Legendary. It is the only word that fits the band Black Sabbath! It is mind-blowing to me that Black Sabbath has been recording metal music off & on for over 40 years now. Their music has stood against the test of time. There have been many imitators, but no band has been able to reproduce the amazing music that Black Sabbath has put out over the years. With that being said, Black Sabbath’s latest album 13, is not what I would call legendary, but it is a great bookend to what could easily be the final chapter in the careers of this amazing metal band.
Before the release of 13, I had not listened to a single song from the album, so I had no idea what to expect. After the first play, the only song that grabbed my attention initially was “God Is Dead”. On the first play, I thought, this could easily be a staple for Sabbath’s live set. It is a very classic sounding Sabbath song and easily one of my favorites on the album. I struggled at first to find another song that really made an impact on me, but I kept listening, and then a funny thing happened, I couldn’t QUIT listening.
13 really started sinking in after the second listen, and I started to enjoy it more. “End of the Beginning” does a great job re-capturing the vibe of the awe-inspiring 1970 debut Black Sabbath. Tony Iommi is absolutely riffdiculous. On 13, he has once again put together a stellar performance, creating a bunch of new riffs from his endless bag of tricks. It is his guitar work that will make you want to give this album endless spins. Geezer Butler deserves a strong mention here as well. His powerful bass is the driving force behind this music. It is awesome to listen to someone who can truly play, and not just remain hidden in the background playing rhythm. His deep and sometimes jangly bass riffs are amazing. Geezer does not always get the credit he deserves. It is my opinion that his playing on 13 is stellar.
As much as I love Ozzy Osbourne, I didn’t think his vocals were as strong or as aggressive as past releases. I get the fact that Ozzy is 64 years old, but I was hoping that producer Rick Rubin would push him a little further than he did. With that being said, Ozzy’s vocals aren’t bad, just not as good as they have been in the past.
As much as I am disappointed that Bill Ward was not involved in the making of this album, I have to give credit to Brad Wilk from Rage Against the Machine. He provided the thunder for this album, and I truly believe he did an outstanding job.
There are three of songs that have really grown on me since I started listening to 13, and those are “Loner”, “Zeitgeist” and “Live Forever”. “Loner” is maybe the most upbeat track on the album, while “Zeitgeist” is the slowest. “Zeitgeist” may just be one of the most different sounding Sabbath tracks of all time. That is the song’s pure brilliance. Iommi nearly treads into Eric Clapton territory with his playing on this one, and Brad Wilk plays the bongos throughout this song. “Zeitgeist” is clever and cool. Metal purists may turn their nose at this one, but I appreciate the creativity, and outstanding musicianship. I love the chorus on “Live Forever”. “Well I don’t want to live forever, but I don’t want to die….”. This lyric has really stuck in my head.
If you buy one version of this album, I highly recommend the bonus version (available at Best Buy) with four bonus tracks.
The bonus track “Methademic” is nearly worth the price of admission all by itself. This is a killer up tempo number that should have been on the main disc. I don’t know why this one got picked over. It is better than some of the songs on the main disc. This is a song that you won’t want to miss. (Check it out below!) “Pariah” is also an outstanding tune that should not be missed.
Overall, 13 is a solid, but not spectacular album. The more I listen to it, the more I have grown to like and appreciate it. It may not be perfect, but it does have good song writing, and outstanding musicianship. Black Sabbath fans should rush to get this, and all other metal fans should give this one a chance.
Rating: Out of 10
01. End of The Beginning
02. God is Dead?
05. Age of Reason
06. Live Forever
07. Damaged Soul
08. Dear Father
* Bonus Tracks
02. Peace of Mind
04. Naivete In Black
Black Sabbath is:
Tony Iommi – lead guitar
Geezer Butler – bass guitar
Ozzy Osbourne – lead vocals
Brad Wilk – drums
Black Sabbath, or Heaven and Hell if you prefer is back with their first CD with Ronnie James Dio since 1992’s Dehumanizer. Seventeen years is a hell of a long wait for new material from any band, but the gentlemen of Heaven & Hell made it worth the wait. They have delivered another disc of quality heavy rock.
I can only use one word to describe Ronnie James Dio….incredible! How is it possible for RJD to sound this good at this stage in his career? His vocals continue to astound me on “The Devil You Know”. He continues to sing better than just about anyone out there in hard rock today. With no surprise, Tony Iommi dishes out some awesome guitar work on this disc. His guitar solos on this album are brilliant to say the least. Listen to his incredible riffs on “Bible Black” or “The Turn of the Screw” and I guarantee you will come back for more.
Geezer Butler is still laying down the deepest doom laden bass licks I have ever heard, and Vinnie Appice just kills it on the drums.
Does The Devil You Know live up to Heaven & Hell, Mob Rules or even Dehumanizer? Probably not. This album is not without its problems. A couple of the songs on this disc could be better. While some of the tunes don’t work for me, even the worst songs on “The Devil You Know” are only a minor distraction. The music speaks for itself and does so loudly. Two of the better cuts, “Bible Black” and “Eating the Cannibals” could go down as some of the best Heaven & Hell tunes ever.
The Bottom Line: I have listened to this CD a couple of times now, and it seems to get better with each play. The elder statesmen of heavy metal can still get it done in 2009. Black Sabbath and Dio fans will likely enjoy this disc as much as I have. Buy this!!
1. Atom And Evil
3. Bible Black
4. Double The Pain
5. Rock And Roll Angel
6. The Turn Of The Screw
7. Eating The Cannibals
8. Follow The Tears
10. Breaking Into Heaven
Heaven & Hell is:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tonny Iommi – Guitars
Geezer Butler – Bass
Vinnie Appice – Drums
Dehumanizer is the 16th studio disc by Black Sabbath, and the third featuring Ronnie James Dio on vocals. Ronnie returned to Black Sabbath after an 11 year hiatus in which he was performing as a solo artist.
This disc features the same lineup from the Mob Rules disc, which is Iommi on guitar, Butler on bass, Appice on drums and Dio on vocals.
Typically when people talk about Dio singing in Black Sabbath they will often refer to Heaven and Hell, and Mob Rules. Dehumanizer rarely gets mentioned, and that is a shame. It is a heavy disc, and easily as solid as the first two with RJD.
This disc starts off with Computer God, which is a very heavy track to start the pace of Dehumanizer. This is a well written and performed song, and quite possibly one of their best.
After All is a very dark and heavy track that sounds like it was a left over from the period when Ozzy was still in the band. This is a bit too dark for my tastes.
After All (the dead)
TV Crimes on the other hand is a killer track that I absolutely love. The tempo is high paced, and Dio sounds awesome on vocals. This is one that I hope they perform live on the Heaven and Hell tour. This is essential for any Sabbath fan.
Another track that I like a lot on Dehumanizer is Letters from Earth. This is another well written song, with cool lyrics, and superb playing by Iommi. Geezer’s bass sounds like it is going to rip the walls down, and Appice crushes on the drums here. Great Stuff!
Master of Insanity starts with a dark and gloomy bass riff by Geezer, and turns into a heavy rocker, that resembles more of a DIO solo track than a Black Sabbath song. Nonetheless, it is a good song, and one of the better ones on Dehumanizer.
Master of Insanity
I love the chugging guitars and fast paced bass rhythm of Time Machine. This song is another Dehumanizer stand out.
Sins of the Father is one of the most different Sabbath tracks I have heard in a while. It seems that Geezer’s bass is mixed so that it less audible. Iommi’s guitar seem to be tuned in a different key on this track. The end result is a very cool 80’s sounding Metal song.
Something about the track Too Late reminds me of Queensryche in a sense. It starts off as a low tempo acoustic track that allows Dio’s voice to shine, but then breaks in a heavy metal behemoth about midway through. This is one of those songs that you may not get the first time. I bet if you sit down, crank this song up, and close your eyes, and immerse yourself into the music, you will get into it to. I think it is a very cool song.
I is a track that grows on me more with every listen. The lyrics are cool, and the chorus is simple and sing songy…I..I..I. The music is good, and Dio sounds great as well.
Buried Alive is a song that I just could not get into. Its ultra heavy intro, didnt work for me. Sure Iommi has some cool solos here, but this feels like an average track to me. Quite frankly, I tend to skip this song when it comes up.
Aside from the intro on Time Machine, I can’t tell much of a difference in the Wayne’s World version. They could have used this one instead of the other version on the album, and added another original cut. There isn’t enough difference between the two to really support having two different versions here.
Bottom line, I believe Dehumanizer is a much better disc than a lot of people perceive it to be. It has some tracks that may need to grown on you a few times, and is probably the heaviest of the three discs that have Dio on vocals. It is still a good listen today, and to me and while it isn’t perfect, it is still a must have in my heavy metal collection!
- Computer God
- After All (The Dead)
- TV Crimes
- Letters from Earth
- Master of Insanity
- Time Machine
- Sins of the Father
- Too Late
- Buried Alive
- Time Machine (Wayne’s World Version)
Black Sabbath is:
Ronnie James Dio – vocals
Tony Iommi – guitars
Geezer Butler – bass
Vinny Appice – drums
Geoff Nicholls – keyboards