Album Review: Black Sabbath - 13

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When I first got wind that Black Sabbath were back in the studio for the first time since 1995 I was sceptical of how much of a success it would be. '13' is the bands 19th studio album and I was concerned that the band would just wither away and release an album that was below the standard of the stuff they have done in the past. Now coming from a guy who doesn't like to be wrong that often, I will quite happily hold my hands up and say that I was SO wrong to worry about the British icons come back, for '13' is to an equally fantastic level as the 18 albums that came before it.


Coming in at just under an hour of listening, this album isn't slacking on quantity. With only two of the eleven songs being under five minutes, each song becomes an epic mastery of musical instruments. That is one good thing about listening to a band consisting of musical legends; the level of perfection when it comes to the guitar solos and the bass lines blew my mind on first listening and each song is just so on point that it becomes stupid. 

The song writing on display in this album is another high point. Black Sabbath have been one of my most adored bands for a number of years because each song becomes a story - lyrically I think they are one of the best bands there ever has been. Thankfully, '13' keeps up this high standard of lyrical excellence. With songs like 'Zeitgeist' and 'Pariah' Black Sabbath are really showing off to everyone just how essential experience is when it comes to writing songs. However, there is one down side to all of this lyrical brilliance and it is the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne. I don't know what it is about the god of rock, but he just doesn't seem to show as much passion as he used to. Now I know his singing ability hasn't always been the best, but he always made up for that with his passionate performances. But with '13' this just isn't there and it's a shame because it is stopping this album being something special. 

This minor quibble aside, this is a wonderfully high standard album that I wasn't expecting. It is good to hear some proper heavy metal for once. While I do love the metal scene that is developing in this country, it is nice to hear music from people who care about the music first, not what their clothes and hair looks like. With a world wide tour coming up, it is clear that Black Sabbath are trying to prove that they are not passed it, and as far as this album is concerned, they are still comfortably sitting on the heavy metal throne. 


Mark Wiglesworth

I am a student at the University of Portsmouth doing a Journalism and Media Studies degree who has an absolute passion for anything involving films or music. Give me any piece of media, I will do my best to review it.


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