RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Black Sabbath – 13
Vertigo Records

Rating: B

Lots of news seems to be surrounding the release of the new Black Sabbath album, 13.  After all, it is the first studio effort to feature founding member Ozzy Osbourne since 1978’s Never Say Die.  And, drummer, and founding member Bill Ward is out of the band due to contract disputes.  And weirdo producer Rick Rubin was the man at the board, or rather lying in bed in the studio, while this one was being made. 

Many are seemingly picking this one apart looking for reasons not to like it and this writer can’t for the life of him figure out why.  Music critics (ugh) lambaste this one as not as good as the debut or Paranoid.  Naysayer after naysayer say this one isn’t THAT good because of this, that or the other.  Reviewers pine on and on about how this just does not fit for whatever reason...

You know what I say?  I say, “Fuck ‘em.”  This is down and dirty, old school Heavy Metal with a ton of volume and balls and it fucking rocks hard enough to easily earn the solid B rating given here.  

The star of this fucker is hands down Tony Iommi.  The Godfather of Metal teaches all of these offshoot Metal goobers what playing Heavy Metal guitar is supposed to be about.  He punches out riff after riff of detuned, distorted notes and powers through a ton of killer guitar solos from beginning to end.  Iommi makes it sound easy as he takes the Jazz Metal bass playing of Geezer Butler and sets the stage for the iconic Ozzy Osbourne to do his thing.  And Ozzy sounds damn good doing it.

While this writer wishes Bill Ward was on drums, he ain’t and I, and everyone else has just gotta get over it.  Did Bill get fucked over?  Maybe and maybe not, probably depends who you talk to.

While it really doesn’t matter who is hitting the skins if it ain’t Bill, the guy on the album does the music justice and does the best that can be expected under the circumstances.

Not sure if Rick Rubin actually brought anything to the table or not, as I have never understood his methods and hate a lot of what he has so called produced.  However, this time around, he seems to have stayed out of Iommi & Company’s way and allowed the old guard to do what they do best.

Listen, this is not “Iron Man” and it is not “Paranoid” and it is not “War Pigs.”  They’ve been there and done that.  This is an iconic Metal band, three quarters reunited for the first time in 35 years in the studio.

Quit trying to compare it and simply listen to the music.  “End of the Beginning” starts this one off and makes it clear that Sabbath are not trying to reinvent themselves, or being a parody of their past glories.  They are simply writing new Black Sabbath songs and making new Black Sabbath music.

The bottom line here is that 13 is an honest to goodness Black Sabbath album that is much better than where they left off back in 1978!

God bless the supposed devil worshipers of the 1970’s, as they’ve still fucking got it.

Track Listing:

End of the Beginning
God is Dead
Age of Reason
Live Forever
Damaged Soul
Dear Father

By Jeb Wright