Scott Kara of The New Zealand Herald has written a track-by-track review of "13", the first BLACK SABBATH record in 35 years to feature singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler all playing together. Check it out at this location.
Regarding "End Of The Beginning", which SABBATH will perform on the season finale of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" on Wednesday, May 15 at 10:00 p.m. ET on CBS, Kara wrote: "The first thing you notice — apart from Tony Iommi's glorious, grinding guitar licks, and the brain-rattling bass and rumbling drums — is that unique SABBATH tempo. For any other band, it would sound plodding, but they somehow turn it into a fearsome lurch. While 'End Of The Beginning' is no 'War Pigs', it's an impressive epic that moves from foot-planting heaviness, to eerie tranquility, and then into one of Ozzy's tender serenades."
On the topic of "God Is Dead?", Kara wrote: "The first single off the album — which, at almost nine minutes and the longest on the record, isn't exactly radio friendly — comes creeping and crawling out of the speakers like a prowler. But then it rumbles and pummels its way to an early crescendo like a brawler. And you can't help but laugh and throw a cheeky heavy metal goat salute when Ozzy sings a line like, 'Out of the gloom, I rise up out of my tomb, into the impending doom.'"
"13" is due out June 11 on Vertigo/Republic. This marks BLACK SABBATH's return to Vertigo, their original label, and the group's first studio album together since 1978's "Never Say Die!"
Details of the album's deluxe edition surfaced on Friday (April 19), with the band revealing that the eight-song effort will be accompanied by three bonus tracks called "Methademic", "Peace Of Mind" and "Pariah".
Several versions of "13" are available for pre-order, including a standard CD, a double CD that includes a second disc of exclusive bonus audio, a heavyweight vinyl album in a gatefold sleeve and a "Super Deluxe Box Set" containing the double CD, the vinyl album, an exclusive DVD documentary on the band's reunion, 13 photographic prints and hand-written lyrics.
"13" track listing:
01. End Of The Beginning (8:05)
02. God Is Dead? (8:52)
03. Loner (4:59)
04. Zeitgeist (4:37)
05. Age Of Reason (7:01)
06. Live Forever (4:46)
07. Damaged Soul (7:51)
08. Dear Father (7:20)
Deluxe-edition bonus tracks:
09. Methademic (5:57)
10. Peace Of Mind (3:40)
11. Pariah (5:34)
Total running time (with bonus tracks): 68 minutes, 42 seconds
The drum tracks on the album were laid down by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE sticksman Brad Wilk following original drummer Bill Ward's decision to bow out of the reunion.
Fan-filmed video footage of BLACK SABBATH performing "End Of The Beginning" on April 22 at Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand can be seen below.
Osbourne went on the BBC in England to discuss the band's new single, "God Is Dead?" and the inspiration behind the track. Ozzy explained, "I was in somebody's office and there was a magazine on a table and it just said, 'God Is Dead', and I suddenly thought about 9/11 and all these terrorist things and religion and how many people have died in the name of religion. When you think about the tragedy that's happened throughout time, it just came in my head. You'd think by now that their God would have stopped people dying in the name of, so I just starting thinking that people must be thinking, 'Where is God? God is dead' and it just hit me."
Ozzy added that the question mark at the end of the title is his way of showing that he's not sure about the answer himself, saying, "At the end of the thing, there's still a bit of hope because there I sing that I don't believe that God is dead. It's just a question of when you see so many dreadful people killing each other with bombs, and blowing the tube trains up and the World Trade Center."
Ozzy told an Australian radio station that "13" is "mind-blowing," adding, "It's better than my wildest dreams; it's so good."
SABBATH kicked off its world tour in support of "13" on Saturday (April 20) in Auckland.
"End Of The Beginning" performance:
"God Is Dead?" audio stream: