The members of BLACK SABBATH took part in a press conference yesterday (Thursday, April 18) at The Langham Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand as they prepared for their two shows this weekend (Saturday, April 20 and Monday, April 22) at The Vector Arena. SABBATH's record company, Universal, invited a select group of music fans to get a first listen to the band's upcoming album, "13", and singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler were also on hand for a brief question-and-answer session after the playback had ended.
According to The New Zealand Herald, Universal issued a request to media to refrain from any questions about Osbourne's personal life — specifically his rumored split with wife Sharon and being back on the booze and drugs — or risk being removed from the press conference. Ozzy did, however, joke about using cocaine during the recording of "13". He also responded to a question about whether he was "okay" — in reference to his personal life and his admission on Facebook this week that he had been taking drugs and drinking after years of sobriety — by saying, "Okay with what? Life? I'm still breathing."
Regarding "13", the first SABBATH album to feature Ozzy, Iommi and Butler together since 1978's "Never Say Die!", after which Osbourne was fired because of his drug and alcohol use, Ozzy said, "I always felt like there was unfinished business, so to do this album is great. It's rounded it off all very nicely."
The first single from "13", began streaming online Thursday and is expected to arrive at rock radio stations on Friday (April 19). The song, called "God Is Dead?", is nearly nine minutes long and begins with a soft guitar, builds into a slow, doom-laden stomp, then switches halfway through into a more uptempo riff that comes the closest to the sound of the classic early SABBATH albums.
The Rick Rubin-produced "13" comes out on June 11.
Brad Wilk of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE provided drum tracks in lieu of original drummer Bill Ward.
SABBATH will also make a rare TV appearance to perform a new song called "End Of The Beginning" on the season finale of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation". The episode is set to air on Wednesday, May 15 at 10:00 p.m. ET on CBS.
Press conference (audio courtesy of The 13th Floor):
"God Is Dead?" audio stream: