This is much better than we had any reason to expect. With the brain of an overactive peanut and the religious backtracking you might expect from men of a certain age, if you can get past the silliness you’ll discover Back Sabbath have done the difficult: provided 53 minutes of Gothic heavy metal as invented by the boys back in 1968.
Ozzy Osborne sounds about the same as he always does and Tony Iomni seems to sink through the mix with a certain beauty and curdled milk intensity and bassist Geezer Butler along with Rise Above The Machine drummer Brad Wilk provided a consistent as always vision of life as hell with a light at the end of the tunnel even if nobody knows quite what direction it is pointing in. The first album of new material featuring Ozzy since 1978’s Never Say Die, it could’ve been much much worse. Hand it to producer Rick Rubin who has always been excellent at producing bands the way they really sound, let’s Black Sabbath do the work for him.
The problem here is that you have to get past the self evident truth that lyricist Geezer is a Birmingham butthead. Nothing he says is real, no position he takes reflects anything in this world. He is like a Coheed And Cambria type lyricist, telling stories that don’t much signify. Sometimes, “eventual extinction of the human race” Ozzy intones but really, it is kinda doubtful when put like that. I mean, really? That’s off a very good song called “Age Of Reason” so you might not want to worry too much.
The album opens with two, eight minute salvos that bang you to attention. “End Of The Begining” is the first song, a cruncher by the numbers with the real theme here -growing old, hiding somewhere underneath. The bass is really powerful and the sense of a downward spiral is brilliant. “God Is Dead’ (Ozzy doesn’t believe it) is the first single and second song and about as original as the title would assume and the tempo all the way through this album is mid to put it mildly: Black Sabbath owe nothing to any Metal than its own, it hasn’t mashed with anything but its own doom and gloom. 16 minutes in and the band has made their point though they leave one of the best for the end, the penultimate track “Damaged Soul” is 8 minutes of blues.
By my reckoning that makes 24 minutes of first rate music at the very least and I am not a fan, by the way. I always found Black Sabbath a little too silly for my tastes but Ozzy, who has had a pretty wild career, has done the right thing by his band mates and all of them owe Rick Rubin a debt for leaving em to it.
TaylorSwift’s “The Era Tour” Reaches MetLife Arena, May 28th, 2023, Reviewed
tried way too hard and ended up a crushing bore
US Top Ten Albums Tracking 5-19-23 – 5-25-23
Morgan is the first country star with twelve consecutive weeks at # 1 since Billy Ray Cyrus 30 years ago
Sneak Peaks: Upcoming New Album Releases 6-2-23 – 6-8-23
excellent, deeply melodic, indie rock
Going Steady: New Singles 5-26-23 – 6-1-23 Reviewed
sort of Neil Young without the head cold and in full pop mode.
L.A. Burning, West Coast Concert Picks, May 29th To June 4th
Grace Jones will be at OUTLOUD Music Fest
UK Top 10 Albums 5-26-23 – 6-1-23
outsold the rest of the Official Albums Chart Top 10 combined
UK Top 10 Singles 5-26-23 – 6-1-23
an EDM plonker on top
Dead Babies: Helmut Berger And Martin Amis Leave Us
about how time decays us
The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 5-26-23 – 6-1-23 Reviewed
a major slice of bad news
The Cure At The Hollywood Bowl, Wednesday, May 24th, 2023, Reviewed
The most heart-pulsing moments took us back through the past 45 years.