Artists / Bands, Culture, Metal / Hard Rock — June 10, 2013 at 10:40 am

REVIEW: Black Sabbath – 13


Artist Name: Black Sabbath
Title Name: 13
Label: Vertigo/Universal
Reviewed by: Fabio Marraccini


Growing up as a lover of rock and science, I’ve always had these questions in my mind: Is there life after death? Is there extraterrestrial intelligence? Will Black Sabbath ever reform with Ozzy Osbourne and record a new album? 

Well, now I know the answer to the third one, at least – and the others can wait for now to be honest. They’re back, and the much awaited return album is out. Granted that drummer Bill Ward was at first involved in the reunion and later left for alleged contractual issues, this is probably one of things that every rock and metal fan in the face of the Earth – and somewhere else too depending on the answer to the second question – always wanted to see. Produced by legendary Rick Rubin and anchored in the hope that the chemistry between Ozzy,  Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi would still be there, this release got the media and fans all jazzed up for more than a year. 

Now that the cat is out of the bag, and I for one must say that I am quite pleased with what I heard. Is it a monumental classic such as Volume 4 or Paranoid? We don’t know yet. Different times, different minds – it might as well not be, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that these folks can still rock, and hard! “End of the Beginning” and “God Is Dead?” are just amazing opening tracks to the whole thing: heavy, eerie, dark, slow, and even creepy at some points. “Loner” is more of a traditional rocker tune, but the follow up “Zeitgeist”… hello goosebumps! The other side of Black Sabbath many people don’t realise or take for granted: an acoustic, psychedelic gem in the best Planet Caravan style. Another pleasant surprise is “Damaged Soul” as it brings back that whole groovy side of Black Sabbath that later influenced many Stoner rock bands. And I must say, this tune suggests that these legends were listening and accepted to be influenced by their pupils. 

Ozzy sounds great on record, although there are some points where you can tell that a lot of knob twisting and effects were needed to put everything where it should be. And the funny thing is that this is not only their first album with Ozzy in more than 34 years. It’s also their first album after going through the Dio era and many other eras. So yes, there is to me a clear influence of Dio-era Sabbath here, in particular to songs like “Live Forever” and “Peace of Mind”. 

The problem with legendary bands is always the same, they’ve set the bar way too high for themselves, a long time ago. Everything they release gets compared with their seminal releases. I would not dare attempt a comparison but I can tell you this much: there is only one band on Earth that can make an album sound like this, and that band is Black Sabbath.

Volume 10 on this one, metalheads.




Artist Website

13 (Deluxe Version) - Black Sabbath