It has been 35 years since Ozzy Osbourne recorded an entire album with Black Sabbath. That album 'Never Say Die' is my favorite Sabbath album with Ozzy but many MANY fans disagree with me and feel it was a horrible way to end his tenure with the band.
After a few listens I think that '13' is not a good way to end things, if this is to be it for Black Sabbath.
Produced by Rick Rubin, the album starts with 'End Of The Beginning', an 8 minute song that goes absolutely nowhere. It's monotone, flat and lacks any emotion. Sadly... this is my review of every song on '13'. Only the single 'God Is Dead?' has even a slight hint of passion. In fact it's the only song that has any interesting lyrical content at all.
As I look at the careers of Black Sabbath and Ozzy (solo) I have discovered a huge identity crisis with both.
Since Ozzy left Black Sabbath in 1979 there have been four vocalist who have recorded with Sabbath; Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes and Tony Martin. Each singer brought their incredible talents and redefined the sound of the band while they were in it. Sure Tony Iommi's riffs fueled the band, but the singers molded the songs and direction.
In Ozzy's case, his sound and success were the result of his guitar players. Randy Rhodes and Jake E. Lee brought flash and excitement. Zak Wilde brought a uncontrolled insanity and power to the albums he did with Ozzy. Without those three... nothing.
So as I look at '13' I see and hear no direction within the band or producer. With a catalog and career like Sabbath, Ozzy and Rick Rubin I would have expected a lot more than what we got.
Matman Rating: 2 out of 5 'miss fires all over the place'