Legendary heavy metal band BLACK SABBATH has set "13" as the title of its much-anticipated new album. The group's first LP with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978 will be released in June via Vertigo/Universal Republic in the U.S. and Vertigo in all other territories. The drum tracks on the CD were laid down by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE sticksman Brad Wilk following original drummer Bill Ward's decision to bow out of the reunion.
Osbourne, Tony Iommi (guitar) and Geezer Butler (bass) recorded the album primarily in Los Angeles with producer Rick Rubin.
In advance of the CD's release, BLACK SABBATH will head to New Zealand, Australia and Japan for live performances. Additional tour plans will be revealed in the coming months.
Iommi, Osbourne and Butler discussed their new album in a video interview posted at NME.com. Asked how Rubin influenced the band's approach to writing together again, Butler explained, "He sat us down, put the first album on and said 'listen to this', imagine it's 1969, you've just done that, what would you do next?"
Iommi added, "It's taken on the flavor of the old stuff in the way we put things together, but with a different look on it."
Back in August, Butler said SABBATH had recorded 15 tracks, with 12 making the final cut, including a song entitled "God Is Dead".
Ward in May 2012 announced again that he was declining to join his former bandmates for its scheduled 2012 dates, as well as the recording of a new album, due to a contractual dispute.
He also allegedly had his lawyers direct SABBATH to remove him from photos of the band posted at the official BLACK SABBATH web site "so as to not give the public the wrong impression about his involvement in the current BLACK SABBATH lineup," according to a statement issued by the band's publicist.
Butler issued a lengthy retort at his own web site, writing that Ward "hadn't told any one of us he was having contractual problems, and frankly those things are worked out between our representatives, and never between the four of us, let alone in public."
Until now, Iommi told The Pulse Of Radio a while back that the members of SABBATH stayed friendly even when there were legal or other issues going on. "We've always been talking. We've always been in touch with each other," he said. "There might be a lawsuit in the thing between us, but we still talk to each other like nothing's happened, you know."
Asked if there is any chance of Ward rejoining the band, Iommi said last October, "We'll always have a heart for Bill, but I think it's gone past that now, because it's gone on so long that I don't see that happening at the moment. Maybe at some point we might [play together again]."
Iommi, Osbourne and Butler performed live together for the first time in seven years on May 19, 2012, playing an intimate show at the 3,800-person O2 Academy in SABBATH's hometown of Birmingham, England. The concert, which served as a warm-up for the group's appearance at the following month's Download festival, was laced with emotion and drama: it was the first live appearance for Iommi since being diagnosed with cancer, and it was the first with stand-in drummer Tommy Clufetos, making the split official between Ward and the rest of SABBATH.
BLACK SABBATH took part in a photo shoot on November 30, 2012 with famed British photographer/artist Sam Taylor-Wood.