Black Sabbath - 13 - Review
Posted by: pure666metal ()
Date: April 12, 2013 05:52AM

This was posted by Redemption guitarist Nick Van Dyk, who attended the 13 album listening session in LA:

..it is a VERY good record, certainly belonging of a place in the Ozzy-era discography. It is not mind-expandingly original, nor would I want it to be. What it is, is VERY heavy Ozzy-era-sounding Sabbath.

In brief:

* There were about 60 of us. No electronics were permitted (e.g., cameras, cell phones, etc.) If you had them, they were checked at the door. People were wanded to ensure compliance.

* Once seated (I recognized only Paul Gargano and Stephanie Cabral, with whom I sat) we heard seemingly every other Ozzy-era song before they finally started.

* Jack Osbourne -- looking fit and clean/sober -- came out and introduced the record, and showed the clips that we have now seen on YouTube which were, evidently, produced by his production company (nepotism at its finest, take that Geoff Tate). There was an additional clip that I'd not yet seen played at the end, so maybe 10 minutes in total.

Then they played the music. Eight tracks, five of which are 7+ minutes. I didn't have a pen so I had to scratch some notes into the piece of paper with a key...a dubious method of note-taking, to be sure. Here are my recollections.

* Overall, very heavy production, owing at least in part to what must have been downtuning to a low A or something to accommodate an aging Mr. Osbourne.

* The tempos seems to sway a little bit. Some may prefer this as it's more organic sounding. I was irritated somewhat by it in a couple of places, but it wasn't to distraction.

* Most of the time, Ozzy's melodies were not simply mimicking the guitar line (think Iron Man, Electric Funeral, NIB, etc.). The sole exception to this was the final track.

* Almost everything is mid-tempo. No short quick tracks ala Paranoid. No reaaaaally drawn out doomy stuff like the beginning of Into the Void. There's a fair amount of "swing" (e.g., Hole in the Sky type stuff) in here to go along with relatively brisk (for Sabbath, meaning mid-tempo) riffage.


* Track 1: End of the Beginning (8:07). Too long a track for an opener but otherwise very good. Very heavy. People who heretofore have no been fans of Mr. Osbourne are unlikely to be won over. His voice is the weak link here...but it still evokes that eeriness that Neil K talks about. He is not a vocal giant...his vocals don't evoke dragons and knights and the soaring evil of Dio...rather they evoke a creepy guy that is loitering around in a greasy overcoat who you hope isn't following you. But it works. This is not the throwaway songwriting of those two awful songs from the Reunion album -- this is real songwriting with some good riffs from Iommi. A very good song.

* Track 2: God is Dead? (8:54). This song slays. Very cool riffing and a good melody line. The B section is evocative of the Holy in the Sky riff but it still works really well. This is an excellent song, worthy of standing with anything in the Ozzy catalog (thought it lacks the instant memorability of Iron Man or Paranoid).

* Track 3: Loner (5:06). Sounds a LOT like a heavy, modern-production version of NIB (I even sang "Oh yeah" to Steph after the appropriate riff). Lyrically and mood-wise it mixes is some Johnny Blade. It's a good song, but not as good as the previous ones.

* Track 4: Zeitgeist (4:28). Mellow, and somewhat evocative of Planet Caravan. It's fine, but I anticipate skipping this on CD.

* Track 5: Age of Reason (7:02). This song kills. My notes (again, scratched in there by keys) are unintelligible. But this one had people pretty fired up.

* Track 6: Live Forever (4:49). Has a Children of the Grave / Hole in the Sky Feel once again. A good song, if not as ambitious as some of the others.

* Track 7: Damaged Soul (7:43). Very heavy blues. Too bluesy for my tastes. Blues blues and more blues, and when you are done with the blues, it shoves another does of blues up your ass. This is overstated -- it's plenty heavy. It just is too (wait for it) bluesy for my tastes. Others enjoyed it more than me. Still, this is not a throwaway, just not one of my favorites.

* Track 8: Dear Father (7:06). A great song to finish with, again quite heavy with a lot of energy. The B section is the one featured in the video with Rubin telling Ozzy to try again ("...the victims of the sins you devise.") The main section is beefier than that part. There is a recurrent tritone riff that is very evocative of the first notes played in the song Black Sabbath. It's so evocative that one wonders if it's purposeful...and the riffs appears again at the very end of the song...and then the song ends...with rain...and church bells. Very cool. Very cool indeed.

In all, four terrific songs (tracks 1, 2, 5 and 8). Three good songs (3, 6, 7 if you like blues). One song that non-stoners will skip. And non-stoned stoners, probably.

On balance, this is a very, very strong record.

At the end, Jack came back out and thanked everybody, and then (this was a surprise) Ozzy, Tony and Geezer came out to say hello briefly. Tony looked well. Ozzy mumbled something well below the already low standard for coherence that has been established for him -- I could only make out the word "album." In fairness, people were applauding so it would have been hard to discern what he said in any case.

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SubjectViewsWritten ByPosted
Black Sabbath - 13 - Review1829 pure666metal 04/12/2013 05:52AM
Re: Black Sabbath - 13 - Review 601 Terry K. 04/12/2013 06:04AM
Re: Black Sabbath - 13 - Review 304 kidego71 04/12/2013 02:30PM
Re: Black Sabbath - 13 - Review 281 Daredevil 04/12/2013 05:31PM
Re: Black Sabbath - 13 - Review 242 MCFCTrick 04/12/2013 09:03PM
Re: Black Sabbath - 13 - Review 187 Steve_Roamer 04/12/2013 11:16PM
Re: Black Sabbath - 13 - Review 240 Greg Sparrow 04/13/2013 11:37AM
Re: Black Sabbath - 13 - Review 227 nobycane 04/14/2013 01:17AM


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