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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 Not A Unlucky Number For Sabbath
This album is brilliant, Truely brilliant to be honest I was a little dubious of this album when i heard that the original Black Sabbath omitting Bill Ward were reforming.

But how wrong was I as this delivers a triumphant return to form of their earlier albums.

The riffs from Toni Iommi & Geezer Butler, The moody lyrics & Ozzy Osbourne singing his...
Published 13 months ago by Timelord-007

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close but no cigar
Back in August 2013, Classic Rock magazine rated the Black Sabbath back catalogue. (This is their opinion - I would probably have a slightly different selection, as no doubt would every Sabs fan.)
According to them top of the pile were "Essential Classics" - the first three albums and Heaven & Hell.
After this, "Superior - Reputation Cementing", including Vol 4,...
Published 13 months ago by mike half


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 Not A Unlucky Number For Sabbath, 5 Nov 2013
By 
Timelord-007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
This album is brilliant, Truely brilliant to be honest I was a little dubious of this album when i heard that the original Black Sabbath omitting Bill Ward were reforming.

But how wrong was I as this delivers a triumphant return to form of their earlier albums.

The riffs from Toni Iommi & Geezer Butler, The moody lyrics & Ozzy Osbourne singing his best since his solo Down To Earth album.

It's a truely epic album with 8 long tracks on the standard album.

God is Dead is your typical Sabbath song great Riffs & a haunting tone that Sabbath write & perform so well.

This album will go down as a classic Black Sabbath album & proves what brillance these Brummies influence of Rock have & must never be underestimated.

Sheer Brilliance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Sabbath - 13, 25 May 2014
By 
Gentlegiantprog "Kingcrimsonprog" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
13 is (counter-intuitively) the nineteenth full-length studio album by the legendary British Heavy Metal band Black Sabbath. It was released in 2013 (which explains the album title). It was produced by Rick Rubin, and saw original singer Ozzy Osbourne return to the band for the first studio album in 35 years, and original bassist Geezer Butler return for the first studio album in 19 years.

Despite a very public campaign to have original drummer Bill Ward rejoin too, Rage Against The Machine’s Brad Wilk provides the drums for this record, and despite having a different feel to Ward (and a very skeptical public), provides a very good performance.

It’s a very weighty album. Five of the album’s tracks are over seven minutes long each, and only one, the acoustic number ‘Zeitgeist,’ is less than five minutes in length. Its not really the sort of album you can just stick on in the background or take at face value, might take a few listens to really get to grip with what the band are doing here.

The record opens up with a very doomy, slow riff deliberately designed to evoke the self-titled opener of their debut. After about two minutes it kicks up a gear and gets livelier, slowly evolving through a few different moods and shedding comparisons to that eponymous track. There’s a few riffs that could be on the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath or Sabotage albums in there too, and an odd breakdown with the now famous line “You don’t want to be a robot ghost…” that wouldn’t actually be totally out of place on Technical Ecstasy or Never Say Die. There’s plenty of lead guitar action throughout, and the high-in-the-mix bass from Geezer brings a lot of character out.

That’s how most of the record goes… starting off sounding a bit like a deliberate attempt to remind you of past songs, shifting gears through different Sabbath eras after a while, and then ending up as relatively fresh overall somehow. Sure; you might think that part of “God Is Dead” is meant to remind you of “War Pigs” or “Fairies Wear Boots,” but then they’ll do something that would never fit on the Paranoid album, and then add bits that almost even sound like something off of the Dehumanizer album briefly at other times.

“Loner” for example quite obviously channels the spirit of “N.I.B” when it starts off, but even that takes a turn to sound like some sort of modernized “Rock N Roll Doctor” (or something) halfway through, but with a guitar solo that would maybe be more at home in the band’s Dio-era material.

It’s a clever way to get around fan expectation really. Suggest the past just enough so that people can’t say it doesn’t sound like the old days, mix in just enough of the post-Ozzy Sabbath sound so that fans of that can’t say its too regressive and then the loud modern production combined with Ozzy’s aged vocals help make it sound new enough too.

The only track which perhaps is a little too close to the bone is the aforementioned “Zeitgeist” which is a modern track but with the feel of “Planet Caravan.” While most other tracks mix in tails or drum fills from different Sabbath eras, because of the quiet, simple, sombre vibe they are going for, this can’t really happen here, and so for a lot of fans this is just going to sound a bit too close to “Planet Caravan” for comfort. If you can get past that though, its actually a pretty neat song.

If you are a huge Sabbath fan already or just getting into Sabbath for the first time and still in the excitement phase then I can imagine that this album is something you will automatically love. It ticks all the boxes of what you would want or expect from them. If that’s the case though, you’ve already bought it haven’t you?

If you are a bit skeptical and unsure of whether you might like the album however, I can fully understand. First of all, when the band reunited the last time, they stated that they didn’t have good new material within them anymore. Secondly, now that the album has been released and reviewed everywhere, it is very easy to see terms like “riff recycling” or “living in the past” or “Not as good as The Devil You Know” written online or in print and get worried that this album isn’t worth your time at all.

When I first got this album, I wasn’t really keen on it. I flip-flopped between disliking it for being a pandering exercise and half-enjoying it but not really paying it any attention. When given the attention that the album requires, and repeat listens for it to grow on me however, the album finally “clicked” and its virtues began to outweigh its drawbacks. Once it actually has clicked, it’s a real joy to listen to and becomes more and more entertaining each time you stick it on. Sure; Its impossible to listen to this album and not make comparisons to the band’s earlier work (or the recent Heaven And Hell and Ozzy solo albums) if you are familiar with it, but I think the band have done a very good job of acknowledging that reality and rolling with it.

Taken for what it is, 13 is a good album. Its even a good Black Sabbath album. Its even a good album from 2013. Its got some variety but is still massively consistent, and its got a good balance of fast and slow, loud and quiet, modern and retro. Take a moment, and give a track like “Damaged Soul” or “Dear Father” a good, clear, uninterrupted listen or two and see if it can click for you too.

[Ps. If you can, try and get the version of the album with bonus tracks (as many as possible, if you can). This is just personal taste of course, but personally, I think the bonus tracks are as strong, if not stronger than anything on the main album. “Methademic” in particular is very strong, and "Pariah" has a really fun main riff.]
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10 of 11 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close but no cigar, 25 Nov 2013
This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
Back in August 2013, Classic Rock magazine rated the Black Sabbath back catalogue. (This is their opinion - I would probably have a slightly different selection, as no doubt would every Sabs fan.)
According to them top of the pile were "Essential Classics" - the first three albums and Heaven & Hell.
After this, "Superior - Reputation Cementing", including Vol 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage
Next came "Good worth exploring" including Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die.
Lastly, "Avoid" - Born Again and Forbidden.
So, where does 13 fit into this body of work. Is it Essential? No. Superior? Nope. Avoid? Definitely not.
That only leaves "Good". The issue I have with this album is that it has few memorable tracks even when you're playing it; it's all on one level sonically, no light and shade, no quiet beauty as on "Solitude" on Master of Reality, no respite from the constant battering. I can't help wondering what another producer could have done with this material. Patently Rubin was not the man for the job.
Will I be listening to this in a year's time, or thirty year's time as with the rest of the original Ozzy era? Probably not.
Hope that's not it for one of my favourite bands. Next time chaps, bring Bill along.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 30 years on, 10 Dec 2014
This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
Been a Sabs fan since the mid 70's and my faves are Sabotage, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Volume 4.

This is okay, its the same guys (almost) who are now 30 years older than when they last did an album together so they have matured and evidently have less energy than on Sabotage.

Its heavy, nice riffs from Tony, Im not a fan of the high output production which sounds a bit radio One compressed. I have read that the producer wanted to recreate the muddy early 70's sound but its too artificial to my ears.

Im not going to slag it off but I won't play it much, not when I can go play remastered 'Dirty women' and still be really blown away.
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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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37 of 44 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as Sabbath brilliant, but us real original fans are all60ish now, 25 July 2014
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This review is from: 13 (Audio CD)
as Sabbath brilliant,but us real original fans are all60ish now.we don,t get the same buzz obviously,but saying that th is nalbum is awesome,its like they left off after Sabbath bloody Sabbath and resumed,crashing riffs thundering drums and bass,and ossie back to his doom laden vocals,filled with clearly sung messages as only os could produce.nobody in heavy/hard rock could deliver like ossie,and this is evident here
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24 of 29 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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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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