BlackSabbath13 Black Sabbath has been great enough to weather several successful incarnations of itself over a wide period of not less than 40 years.  With but a short hiatus period in the first decade of the new millennium (2006-2011), the band has been quite resilient with keeping relevant throughout.

Ozzy Osbourne was a founding member of Black Sabbath.  Everyone knows this.  But eventually his drug and alcohol involvements would find him dismissed from the band.  This didn’t bother him too badly as he went on to even greater success as a solo artist. It is but little surprise that the original band minus drummer Bill Ward would come to a reunion and produce an album.  13,  represents the band’s 19th studio effort, with Ozzy singing on eight of those.

13 is a collection of eight tracks, with an additional three tracks for the Deluxe Edition (the three bonus songs are not necessary although nice to have especially if you’re a die-hard fan).  Most of the songs are extended with a few stretching out way past the eight minute mark and three past the seven minute point.  The good news is that not one of the eight original songs on the standard issue are bad.

Black SabbathThe first thing about 13 and its songs that you’l notice is easy enough, that they sound like the band of old. What is even more fascinating is that you will hear so many other bands in their music, and not because Black Sabbath was influenced by them but because Black Sabbath was the influencing entity.  With a long check-list of bands, it’s easy to see the Black Sabbath in them all. The songs on 13 deal in existentialism, rampant evil in the lands, and all manner of gothic darkness and self-abhorrence, and even doubt of all kinds.  That was the seal of Black Sabbath in the past, and it’s their seal now.

The music is vintage Black Sabbath, with every note and riff what you would want in an effort as important that this.  It’s far too early (the album just released) to determine how this will match up with the band’s early Ozzy-fronted classics.  Ozzy’s voice may not be the strength it once was, but that doesn’t detract, not in the slightest.  And Bill Ward’s heavier drumming is easily noted as being absent, and still it doesn’t detract.  I’m not so sure it will be as great as the first four Black Sabbath albums, but it has good momentum and sound to carry well in the future, which will get to decide the class it belongs in.

If you’re a Black Sabbath fan, get it.  It’s what you have wanted for a while.  You’ve been buying stuff from bands like them for ages including new stuff from bands like The Sword, and Wolfmother.  It’s about time you get to enjoy the source band in a new light.  They still hold the torch.

Release Date: June 11, 2013
Label: Universal Republic
Availability: CD, 2CD Deluxe Edition, LP, DD

–Matt Rowe

By MARowe

8 thoughts on “Review: 13 – Black Sabbath”
  1. Hey Matt,
    You’re right on with your impression of 13. Good to hear the guys together again (esp. considering Iommi’s recent health woes), but it is a shame Bill Ward is not involved. His highly under-rated drumming always had a jazzy/swing feel to it that really set Sabbath apart from a lot of the other ‘heavy’ acts out there. Hopefully, we’ll get a ’14’ in the near future.

    1. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the album worked. It’s funny, it sounds just as you would expect them to sound all of these years later. That’s a good thing.

  2. Yep, it is an awesome album and yep, if you hear other influences it’s a reflection of other bands using their template. This may be my favorite album this year but I can’t say that yet because I’ve only listened to it 3 times and the year is young, however I’m not sure it will ever be able to attain the level of importance of those 8 earlier albums. For one they have a 40 year head-start in brainwashing me. Secondly, music for teenagers has (or had for our generation) much more relevance. Will I ever have time or desire with all the music around today to listen to it 200+ times? I doubt it but that’s probably how many times I’ve listened to some of their earlier albums.

    Great album. What a shame that it’s taken so long. They could have put an album out every 5 years or so and still had lots of room to do other things. It was nice to see them embrace the classic Sabbath sound. Too many older bands talk about “getting that original sound back” when they release an album (think Aerosmith) but they rarely do. Somehow Sabbath succeeded.
    I do wish Bill had been along for the ride though.

    1. Patience, my friend. A few years from now when you move out you can listen to as much Sabbath as you want!

  3. After a few listens I have to say while it’s a great effort, I don’t think any one song is as good as say, Bible Black, from the Dio fronted Heaven amp; Hell (aka Black Sabbath) The Devil You Know album.

    Also, I think if you pass up on the bonus disc you are missing out on two of the better songs off the album, Peace of Mind and Pariah. Also you should note that the Best Buy version has, in addition to the three bonus tracks, a fourth track entitled Naïveté in Black.

  4. After 3 complete listens I can say the band has released a fine album, but does not come close to their first 6 albums.

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