Black Sabbath Conjures Up a New Batch of "Evilly Things" on 13
After a lengthy absence--33 years--Black Sabbath have returned with 13. And unbelievably, this is your grandmother's Black Sabbath.
Eschewing a turbulent history that left the band frequently in musical flux and misdirection --particularly those middle years--today's Sabbath, complete again with the exception of drummer Bill Ward, comes to us straight from its storied, early past.
It wasn't an accident.
"Yes, it was [a conscious effort], because we wanted to go back to the basic sound we had," guitarist Tony Iommi says by phone from New York. "[Producer] Rick [Rubin] wanted us to go back to the basics of everything, the way we worked--everything. And we wanted to do that too."
13 is not a half-hearted attempt to profit from nostalgia for that original sound, like many "reformed" bands make these days. Tracks such as "God is Dead?" and "End of the Beginning" reveal a deeper passion to make something as powerfully important as when their trailblazing music redefined rock and roll's edges in the early '70s.
"When we first started we were playing jazzy blues stuff. Once we started getting down to really writing our own stuff, that's when the sound came about, really. I wanted to create the same vibe as a horror film. It's got tension and these evilly things going on," he explains, laughing. "I wanted to do that with music and I came up with these notes that were evil."
Those "evilly things" have been a focal point in the band's fractured career, encased in Iommi's fat guitar chords and searing riffs, Terry "Geezer" Butler's note-bending bass romps, and Ozzy Osbourne's occult-filled lyrics.
Once again, Iommi's guitar flashes dark lightning across Butler's thunderous bass while Osbourne's vocals sound focused and--most importantly--clear and strong.