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Black Sabbath - 13 CD (album) cover


Black Sabbath


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3.75 | 322 ratings

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4 stars So here it is. After years and years of waiting. Black Sabbath are back. The first album in over 15 years, and the first album with Ozzy in over 30 years. This album has been on and off for so many years that no one knew when this day would come. And now it has.

The best way to describe this album is by comparing it 2 other releases. The first one being Heaven & Hell's "The Devil You Know". Before Ozzy joined back in the band, Heaven & Hell, the reunion with Ronnie James Dio released an album, which in many ways was like this album, with the comebacks and all that. While it did have some good moments, at times the album felt aged and old, and almost uninspired. In many ways, "13" eclipses this incarnation of the band. Dio (RIP) may have been a better and more talented vocalist than Ozzy, but Ozzy does have a lot of personality, which in many ways outshines the talent of the former vocalist.

Now we go to an album that came out this year...Cathedrals "The Last Spire." The doom gods, who happily admit worshipping at the altar of Sabbath, ended their 20 career this year with a doomy gloomy masterpiece. Comparing these two albums, and it's obvious which leaves a bigger impact. "The Last Spire" is greater in comparison, due to its overall aesthetics and atmosphere. "13" does create a great atmosphere, but one of the biggest criticisms it has received has been its production. Rick Rubin, one of the most successful producers of our time has done a good job at tying the loose ends, but almost too good of a job. The album is pretty much note perfect, but one of Sabbaths brilliant charms where the rough style of their productions. From over fuzzed guitars and bass sounds, to pounding drums, on this album, the guitar at times has as much power as a triangle in Carnegie Hall.

One of the most noticeable is the darkness of the lyrics, bringing up rather existential topics, such as the existence of God, self, religion and in all fairness, just questioning everything.

Musically, the band are on form. Iommi is a riff god, and is still to this day can add a groove to a funeral. Geezer Butler has an amazing bass sound on this album, and is always on top form. Ozzy's vocals do sound aged at times, but throughout he will tend to suprise you. I have seen footage of them performing live, and he does seem to slip up a lot...but, this is Ozzy...he is old and shakey as hell.

Sadly, Bill Ward is not part of the line up of this album, due to...weirdness. Replacing him on the other hand is Brad Wilk (you know, from Rage Against The Machine). He's a great drummer and does a great job, but as always, people will always be begging for Bill Ward to come back.

The opener "End Of The Beginning" in many ways could be the younger brother of the track "Black Sabbath" from their first album. A very doomy riff with the tritone used to the full force to give the song a sense of evil.

The albums lead single "God Is Dead" is very much like a depressing version of War Pigs. A very bleak song draped with Nietzsche influence. Even though its the albums longest song, its still a great song for a single.

"Zeitgeist" in many ways is a follow up to "Planet Caravan." I was a bit annoyed that at times the album is like a rewrite of "Paranoid", but I did really like this song, and I actually prefer it to "Planet Caravan."

"Live Forever" is probably one of my favourite songs on the album. A brilliant groove throughout and some nice vocals from Ozzy. The lyrics are an interesting depth into the psyche and religion, which is always a plus for me.

"Damaged Soul", is a return to Sabbath's early blues roots. And this is what blues should be, because the 60's ruined it, with c***s like John Mayall who took the emotion away from the genre and replaced it with...mediocrity. Blues should be about dark topics, and nothing is more dark than possession, religious suicide and the battle between good and evil.

The album's last track "Dear Father" is probably the track with most vitriol. Lyrically about child molestation and scandals in the Catholic church, Geezer really attacks the institution with barred teeth.

In conclusion, this is a brilliant comeback. This may not be their best album, but it is in many ways a return to form and also a step forward. The bands best album in 20 years, and an achievement each band member should be proud of. There are some secret Sabbath classics on this album and


arcane-beautiful | 4/5 |


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