Looking for numbers and facts about Black Sabbath’s new album one might get involved ito counting how long the band had to release a studio album (18), when was the last time they released one with Ozzy (35 years ago), which was the last one to feature Geezer (“Cross Purposes”)… all those don’t mean a thing before “13” which stands as the absolute metal album for the leading band just a while before the end. A pretty decent album, worthy of Sabbath’s huge significance to heavy sound.
After a 40-year long career how someone perceives a new album is something personal, except from the three metal fathers, for which it was a one way street. Together with the master of come backs, revisits, refubrishments, -call it what you like- Rick Rubin, they deliver an album with their characteristic sound, with great songs, and Ozzy in good shape. While, they achieve what several of their peers failed, which is keeping their identity intact, and not spoil their style in order to get a good result. Black Sabbath, one of the two bands that made Birmingham the eternal and undisputed capital of heavy metal do not compromise, it wouldn’t suit them anyway!
On the other hand, we shouldn’w forsee the hardships they came up against making the album with first and worst Iommis diagnosis with cancer. Of course, for a man who almost lost his fingers, has limited sense of touch on his left hand, but managed to make a career as one of the world’s most important guitarists there is no obstacles.
So, listening to “Loner” you cannot deny that it could stand the test of time like their classics. And, yes, “Zeitgeist” reminds us a lot of “Planet Caravan”, but isn’t that theirs as well? Since when it’s bad to copy yourself? Maybe, “God Is Dead?” and “End Of The Beginning”, that were the first songs to see the light of day, weren’t great, but their trademark dark, nightmare-ish sound was there, and got us hungry for more, like my personal favourite “Age Of Reason”… finally, what “13” leaves you with is a taste of taking a short trip to the past, to come back fast into the present with a sound, production and content that has little to envy from any contemporary album.
Sabbath still raise the banner of the music we love high, proving that they are as relevant as ever, no matter how long it’s been since February 13th, 1970. Hooray!