13 (Black Sabbath album)

Last updated

Black Sabbath 13.jpg
Studio album by
Released10 June 2013 (2013-06-10)
RecordedAugust 2012 – January 2013
StudioShangri La Studios
(Malibu, California)
Tone Hall
(Lapworth, Warwickshire, England)
Producer Rick Rubin
Black Sabbath chronology
The End
Singles from 13
  1. "God Is Dead?"
    Released: 19 April 2013
  2. "End of the Beginning"
    Released: 15 May 2013 [1]
  3. "Loner"
    Released: 17 October 2013 [2]

13 is the 19th and final studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath. The album was released on 10 June 2013 in Europe [3] and 11 June 2013 in North America, [4] via Vertigo Records and Republic Records in the United States, and via Vertigo Records worldwide. [5] It is the only studio album released by Black Sabbath since Forbidden (1995), and was the band's first studio recording with original singer Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler since the live album Reunion (1998), which contained two new studio tracks. It was also the first studio album with Osbourne since Never Say Die! (1978), and with Butler since Cross Purposes (1994), the first since Never Say Die! not to feature longtime keyboardist Geoff Nicholls, and the first since The Eternal Idol (1987) on the Vertigo label (outside the United States and Canada).

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Black Sabbath British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.

Vertigo Records British record label

Vertigo Records is a record company, which originated in the United Kingdom. It was a subsidiary of the Philips/Phonogram record label, launched in 1969 to specialise in progressive rock and other non-mainstream musical styles. Today it is operated by Universal Music UK.


Black Sabbath's original line-up first began work on a new studio album in 2001 with producer Rick Rubin. [6] The album's development was delayed over a 10-year period, as Osbourne resumed his solo career while the rest of the band members went on to pursue other projects, including GZR and Heaven & Hell. When Black Sabbath announced the end of its hiatus on 11 November 2011, the band announced that they would restart work on a new album with Rubin. [7] In addition to original members Osbourne, Butler and guitarist Tony Iommi, the band was joined at the recording sessions by drummer Brad Wilk, of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, following original drummer Bill Ward's decision to not participate in the reunion, due to a "contractual dispute." [5]

Rick Rubin American music producer

Frederick Jay Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings and also established American Recordings. With the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Geto Boys, and Run-DMC, Rubin helped popularize hip hop music. Rubin has also worked with artists from other genres such as AC/DC, Johnny Cash, Justin Timberlake, Metallica, Slayer, System of A Down, Rage Against The Machine and Slipknot amongst others.


GZR was an American heavy metal band led by Black Sabbath bassist/lyricist Geezer Butler. The band has actually been marketed with three different names on their three releases. In 1995, the band was marketed as g//z/r. In 1997, it was merely geezer, and in 2005, it was GZR. Most fans refer to the band as Geezer, although Butler himself refers to the band name as "gee-zed-R." This incarnation of the band is not to be confused with Geezer's previous attempt in 1985 to form a solo band, then known as The Geezer Butler Band - the two bands are completely unrelated.

Heaven & Hell (band) American band

Heaven & Hell were an English-American heavy metal band active from 2006 to 2010. The band was a collaboration featuring Black Sabbath founding members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler along with former Black Sabbath and Dio members Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice.


Black Sabbath released its 18th studio album, Forbidden , in 1995, to negative reviews. The following months left the group at a crossroads. [8] After a series of reunion tours from 1997 to 1999 – mostly with Ozzfest – the original line-up began work on a new album with producer Rick Rubin in the spring of 2001. [6] These sessions were halted when Ozzy Osbourne was called away to finish tracks for his album Down to Earth , released in October that year. [9] Tony Iommi recalled: "It just came to an end… It's a shame because [the songs] were really good." "It's quite different recording now…" he added. "In [the early] days there was no mobile phone ringing every five seconds. When we first started, we had nothing. We all worked for the same thing. Now everybody has done so many other things. It's great fun and we all have a good chat, but it's just different, trying to put an album together." [10]

<i>Forbidden</i> (Black Sabbath album) 1995 studio album by Black Sabbath

Forbidden is the 18th studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released in June 1995. This recording saw the reunion of Black Sabbath's Tyr-era line-up from 1990, with the return of Neil Murray and Cozy Powell. It was the last album to feature Tony Martin on vocals, Geoff Nicholls on keyboards, and the last by the band until 2013 when Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler returned for the album 13. The album sold 21,000 copies in the U.S in its first week and as of 2013, Forbidden has sold 191,000 copies in the US.

Ozzfest is an annual festival tour of the United States and sometimes Europe featuring performances by many heavy metal and hard rock musical groups. It was founded by Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon Osbourne, both of whom also organise each yearly tour with their son Jack Osbourne. The Ozzfest tour has featured bands of a variety of genres within heavy metal and hard rock, including alternative metal, thrash metal, industrial metal, metalcore, hardcore punk, deathcore, nu metal, death metal, post-hardcore, gothic metal and black metal. Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath have played the tour several times over the years.

<i>Down to Earth</i> (Ozzy Osbourne album) 2001 studio album by Ozzy Osbourne

Down to Earth is the eighth studio album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Released on 16 October 2001, it reached number 19 on the UK Albums Chart and number four on the US Billboard 200. "The Ozzfest was doing well", Osbourne explained. "I just wanted to be like the Grateful Dead and keep it going by touring, but the record company said they'd like a new Ozzy album."

"We got very scratchy stuff," Ozzy explained in late 2001. "It never really materialised into much. It may be great, but I haven't heard it since, apart from the one song we were doing live ['Scary Dreams', played on Ozzfest 2001]. We produced our own stuff and then we handed the tapes over to Rick Rubin and that was the last I heard of it. I must confess… it wasn't the same way, anyhow. Geezer wasn't writing the lyrics anymore, I was having real big problems coming up with melody lines and topics to sing about… Tony was still firing off these amazing heavy metal riffs. He just goes, 'Here you go,' and comes out with one better than you've ever heard in your life. You'd think he'd run out of things to play. But, for all that, the chemistry just wasn't there." [11]

After one more reunion tour in mid-2001, where they again headlined Ozzfest, Sabbath went back on hiatus. In March 2002, Osbourne's Emmy-winning reality TV show The Osbournes debuted on MTV, and quickly became a worldwide hit. It introduced Osbourne to a broader audience; and, to capitalise, Sanctuary Records (who own Sabbath's back catalogue) released the live album Past Lives , featuring material recorded in the 1970s, including the Live at Last album. The band remained on hiatus until mid-2004, when they returned to headline Ozzfest 2004 and 2005. In November 2005, Black Sabbath were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame, [12] and in March 2006, after eleven years of eligibility, the band were inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [13]

Emmy Award American television production award

An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, is an American award that recognizes excellence in the television industry. It is presented at numerous annual events held throughout the calendar year, each honoring one of the various sectors of the television industry. The two ceremonies that receive the most media coverage are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards, which recognize outstanding work in American primetime and daytime entertainment programming, respectively. Other notable Emmy events include those honoring national sports programming, national news and documentary shows, and technological and engineering achievements in television, including the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards. Regional Emmy Awards are also presented throughout the country at various times through the year, recognizing excellence in local and statewide television. In addition, the International Emmy Awards honor excellence in TV programming produced and initially aired outside the United States.

<i>The Osbournes</i> American reality television program

The Osbournes is an American reality television program featuring the domestic life of heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne and his family. The series premiered on MTV on March 5, 2002, and, in its first season, was cited as the most-viewed series ever on MTV. The final episode aired on March 21, 2005.

<i>Past Lives</i> (Black Sabbath album) 2002 live album by Black Sabbath

Past Lives is a live album released in 2002 by Black Sabbath. It peaked at number 114 on the Billboard 200. The first disc was previously known as Live at Last, an album not put out by Black Sabbath's record company, and therefore not an official Black Sabbath album. The second consists of recordings made for television and radio, previously only available on bootlegs. It was released as a digipak and later a standard jewel-case.

While Osbourne was working on his new solo album in 2006, Rhino Records released Black Sabbath: The Dio Years , a compilation culled from the four Sabbath releases featuring Ronnie James Dio. For the release, Iommi, Geezer Butler, Dio and Vinny Appice reunited to write and record three new songs as Black Sabbath. The Dio Years was released on 3 April 2007, reaching No.54 on the Billboard 200, while the single "The Devil Cried" reached No. 37 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. [14] Pleased with the results, Iommi and Dio decided to reunite the Heaven and Hell era line-up for a world tour. Because the line-up of Osbourne, Butler, Iommi and Bill Ward were still officially called Black Sabbath, the new line-up dubbed themselves Heaven & Hell, after the album of the same name. Ward was to participate, but dropped out before the tour began due to musical differences with "a couple of the band members" as well as a "contractual dispute". [15] He was replaced by former drummer Vinny Appice, reuniting the line-up that had featured on Mob Rules and Dehumanizer . After their only studio album The Devil You Know in 2009, Dio died after a battle against stomach cancer on 16 May 2010. [16] Following a tribute concert with former Sabbath vocalist Glenn Hughes, [17] Heaven & Hell disbanded.

<i>Black Rain</i> (Ozzy Osbourne album) 2007 studio album by Ozzy Osbourne

Black Rain is the tenth studio album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, released 22 May 2007 on Epic Records. It is Ozzy's last album to feature guitar player Zakk Wylde and drummer Mike Bordin, and the first to feature bassist Rob Nicholson. Black Rain debuted at No. 3 on the US Billboard 200, selling about 152,000 copies in its first week; making it Osbourne's highest debut to date. As of 29 September 2007, the album had sold 406,053 copies in the US, and had been certified Gold.

Rhino Entertainment American record company; subsidiary of Warner Music Group

Rhino Entertainment Company is an American specialty record label and production company founded in 1978. It is currently the catalog division for Warner Music Group. Its current CEO is Mark Pinkus.

<i>Black Sabbath: The Dio Years</i> 2007 compilation album by Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath: The Dio Years is a 2007 compilation CD of material from recordings made during vocalist Ronnie James Dio's tenure in the band. The CD contains full album length, remastered tracks culled from all three studio albums: Heaven and Hell (1980), Mob Rules (1981), Dehumanizer (1992), and the live album Live Evil (1982). It also contains three new recorded songs: "The Devil Cried", "Shadow of the Wind", and "Ear in the Wall".

On 11 November 2011, Sabbath hosted a private announcement ceremony at the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, California. Hosted by former Black Flag vocalist Henry Rollins, the event featured all four original Sabbath band members. [18] [19] [20] [21] At the event, Sabbath announced they would be officially reuniting, following months of rumours. The reunion was said to feature an appearance at the 2012 Download Festival, and a newly recorded studio album by Rubin expected to be released in late 2012. [7] When Rollins asked the band why they chose to reunite, Iommi responded, "It's now or never. We get along great. Everything's really good." [7] Butler commented that the new material was the "old Sabbath style and sound." [7] Osbourne said he was "blown away", and, "I don't understand why it's happening. I mean, 45 years down the road and we've got a really great album to put out." [22] On 18 November 2011, Black Sabbath announced that they would be touring Europe in May and June 2012. [23]


On 9 January 2012, it was announced Iommi had been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, [24] which was not expected to impede the group's activity. Because of his cancer diagnosis, work sessions for 13, which were supposed to take place in Los Angeles, California, were moved to Iommi's home in England. [25] On 2 February 2012, Ward publicly announced that he would not participate in the Black Sabbath reunion unless he was given a "signable contract." The following day, the other group members announced they had "no choice but to continue recording without him," but also said "our door is always open" for Ward to return to the band. [26] In February 2012, the band announced that they would not continue the world tour but would play the Download festival in June 2012. Instead of Black Sabbath, the tour would feature Osbourne and a revolving line-up of guest musicians, billed as "Ozzy and Friends." On 11 April, Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell announced that Black Sabbath would perform at Lollapalooza 2012. Farrell said this would be Black Sabbath's only American concert in 2012. [27]

On 15 May 2012, Ward posted on his website that "after a final effort to participate in the upcoming Sabbath shows a failure to agree has continued" and that he would not be participating in the reunion shows, but would "remain with an open mind and a position of willingness to negotiate 'signable' terms with Sabbath's representatives in the future." [28] On 18 May 2012, Ward was cropped out of photos on blacksabbath.com. [29] On 19 May 2012, Butler released a statement expressing sadness at Ward's decision. He further unveiled that drummer Tommy Clufetos was rehearsing with them in England. [30]

On 2 June 2012, Osbourne told NME that Black Sabbath had written "about 15 songs so far." He also said that 2013 was a good clue as to what the album would be called. [31] The band returned to the studio to continue work on the album on 23 August 2012. [32] An interview that October confirmed the title of one of the new songs, "God Is Dead?". [33] On 12 January 2013, Black Sabbath announced that the album would be called 13 and was expected to be released in June. It was also announced that drummer Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave joined in during the recording sessions to complete the drum tracks for the album. [5]

In a January 2013 interview at NAMM, which took place at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, Butler stated that 13 was not the final title of the album and it would possibly be changed; however, this turned out not to be the case. [34] The band released a brief documentary on their time in the studio via YouTube in February 2013. In it, the group stated that they felt excited to work with producer Rubin and emphasized their desire for a "raw" sound. [35]


On 4 April 2013, Black Sabbath unveiled the cover artwork for 13. [36] The artwork was created by Nick Dart and Neil Bowen of Zip Design in London. Zip commissioned sculptor Spencer Jenkins to create an 8-foot-tall "13" from wicker, which was then set on fire in the Buckinghamshire countryside. The flames were visible for miles. The image was shot by photographer Jonathan Knowles. A behind-the-scenes video, also shot by Jonathan Knowles's team, was released by Zip Design, showing the numbers' construction. [37]

Touring and promotion

Prior to the album's release, Black Sabbath embarked on their first tour of Australia (initially kicking off in New Zealand) since 1974 in April and May 2013. [38] They also headlined Ozzfest Japan on 12 May 2013. [39] These dates had been arranged to allow Iommi to return to the UK for lymphoma treatment once every six weeks. [40] From late July to early September 2013, Black Sabbath embarked on their first North American tour in eight years. [41] After that, they toured Latin America in October, followed by Europe in November and December. [42]

The first single, "God Is Dead?", was released to radio on 18 April 2013, and as a digital download and on YouTube on 19 April. [43] [44] Black Sabbath appeared on the season 13 finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, in which they performed another new song, "End of the Beginning". [45] The song also plays during the end credits of the 2013 comedy film This Is the End , although it is not listed on the film's official soundtrack.[ citation needed ] The album became available for streaming on iTunes on 3 June 2013. [46]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Metacritic 72/100 [47]
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [48]
Consequence of Sound Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [49]
Drowned in Sound 7/10 [50]
Entertainment Weekly B− [51]
The Guardian Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [52]
Metal Hammer 9/10 [53]
NME 7/10 [54]
Pitchfork Media 7/10 [55]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [56]
Slant Magazine Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [57]

13 has received mostly positive reviews. On Metacritic, it has a score of 72 out of 100, based on 32 reviews. [47] Fred Thomas of AllMusic praised 13, calling it "unexpectedly brilliant, apocalyptic, and essential for any die-hard metal fan". [48] Geoff Barton of Metal Hammer observed how the heavy metal genre had developed ever since the band originally started it, and concluded that the classic line-up of the band has proven their relevance in modern-day music. [53]

However, 13 has been criticised for having compromised sound quality, due to an overly compressed dynamic range, during a process called peak limiting, which leads to audible distortion. Jon Hadusek of Consequence of Sound said of the production, "Rubin...deserves disparagement for the way he mixed the audio levels, which are crushed by distortion and compression. Otherwise well-recorded songs are blemished, an affliction all too pervasive in the modern music industry". [49] Ben Ratliff of The New York Times also disliked the album's mastering, saying, "The new Black Sabbath album was produced by Rick Rubin, who some believe to be a prime offender in the recent history of highly compressed and loudly mastered music — a major cause of ear fatigue...13 is mastered loudly, too; Mr. Iommi's guitar tone planes outward, leaving very little space, and the drums stay high and present in the mix. Your ears aren't given room to breathe". [58]

Awards and accolades

The album's lead single "God Is Dead?" won Black Sabbath their first Grammy Award in 14 years for Best Metal Performance in 2014. [59] In 2013, the album won a Metal Hammer Golden God Award for Best Album [60] and a Classic Rock Roll of Honours Award for Album of the Year. [61] It also won the 2014 Revolver Golden Gods Award for Album of the Year. [62]

Commercial performance

13 was released on 10 June 2013. It reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart after its first week of sales. It is the band's first album to top the UK chart since Paranoid (1970). With a gap of nearly 43 years, it beat the previous record held by Bob Dylan, who released his first chart topping album, Together Through Life (2009), since New Morning (1970). Osbourne was said to be "in shock" at the album's success, remarking that the band has "never had a record climb the charts so fast" before. [63] In another first for the band, the album also reached No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 charts, selling 155,000 copies in the first week. Osbourne said, "There have been so many amazing highlights in our long career. To finally have our first #1 album in the U.S. is another incredible milestone for Black Sabbath." [64]

In its second week of release, the album fell to No. 5 in the US, selling 46,000, totalling 201,000 copies, [65] and in its third week, 13 sold over 26,000 bringing its total sales to 227,000 copies in the US. [66] As of April 2014, 13 has sold over 360,000 copies in the United States. [67] The album also debuted at No. 1 on the Canadian Albums Chart with 25,000 units sold. [68] As of July 2014, the album has surpassed over 1 million copies sold worldwide. [69]

Aforementioned lead single "God Is Dead?" received a great deal of airplay both in Canada and in the United States. For example, the track hit the #26 spot on the Billboard top rock songs chart. [48] The band additionally released a related music video for the single.

Track listing

All lyrics written by Geezer Butler except "Methademic" by Ozzy Osbourne; all music composed by Tony Iommi, Osbourne and Butler.

Standard edition [70]
1."End of the Beginning"8:05
2."God Is Dead?"8:52
5."Age of Reason"7:01
6."Live Forever"4:46
7."Damaged Soul"7:51
8."Dear Father"7:20
Total length:53:34
Spotify bonus tracks [71]
10."Peace of Mind"3:40
12."Dirty Women" (Live in Australia 2013)7:21
Total length:76:06
Japanese / Saturn Special Exclusive-Edition bonus track [72]
9."Naïveté in Black"3:50
Total length:57:24
Deluxe edition bonus disc [73]
2."Peace of Mind"3:40
Total length:15:11
Best Buy / Saturn Exclusive-Edition Deluxe bonus disc [74] [75]
2."Peace of Mind"3:40
4."Naïveté in Black"3:50
Total length:19:01


Black Sabbath
Additional musician



RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Austria (IFPI Austria) [112] Gold7,500*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil) [113] Platinum40,000*
Canada (Music Canada) [114] Platinum80,000^
Germany (BVMI) [115] Platinum200,000^
Poland (ZPAV) [116] Platinum20,000*
United Kingdom (BPI) [117] Gold100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

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