Review: Black Sabbath “13”
It's been over 3 decades since Ozzy did an album with Black Sabbath. They have some 22huge obstacles to overcome to pull this off, can the Fathers of Heavy Metal pull it off?
Their first hurdle is the fact it's been over 30 years, they've been working with other people in between their, the chemistry is certainly something to be concerned with. Next is the production. How can you replicate something done recorded in the 70's, it's nearly impossible. Finally, their ages. These guys have seen a lot in 30-plus years, could the possible capture the "feel" of their early days, one could argue they are completely different people now with a different set of views.
Well, let's address all of these issues. After hearing the release the chemistry doesn't seem to be an issue. The band is intact except for drummer Bill Ward. Geezer and Tony have played together beyond the Ozzy days so that wasn't the issue. It was more with Ozzy, could he capture the spirit of the band. They answer is yes, it sounded like he had never left the band, he never ceases to amaze me how he continues to plug away.
The production is perhaps the biggest issue, Black Sabbath is supposed to sound a little fuzzed out and heavy on the low end. They did a better job than I expected, but it's a little too clean compared to the early material. They did however capture the overall feel of the early days and actually used some modern technology to add another dimension to their sound.
Finally, the songs themselves. Black Sabbath was also a band that asked a lot of questions, told stories and took a look at the dark side of the world. Even though they were accused of being Satanic, they were and are still more spiritual than one might expect. I think they are confused like the rest of us, which is why they had such a massive appeal.
Times have changed, but apparently the subject matter hasn't. We're still at war, we still fight about religion and we still have a lot of questions. Technology has probably confused us even more than ever so music of Black Sabbath is still very relevant.
Overall, I think this is what we expected from Black Sabbath, no better, no worse. It trudges long and hypnotizes. It grinds and pushes a sludge of bass along with it. They can be proud of themselves for representing their past with honor and carving out a new future for themselves and Heavy Metal.