Aug 23, 2013 09:59pm
Black Sabbath return with great energy
June 9, 2013 - 6:46pm

Black Sabbath – 13

Prepare your ears, kids, Grandpa’s going to show you a thing or two.

Black Sabbath is legendary. Their name and music have been burned into our culture for the foreseeable future and they’ve decided to try again. Their last album was released in 1995.

What we get here is a pretty typical, straightforward Sabbath record. It’s got Ozzy’s monotone, Iommi’s legendary guitar riffs and drums from former Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk. The album starts off on a high note with downtempo doomy atmosphere and a classic Iommi guitar solo.

For those who aren’t sure what that sounds like, it sounds like this.

WATCH: Tony Iommi “Dirty Women” Solo

The energy Sabbath had in the 70s lives on today in this record despite the slow, doomy pace this hour-long album takes. Everything fits together exactly as it should, here.

This album, however, is definitely for the fans. I don’t think any young whippersnappers who don’t already love Sabbath will be converted by “13,” but there’s a real testament to their staying power throughout this record.

The record isn’t quite perfect, however. Some of the riffs, while plenty heavy, are a little boring. By song 6 of 8 I kinda wanted the album to be over already.

The album chugs along at a snail’s pace and doesn’t hold my interest the way Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” does all the way through. The outro was really something else though, even if it is blatant fan service.

Tony Iommi completely makes this album what it is, even if a couple riffs are a little boring. Ozzy’s lyrics are pretty weak and his vocals are exactly what you expect, but Iommi steps it up on this release with some great guitar solos and powerful riffs that are sure to win fans over. The legendary guitar tone is still there, too.

Unfortunately, the production isn’t quite up to par with the quality of the music. The album has this weird vintage sound about it that may save it from being a “modern” laughing stock like Metallica and Lou Reed’s “Lulu.”

The song “Zeitgeist” sounds terrible. While the tones are right, the production and the mixes could have been tweaked without sounding “too modern.” In this case, “vintage” just means “unprofessional.”

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this to new listeners as a starting point, but the album isn’t bad. As far as heavy metal/doom metal re-envisioned it’s a whole lot better than any of the other comebacks I’ve heard.

It’s good.



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