I’ve dreaded this. There is no good reason for this to exist. Maybe because of the mortality shock for Iommi. Other than that, this is not needed.
This is the best Ozzy has sounded since the 80’s. Is it studio trickery or real? Sounds real to me. Geezer and Iommi’s playing is top-notch. Brad Wilk’s drumming is fine, an improvement over Vinnie Appice who plods too much.
The music is fine. It’s not embarrassing but it sounds too much like an echo of earlier work. There are too many moments of “that kind of sounds like” going on here.
The middle of the album tracks 3 through 7 work best. There is a bit more life in those songs, not entirely Sabbath paint by numbers. A little expanding on well-traveled territory.
Lyrically “13” is ham-fisted in places, nothing really embarrassing, but nothing that stands out.
This doesn’t feel like an album. It’s 8 songs (11 if you get the deluxe version, adding 3 disposable songs) thrown together. It’s missing the vitality that even “Never Say Die” had. Sure you may not like “Never Say Die” but there was a feel to it. This just is.
I’ll take the first 33 seconds of “Air Dance” over this whole album.