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Published: 2013/08/01
by Nancy Dunham

Black Sabbath


It’s ok – we won’t tell anyone you’re into Black Sabbath and its new album 13.
It’s tough not to be when you consider this is the first time the original band — well, minus the persnickety drummer Bill Ward — has come together since the lads kicked Ozzy to the curb in 1978 and plucked Ronnie James Dio out of Rainbow to fill the lead vocal slot. And today’s Sabbath band sounds as good — really — as they did when they were in their early ‘70s heyday.

Clearly plenty happened during those 3 ½ decades including Ozzy becoming — in the words of Jay-Z — “not a businessman, but a business, man!” with royal rock status in his own right.

Yet for all the love and kudos heaped on Ozzy and his music, Sabbath is truly an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The question was if the onetime poor school boys from Birmingham — who cooked up songs that are some of the biggest rock anthems ever starting with the band’s self titled debut (“N.I.B.”, “Evil Woman,” the title track), Paranoid (the title, of course, plus “Iron Man” and “Fairies Wear Boots”) and…Well, you get the idea — could recapture the cool heavy rock that is their trademark.

No doubt. Right from the first track, “End of the Beginning,” lead guitarist extraordinaire Tony Iommi rolls out the big riffs and Ozzy jumps in with his slow, distinctive war chants on “End of the Beginning,” a dark, pounding song that is more than a just a bit reminiscent of “War Pigs.”

And forget naysayers that harp Rage Against the Machine’s drummer Brad Wilk, who plays drums on this album is a poor substitute for Ward. If anything, Wilk and chief Sabbath songwriter/bassist Terry “Geezer” Butler, bring a new energy to Sabbath’s percussion.

Indeed, 13 is no a retread of music past. Consider both “Age of Reason” and “Peace of Mind” put slightly different twists on the big bold Sabbath sound that conjures up the smell of cheap wine and weed to those of a certain age.

Credit uber producer Rick Rubin for shepherding Sabbath back to their classic sound.

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