“13” falls back to the classic Black Sabbath sound we all know and love. It is the first album in over thirty years to feature the original line up of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, who prove that they still got it (as if they lost it) after so much time apart. Bill Ward is absent from this recording, replaced by Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk. Their latest album journeys back to the dark melodic sound that has influenced so many bands including Metallica, Disturbed, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. If anything, “13” could be referred to as a “Paranoid” follow-up.
“13” opens with End of Beginning. The melody of the song follows the same dark and moody path paved by “Black Sabbath” which featured the same tones. “End” picks up the tempo midway through as it takes you on a dark journey before opening up to the light as Tony Iommi displays the sexiest riffs I’ve ever heard him play. The dark journey continues as Ozzy asks the question about God’s existence in “God is Dead”. This song melodically plays out like “War Pigs” that draws you in with its progressive guitar work and holds you in place as the drums pound and the guitars strum in a rhythmic tune that will have you banging your head.
“Zeitgeist” tones things down with light guitar and Caribbean style bongo works. This is the kind of song you can just relax to with your buds in the garage or basement. Listen to this alongside “Planet Caravan” and you’ll find yourself breaking out the shag carpet and lava lamps.
Fast paced guitars fuel the songs “Age of Reason” and “Live Forever”. The work in these songs moves forward to what has been heard on recent Ozzy albums while retaining that familiar tone fans love from Sabbath. The same sound continues on “Damaged Soul”, tying together the story of one’s struggle to believe in faith amidst a world in turmoil through three songs. Think of them as “Paranoid” and “Electric Funeral” being broken down into three parts. “Dear Father” closes it out with its description of dealing with abuse. The opening lines “Dear Father forsaken/you knew what you were doing” will connect with those who have experienced this situation.With a career spanning four decades and a following by fans through those years, Black Sabbath has nothing further to prove. Geezer’s poetic lyrics are channeled beautifully by Ozzy’s vocals, which have not lost their luster over the years. Tony Iommi’s riffs are still captivating and as addictive as ever. Brad Wilk fits in nicely with Iommi, Osbourne and Butler with drum the melds nicely with Sabbath’s unique sound. Overall, “13” is a much appreciated trip to past albums such as “Paranoid” and “Master of Reality” that will keep fans old and new listening. Black Sabbath has come back stronger and “blacker” than ever.
Black Sabbath wonders if “God is Dead”
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