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Críticas a Álbuns
Crítica a Álbum :: Black Sabbath - 13 (2013)
2013-06-06 00:50:28 | Hugo Miguel Delgado

So, Black Sabbath's album 13 was made available for free streaming and we took that chance to review it, even though there'll be a few versions and additional songs available upon release. There's no need for long introductions, here! This will be the band's first full length album in more than 30 years with Ozzy back in the team, but without Bill Ward, the band's original drummer. Of course we'd all love if all four guys were there, but that's how it went, so let's get over it, let's leave behind all the bad blood, all the moaning and all the "No Bill Fuck - No Black Sabbath" slogans, and let's get down to business, starting with a track-by-track review:

The album starts with The End of the Beginning, in promising manner that reminds us of their self-titled song. Ozzy's voice sounds somewhat dry and dull during the first verses, slightly out of place, but that feeling eventually fades away as the song goes along. Then the song changes to a Children of the Grave-like riff, even when Ozzy's singing "Don't look back, live for today - tomorrow is too late" sounds close to that "Or you children of today are Children of the Grave" part. After Iommi's solo, another swing in the song, that now sounds more like an Ozzy song from the late 80's or early 90's.

Following song God Is Dead? has already been massively heard by mostly everyone out there who knows what these guys are all about. This version's a little longer than the single version - which I'd say is a great Sabbath single, even though it also sounds a little too much Ozzy-sided at times, but Iommi's riffs are there to set things straight. As mostly happens with singles, it's a ear-friendly song, not necessarily a perfect showcase of the band's or the album's sound, but it's still a powerful way of telling the crowd that Hey, we're here, we're back, we're still alive and ready to rock you like in the old days! Also, having these old farts using one of Nietzsche's lines and then putting the man in the single's cover? It's priceless!

Loner starts with a riff that seems taken from the Tony Martin-era songs. It's your average Sabbath song, if somewhat uninspired. At times it also reminds me of Sweet Leaf, but not as powerful or gripping. It's a Sabbath song, no doubts about that, but it lacks something...

Zeitgeist is a mellow, spacial-like song, that immediately reminds us of the Paranoid classic Planet Caravan. It has the same dreamy atmosphere and even the same bongo-like percussion and such, although Ozzy hasn't used a Leslie in this one for the extra vibrato and effects. Iommi's solo also appears near the end, and also in the same jazzy/latin mood he used back in 1970.

Age Of Reason sounds like a song from Ozzy's No More Tears right up till the middle, when the song takes an unexpected turn, with some dark riffing and some weird rhythm and tempo. After this short hiatus, the song gets back on track and further along Iommi brings us one more of his great solos, this one seems taken from Seventh Star or Headless Cross, with that warm sound playing above the synth.

Live Forever starts with one of those evil-sounding riffs so well known to each and every Black Sabbath fan, an then moves to yet another riff, a happy one, this time, which could be taken from the Master of Reality or Vol.4 albums. A short and direct song, no twists and turns on this one, except for the abrupt mood change every time the verse goes into the chorus, which feels a bit forced. Great main riff, though.

Damaged Soul is a more doomy one, but covered in blue(s) all over. It feels like we've taken a few steps back from the previous one, and moved to Paranoid or Black Sabbath. The harmonica brings The Wizard immediately to my mind, and the solo feels like part of Behind The Wall of Sleep or Warning, with Iommi ad-libing for the remaining 4 minutes of the song.

The last track, Dear Father, starts with a tone and feel somewhat similar to Into The Void, and with the exception of a softer bridge, more usual in Ozzy's solo albums, after the verses, is another great classic-sabbath-sounding song, including that expected double-tempo change at the middle of the song, and even the 1-tone raise, like in Under The Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes' fast part. The song's ending also adds a very nice nostalgic touch, as the song fades out only to be replaced by the sound of the distant tolling bell, and the still falling rain.

So... no time to give attention to the lyrics, yet. I'm still working on letting all the sounds, riffs and soloing settle in, but I'm sure they'll be great, as always when Mr. Geezer Butler is in duty. And, speaking of him, what a powerful bass-sound! I know, with only 1 guitar and almost no keyboards, there's no reason why the bass wouldn't be heard, but here it's not only heard, it's felt all over! You feel it under your skin, you move your head and your foot along with it, Yes, it's that good! The drums are well done, and try to replicate the old sound, pounding throughout the songs. It's not Bill Ward, but it's close enough, so we must say that Brad Wilk, former drummer from Rage Against The Machine, has not only not compromised but he even managed to play the songs not too differently than the way they'd probably be played if they were recorded back in the 70's. Ozzy also manages to perform at a very decent level. It's not as close to the old Ozzy as I'd like, but the man has been through hell and back for more times than he can remember, in the last 30-40 years, and he's still breathing - and mumbling - and singing, so we've got to praise that, right? Still, most of the time it feels like it would only take a little more treble and reverb to get the old Ozzy back, I wonder why producer Rick Rubin failed (chose?) not to do that. Finally, Iommi... what can we say about the riff-master than haven't been said before in every single Black Sabbath album? The man is a riff-god, and he nailed them once again! Seriously, sometimes I felt like I was listening to Master of Reality's ultra-secret never-heard-before extra-tracks, or something! The soloing was also as expected, with great feeling and that distinctive Iommi sound. In spite of his health problem, he excelled himself and presented us with some really inspired moments. The production was really well done by Rick Rubin and showed huge respect for the band and a clear perception of the matter that he had at hand, with only a few remarks to be made - he let in some lines that would better fit Ozzy's solo album, which is not necessarily bad, but it's not Black Sabbath either; that first impression on the opening track was also not entirely positive, and also, at some moments, I felt that there were too many cymbals ringing in my ears, but maybe this is just me being picky...

As far as ratings go, this one'll be a hard nut to crack.. I mean, I'd rate the album 100 out of 100 just for the simple fact that it exists, while I'd drop it to a mere 30 or 40 for the label's absurd decision of releasing this in 5 or more different versions, and playing around with different extra-tracks in-between them, an odd and infuriating choice from most of the fans' point-of-view! Still, the songs in here are way better than the couple of tracks these guys released more than a decade ago in the Reunion live album, and the album also manages to top their 2 last Ozzy-era albums back from 76 and 78, and arguably even 1975's Sabotage, so this one's a winner, no doubt about it! I guess I'll rate 13 a tentative 84 / 100, keeping in mind that I'll definitely get back to this review for all the necessary adjustments as soon as the dust settles and the remaining tracks and versions come around.

Rating: 84%

13 - album cover
01End of the Beginning
02God is Dead?
05Age of Reason
06Live Forever
07Damaged Soul
08Dear Father
VozOzzy Osbourne
GuitarraTony Iommi
BaixoTerry "Geezes" Butler
BateriaBrad Wilk