13 - Black Sabbath
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. Jun 20, 2013
    100
    In its eight track, Ozzy, Tony, and bassist Geezer Butler have managed to once again capture that special essence which makes them so magical. And it's bloody fantastic. [1 Jun 2013, p.52]
  2. Jun 10, 2013
    90
    Here, every riff is full of life, the chemistry popping out in the open spaces, Ozzy's melancholy once again finally, and fittingly, overtop the soundtrack of metallic joy and madness, the whole thing combining to create a perfect metal sound the way only the masters can.
  3. Jun 10, 2013
    90
    The influence of early Sabbath has become so omnipresent that it's come back to influence its very creators 40 years later, but the results are unexpectedly brilliant, apocalyptic, and essential for any die-hard metal fan.
  4. 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]
  5. Jun 27, 2013
    80
    Rubin’s experiment has paid off handsomely, even though at times you’ll find yourself comparing the new songs to any number of familiar signature tunes from Sabbath’s catalogue.
  6. Jun 17, 2013
    80
    They might be old, they might be poorly and they might be running scared from their wives, but on 13 Black Sabbath roll back the years and sound young again--and blacker than ever. [Jul 2013, p.102]
  7. Jun 11, 2013
    80
    The spirit of early Sabbath permeates 13, which is a solid record for those with realistic expectations.
  8. Jun 10, 2013
    80
    Sabbath have produced a muscular, urgent sounding record that does no disservice whatsoever to those early metal masterpieces.
  9. 80
    In expressing all of these [themes] without tumbling into absurdity, it helps to have a klaxon whine like Ozzy's delivering them, while Tony Iommi cranks out those trademark slow, molten-lead riffs that trundle through 13 like tank tracks.
  10. 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]
  11. Jun 11, 2013
    70
    The generic gloom of “Loner” is the only flat spot among the eight songs.
  12. 70
    There aren’t any future gems here on the order of “Paranoid” or the immortal “Iron Man” but these songs could have been album tracks on any of the band’s early recordings.
  13. 70
    Despite the volume, 13 is a return to form--if a somewhat obvious one--and an example of perseverance.
  14. 70
    The good news is that 13 is an amalgam of everything you’d want from a new Black Sabbath album featuring three of the original members.
  15. Jun 10, 2013
    70
    In the end, 13 isn't what every Sabbath die-hard dreamed it might be: a true pick-up-where-they-left-off comeback for the group's founding quartet. But the record does belong in the view of every metalhead--not just because such a seminal band still deserves obligatory props, but because, imperfections aside, the record embodies the kernel of the original Sabbath idea.
  16. Jun 7, 2013
    70
    13 does what you’d expect it to, no more, no less.
  17. Jun 6, 2013
    70
    Of course, Black Sabbath can't fully turn the clock back to the beginning--but they can still do a pretty good job of sounding like the beginning of the end. [Jul 2013, p.70]
  18. Jun 3, 2013
    70
    13 is steered by superproducer/superfan Rick Rubin, and it shows that, for all their innovations, Sabbath were a product of their era – at core, they're a blues-rooted prog-rock band, and 13 may surprise some people in its proto-­metal traditionalism.
  19. Jun 13, 2013
    68
    13 is primarily a journey into familiar territory, one that yet again focuses on Black Sabbath's acumen for vintage heavy metal.
  20. Jul 3, 2013
    67
    The music roils and rumbles, allowing the group's folk roots to peek through, but it only sometimes rages or roars.
  21. 67
    The result is surprisingly adventurous, considering the monochrome palette of Osbourne's latter-day solo work.... Still, Rubin makes too much here feel dry and disappointingly small.
  22. Jun 10, 2013
    63
    Wilk does an adequate job on these extended tracks, but it’s the vitality of Iommi on guitar and Butler on bass that impresses.... Butler’s lyrics find their perfect match in Osbourne. In these songs, the singer wrestles with demons--psychosis, self-abuse, existential dread--with which he’s had considerable personal experience. It makes 13 something a bit more credible than just a souvenir for a reunion tour.
  23. Jul 8, 2013
    60
    13 gets tiresomely monolithic and ponderous.
  24. Jun 17, 2013
    60
    Iommi occasionally apes Slayer's squealing solos, but otherwise this is vintage Sabbathian, slow-grind all the way. [Jul 2013, p.82]
  25. Jun 13, 2013
    60
    It is a bit Sabbath-by-numbers, but given the weight of history (it's their first studio album together in 35 years), you can see why they would kind of back into the thing.
  26. Jun 10, 2013
    60
    13 is ultimately a solid, back-to-basics return that proves Black Sabbath is still the exemplary blueprint for heavy metal.
  27. It sounds like a Sabbath album, from the tortuous lyrics to the eight-minute track lengths. But something about it feels wrong.
  28. Jun 10, 2013
    60
    Black Sabbath's first album with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978 is bluesier, leaner and substantially less cringe-making than a great many reunion cash jobs.
  29. 60
    With the hard-hitting yet loose-limbed playing of Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk, there is a real sense of top professionals at work.... Osbourne’s singing, by contrast, is strangely unexpressive, perhaps because there is no real possibility of emotional connection with lyrics that strain for grandiose effect but are flattened by clunking phrases and trite rhyming schemes.
  30. Jun 6, 2013
    60
    Osbourne has talked, a little more realistically, about wanting to end his recording career with Black Sabbath "the right way", as opposed to with 1978's Never Say Die, an album he was too incapacitated even to finish. For all 13's flaws, it would be churlish to suggest they haven't succeeded in that aim.
  31. Jun 11, 2013
    58
    The head of steam 13 builds in its second half flattens with “Dear Father,” which concludes the album with an anticlimactic plop.
  32. Jun 14, 2013
    40
    13 certainly isn’t the all-blunts-blazing return Sabbath pledged, and with songwriting that imitates rather than evokes the past, all the goodwill in the world doesn’t change the fact that Sabbath has failed to deliver on its promise.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. 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 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!
    Full Review »
  2. 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 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. Full Review »
  3. 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 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). Full Review »