On June 10, 2013, "Black Sabbath" stunned the metal world with "13", their first studio album with Ozzy Osbourne in 35 years !!!
We must admit, when we heard in 2011 that the original band members were joining Ozzy Osbourne and working on a new album, our fear increased and our level of anxiety climbed up. We thought that this time the whole was going to be smaller than its parts and that it was going to be a weak and embarrassing album.
The rumors about Tony Iommi's health condition and the publications about friction with drummer Bill Ward only reinforced the negative feelings. The intense love for Ozzy Osbourne and the band caused us anxiety and stress, mixed with a great hope that these veteran dinosaurs would not mess things up and that their old age would not embarrass their youth.
We were later informed that the frictions with Bill Ward do not allow him to be part of the emerging album, and that the one who is going to take his place is none other than Brad Wilk of "Rage Against the Machine". On one hand, we were disappointed. We still hoped for a full reunion of the entire original quartet. But on the other hand, we shivered just at the thought of the combination of the legendary Geezer Butler and Brad Wilk on the rhythm section.
Then we got the album and as soon as the needle touches the first groove of the vinyl record, one could hear the sigh of relief as far as Birmingham England. Fortunately, many of our concerns were dispelled!
After Ozzy is faced with the question "Is this the and of the beginning" or is "This the beginning of the end", the opening song "End of the Beginning" assures us that there is no reason to be worried since it is only the "End of the Beginning". The ultimate opening to an album that may become the latest album from a huge band, that wanted to make it big one more last time. The music and atmosphere in the song undoubtedly correspond with the opening song of their first album, which also bears the band's name. Tony Iommi's rough and heavy riff divides your heart in two, and somehow even though 43 years have passed since then it still sounds relevant, innovative, and fresh as if it's being played here and now for the first time.
This "borrowing" of the band from itself will return later in the album. "The Loner" Riff sounds like it was borrowed from "N.I.B." The immortal, guitar and vocals in "Zeitgeist" are reminiscent of "Planet Caravan" and the blues combined with a harmonica in the song "Damaged Soul" brings "Black Sabbath" back to its roots.
But who cares if "Sabbath" "steals" a little from themselves? The band managed to recreate the gloomy and dark atmosphere from their debut album, but with the liveliness and enthusiasm of a young band, and it's amazing and it's good!
The opening of "God Is Dead?" Reminds us right away why we love this band so much. Tony Iommi's heavy, slow and broken fingering strum immediately shakes your whole body. Each string in turn touches a different vertebra in your spine, from the neck down, and then comes the entrance that shakes you, beats you, just like Geezer Butler beats his wild bass, and you are addicted!, addicted to the rough sound, addicted to the slow rhythm, addicted to the atmosphere The darkness and you just want more and more of it.
Very symbolically the album that begins with "End Of The Beginning" and the announcement that we are actually only at "the end of the beginning", ends with the sounds of rain falling to the ground and the bells ringing, just as the band's debut album "Black Sabbath" started 43 years earlier, on Friday the 13th of February 1970.
If this album turns out to be the band's last album, it's undoubtedly a crazy turning point and a tremendous end to a glorious career of a legendary band, which will surely be recorded in the pages of history as one responsible for the birth of the metal genre.
We of course cling to the notion that "it is not over until it is over" and look forward to the number "14".