Black Sabbath - 13

By Clare McCabe

Released June 7th, 2013 - Universal

I thought this review would be hard. I love Ozzy Osbourne, have all his solo stuff, have seen him loads of times live. But honestly, only ever liked a few of his Black Sabbath-era tracks (how could you not like Paranoid let's be fair).

But I was mistaken.

If you like the Ozzy-era Black Sabbath (read, the best era), you will definitely like this new album. A word of advice for your first listen - try not to compare this to original Sabbath but add it to your collection of good Sabbath and you will not be disappointed.

13 is Black Sabbath returning to their (almost) original line-up - they may be a LOT older and may be missing good old Bill Ward on drums (although all three original members have recently been quoted as saying they hope Bill will join them again on future albums), but they obviously love playing and creating music together and it shows. And good old faithful Rick Rubin has produced their latest album to his usual standard - he sure does love bringing out the best in long-serving bands doesn't he?

Those lyrics (thanks Geezer, you sure know how to write classics)... those guitar riffs (oh Tony, get well soon, we have missed you) and that voice (welcome back Ozzy) - all joined by Mr Brad Wilks (ex-Audioslave/RATM) on the album and the fabulous Tommy Clufetos on tour.

There are only eight songs on this new album so quite hard to choose favourites so early on, but first up isEnd of the Beginning and it will be hard to beat (think doom and gloom, slowed-down vocals and heavy drumming). Then we rush into God is Dead and I am doubting my original choice. Oh what am I saying, every song is good so just listen to them all. Loudly.

Best lyric on the album from God is Dead: "Out of the gloom, I rise up from my tomb, Into impending doom". Fabulous stuff.

Interesting fact #1: for the album cover, a sculptor was commissioned to create an 8-foot tall "13" from wicker, when was then set on fire and photographed - so cool.

What is it about 2013 do you think - so many old-school and vintage bands/singers bringing out excellent new music again. Totally wish I had attended the tour when they swung down to NZ a few months ago - note to self - don't procrastinate buying tickets next time.

In conclusion - Ozzy asks "Is God Dead" on their first single. God may be dead, but Black Sabbath definitely aren't. Thanks boys - please continue to make music together (with or without Bill).

4 / 5