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.
The 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