Review: Black Sabbath “13”

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.

  • Skippy

    I beg to disagree. Ozzy is the weakest link here IMHO. His vocals start low and rise up to his highest point capable. The for the next lyric he starts at the high point then falls back down to where he started. That's every lyric damn album. I love Ozzy but let's be real.

    Yes, there are many familiar Sabbath riffs here. And the mix walks the line between old and new. But they invented them and have decided its what they do best. I shall give them a pass.

    • fistfulofdave

      I'd agree that Ozzy is the week link but he is far less processed sounding that he has been in quite some time.

      Sabbath always gets a pass from me and the album has grown on me a bit more. Still don't think it was nessesary. Seeing them in DC August 2nd!

  • Skippy

    It wasn't necessary but you're looking forward to seeing them live? Why not? They're still alive aren't they? Let's hope you and I can still live for that when we reach their experience level.