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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gargantuan Super(Jugger)naut
This album simply had to deliver given the catalogue of events that occurred prior to it's release and it does not disappoint. Sparse production (sounding amazingly powerful) with astonishing execution and delivery from the band. Rubin was clearly onto something when he sat the band down to simply listen to early recordings to capture the "feel and atmosphere" of...
Published on 18 Jun. 2013 by Lionheart

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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rewriting their own history...
What is this that stands before me?"

According to the album title and track listing it's 13, the long-awaited studio album from Black Sabbath and first to feature Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler for thirty five years.

But based on `End of the Beginning' and the subsequent seven tracks, it could also be a musical homage to Black Sabbath...
Published on 18 Jun. 2013 by R. Muir


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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gargantuan Super(Jugger)naut, 18 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
This album simply had to deliver given the catalogue of events that occurred prior to it's release and it does not disappoint. Sparse production (sounding amazingly powerful) with astonishing execution and delivery from the band. Rubin was clearly onto something when he sat the band down to simply listen to early recordings to capture the "feel and atmosphere" of the defining sound they carved out in the metal genre all those years ago. In summary, awesome production that is super heavy, great lyrics and music that tip a hat to the old but will no doubt appeal to the young who with fresh ears will be hooked. Sabbath have created an astonishingly heavy set of songs that do justice to the highlights of the past but with enough of a contemporary twist to place them at the top of the tree in the current music climate. The industry with it's tired ears and fans craving for something "real" needed this album. Here it is......
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well worth getting, 20 Aug. 2013
This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
Wow what a father's day present this was from my darling little daughter and who knew a new Black Sabbath album would turn out as good as this, I mean it is a given that people are excited about this album almost as much as it is a given that there will be a certain amount of backlash. Really the most we should have been hoping for is an OK album which we all could have played once, gone "ahh that's nice" and barely ever touched it again, what we have actually got is a rather good album worth quite a few spins and one that helps to reinvigorate their back catalogue (not that the early stuff needed it) you will probably find yourself listening to this with a smile and following up the listening experience by immediately playing a load of their old stuff not in annoyance but merely to add to the joy of finding the album to be good.

The album itself is Doom done properly, drenched in its blues originators; heavy and groove laden, fiery and soothing, engaging mind and body simultaneously. There is even a most welcome sludge topping which gives it a raw and untamed feel (even if it isn't really) the furiously overdriven sound reminds you that you are worshipping at the feet of masters of sound.

It remains to be seen if 13 will enter the ranks of classic Black Sabbath, obviously only time will tell, in my opinion it is a good contender and even if it doesn't reach those lofty heights I am sure it has legs enough to be a part of many end of year best of 2013 lists maybe even top 10, and is bound to re ignite interest in the bands earlier work as a whole new generation begins their Sabbath worship and 13 is a good place for newcomers to prepare for the rollercoaster journey into the past.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars everybody's old,nothing's new,i'm lovin it,how about you?, 11 Jun. 2013
By 
Mr Blackwell (scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
This album references the original Ozzy era all over the place,'End of the Beginning' immediately takes you back to 'Black Sabbath' whilst Iommi's solo reminds me of 'Dirty Women' from Technical Ecstacy','The Loner' has the presence of 'Johnny Blade' hanging over it,while 'Zeitgeist' clearly had 'Planet Caravan' in mind,so it goes on ...

You know what,who cares,its their legacy,they played it safe and have come up with a wonderful album,its too soon to hail it alongside the classics,only time will tell how its eventually graded,production is excellent,Iommi's riffs visceral,just as you would expect,Butler's doom laden Bass,growling in the background,while ,new boy Brad Wilk,does a sterling job,in truth you dont notice that Bill Wards not there,of course Ozzy does what Ozzy does,anyone expecting an imperious vocal delivery hasnt been listening for the last 40 odd years,that been said,i think its his best studio performance since the BLIZZARD OF OZZ days.

The 2 disc version is the one to go for,annoying as it is,it could all have easily sat one disc,of the bonus tracks 'Methademic' is superb,should have been on disc 1,a great album 4 stars easily.
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40 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rewriting their own history..., 18 Jun. 2013
By 
R. Muir "fabricationsHQ" (Prestwick, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 13 (MP3 Download)
What is this that stands before me?"

According to the album title and track listing it's 13, the long-awaited studio album from Black Sabbath and first to feature Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler for thirty five years.

But based on `End of the Beginning' and the subsequent seven tracks, it could also be a musical homage to Black Sabbath circa 1970 - 1975.

It's as if the mixed results of Technical Ecstasy and the much maligned Never Say Die! never happened -- in Sabbath's alternative doom-metal time and riff-laden space 13 becomes the natural follow up to Sabotage, the last classic Sabbath album of the Ozzy Osbourne era.

The opening statement of this review, as every heavy rock fan and his aunty knows, is also the first line from `Black Sabbath,' the track that almost single-handedly invented heavy metal and kick started the band's celebrated career.
It's also about the only thing missing from 'End of the Beginning' which, to all intents and purposes, is a rewrite of 'Black Sabbath,' right down to the spacious, doom-laden power chords, quiet and questioning first verse and a faster-tempo section that starts with a trademark Tony Iommi riff.

'God is Dead?' was made available as a single before the album was released and is a brooding, slow-tempo affair with a later sequence reminiscent of the driving rhythm from `Hole in the Sky.'
'Loner' also carries a DNA thread of earlier Sabbath but for the most part it stays on the vanilla path of mid-tempo, hard and heavy rock.

'Zeitgeist' is an interesting change of pace but is so close to `Planet Caravan' from Paranoid (including acoustic guitar, bongo percussion and ethereal atmosphere) it could be Son of Zeitgeist or Zeitgeist Part 2.

But then 13 unashamedly and intentionally draws its inspiration from Black Sabbath's initial six-album run and Ozzy Osbourne confirms as much on `End of the Beginning' with the line "reanimation of the sequence rewinds the future to the past."

And so the album continues with only a couple of gear changes until arriving at the heavy blues of `Damaged Soul' and culminating with the slow riff and grunge of `Dear Father.'
Perhaps the strongest song on the album, `Dear Father' tells the all too familiar and perverted tale of the wrong type of laying on of hands before thunder, pouring rain and a very familiar tolling bell fade the song to black, Sabbathly speaking.

Despite a drink and drug relapse that lasted a year and a half Ozzy Osbourne has been sober since March of this year and on 13 the singer delivers vocal enunciations and trademark "Oh Yeah!" interjections as only he can.
But then it's Ozzy Osbourne - you already know what to expect.

Tony Iommi has been dealing with lymphoma since 2012 (and the ongoing, successful treatments) but he can still riff with the best of `em and lays down solos that fit the 13 song template perfectly.

Geezer Butler anchors or drives the sound as each song requires and delivers bass riffs alongside Iommi's six-string phrasing as if 13 was, indeed, the follow up to Sabotage.

The other major players are drummer Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine, replacing original sticksman Bill Ward, and producer Rick Rubin.
Wilk knows his way around a drum kit but on 13 is fairly pedestrian, primarily because the song structures don't lend themselves to freedom of percussive expression or many drum fills.

But it's a shame band and management couldn't come to a contractual agreement with Bill Ward (or he couldn't commit for whatever reason, it depends what story you read/ believe), because his swing-drum style might just have added a little extra ingredient to the arrangements.

Rick Rubin has done a solid job and his trademark `stripped down' production sound is perfect for Black Sabbath and 13.
There have been comments that the album has been mastered too loud and loses its cohesion/ distorts at higher volumes (ironic for a Black Sabbath album) but that's poor mastering, not Rubin's production.

But the biggest negative isn't the mastering of 13 - it's the marketing of 13...

The standard 8 track, 53 minute album is also available in Deluxe 2CD and extended digital formats, containing three "exclusive" bonus tracks.
But they are, more accurately and honestly, nothing more than unnecessary and sadly typical ploys to pull in the `must have it all' fan base.

The predominately mid-tempo `Pariah' and `Peace of Mind' don't bring anything new to the 13 song base, but the fast-paced and semi-sinister `Methademic' would have added an edge to what should have been an 11 track, 68 minute album.

The majority of fans will love 13, proof of which can be seen on the 5 Star rating reviews on Amazon and fan forum/ critical plaudits elsewhere.

Some however will be dismissive or even hate it, hearing only a lazy rewrite of Osbourne, Iommi and Butler's shared musical history.
This review tries to capture both sides of 13's story, hence the 3 Star rating.

But you certainly can't ignore it.

Because it's Sabbath. Bloody Sabbath.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As Darkest As They Can Be, 2 July 2013
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This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
13 is one of the albums that I was desperately wanting to have counting every day every night every week for months. God Is Dead? showcased how the album was gonna sound and I crazily pre-ordered both standard and deluxe versions at a good price from Amazon. I'm happy I did because look at the price now. The deluxe version is unbelievably three times higher than I paid for.

I wanted to be the first to review this album as they are my first among the Unholy Trinity Of The British Heavy Metal. But upon listening to the album, I was stunt and lost my words. Not because it was unexpected but I felt like it's the true return of the original line up extremely missing Bill Ward. I took awhile, took my time, enjoyed the blackest, the darkest music they are known for and became the 163rd reviewer here.

It was long hair, torn jeans, leather jackets teen fever of the 80's when I had 'The Eternal Idol' cassette as my first official Sabbath album. Although I was aware of 'The Best Of' or 'The Greatest Hits' packed with Paranoid, NIB, Iron Man, War Pig and all that Ozzy's stuffs. He was already big with his solo career that time and I was already Ozzy's biggest fan with Bark At The Moon, The Ultimate Sin, Diary Of A Madman and Blizzard Of Ozz. Tony Martin's The Eternal Idol, Headless Cross, Tyr, Cross Purpose and Forbidden are my favourite Sabbath albums which sound still dark but melodic. Even if 13 was to feature Tony Martin, it would not make it as big as this with Ozzy, but I would still love it. RIP Dio.

Ronnie James Dio and Tony Martin succeeding Ozzy Osbourne, all brought different dish on the table with their vocals. Changed musically. 'Without Black Sabbath, the heavy metal music as we know today would have been different' was how Lars Ulrich (Metallica) inducted Black Sabbath at Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame in 2006. Definitely he was referring to the original Ozzy-Tony-Geezer-Bill line up. The four young dudes from Aston Birmingham with dreams to become rockstars like The Beatles made music that sounded different, distinct and dark than what was in the market. The rest is rock 'n' roll history.

What can I say about this album? Almost every fan in the world knew by now how it is and what it is. 'God Is Dead?' is really a powerful song, lyrically and musically. Listening to it full volume in my iPod scared the hell out of me better than horror movies. The beginning track 'End Of The Beginning' is shaped to sound like the debut song from the debut self titled album. Zeitgeist is the Planet Caravan. Both to make an impression that this is the original classic Black Sabbath. Rest is best.

The deluxe version has special cover of the same 13 on fire. It comes with extra pages with band photos, lyrics, studio information, credits and all that regular stuff. Bill ward is only mentioned once on Geezer's thank you column which is a bit bitter feeling. Deluxe version has 2 discs. First disc consists of same eight tracks as the standard version and the second disc three extra songs.

When I was devouring Iron Man by Tony Iommi, the riff master mentioned he has loads of riffs ready to go for album but it was just not happening. So, 13 must be of those best riffs. I wish sometimes there could've been different or better. But this is just simply the best. Want second album.

P/S :
The Unholy Trinity Of The British Heavy Metal -
Deep Purple - Now What?!
Black Sabbath - 13
How about Led Zeppelin now?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rock Gods are back, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: 13 (MP3 Download)
I find it hard to give Sabbath anything less than 5 stars. This band defined my musical enjoyment as a child/youth. Tony Iommi pretty much invented heavy metal. This is a great album and their best since "heaven and hell" which was the last good one they made. However it gets 4 not 5 because a lot of the songs sound A LOT like their old stuff. There is one that is a very close copy of the original opener on their first album, complete with rain and bells at the start and the open E "heavy riff", one that sounds almost identical to "planet caravan" off Paranoid etc. Still it sounds like something from their 70s heyday and that is a very good thing. I would suggest Sabotage or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath first if you don't have them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, 13 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
You want classic and now refined metal? There's no shame in buying this. Tony Iommi is still the king of big riffage as far as I'm concerned. I preferred him and Geezer with Dio in Heaven and Hell but this will do.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I was somewhat disappointed with this, 10 May 2015
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This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
I was somewhat disappointed with this. Being an avid fan I was left somewhat 'lukewarm' (I first saw them back in '78 at what was then the Hammersmith Odeon in London and many, many times since).

It is OK, but not in the league of previous Sabbath albums, to which I find myself always returning. To me, it is only just better than 'Born Again', which, in my opinion, is the worst in their catalog (notwithstanding the dreadful 'Live at Last'). Sure the playing is great, sure the production is good, it is just that the songs are not memorable and certainly not classics.

I think that they should call it a day....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some weak tracks and others sound a bit like other Sabbath tracks from previous albums, 2 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: 13 (MP3 Download)
Not overly impressed I'm afraid! Not up to Black Sabbath's usually high standard. Some weak tracks and others sound a bit like other Sabbath tracks from previous albums. Disappointing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not their best but it's still the real black sabbath., 9 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
after listening to this quite a few times and seeing them live, i've come to the conclusion that this album is ok but not awesome, i don't think the songs are upto it.
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