Artist: Black Sabbath 
   Title: 13
   Label: Virgin / EMI 

Black Sabbath has had their fair share of troubles since their Ďreunioní announcement back in November 2011.  Founding member and guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with cancer in January 2012, resulting in the bands world tour being cancelled.  Soon after this bombshell dropped, drummer Bill Ward stated he would not be participating in the reunion due to contractual disagreements.  Nonetheless Sabbath soldiered on and in late June, they entered the studios with producer Rick Rubin to record what would be 13.  I did not expect that this album would measure up the standard of the bands first 5 records but I gravely mistaken.

The opening track 'The End of the Beginning' has a crushing riff that is easily identifiable as the trademark Sabbath sound. The eerie verse reminiscences of the self-titled song Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne delivering a haunting vocal performance.  Iommi delivers the classic Sabbath sound with bluesy solos backed up by Geezer Butlerís pounding bass lines.  'God is Dead' packs an incredible punch, comprising of monster riffs, strong vocals and a solid rhythm section on behalf of Butler and session drummer Brad Wilk.  The beginning of 'Loner' sounds like a reworked version of 'N.I.B' and the soothing breakdown section displays Ozzyís talent for creating brilliant melody lines.  The slower number 'Zeitgeist' brings back memories of 'Planet Caravan' while 'Age of Reason' and 'Live Forever' offer plenty of killer riffs and overpowering guitar solos.  'Damaged Soul' has a slow bluesy vibe building up to the chorus with more monstrous hooks and blues infected solos.  The riff wrenching album closer 'Dear Father' is a perfect finish to 13 fittingly ending the track with the same introduction to the first Black Sabbath album in 1970.

There is not a dull moment on this album; the chemistry between the trio (Butler, Iommi and Osbourne) is evident throughout the record.

Iommi proves once again why he is the godfather of heavy metal delivering great riffs for every track.  Playing alongside Wilk, Geezer Butlerís bass lines provide a solid rhythmic section from start to finish.  Ozzy Osbourne gives a more than convincing performance delivering Butlerís lyrics to perfection with creative melody lines.  Overall, '13' stands as one of the strongest Black Sabbath albums recorded and was well worth waiting for.

Reviewed by Rob Herald

Tracklisting:

1. End Of The Beginning
2. God Is Dead?
3. Loner
4. Zeitgeist
5. Age Of Reason
6. Live Forever
7. Damaged Soul
8. Dear Father

                   

 

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