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Not old Sabbath whatsoever
on 17 July 2013
It is a good album, albeit one paced. It nods and sometimes plagiarizes old sounds of Sabbath, but old sounding this isn't. There is not the diversity of old. The sheer brazen ability to do a blues track, synth track, love song, pop chart number. What Sabbath have done is what Metallica did. Go from being dynamic, changeable and downright exhilarating, to medium-to-slow-paced heavy for the sake of heavy. This sounds quite critical, but I need to raise the point.
There are genuinely great high points, not least my favourite track "Damaged Soul", which has a very old, timeless beauty about it as well as "Dear Father", "End of the beginning" which have nice tricks up their sleeve, given many plays."Zeitgeist" is intriguing as it tries to emulate the hippy side of Sabbath, but, for some reason, it doesn't hit the mark. I don't know why. It just doesn't. An ingredient is missing.
There are no "Dirty Women" guitar solos (Iommi's solos have become very pedestrian over the years - he has definitely run out of imagination and passion and replaced it with well done but samey solos), no "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" anthems, no "Shockwave" stunning intensity, no "Junior's Eyes" melodies, no "Evil woman" tongue in cheek attitude and certainly no "The Writ" sheer prog rock gorgeousness.
The multi-layered appeal of Sabbath is well and truly dead - all you have now is "Heaven & Hell" continued which, for me, has a very short shelf life. The drumming misses Ward's gorgeous subtleties in style and pace change. Not the ending I had hoped for.....oh well, it got to No.1 so I am sure many will disagree with me on this