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Black Sabbath - 13 CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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3.75 | 313 ratings

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3 stars ( I bought the Deluxe Edition which was used for this short review )

This could have easily been called Black Sabbath Volume 5 because stylistically that's where it fits in with Sabbath's timeline just before the experiments with a more streamlined sound on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage arrived. It sounds more like and extension Master Of Reality while visiting other themes and formulas from the first four albums and to a lesser extent the next two. The skull crushing riffs, cynical lyrics and compressed sound are all here and I can't believe Ozzy still sounds so alive at 65 when other singer's vocal chords from the same period are torn to shreds.

This is not the Sabbath of the future but rather the Sabbath of the past. It's as if all the post- Ozzy Sabbath never happened. The ballad, Zeitgeist, recalls the singular and mystic Planet Caravan from Paranoid with some jazzy lines from guitarist Iommi as do so many other tracks like Dear Father with a Sabbath Bloody Sabbath-like riff and the opener End Of The Beginning that reminds us of the iconic first track ( Black Sabbath ) that spawned the whole multi-genre heavy metal movement that has consistently endured while others have gone by the wayside. The whole album seems to say : Remember, you asked for it. Whether the tracks here will achieve legendary status of classics such as Iron Man, War Pigs or Paranoid is doubtful. '13' is more like a novelty album heralding the return of the creators and the release of a new album consolidates their resurrection and as this is written in June 2013 the album has reached # 1 on the UK charts

So much has happened within the multi- faceted genre of metal since 1978 that one option for producer Rick Rubin was to turn the clock back and that's exactly what he has done here. A raw in-your-face old style Sabbath with tracks that will mesh seamlessly with their classics in live performance. Nothing revolutionary has occurred here and "13" will certaily hold more appeal for aficionados than younger metal heads. The only drawback of the album is the absence of Bill Ward who was just as much part of the Sabbath saga as Ozzy, Geezer and Tony. It's unfortunate that his issues could not be resolved and he will certainly be missed when the Sabbs are on tour.

I was a little wary about this one and all the hype leading up to it's release didn't quell any of my fears. Although I didn't freak out like I did back in the seventies I liked '13' upon the first listen and it is definately an album that I will throw on many times. There is nothing better or worse they could have produced given all the obstacles that were faced leading up to it's final release. Not a masterpiece but pure Sabbath and by far not another Never Say Die catastrophe.

Vibrationbaby | 3/5 |


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