Black Sabbath - 13
Metal, Rock I have been a massive Black Sabbath fan for decades now. The Ozzy period is my favorite, with the (short lived) Ian Gillan era coming second. Yes, i am one of those who think 'Born Again' is a good album. Its even in my top 5 of favorite Black Sabbath albums. Though the Dio albums are not too shabby, the combination of Iommi's riffing and Dio's voice never worked for me. After Born Again all albums Iommi released under the Black Sabbath moniker never did anything for me. The singers he used were to melodic and the music lacked a certain heaviness. So i started listening to other doom stuff like Cathedral, Kyuss or Sunn o))) for my weekly dose of heavy riffing.

At the end of the 90's the original line up reformed for a tour, and in 1999 i got to see them live, and it was great. So there were hopes of getting a new album with Ozzy again. Somehow things went wrong on many occasions, but finally, 14 years after i saw them live in the original line up, i have this new Black Sabbath album in my hands. A real Black Sabbath album, and not a "Tony Iommi" side project album. Unfortunately Bill Ward is not on it, but it has Ozzy, Geezer and Tony, and that will have to do.

Another thing is that an old band reforming for a new album mostly ends in disaster. The Bauhaus comeback album was a horrible train wreck for instance. But Black Sabbath manages to steer clear of that trap pretty good and subsequently '13' is a very decent album. Its not their best (That would be Masters Of reality for me) but most certainly not their worst. To me its on par with 'Sabotage' and 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' and that is a pretty impressive feat for a band of which the main members are in their 60's and haven't recorded together in over 30 years.

'13' looks back at the very early years of Black Sabbath and the sound and compositions remind a lot of the first two albums. This was also exactly the mindset when Rick Rubin went recording with the guys, and they manage to pull it off pretty good. Maybe too good because "The End Of The Beginning" does remind me a lot of the "Black Sabbath" song, and "Loner" sounds an awful lot like N.I.B. Even so far i expect Ozzy to sing "Oh yeah!" 4 bars into the intro. So do not expect new insights and experiments on this album. You get a 2013 rehash of the Black Sabbath from 1970. Nothing more, nothing less.

Another point of criticism would be that Rick Rubin fucks it up once again. Why bands still use that guy is beyond me. Though the sound is clear, the album is once again mastered and mixed way to hard, and every time a song ends you can actually feel the pressure relieve from your ears. Its not as horrible as on Metallica's 'Death Magnetic' but still pretty bad. Mastering like that is great for rhythmic noise or hardcore, but not for blues influenced heavy metal.

But all things aside, we have something we didn't have since the 'Born Again' era in 1983. A Black Sabbath album which is actually good. Its not their best album, its not their most original album. But it does hold up somewhere in the middle of the original Ozzy albums and is better then the Dio albums and way better then everything post 'Born Again'. Though a lot of people will not agree with me on the Dio statement, but that is their problem. Dio was a great singer, but not for Black Sabbath. But hey, Ozzy is back! That's the best thing which could possible happen to Black Sabbath.
4
Brutal Resonance

Black Sabbath - 13

7.5
"Good"
Spotify
Released 2013 by Vertigo
I have been a massive Black Sabbath fan for decades now. The Ozzy period is my favorite, with the (short lived) Ian Gillan era coming second. Yes, i am one of those who think 'Born Again' is a good album. Its even in my top 5 of favorite Black Sabbath albums. Though the Dio albums are not too shabby, the combination of Iommi's riffing and Dio's voice never worked for me. After Born Again all albums Iommi released under the Black Sabbath moniker never did anything for me. The singers he used were to melodic and the music lacked a certain heaviness. So i started listening to other doom stuff like Cathedral, Kyuss or Sunn o))) for my weekly dose of heavy riffing.

At the end of the 90's the original line up reformed for a tour, and in 1999 i got to see them live, and it was great. So there were hopes of getting a new album with Ozzy again. Somehow things went wrong on many occasions, but finally, 14 years after i saw them live in the original line up, i have this new Black Sabbath album in my hands. A real Black Sabbath album, and not a "Tony Iommi" side project album. Unfortunately Bill Ward is not on it, but it has Ozzy, Geezer and Tony, and that will have to do.

Another thing is that an old band reforming for a new album mostly ends in disaster. The Bauhaus comeback album was a horrible train wreck for instance. But Black Sabbath manages to steer clear of that trap pretty good and subsequently '13' is a very decent album. Its not their best (That would be Masters Of reality for me) but most certainly not their worst. To me its on par with 'Sabotage' and 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' and that is a pretty impressive feat for a band of which the main members are in their 60's and haven't recorded together in over 30 years.

'13' looks back at the very early years of Black Sabbath and the sound and compositions remind a lot of the first two albums. This was also exactly the mindset when Rick Rubin went recording with the guys, and they manage to pull it off pretty good. Maybe too good because "The End Of The Beginning" does remind me a lot of the "Black Sabbath" song, and "Loner" sounds an awful lot like N.I.B. Even so far i expect Ozzy to sing "Oh yeah!" 4 bars into the intro. So do not expect new insights and experiments on this album. You get a 2013 rehash of the Black Sabbath from 1970. Nothing more, nothing less.

Another point of criticism would be that Rick Rubin fucks it up once again. Why bands still use that guy is beyond me. Though the sound is clear, the album is once again mastered and mixed way to hard, and every time a song ends you can actually feel the pressure relieve from your ears. Its not as horrible as on Metallica's 'Death Magnetic' but still pretty bad. Mastering like that is great for rhythmic noise or hardcore, but not for blues influenced heavy metal.

But all things aside, we have something we didn't have since the 'Born Again' era in 1983. A Black Sabbath album which is actually good. Its not their best album, its not their most original album. But it does hold up somewhere in the middle of the original Ozzy albums and is better then the Dio albums and way better then everything post 'Born Again'. Though a lot of people will not agree with me on the Dio statement, but that is their problem. Dio was a great singer, but not for Black Sabbath. But hey, Ozzy is back! That's the best thing which could possible happen to Black Sabbath. Jun 16 2013

Pieter Winkelaar

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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