Black Sabbath: 13

Mon Jun 24 2013

Sweet Eric and I have been discussing Black Sabbath for decades now, so I thought I’d post our thoughts on the new 13 album for the record.

Sweet Eric: Well, it finally has arrived and here is what I think of the new Sabbath album.  I bought the Best Buy exclusive with four bonus tracks making the total album 12 tracks in all.  The album has the feel and sound of classic Sabbath, but it's Ozzy's vocal performance that I'm not thrilled about.  The opening track "End of the Beginning" is a total music rip off of the songs "Black Sabbath" and the end of "Dirty Women".  Ozzy's vocals are annoying for the most part and cheesy on that track.  The only other song I have an issue with is "Zeitgeist", which is a total musical rip off of "Planet Caravan."  The other ten tracks stand up pretty well in music but I'm not sold 100% on Ozzy's vocal performance.
The big elephant in the room for most Sabbath fans on this album is the drumming.  Although it would have been better to have Bill Ward on the drums, I do have to tip my hat for the choice of Brad Wilk for the album.  He at least has the jazzy/blues feel to his drumming, which represents what Ward could have contributed.  From what I read, it boiled down to producer Rick Rubin to choose Wilk to play on the album instead of Ozzy's horrible, douchebag, no-talent drummer Tommy Clufetos.  It's just awful that Sabbath chose to keep Clufetos on as their "touring" drummer, puke!  I did read online that Vinny Appice's name was mentioned as a candidate for the album but Wilk has a better feel for the classic Sabbath sound in my opinion.

All in all I give the album a solid 7 out of 10.  I would have been happy if Sabbath would have left their legacy with Never Say Die as the last album with Ozzy, but with 13 it all has come full circle.

Cal: I agree on most counts; I heard a couple tunes with Clufetos last year at Lollapalooza and was so disgusted I couldn't stick around.  Wilk does a fine job on the album.  Ozzy does sound a bit shaky at times, but I have to admit for his age and number of brain cells remaining, I can't fault him too much.  I really like some of his lyrics, too, especially "Live Forever"--simple, but effective.  Some of them are definitely cheesy but that's kind of been the case for ages.

My biggest issue is Iommi, actually.  He sounds great, no doubt; Rubin saw to that.  And frankly, 13 blows away 90% of modern mainstream hard rock in almost every aspect.  But in addition to the examples you point out, I hear slight alterations of "Hole In The Sky" (particularly in "God Is Dead?") and "Sweet Leaf" and even "War Pigs" elements all over the album.  But I guess after decades of other people ripping off his riffs, you can't blame him too much for ripping himself off!

All I really hoped for was a non-embarrassment, and they certainly surpassed that.  Solid album, just not one I'll probably listen to much considering it basically just makes me want to listen to the classics that it imitates.

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