozzy Osbourne – lead vocals
Geezer Butler – bass guitar
Brad Wilk – Drums