BLACK SABBATH — 13

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BLACK SABBATH - 13 cover
3.79 | 51 ratings | 7 reviews
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Album · 2013

Filed under Heavy Metal
By BLACK SABBATH

Tracklist

1. End Of The Beginning (8:07)
2. God Is Dead? (8:54)
3. Loner (5:06)
4. Zeitgeist (4:28)
5. Age Of Reason (7:02)
6. Live Forever (4:49)
7. Damaged Soul (7:43)
8. Dear Father (7:06)

Total Time 53:15

Line-up/Musicians

- Geezer Butler / bass
- Tony Iommi / guitars
- Ozzy Osbourne / vocals, harmonica
- Brad Wilk / drums

About this release

10 June 2013
Vertigo, Universal

Spotify Edition has the following bonus tracks:

9. Methademic (5:57)
10. Peace Of Mind (3:40)
11. Pariah (5:34)
12. Dirty Women (live in Australia, 2013) (7:21)

Japanese Edition and Saturn Special Exclusive Edition has the following bonus track:

9. Naïveté in Black (3:50)

Deluxe Edition has a bonus disc with the following tracklist:

1. Methademic (5:57)
2. Peace Of Mind (3:40)
3. Pariah (5:34)

Total Time 15:11

Best Buy Edition and Saturn Exclusive Deluxe Edition has a bonus disc with the following tracklist:

1. Methademic (5:57)
2. Peace Of Mind (3:40)
3. Pariah (5:34)
4. Naïveté in Black (3:50)

Total Time 19:01

Thanks to colt for the addition and adg211288, Pekka, Lynx33, aglasshouse for the updates

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BLACK SABBATH 13 reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Warthur
Butler, Iommi and Ozzy reunited at last to construct what they were acutely aware may be the final Black Sabbath studio album, and perhaps under such circumstances it's understandable that they decided to take a long look backwards. Compare the structure of album opener End of the Beginning and the title track from the debut, for instance, and they're really rather similar, and final track Dear Father fades out into the sounds of a rainy thunderstorm just as the debut album faded in on one, tying the whole saga up in a blow.

In between those bookends, the boys deliver an album which, whilst I don't think it will ever rank on the same level as their early-1970s classics, is a more than appropriate swansong, taking the traditional metal style they originated and making it sing one last time and proving that they can still play slow, crushingly doomy metal which wouldn't sound out of place in a mix with Electric Wizard or Warning. If this truly is the end, it's not a bad way to go.
Kingcrimsonprog
13 is (counter-intuitively) the nineteenth full-length studio album by the legendary British Heavy Metal band Black Sabbath. It was released in 2013 (which explains the album title). It was produced by Rick Rubin, and saw original singer Ozzy Osbourne return to the band for the first studio album in 35 years, and original bassist Geezer Butler return for the first studio album in 19 years.

Despite a very public campaign to have original drummer Bill Ward rejoin too, Rage Against The Machine’s Brad Wilk provides the drums for this record, and despite having a different feel to Ward (and a very skeptical public), provides a very good performance.

It’s a very weighty album. Five of the album’s tracks are over seven minutes long each, and only one, the acoustic number ‘Zeitgeist,’ is less than five minutes in length. Its not really the sort of album you can just stick on in the background or take at face value, might take a few listens to really get to grip with what the band are doing here.

The record opens up with a very doomy, slow riff deliberately designed to evoke the self-titled opener of their debut. After about two minutes it kicks up a gear and gets livelier, slowly evolving through a few different moods and shedding comparisons to that eponymous track. There’s a few riffs that could be on the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath or Sabotage albums in there too, and an odd breakdown with the now famous line “You don’t want to be a robot ghost…” that wouldn’t actually be totally out of place on Technical Ecstasy or Never Say Die. There’s plenty of lead guitar action throughout, and the high-in-the-mix bass from Geezer brings a lot of character out.

That’s how most of the record goes… starting off sounding a bit like a deliberate attempt to remind you of past songs, shifting gears through different Sabbath eras after a while, and then ending up as relatively fresh overall somehow. Sure; you might think that part of “God Is Dead” is meant to remind you of “War Pigs” or “Fairies Wear Boots,” but then they’ll do something that would never fit on the Paranoid album, and then add bits that almost even sound like something off of the Dehumanizer album briefly at other times.

“Loner” for example quite obviously channels the spirit of “N.I.B” when it starts off, but even that takes a turn to sound like some sort of modernized “Rock N Roll Doctor” (or something) halfway through, but with a guitar solo that would maybe be more at home in the band’s Dio-era material.

It’s a clever way to get around fan expectation really. Suggest the past just enough so that people can’t say it doesn’t sound like the old days, mix in just enough of the post-Ozzy Sabbath sound so that fans of that can’t say its too regressive and then the loud modern production combined with Ozzy’s aged vocals help make it sound new enough too.

The only track which perhaps is a little too close to the bone is the aforementioned “Zeitgeist” which is a modern track but with the feel of “Planet Caravan.” While most other tracks mix in tails or drum fills from different Sabbath eras, because of the quiet, simple, sombre vibe they are going for, this can’t really happen here, and so for a lot of fans this is just going to sound a bit too close to “Planet Caravan” for comfort. If you can get past that though, its actually a pretty neat song.

If you are a huge Sabbath fan already or just getting into Sabbath for the first time and still in the excitement phase then I can imagine that this album is something you will automatically love. It ticks all the boxes of what you would want or expect from them. If that’s the case though, you’ve already bought it haven’t you?

If you are a bit skeptical and unsure of whether you might like the album however, I can fully understand. First of all, when the band reunited the last time, they stated that they didn’t have good new material within them anymore. Secondly, now that the album has been released and reviewed everywhere, it is very easy to see terms like “riff recycling” or “living in the past” or “Not as good as The Devil You Know” written online or in print and get worried that this album isn’t worth your time at all.

When I first got this album, I wasn’t really keen on it. I flip-flopped between disliking it for being a pandering exercise and half-enjoying it but not really paying it any attention. When given the attention that the album requires, and repeat listens for it to grow on me however, the album finally “clicked” and its virtues began to outweigh its drawbacks. Once it actually has clicked, it’s a real joy to listen to and becomes more and more entertaining each time you stick it on. Sure; Its impossible to listen to this album and not make comparisons to the band’s earlier work (or the recent Heaven And Hell and Ozzy solo albums) if you are familiar with it, but I think the band have done a very good job of acknowledging that reality and rolling with it.

Taken for what it is, 13 is a good album. Its even a good Black Sabbath album. Its even a good album from 2013. Its got some variety but is still massively consistent, and its got a good balance of fast and slow, loud and quiet, modern and retro. Take a moment, and give a track like “Damaged Soul” or “Dear Father” a good, clear, uninterrupted listen or two and see if it can click for you too.

[Ps. If you can, try and get the version of the album with bonus tracks (as many as possible, if you can). This is just personal taste of course, but personally, I think the bonus tracks are as strong, if not stronger than anything on the main album. “Methademic” in particular is very strong, and "Pariah" has a really fun main riff.]
siLLy puPPy
Finally. After 35 years Ozzy, Geezer and Tony finally get together to release a much anticipated album. Bill Ward opted out and Brad Wilk of Rage Against The Machine took the slot, so this isn't a complete reunion but it really sounds like classic Sabbath. The band stayed as true as they could to the classic 70s era and I have to say that I really like the results of the effort.

What we get here is retro SABBATH in all its glory. The production is up-to-date but the songs feel like this album could have come out right after SABOTAGE and is by far more interesting than either TECHNICAL ECSTASY or NEVER SAY DIE. There is no doubt that there is some blatant self-plagiarism here. The very beginning riff sounds like the beginning riff of the very first album from 1970. The song “Zeitgeist” is a clear reference to “Planet Caravan” from PARANOID. If you listen throughout the album different parts will remind you of older songs.

A recycled album maybe but one that I really enjoy hearing and never really expected would be released after the gazillion attempts over the years to make this happen. Despite this not being a full reunion and also in no way in competition to replace any of the classics as a favorite album, I still find this a very satisfying listen. I can get behind this retro sound only because this is like a new beginning. If they decide to begin releasing new albums I really hope they don't stagnate trying to recreate the past and move on into some newer frontiers.
AtomicCrimsonRush
The perfect Halloween album perhaps, Sabbath return with a fury on "13" - album number 19 in the studio. It is hard to resist the power trio of Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne, back together at last. If nothing else it is great to hear Ozzy wail and his tone is so endearing. I have enjoyed Ozzy's journey from early dark debut to solo career and of course The Osbournes is legendary television. The new album impresses with Iommi's incredible deep resonating riffs and Butler's mighty bass but the real star is Ozzy who is terrific on vocals. He sounds as though he has been put into a cupboard and dusted off to rise again such is the crystal clarity of his vocals. The man has hardly changed over the years in terms of vocal technique. The lyrics have remained as dark as ever too with a few laughable moments such as "Satan's waitin;" and "God is dead". It is not exactly groundbreaking but it is Sabbath through and through.

I could not really latch onto any specific song as a highlight because they all whirl past in a blur with a ton of metal guitar in a classic metal vein and a ton of melodic singing. However I can say I loved the opener "End of the Beginning" and "Zeitgeist" is a psych metal delight, and perhaps a strong contender for a return to the classic Sabbath riff is found on the wonderful 'Age of Reason'.

Overall this is a decent return to the classic lineup. I cannot compare it with the great proto metal sound of vintage Sabbath though as that is definitive Sabbath, however "13" is still going to please many a Sabbath fan.
UMUR
"13" is the 19th full-length studio album by UK heavy/doom metal act Black Sabbath. The album was released through Vertigo Records in June 2013. It´s the first album by the group since the release of "Forbidden" in 1995 and the first with Ozzy Osbourne since "Never Say Die! (1978)". The members have of course been busy with other projects in the intermediate years. Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi with solo careers and the two latter mentioned gentlemen also with Heaven and Hell (and with other projects). "13" was originally meant to feature original drummer Bill Ward too, but he bailed out because of contractual issues and his place is taken by Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk. So this is almost a reunion album by the original Black Sabbath lineup. As close as it gets anyway.

35 Years since these guys last recorded an album together and a new drummer do not affect the fact that the music on "13" sounds unmistakably like Black Sabbath. It´s audible that the band have gone for a vintage sound and it is the Ozzy-led albums from the early- to mid 70s that are the reference here. So we´re talking a heavy and organic sounding rhythm section, brick heavy guitar riffing, blues influenced soloing, and of course Ozzy Osbourne´s distinct sounding vocals in front. The lack of any surprises and the fact that the band have chosen to "play it safe" were slightly disappointing upon my initial listen, but slowly the quality of the tracks and the excellent musicianship begin to unfold and combined they actually make for a great listening experience. The Rick Rubin sound production is unfortunately not the best. Especially the drums sound a bit thin.

The opening pair of tracks, "End of the Beginning" and "God is Dead?" open the album in crushingly heavy style. Add a more dark and gritty sound and you´re close to being transported back to the 70s. The mellow and stoned "Zeitgeist" sounds like the younger brother to "Planet Caravan", and is a highlight on the album. Another highlight is "Damaged Soul", which sounds very retro and organic. The material are generally strong but not extraordinary, but if this turns out to the last album released by Black Sabbath, at least it´s a much, much stronger album than "Forbidden (1995)" and a much more suiting end to a great career. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
arcane-beautiful
So here it is. After years and years of waiting. Black Sabbath are back. The first album in over 15 years, and the first album with Ozzy in over 30 years. This album has been on and off for so many years that no one knew when this day would come. And now it has.

The best way to describe this album is by comparing it 2 other releases. The first one being Heaven & Hell's “The Devil You Know”. Before Ozzy joined back in the band, Heaven & Hell, the reunion with Ronnie James Dio released an album, which in many ways was like this album, with the comebacks and all that. While it did have some good moments, at times the album felt aged and old, and almost uninspired. In many ways, “13” eclipses this incarnation of the band. Dio (RIP) may have been a better and more talented vocalist than Ozzy, but Ozzy does have a lot of personality, which in many ways outshines the talent of the former vocalist.

Now we go to an album that came out this year...Cathedrals “The Last Spire.” The doom gods, who happily admit worshipping at the altar of Sabbath, ended their 20 career this year with a doomy gloomy masterpiece. Comparing these two albums, and it's obvious which leaves a bigger impact. “The Last Spire” is greater in comparison, due to its overall aesthetics and atmosphere. “13” does create a great atmosphere, but one of the biggest criticisms it has received has been its production. Rick Rubin, one of the most successful producers of our time has done a good job at tying the loose ends, but almost too good of a job. The album is pretty much note perfect, but one of Sabbaths brilliant charms where the rough style of their productions. From over fuzzed guitars and bass sounds, to pounding drums, on this album, the guitar at times has as much power as a triangle in Carnegie Hall.

One of the most noticeable is the darkness of the lyrics, bringing up rather existential topics, such as the existence of God, self, religion and in all fairness, just questioning everything.

Musically, the band are on form. Iommi is a riff god, and is still to this day can add a groove to a funeral. Geezer Butler has an amazing bass sound on this album, and is always on top form. Ozzy's vocals do sound aged at times, but throughout he will tend to suprise you. I have seen footage of them performing live, and he does seem to slip up a lot...but, this is Ozzy...he is old and shakey as hell.

Sadly, Bill Ward is not part of the line up of this album, due to...weirdness. Replacing him on the other hand is Brad Wilk (you know, from Rage Against The Machine). He's a great drummer and does a great job, but as always, people will always be begging for Bill Ward to come back.

The opener “End Of The Beginning” in many ways could be the younger brother of the track “Black Sabbath” from their first album. A very doomy riff with the tritone used to the full force to give the song a sense of evil.

The albums lead single “God Is Dead” is very much like a depressing version of War Pigs. A very bleak song draped with Nietzsche influence. Even though its the albums longest song, its still a great song for a single.

“Zeitgeist” in many ways is a follow up to “Planet Caravan.” I was a bit annoyed that at times the album is like a rewrite of “Paranoid”, but I did really like this song, and I actually prefer it to “Planet Caravan.”

“Live Forever” is probably one of my favourite songs on the album. A brilliant groove throughout and some nice vocals from Ozzy. The lyrics are an interesting depth into the psyche and religion, which is always a plus for me.

“Damaged Soul”, is a return to Sabbath's early blues roots. And this is what blues should be, because the 60's ruined it, with c***s like John Mayall who took the emotion away from the genre and replaced it with...mediocrity. Blues should be about dark topics, and nothing is more dark than possession, religious suicide and the battle between good and evil.

The album's last track “Dear Father” is probably the track with most vitriol. Lyrically about child molestation and scandals in the Catholic church, Geezer really attacks the institution with barred teeth.

In conclusion, this is a brilliant comeback. This may not be their best album, but it is in many ways a return to form and also a step forward. The bands best album in 20 years, and an achievement each band member should be proud of. There are some secret Sabbath classics on this album and

8.3/10
Pekka
Ok. So here it is then.

...

Phew. A lot has happened since 1978. The latest developments of the endlessly dramatic saga of Black Sabbath of course being the numerous reunion tours with the original line-up, one aborted recording project with Rick Rubin, hiatuses, other projects, more reunion tours and other projects and finally the triumphant declaration that the true original Sabbath will reunite for one last album. Well that went to hell as we all know with Bill Ward dropping out of the project for dare I say obvious reasons of not being that good anymore, and even Cancer - already not in very high regard in the Sabbath camp for what he did to Ronnie J. - tried to fuck with the proceedings. But Tony Iommi the Iron Man wouldn't have that and here we are.

If not the original Sabbath, then at least the Ozzy Sabbath is back again, and all things considered I say that's good enough. Personally I didn't dare expect much anything despite the fact, or, to be fair, my opinion that whatever Tony Iommi has put out in recent years, be it Heaven & Hell or solo projects, has been of very high quality. The man just doesn't run out of riffs and Geezer's still got his fingers working. But whatever new Ozzy I've heard lately has been extremely uninspired, but to be fair he still has sounded like he always did, though maybe a tad auto-tuned. So all the individual ingredients are basically there, but how does the Rubin factor alter the picture and what about the other B. W.? (I like to believe his initials and the number of letters in his name, along with his much more impressive work record, had some contribution in Rubin's insistence they use him instead of Tommy Clufetos). Does it feel like the real thing anymore?

Turns out Rubin chose the same approach as he did in saving his previous metal mammoth from trying new stuff; go back to the beginning, how did you do things then, try to get in the same mind set, etc. And so the first track, End of the Beginning, plays as an updated version of the song Black Sabbath. Very samey slow ominous onslaught of murky chords, first crashing in heavily, then the verse takes it down and then back up with full force, eventually fading into silence and then a change of tempo into a more furious riff. It all sound very, very familiar, even troublingly so. But soon after the song continues into greener pastures, all very vintage Sab but with new ideas. The first track is like a microcosm of the entire album; at times it sounds like it's been done before, at times it sounds like new stuff done in the good old BS way, but damn, the familiar parts sound way too good as well.

So you can bicker about N.I.B.2. or The Continuing Journey of Planet Caravan or then again you can just revel in the fact that the grandfathers of metal can still pound it with the best of them, and if they've been doing it for 40 years and counting, it's easy to forgive if something's perhaps been tried before. Because they really are some pretty wonderful tunes. You can pretty much sense the effect that Rubin has had on this record, as each and every song could be placed on one of their first six albums, no outside influences whatsoever than what they drew upon back then. The only exception really is Live Forever, the riffs of which I can imagine might originally have been written with the sadly missed voice of Ronnie James Dio echoing in Iommi's head. Since the first time I pictured RJ belting out the first line "Juuuuuust befoore you diee!" I haven't gotten rid of it and can't shake the nagging thought that Ozzy's lower, less powerful register is a bit of a compromise on the song.

But other than that, not much complaining to do. My favourites from this album tend to be the most epic, heavy numbers; God is Dead?, Age of Reason, Dear Father. A special shout out has to go to the "hey all you stoner kids, we were doing this decades before you were even born, so listen up!" track Damaged Soul. Sweet, sweet stuff. And when the album comes to an end with Dear Father, the first track's opening minutes gain some perspective; while everything starts with the extremely blacksabbathian riffing mentioned before, it also closes with a very familiar riff, sort of a less dissonant version of the original trinonus opening of the title song. Very cool bookends to the album - and when the track somes to a screeching stop, of course there is the inevitable thunder and bells closing out the saga where it began. An obvious, but classy move to highlight the end of the band's recording career.

So does it still feel like the real thing?

Hell yeah. Tony Iommi just doesn't seem to run out of riffs, Geezer's bass work is just as brilliant as it always was and he still owns a nice sharp pencil to work lyrics with, Ozzy sounds like Ozzy and remarkably good at that for his age and lifestyle, whatever autotuning there is being quite subtly done. Ok, Bill is not there, but Brad does an extremely good job half emulating Ward's style and half bringing his own. The sound is semi-raw, unpolished and clear, just as it should be.

Only the test of time will tell the end results, but I'm pretty positive that we can add a seventh album to the string of Ozzy Sabbath classics. Welcome back and farewell, gentlemen!

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