When I heard that Ozzy Osbourne had returned to Black Sabbath and that they are going to write and record new music, I was excited. I was expecting this state of the art album, that would stay true to the Black Sabbath legacy, and an album that defines a new modern legacy for the band.
Then I heard that Rick Rubin was hired and to be honest I was concerned. Rick Rubin was a master producer. These days, he just gets bands to recreate albums that they have already created. I have listened to the new Black Sabbath album a lot on Spotify.
The problem that I have with it, is that it tries too hard to recreate the first four Black Sabbath albums. However, one thing I do like is that they have stayed away from the Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Solo – Chorus structure.
God Is Dead should have been a fantastic song, only if it was edited down to about six minutes. The clean tone intro moving into the heavy crunchy riff stays true to the Black Sabbath legacy, while also creating a new modern legacy for the band. At one stage, Diary Of A Madman popped in my head. In my opinion, the extra three minutes just drag it out.
End Of The Beginning tries to recreate the song Black Sabbath just a bit too much. Loner also falls into the same boat, borrowing very heavily from N.I.B. Live Forever borrows from Fairies Wear Boots.
Zeitgeist on the other hand was surprising, with it’s Emerson Lake Palmer From The Beginning vibe.
Damaged Soul also falls into the surprising category, as it is a blues dirge in the vein of Dazed and Confused from Led Zeppelin merged with Dirty Women, Into The Void and Electric Funeral from Sabbath. Iommi is at his best when he references the blues genre for Sabbath and I don’t believe he gets the respect he deserves for it. His lead break is up there with all the blues greats.
Dear Father also has that Into The Void heaviness, however it really borrows a lot from War Pigs and Behind The Wall of Sleep. I really like that Beatles She’s So Heavy chord progression.
Peace Of Mind is a D side Ozzy Osbourne solo cut.
If there is a song to recommend as almost perfect, it is Age of Reason. It has everything in it that is Black Sabbath. It is a nod to the past, a nod to the present and I am sure in twenty years time a new generation of musicians will be crediting this song as an influence.
Methademic is up there as well. As with Age of Reason, I believe that this song will be talked about by a whole new generation of Black Sabbath fans, brought up on 13. How good is that sinister acoustic intro, and boogie driven bass verse? Iommi is in his element, rolling riff after riff. There are so many blues references that he brings up in the riffs and he makes it sound effortlessly.
Pariah has a riff that is so familiar, I just cant pin point the song. At first I was thinking Guns N Roses, then I was thinking Deep Purple, then I was trying to rack my brain on a Black Sabbath song. This is the kind of derivative work that I like. It’s okay to reference yourself or another band, you just need to do it in a way, that invokes the feeling that Pariah invoked in me; it is familiar, yet i cant pinpoint it.
Overall, it is a comeback album that could set the foundation for the next album. It has an album that the good, the bad and the ugly.