Review: Black Sabbath “13”

By Alle Royale

   
Rick Rubin is a sort of modern day guru, responsible for introducing Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Run Dmc and Slayer to the world, for giving Johnny Cash a ticket to immortality with the essential American Recordings, for giving a new breath of life to the careers of The Cult, Ac/Dc, Metallica, Tom Petty, Danzig, ZZ Top and so on…almost anyone who has worked with him says it’s not the most pleasant experience but, in the end, Rubin’s vision always pays, with both critical and public acclaim.
When the news broke out that he was going to produce the new effort from reunited original Black Sabbath, we all knew what we were going to get: a classic, old school Sabbath record, with a classic, old school Sabbath sound. That’s Rubin’ gift, and somehow his limitation: the guy knows how to obtain the best from his clients, convincing them to reconnect with their past and their original inspiration and aspiration, but sometime this translates in a mere stylish exercise, with musician  just going through the motions and tracks that sound like faithful copies of their most famous songs. Fortunately ‘13’ stands with the best and most inspired of his works, probably because Tony Iommi is not one you could easily fuck with, as his vision for the band is stronger than anyone’s, and, in all honesty, is simply one of the best rock records you are going to hear this year.

Since the first notes of ‘End Of The Beginning’ every element is in its right place, Tony’s guitar sound is epic as usual, reinventing his own riffs with taste and power, while you have to admit that Ozzy’s voice is the ingredient that cannot miss if you want to get that real Sabbath flavour. First single ‘God Is Dead?’ incorporates all the characteristics of the rest of the album: a wicked mix of heavy blues straightforwardness, as in ‘Black Sabbath’, the album, and the schizoid song structures of their more progressive efforts, like ‘Sabotage’. On the other hand, i must blame Rubin for episodes like ‘Zeitgeist’: someone must explain me, cause I cannot get it, what’s the point of recording a dreamlike psych ballad where, from the use of percussions to the conclusive jazz guitar solo, everything conjures to remind the listener of ‘Planet Caravan’; why not calling it ‘Caravan Planet’, then? Anyway, if it’s true that you could precisely collocate a lot of these musical ideas in the past great scheme of their production, it’s also extremely true that these are their riffs, their melodies and their sound, something they invented and forged for their generation, the actual one and many generations to come. 

Black Sabbath: Website. / Facebook. / Twitter. / Republic Records.

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