Black Sabbath are back! The aging rockers have returned with their brand new album '13' which is showing no signs of age, but instead wisdom in this masterpiece of an album!
13 is distinctive in that is shares the same Sabbath composition and acoustic value as previous album, and certainly wont be lost on the ears of original Sabbath fans who will now be able to share the love of the band with the next generation of rockers and metal heads.
Make no mistake, this album has clearly has a lot of love and careful effort put in to it. Music will always be up to interpretation however I feel this may be Sabbath using their old age and many years to reflect on life in album, which is in no way a bad thing!
Past Sabbath albums have always contained themes often avoided such as mental illness, drug misuse, and the downside of the rock and roll lifestyle, and this album seems to be bringing the story of the band's many problems in the past to a close while still being full of inspiration.
On a more shallow level, this album will appeal to slow rockers and mellow metal heads rather than nu-metal punks and moshers. The rhythm in many of the songs opens itself up to headbangers, so headbangers may send their thanks to the band for that one. The album is heavy with the tempo being slow - in traditional Sabbath style.
Enjoy either while contemplating the deeper thoughts in life, relaxing after being exposed to the mainstream masses, or when plotting your next great adventure.
Music Quality and Mixing
It's refreshing to hear the awe inspiring music of Black Sabbath with the recording capabilities of the 21st century music industry.
There's a lot going on in this album which can sometimes be overwhelming to the senses, although this may only add a interest in digging deeper into the rhythm and exploring the notes of the music, which certainly was the experience for myself.
The album have the distinct post-60s to mid-70s feel to it and sounds as though something which would have been produced at the earlier stages of bands progression through music history; another refreshing attribute is that this album doesn't force over-the-top hardcore composition through the ears of the listener, but instead relies on Ozzy's traditionally dark voice to establish the dark atmosphere.
Ozzy's voice has shown no tear from old age and may actually be getting darker and more powerful; as someone who evolved from bands such as Asking Alexandria and Disturbed to Sabbath, Motorhead and Hendric, it gives me hope that Sabbath's reign as one of the best bands in the history of the genre may be kept for another 40 years!
The mixing of the instruments is excellent, and I am particularly happy that the bass has remained true to Sabbath style by maintaining its power in most of the songs and not allowed itself to be over powered by the guitars or drums; something so sadly overlooked in metal. The bass is like my wet dream for music.
At points some of the guitar parts sound as though they were recorded in a booth rather than direct input, go to the main guitar rift of 'damaged souls' to see what I mean. Does it bother me? Not really, it adds a nice organic feel to the music.
I am so happy that Sabbath has returned and their moral lessons neither place those with the problems described in the victim or villain category, which has been an annoying trend in modern metal; Sabbath has a apathetic expressionist view in their lyrics, which can only be accounted as poetry.
They haven't skipped hard-hitting topics, and as I said above, they approach it with an apathetic tone, most clearly heard in the song Methademic which seems like a direct reflection on the sex, drugs and rock and roll life style. I wont ruin the lyrics for you with spoilers, so go get the album and enjoy!
Albums like 13 remind me which I swung from mainstream music to rock and metal: the non censored moral complexity.
Some of the lyrics are written in a way that connects with previous albums, and a few songs in particular give me the impressed that they could be Iron Man PtII, Paranoid PtII or Crazy Train PtII. Listen to the songs and make your own mind up about that, I wont give you the songs I believe this may be the case for so that you aren't influenced by it.
The lyrics in 13 are nothing short of amazing, and both new and old will be able to enjoy the non-repetitive, flowing and beautiful lyrics.
I've heard others state that 13 is repetitive and that the song composition is almost entirely the same throughout the album; on the surface they are correct.
To be able to enjoy Sabbath to its fullest, you must be able to allow yourself the chance to explore each layer of every song - you will find that within each melody are melodies all their own. Sabbath's style is dated without being old; many musicians have their unique style, and I am glad Sabbath have not sold out their influences in the same way that bands such as Fall Out Boy and Bullet for my Valentine have.
Sabbath have their style, and thank Satan it hasn't vanished!
Buy this fucking album, it's worth every penny. \m/