“Well, I don’t want to live forever but I don’t want to die.
I may be dreaming but whatever, I live inside a lie.”
Definitely the most anticipated record of the year, surely one of the most anticipated reunions in the last decade and probably much more than that for the millions — literally — of fans that the Sabbies have around the globe, “13” really means a lot to me personally. Indeed, I’m one of those Black Sabbath fans that not being old enough, hadn’t had the opportunity to listen to one of the BIG albums of these guys just coming out of the oven. Not until now, that is. Don’t even go there, nothing that came after “Born Again” — a fucking classic, mate — counts, not even that “Dehumanizer” thing.
So, how does the new album sound like? Like Sabbath, what did you expect? And that’s saying a lot. During the release show that was broadcast live last June 10th worldwide, one of the lucky bastards that had the chance to directly talk to the band said: “Thank you for reminding the world what heavy metal music sounds like.” I’d probably wouldn’t go as far as saying that — metal has certainly branched out into many different things naturally. Still and as I’ve repeatedly stated in previous reviews and stubs, it’s good to be aware of your roots.
I’ve read, watched and listened a lot about the significant use of compression on the overall sound in “13”, and it appears many people out there didn’t quite like it. They claim going for a more vintage production would have been best given the attempt of making this record a continuation of Sabbath’s first two albums. I strongly disagree: It’s not a vintage band trying to emulate the old 70’s sound what were talking about, but rather three legendary musicians that righteously are still in business forty years later. So, they keep their own bluesy doom style? You can bet your ass they do. Do they manage to sound fresh 35 years after releasing an album together? Fuck yeah.
Now, there has also been a lot of gossip, rumors and genuine discontent among the fans about original drummer, Bill Ward, not being part of this new album, up to the point of creating protest groups on the matter. Nonsense. Me, I don’t miss him. Not a bit. Portnoy, Lombardo, Ward and the list goes on and on. What’s wrong with drummers these days? Is it, by chance, a large epidemic of disregard against the profession of late? On the other hand, Brad Wilk fulfills his duty just fine, just like any other professional would have. The point here is that the drums playing fits the riffs and it could hardly have been even better.
There’s probably just one word to say about the songs: Awesome, that is. It’s awesome how three old farts can keep on playing their thing — a mix of heavy metal, blues, doom rock and even some jazz influences are to be noticed — for over four decades and still manage to sound vigorous. It’s the tempo, perhaps, and their own unique vibe of course. The duo Iommi/Geezer has produced some of the most memorable guitar-bass duels over the years, and “13” just lives up to the expectations any fan could have built on that department.
Putting the new hits aside — “God is Dead?” and “End of Beginning”, almost every single track has something special to me: “Age of Reason” is a rather elaborate and groovy metal song, “Pariah” has a great and hooky chorus that’s impossible not to sing along with, “Zeitgeit” is trippy as weed, “Damaged Soul” is a display of some of the best metal-adapted blues lines and “Live Forever” shows some amazing lyrics. The songs I like the least? Those would be “Dear father” and “Loner”.
Now, there is one big complain I have about this work. Did you notice the quotation marks in the title? What the FUCK is fucking deluxe about the two discs edition? Damn, do I hate marketers. What you really get when buying this so called deluxe version is the full album, nothing more. There’s extra nothing here. And don’t even say a word about the bonus tracks. This is an eleven tracks album and that’s all there is to it, and the mere idea of making a normal edition that’s just a mutilated version is huge, stinky and muddy bullshit.
Regardless, I found in “13” everything I was looking for when checking out TEH new Sabbath opus. Ozzy sounds just as usual, and Iommi and Geezer sound better than ever before. I’m truly grateful. Go, buy it, feel it or die.