Band Members on record : Ozzy Osbourne (Vocals), Tony Iommi (Guitar), Geezer Butler (Bass) and Brad Wilk (Drums)
Black Sabbath : 13
Year Released : 2013
Produced by Rick Rubin
Price Range: $40-50AUD
Speed: 33 1/3RPM
Album Before : Forbidden (1995 release)
Album After : This was their last studio album before calling it a day
Further Listening: Stonefield - Far from Earth
LP : 2 x 180 gm , Black
Mood for enjoying: Best enjoyed towards the end of the week or over the weekend when feeling optimistic about things. The lyrics might make you reflect a lot about your current surroundings and feelings. Musically solid and provides a small pump up when the band hits their stride during most lengthy songs.
Track Listing: LP 1 :
Side A End of the Beginning - 8:05
God is Dead? - 8:52 Side B
Loner - 4:59
Zeitgeist - 4:37
LP 2 :
Age of Reason - 7:01
Live Forever - 4:46
Damaged Soul - 7:51
Dear Father - 7:20
What's in the Sleeve ? I did think that because this was Black Sabbaths last studio album ever that they may have thrown in a bit more inside the sleeve but they might have released an expanded version later down the track. The glossy finish on the gatefold sleeve is a nice touch and lyrics on the slip cases of LP1 and LP2. One of the cleanest and crisply produced records in my collection. A fitting finale for the boys from Birmingham, UK.
"Rise Up, Resist and be the Master of your Fate! Don't look back, Live for Today, Tomorrow is too late " ~ End of the Beginning - Side A
Welcome to Spin #1 - Black Sabbath : 13 I chose this record as the first "Spin" as it seemed like a fitting choice. This being Black Sabbaths swansong record and their end starts the beginning of R'N R with Rylo.
Basically my wife and I decided to review records in our collection due to our passion for music and large amount of time due to world events. We have a modest collection so far that one day will be handed down to our children and its in the region of 450-550 records. If you're not that into metal / doom metal then you don't need to worry as we have a pretty vast range of styles. I will try to cover the whole collection and thought you would like to come on that journey.
There is nothing better than a bit of Rest and Relaxation to music in order to better your mood and fulfil your soul.
Ok so this was played on a set up consisting of my Sherwood Turntable (PM-9805) and Sherwood Receiver (RX-4508) complete with 4 x Sherwood Bookshelf speakers spaced evenly across our loungeroom. Sometimes I have to play it loud and having a toddler and under 1 year old doesn't allow for that. This is when I can either play through my Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones or take it to the entertainment outside area on my Audio Technica Turntable (AT-LP60BXT) and Marshall Woburn II Speaker. I know that a few people always ask about record storage and tips around young children, which I will delve into at a later date.
Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):
From the start, this album feels both nostalgic to their earlier stuff and also new at the same time without changing who they are. Black Sabbath does Doom metal better than anyone and kicks off the album with two lengthy songs to get the listener hooked. From first spin I knew that they would get pretty favourable reviews.
'End of the Beginning' and 'God is Dead?' have a similar progression throughout but makes you feel like your not just listening to the same song over and over. Slow and balanced start, catchy lyrics (see above lyric insert) and a frantic ending mean that Sabbath are leaving nothing left on the table. It's a tough call to pick which song is the stronger and I can see why they lead off the record. Daughter is roughly 7 months old and this is her first listen. She seems to be pretty soothed by the music and yes its never too early to introduce your children to quality music. Time to flip to Side B.
The next song 'Loner' is shorter in runtime and punchier straight away. Guitar intro and Ozzy vocals really clear and ontop on this track. Not sure if its intended but the music does feel a lot more in the background initially. I know that Geezer Butler writes a lot of the lyrics for the band but not sure if its a self reflective track or a track written for Loner's in a general sense. Whilst listening to this track, I did find myself thinking of the Ozzy solo album -'The Ultimate Sin' and the second song called 'Secret Loser'. Worth a listen if you haven't heard much of his solo stuff.
The second song on Side B is 'Zeitgeist' and a clear throwback to 'Planet Caravan' off the second Sabbath album, 'Paranoid'. Ozzy starts it off with his trademark laugh before the airy guitar and bongos take over. A much slower pace and different method of recording vocals. If I remember correctly, Ozzy sang through a pedastal fan to get the vocal effect on the song 'Planet Caravan'. Its still recognisable as a Sabbath song but distinctly different to everything else on '13'. Very easy to sing along to - "Lost in time I wonder, "Will my ship be found?" 'The almost acoustic feel on the fourth song and midway point of the album is a nice touch. The song just fades out with slow strumming by Iommi and even though it wouldn't be played at their live show, definitely worthy of its place on the album. Time to remove LP1 and put on LP2.
Now we are listening to Side C with the songs ' Age of Reason' and 'Live Forever'. Just closing my eyes and trying to hear everything on offer through the speakers. It feels a lot punchier with your eyes closed and especially after the lightness of 'Zeitgeist' just before it. Liking the drum intro which leads into the riff by Iommi. Chugging along nicely before Ozzy asks us "Do you hear the thunder, raging in the sky?". The detail on this pressing is really evident on this song so far. The song has a distinct change around the 2:30 point and returns to a faster paced tempo at 4:00. Whilst listening to this one, the Iommi solo at the end makes the feet tap and the hands play the air guitar. Daughter is looking at me with the look of "Oh dad" all over her face. The song abruptly ends before heading into 'Live Forever'. The chorus on this one makes me sing along out loud.. Maybe the saddest song of the album if you really take in the lyrics being sung by Ozzy. Time to flip to Side D.
Ok so final side of the final studio album by Sabbath. 'Damaged Soul' starts off with some backwards recordings and faint hard to decipher words being spoken. Like a record is spinning backwards and very hard to hear. I'll have to play this again when wearing the Sennheiser headphones to hear the deeper sounds. It just didn't come through as intended on my set up but still a cool feature. Song has that bluesy riff being used and stands out from other tracks on this record so far.
The theme of the album is all about ending and balance between Life and Death and God and Satan. Never reflected better than in the lyric "I don't mind dying, Cause I'm already dead. Pray not for the living, I'll live in your head". The song gets to a slow point when the bass of Geezer takes over and you just feel darker at that moment. Then it explodes with Iommi showing off his best and I think I hear Ozzy on harmonica. (Another nod to the earlier years).
The last song on the record is 'Dear Father' , a song directed to the Father of all creation has Ozzy asking the hard questions. with no answers returned. The song runs for 7:20 and follows the similar recipe of the longer songs on this album. The song then builds up until it ends in the sound of a storm and rainfall. This creates a loop to the start of their first record - 'Black Sabbath'. Once again this is small detail that was executed nicely. For me the favourite songs on this album would be : "End of the Beginning" for its lyrics alone and 'Age of Reason' for the drums at the start. Sadly, this really is the End but they didn't overstay their welcome at all. Having seen them play during 'The End' tour in Sydney (2016) they felt like they had another few years in them or could keep going with studio albums. I know Ozzy said he wanted to focus on his solo career but who knows... is it the End ? or the Beginning? I know after listening to this record, I would welcome one more go around.
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Until our next Spin, be kind to your loved ones and be kind to your wax!