"God Is Dead?", the brand new video from BLACK SABBATH, will make its online debut on Monday, June 17. The song is the debut single from "13", the first BLACK SABBATH record in 35 years to feature singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler all playing together.
The "God Is Dead?" clip was directed by controversial filmmaker and social activist Peter Joseph, who is best known for his counter-culture/social revolution film series under the banner title of "Zeitgeist", meaning the "general intellectual, moral and cultural climate of an era."
What was deemed more of a "short film" than a music video, the work had its world premiere screening at the band's June 6 album release in Hollywood's Harmony Gold Preview Center. Comprised of symbology extracted from his documentary trilogy, coupled with layers of imposed archival imagery of the band, marking their history in a unique abstraction, the "God is Dead?" official music video is a sign of the times.
In an interview, Joseph stated about his collaboration with BLACK SABBATH: "After an initial hesitancy in the direction proposed using just existing footage from my films, I quickly realized it was to be an extremely interesting and original expression. The gesture of the song 'God is Dead?', with its subtle reflection on the often dark world we inhabit and questioning of how such a world can be if there was a god, resonated with me."
He continued: "It was expressed at the start that my work had been an influence on the song to begin with, so that was very inspiring to hear.
"I grew up listening to early BLACK SABBATH and am a big fan of the core message. Songs such as 'War Pigs' and the anti-war, pro-unity gesture found in those early albums are very much in line with my values. I was honored to help."
A musician as well as a filmmaker and outspoken social critic, Joseph has run the gamut of socially conscious expressions, including founding the global sustainability advocacy group The Zeitgeist Movement, along with being the founder/curator of the annual Zeitgeist Media Arts Festival, which holds its annual event each year in Hollywood for socially conscious art. He hosts an online satire web series called "Culture in Decline" and is in production of a new feature film series called "InterReflections".
"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!"
Osbourne went on the BBC in England to discuss "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."
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.
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 April 20 in Auckland.
"God Is Dead?" audio stream: