BLACK SABBATH – 13 (Deluxe Edition)

BLACK SABBATH - 13 (Deluxe Edition)
  • 5/10
    BLACK SABBATH - 13 (Deluxe Edition) - 5/10


Vertigo, Universal
Release date: June 7, 2013

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Billed as the first studio album in 35 years by the original members, Black Sabbath have now released 13… in 2013. However, the first question that needs to be asked is how can the band claim to be issuing an “original lineup” release when Bill Ward isn’t playing drums … and won’t be touring with the band due to contractual issues? Granted, drummers are often overlooked in bands and considered expendable, but Bill Ward is as much an integral part of Black Sabbath as Geezer, Tony, and especially Ozzy ever were, and including Rage Against The Machine’s Brad Wilk behind the kit immediately causes 13 to lose some of its fan-fare and credibility. Not to totally crush the relative importance of this release to both Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Metal Community, because having Ozzy back in the studio with Geezer and Tony is indeed a historic event, but it stands to reason that the 4 true original members could have figured a way to make it work — somehow or someway. Come on …

The “regular edition” of the album includes 8 new studio tracks clocking in at just over 53 minutes, and the “deluxe edition” includes 3 extra studio tracks, adding another 15 minutes. Overall, the feel you get when you listen to this album is Sabbath was trying to recreate the vibe found in their self-titled debut album. Most of 13’s songs are long – perhaps longer than needed – and the majority of the tracks are slow-tempo … at times painstakingly slow. There’s a strong Blues vibe found within most of the compositions, and although this is still Doom Metal, it lacks the ominous, cutting edge, hand-of-the devil atmosphere the first album created so well.

On the positive side, Ozzy sounds better than you could ever have expected, and delivers an outstanding performance vocally from beginning to end. Lyrically, though, the topics seem to continually deal with death or dying, and become mundane after about 6 tracks. Sound-wise, producer Rick Rubin and head sound engineer Greg Fidelman get high marks … it’s just a shame they didn’t have more memorable material with which to work.

In sum, the world has begged for the day to come again whereby the original lineup of Black Sabbath would come together to write and record new material. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the hype simply doesn’t live up to expectations…


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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