I did my best to approach Black Sabbath’s newest offering 13 with an open mind. As much as I love the Sabbath legacy there was a lot of turmoil surrounding this. The vile cunt that is Sharon Osbourne did her best to submarine this. She refused to pay original drummer Bill Ward a fair share even though she sued guitarist Tony Iommi for 50 % of the rights to Black Sabbath. See she sued for 50% to insure that all original member got 25% each. That right there is the definition of “fuzzy math”. Apparently Sharon 25% and the reported 4% she actually offered Bill Ward are one in the same. In his place we get Brad Wilk from Rage Against The Machine. To be fair, he does a stand-up job on the throne. We all know that Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler still have it, so the question is about Ozzy. He sounds good but you can tell that producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin processed the shit out of it. It sounds good but it sounds fake.
Everyone heard the first track “God is Dead” before the album release. I think that song is a perfect representation of what 13 is. Song opens with a nice slow doomy riff that is the epitome of the Sabbath sound. It’s a good song but it’s over 8-minutes long. Time length is a big problem on 13. Out of the 8 songs on the record there are 5 of them over 7-minutes long. They are not interesting enough to warrant the length. It comes across like they were stretching, just filling time. Especially when you add in Tony & Geezer always talked about how difficult Ozzy was when they did the 2 songs on that “reunion” album awhile back.
Plus we some recycled ideas too. “Loner” has a pretty cool riff but when Ozzy breaks out his “alright now” from “Sweet Leaf” it’s instantly deflating and you start feeling like you’ve been sold a bill of goods. It gets worse with the follow-up track “Zetgiest” which is an out and out rip-off of “Planet Caravan”. I haven’t seen anything that lazily self plagiarism since Metallica did “The Unforgiven II”.
One of the hurdles that Black Sabbath is unable to clear is that they have been such a huge influence on metal bands. Their sound has been reproduced so many times that when they do it, it sounds like everyone else. When you compare 13 to what Butler and Iommi did on the Heaven & Hell reunion with Dio, something is lacking here. Maybe it’s that Tony was going through cancer, maybe it’s Ozzy not having it and them trying to overcompensate, or maybe Rick Rubin made this a Rick Rubin produced album rather than a Black Sabbath record.
Either way, it stinks.
I guess 13 is an unlucky number.
There is a deluxe edition with 3 more songs on the second disc but when has there ever been better songs as the bonus?
Final rating, I’d be happy paying…
$14.99-Regularly Priced CD
$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon
$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale
$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop
$0-Not worth the drive space