Saturday, June 22, 2013

"Black Sabbath - 13" Review by Dom

Overview: 13 is Sabbath's lucky number.

13 is legendary metal band Black Sabbath's 19th studio album and the first with original singer Ozzy Osbourne back in 35 years. This is the first studio album released under the Black Sabbath name since 1995's Forbidden, the band released an album in 2009 under the name Heaven & Hell with the late great Ronnie James Dio handling vocals. This is being advertised as a reunion album but it's not full, the band has Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler but is missing drummer Bill Ward. Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine fame handles drums as a "guest musician" on the album.

The Positive: Pretty much everything. Iommi's riffs are as good as ever, possibly better than anything he's written in quite a long time. Ozzy, who I thought would sound awful, as he has on his solo albums for the past decade sounds as good as he did in 1970. You would never know Wilk was behind the drum kit if he wasn't in the credits, he blends into the Sabbath mold perfectly. For this album I HIGHLY recommend buying the deluxe edition, the Best Buy one if you can. The standard holds 8 songs and with the deluxe you get an extra 3(4 at Best Buy) and are they worth the extra money. "Zeitgeist" was the first track to really make me say wow, it's an acoustic-ish, slower song but it's performed fantastically, Ozzy sounds great on it. "Age of Reason", "Damaged Soul" and "Dear Father" probably have the most monstrous riffs on the album and are some of the best in the Sabbath catalog. Most of the songs on the album are on the longer side with all but 5 tracks reaching over the 5-minute mark. In total, including all 4 bonus tracks the album comes in at an hour and 12 minutes which is damn long, especially in this decade. Luckily for the band they give you amazing songs and the album never really dulls down.

The Negative: The single, "God is Dead?". While it's not a bad song, it was a bad choice as the lead single for the album, as it's slower and just under 9 minutes long. I would've chosen "Live Forever" as the single, it's a 4 and a half minute song with a killer riff that just plays amazingly. The opening track, "The End of the Beginning" is a little lackluster as well, it's slower but it does pick up but the song doesn't do much for me. I really wish the 4 bonus tracks were just part of the standard album because they really deserve to be as they're just as good and some are even better than the tracks on the standard edition. The lyrics can be a bit corny occasionally but not to an unbearable degree. Besides that, this album exceeded any expectation I had for this album.

Overall: This album is great, definitely deserving of the Black Sabbath name. 13 is definitely a top 10 Sabbath album, maybe in time a top 5 but their catalog is so impressive that cracking the top 5 would be near impossible. If I had to describe the sound I'd say it's a cross between the instrumentation and heaviness of Dehumanizer along with classic Ozzy vocals. If you're a fan of Sabbath than you should already have this, if you like metal, get this, if you don't maybe this will convert you. The album is that good. The band that invented heavy metal came back in 2013 to show that they still got it and that the world still loves classic sounding metal, proven by the fact that 13 is the bands very first number 1 album in the US> Congrats to the band for that and thank you for this album.

Number of Tracks Kept: 10/12

Rating: 9/10

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