13 - Black Sabbath
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 67 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 67
  2. Negative: 1 out of 67

Review this album

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Sep 2, 2014
    8
    The godfathers of metal are back and "13" is truly a great album with the Black Sabbath feel but also with a new twist which makes it very interesting to say the least. While it's not '70s Sabbath, this album proves that they still rock and they can make really good music.
  2. Jan 15, 2014
    8
    Welcome back to Black Sabbath. This "13" is a step into their 70s earlier work. Nothing new, but it can be considered a good effort. I think it definitely closes the circle of their studio career.
  3. Jan 11, 2014
    10
    I love this album! It's the best Black Sabbath album since 1975 when they have released Sabotage. I could listen to it over and over again. It's just a masterpiece and should be the last Black Sabbath album.
  4. kik
    Oct 15, 2013
    9
    Like many I have waited many years for this album (since 79) and I'm not disappointed. If I were to have any gripe it would be with the mixing, it leaves little room to groove, metal is consuming enough without compressing it and oversampling it to the point where cranking it WAY up hurts. Apart from the aforementioned this album blends almost seamlessly with the old Oz albums, Ozzy soundsLike many I have waited many years for this album (since 79) and I'm not disappointed. If I were to have any gripe it would be with the mixing, it leaves little room to groove, metal is consuming enough without compressing it and oversampling it to the point where cranking it WAY up hurts. Apart from the aforementioned this album blends almost seamlessly with the old Oz albums, Ozzy sounds more like his solo self rather then the Ozzy of 'Never Say Die', but with rumors already circulating about another album I hope his drone he developed pretty much since No More Tears will vanish, either way I'm happy these guys reformed, i saw them live in Melbourne and apart from my kids being born was the single best night of my life. Long live these true legends.

    Bill Ward, please get in shape for the next album or tour, I'm sure I speak for all when I say we miss you.

    Terry Halmshaw Burrumbeet Australia.
    Expand
  5. Oct 5, 2013
    9
    13 is one hell of an ambitious undertaking for the godfathers of heavy metal, Black Sabbath. Three of the bands 4 founding members (Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, and Geezer Butler) reunited to record the bands first album since 1978. Founding drummer Bill Ward was replaced by former Rage Against the Machine drummer, Brad Wilk, for the recording of 13. The album is amazingly heavy considering13 is one hell of an ambitious undertaking for the godfathers of heavy metal, Black Sabbath. Three of the bands 4 founding members (Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, and Geezer Butler) reunited to record the bands first album since 1978. Founding drummer Bill Ward was replaced by former Rage Against the Machine drummer, Brad Wilk, for the recording of 13. The album is amazingly heavy considering the three original members now range between 64 and 65 years old. None of them have lost a step when it comes to laying down an album of unmistakeably Sabbath material. Iommi is truly at his best throughout the album, laying down solo after scorching solo over quintessentially Sabbath riffs. Butler's bass is as menacing and evil as ever; and Ozzy comes through with a powerful and impressive vocal performance. There are moments that collectively harken back to all of Black Sabbath's previous albums, while 13 as a whole has a somewhat updated sound, both production-wise with Rick Ruben's masterful skills, and in the songs themselves. There are still plenty of classic lyrics filled with battles of good and evil only from a bit more reflective perspective of age and wisdom. Overall, I wholeheartedly assert that 13 ranks among the best of Black Sabbath's albums and I can only imagine that both God and Satan would agree. Expand
  6. Sep 26, 2013
    8
    I first thought of comparing Black Sabbath 13 to Aliens vs. Predators, because on some level both are highly derivative of earlier releases. The above mentioned film lifted every scene from earlier Alien films to create a horrendous mess. At first I worried that this had happened to the Sabs new album too. I mean, the opening track I first mistook for a remake of "Black Sabbath" fromI first thought of comparing Black Sabbath 13 to Aliens vs. Predators, because on some level both are highly derivative of earlier releases. The above mentioned film lifted every scene from earlier Alien films to create a horrendous mess. At first I worried that this had happened to the Sabs new album too. I mean, the opening track I first mistook for a remake of "Black Sabbath" from the first LP and later I heard a song that I could almost swear was a reworking of NIB. But the more I listened, the more I understood. I mean, we don´t want Sabbath creating disco or reggaeton songs. And the songs on 13 could be slipped into Paranoid, Master of Reality, or Black Sabbath Volume 1 without anyone noticing that they were written 42-43 years later. So the Sabs did what they do best: create slightly schlocky but ultimately lovable songs. So I give the album a positive review and wish them the best, especially Tony Iommi, who I understand is battling lymphoma. Never say die! Expand
  7. Sep 14, 2013
    7
    Decided not to buy after hearing some songs on the radio. It is definitely Black Sabbath but more like Technical Ecstasy or Never Say Die. It is not the quality of Paranoid or Volume IV.
  8. Sep 7, 2013
    4
    Infinitely less appealing than The Devil You Know, this latest Black Sabbath album is well-crafted but, in the end, nothing other than a monument to boredom. The songs are completely devoid of intensity or energy, and Ozzy sounds unconvincing. Some good instrumental parts are just not enough.
  9. Aug 26, 2013
    7
    Even though it sucks that Bill Ward couldn't stay in the band, the addition of Brad Wilk was a nice touch. His more straightforward & in-your-face drumming style combined with Rick Rubin's clear but crunchy production really help this album feel like a 21st century update of Sabbath's classic style rather than just a rehashing. But that's not to say that the original members themselvesEven though it sucks that Bill Ward couldn't stay in the band, the addition of Brad Wilk was a nice touch. His more straightforward & in-your-face drumming style combined with Rick Rubin's clear but crunchy production really help this album feel like a 21st century update of Sabbath's classic style rather than just a rehashing. But that's not to say that the original members themselves didn't also do a really good job. One thing that really impressed while I was listening to this is the fact that even after 40+ years, Tony Iommi is still the master of the metal riff. All across this album the guitar work is just as heavy, memorable & atmospheric as it needs to be, if not more so, which immediately becomes apparent in the first notes of opening track “End of the Beginning”. I'd like to imagine that the long time between Sabbath albums for him was just spend writing riff after riff, and when the sessions for 13 started his brain was just overflowing with great ones. And Ozzy's vocal performance here is for the most part as good as it was on the first few albums. There's a flat note here & there but he still does a good job at getting that gloomy mood across without being melodramatic about it. Same goes for Geezer Butler's lyrics. A great example is “God Is Dead?”, which is from the perspective of a religious man questioning if people exploiting religion for personal gain & killing people in the name of it basically means God isn't there anymore, poignantly ending with “I don't believe that God is dead”. And there's a few other notable messages too, like anti-drug PSA “Methademic”, which is effectively if not a little preachy.

    Unfortunately though, 13 falls a bit short in some areas. The main one is that despite some great diversions (like the “Planet Caravan”-recalling acoustic track “Zeitgeist”) and the longer tracks going through various sections, there's an issue of sameness from track to track. And I think the area to blame for this is in the vocal melodies. For about half the songs here, they're structured so identically & in such a generic way in the verses that it takes away from each track's individual appeal & personality. Speaking of vocals, it's a nitpick I know but there's moments occasionally (particularly in “Loner”) where Ozzy throws out various typical rock song words like “Yeah!” and “C'mon!”, which can cause a disconnect from the lyrics. I dunno, maybe it's just me. There's also a very similar slow to mid-tempo feel throughout the album, and even though each track is fine on its own, I feel it would've helped to put in more fast & upbeat songs like bonus tracks “Methademic” & “Naïveté in Black” instead of less interesting ones like “Damaged Soul” or “Dear Father” to break up the potential monotony & make the album listen as a whole more interesting.

    That being said though, one track listing decision I absolutely love that they made is making 13 only 8 tracks (on the standard edition). I feel like one issue a lot of “classic” bands have making new albums is that they're used to just putting 8 or 9 great tracks on albums in the past, so when given the option with CD's & iTunes to expand the length, they splurge with 12-16 tracks that contain those good songs, but with a lot of boring filler tacked on. But here Black Sabbath knew that they needed to stick to the old format, which I greatly appreciate. Overall 13 isn't perfect, but it's a solid & respectable effort from a great band whose return is long overdue.

    Top 5 tracks: God Is Dead?, End of the Beginning, Age of Reason, Methademic, Zeitgeist
    Score: 78/100
    Expand
  10. Jun 23, 2013
    10
    This album is a grower. If you never cared for 1970-75 era Sabbath, then move along. But if you did... well, this is what we've all been waiting for. The urgency and heaviness from the best moments of original Sabbath yup. Multi-part songs with minimal repetition and endless new riffs yup. New, spare, clear production yup. The compression of sound is something to get used to, justThis album is a grower. If you never cared for 1970-75 era Sabbath, then move along. But if you did... well, this is what we've all been waiting for. The urgency and heaviness from the best moments of original Sabbath yup. Multi-part songs with minimal repetition and endless new riffs yup. New, spare, clear production yup. The compression of sound is something to get used to, just as the muddiness or "dry" sounds of Master of Reality and Vol. 4 respectively were unique to those records. Ozzy stays in his lower register to good effect. The lyrics, brilliantly, remain on the line between profound and hilarious, just as they always did. Tony and Geezer just rock on this album. The best any of these guys have managed since Sabotage this is now a ninth classic, to add to the first six with Ozzy and the first two with Dio. Expand
  11. Jun 22, 2013
    9
    The first Black Sabbath album with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978's Never Say Die! is an excellent comeback for the band that arguably invented heavy metal. 13 has the gloomy, bluesy vibe that defined the group's classic albums in the '70s. Ozzy's vocals may not be up to par these days, but the Prince of Darkness can still deliver a great performance. Tony Iommi's apocalyptic riffs and GeezerThe first Black Sabbath album with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978's Never Say Die! is an excellent comeback for the band that arguably invented heavy metal. 13 has the gloomy, bluesy vibe that defined the group's classic albums in the '70s. Ozzy's vocals may not be up to par these days, but the Prince of Darkness can still deliver a great performance. Tony Iommi's apocalyptic riffs and Geezer Butler's grumbling basslines propel the songs to glory. With original drummer Bill Ward unable to participate in the reunion, the drums on the album were performed by Rage Against the Machine's Brad Wilk, who managed to do a good job behind the kit (of course it would be better if Ward had been drumming). The album harks back to Sabbath's past musically, but it still sounds fresh. The only real problem with 13 is the overproduced sound quality, but that's just a minor distraction. In the end, 13 proves that Black Sabbath are still the masters of metal. Expand
  12. Jun 16, 2013
    6
    It takes me two songs to forget that this a "new" Black Sabbath album, and that Ozzy Osbourne is 65 years old. It takes me three songs to stop comparing it to the likes of Soundgarden's and Megadeth's etc. etc. recent reboots. It takes me four songs to actually start enjoying the "metal." And by the time the album is finished I actually start to like it. That said, the songs the bandIt takes me two songs to forget that this a "new" Black Sabbath album, and that Ozzy Osbourne is 65 years old. It takes me three songs to stop comparing it to the likes of Soundgarden's and Megadeth's etc. etc. recent reboots. It takes me four songs to actually start enjoying the "metal." And by the time the album is finished I actually start to like it. That said, the songs the band has chosen to promote as "singles" leaves me a bit mystified. "Is God Dead?" More like is Ozzy Osbourne on oxygen? No, he isn't. And for some reason I'm unable to take this album as seriously as I'd like to. And yet, it has some really authentic "Sabbath" moments that could have happened at any time over the last 40 years. A unique conundrum we may no experience for another half century (unless the two remaining Beatles get back together). Expand
  13. Jun 14, 2013
    8
    Pretty good album considering they haven't put out a true Black Sabbath album since the late 70's. Geezer's lyrics and Iommi's riffs are as spot on as they have ever been. Ozzy's vocals are surprising pretty clean. While Sabbath will never again put out songs like they did in the early 70's, they prove with this release they can still rock with the best of them. The only problem that I canPretty good album considering they haven't put out a true Black Sabbath album since the late 70's. Geezer's lyrics and Iommi's riffs are as spot on as they have ever been. Ozzy's vocals are surprising pretty clean. While Sabbath will never again put out songs like they did in the early 70's, they prove with this release they can still rock with the best of them. The only problem that I can see with "13" is that Ozzy's vocals are pretty forward. It just sounds like his vocals are louder than what they should be. I wish they would of included some of the bonus tracks. The bonus tracks are better than some songs on the album. Expand
  14. Jun 14, 2013
    5
    One of the most hyped albums in years. Understandably so. Cutting to the chase. If you're a fan of Ozzy you will very likely eat this up. If you're not his enormous shortcomings will likely cause you to feel Ozzy's vocals ruin this otherwise well arranged album. Love the riffs, the bass, the concept but the vocals are tedious
  15. Jun 13, 2013
    7
    I'll give the guys credit for coming back and putting out another album with most of the original lineup but, at the end of the day, this will only be decent Sabbath album in the long run. Their old sound is there in a few of the songs. 1, 4, and 5 really brought back alot of memories from their old stuff. God is Dead? is probably one of the worst songs on the album and I"m not sure whyI'll give the guys credit for coming back and putting out another album with most of the original lineup but, at the end of the day, this will only be decent Sabbath album in the long run. Their old sound is there in a few of the songs. 1, 4, and 5 really brought back alot of memories from their old stuff. God is Dead? is probably one of the worst songs on the album and I"m not sure why they chose that as their single. The deluxe edition of this album is the one to get as the 3 songs they include on there are all on the same level, if not better than, most of the other songs on the album. Methademic is a very fast paced song that sounds nothing like the rest of the album that is very good and Damaged Soul is probably the best song from the 8 songs on the standard edition copy. But this album really won't do much for them in the long run as it's fairly forgettable with zero standouts. If you are coming into this looking for another War Pigs or Iron Man level of song then you'll be severely disappointed. Expand
  16. Jun 11, 2013
    8
    You can hear the rust a little bit on this album as Ozzy has to go into the darkness for the first time since leaving Black Sabbath. It's bluesy, metal, 1-4-5 formula that launched the careers of countless metal bands to follow, it blasting through on each track. If you're looking for Black Sabbath to go to drop C or possibly go modal than you will be disappointed. If you're looking forYou can hear the rust a little bit on this album as Ozzy has to go into the darkness for the first time since leaving Black Sabbath. It's bluesy, metal, 1-4-5 formula that launched the careers of countless metal bands to follow, it blasting through on each track. If you're looking for Black Sabbath to go to drop C or possibly go modal than you will be disappointed. If you're looking for solid riffs, great bass play with a great fill in by the RATM drummer than you're going to get what you came looking for in this release. Collapse
  17. Jun 11, 2013
    10
    I have prayed to God for almost a decade I am 20 that Ozzy would reunite with Sabbath and create one last masterpiece album. Thank you God and Black Sabbath for now my dream has come true. The album closes with a similar rain that started of the first album, my life is now complete :)
    This will be the last Sabbath album to be created with the real front-man Sir Osbourne, so I hope fans
    I have prayed to God for almost a decade I am 20 that Ozzy would reunite with Sabbath and create one last masterpiece album. Thank you God and Black Sabbath for now my dream has come true. The album closes with a similar rain that started of the first album, my life is now complete :)
    This will be the last Sabbath album to be created with the real front-man Sir Osbourne, so I hope fans do not ignore it and actually go and purchase it to show that love for real rock music still exists.
    My last point is that Bill Ward not being on the album is a shame but not a reason to not love the album, if he did not want to accept the terms presented to him then he should be looked down on not the rest of the band, and Wilks plays very well on 13 so no complaints only praise from me. The album deserves a 9 but I give it a ten to balance out the 1's many angry pro bill ward fan-boys will put under the rating, please do not do that for it is very unfair and childish... may the true metal gods live forever in our souls!
    Expand
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. 80
    No, 13 isn't as good as their first six albums--what is?--but it's a million times better than most of what followed. [Summer 2013, p.86]
  2. Jul 8, 2013
    60
    13 gets tiresomely monolithic and ponderous.
  3. Jul 3, 2013
    70
    This is perhaps the group's most straightforward release outside of their intermittent collaboration with late vocalist Ronnie James Dio. [Jul 2013, p.52]