Is it best to come back to your former glories or should you walk away. To be honest reviewing this album is a difficult prospect for yours truly here. Sabbath were one of the bands which defined the metal sound, they are pioneers. When they announced the original line up was getting back together to make an album was not an undesirable announcement; however it was far from what I wanted to hear. Ozzy has been pissing on his own chips for years and Tony Iommi has just been treated for lymphoma. Together with Bill Ward walking away due to a contract dispute - he had the opinion that all members of the band were equal and Ozzy should share the money between all members and not just with his wife - allegedly. This album has had a difficult birth, so they have drafted in Rick Rubin to produce the album and Brad Wilk (from Rage Against The Machine/Audioslave) to help with the album.
Firstly I want to address the cover. This is not a cgi digital recreation - this is an actually picture of a sculptor that was took in Buckinghamshire - it is not the best cover ever if I am fair but it is a hell of a lot better than the cover for Born Again, Now all the lyrics have been done by Geezer Butler, with the music being created to Butler, Iommi and Osborne handling the music (never knew that Ozzy played an instrument) so it has been an in-house production. It covers the usual Sabbath themes of death, religion and war. Bow I cannot complain about the song per say, they are not bad, so you would think so far, so good - but all is not well underneath the service.
First off, Ozzy is not the vocalist he was, that has been proven with all his solo albums since 'No More Tears'. It is more of the same here and it is not even the worse thing on this album. The production here is awful, glossy and makes (as one of my friends has said) it has flatten one of the most distinctive guitar tones in the history of rock with an overly produced, plastic sheen, that makes it sound as lifeless as Zakk Wylde or any other over hyped guitar player who is cluttering metal's airwaves (a direct quote from Adam Potts from Waheela). This album is an excuse in making money from your past. Black Sabbath did not need to make another album, they had done all they could have done and their legacy is assured. So why in the blue hell make an album that does not sound like Sabbath. It starts off ok with "End of The Beginning" & "God Is Dead", but out of the rest of the album I cannot feel more uninspired than I have after this record. I know Rick Rubin has produced a lot of records which will go down as legend, but he has drained this like the Conservative government drains a nation’s spirits.
Now this is not an awful record by any gauge of view - it is just a nothing record. I think for once I would have preferred the reunion concert only. If you want to hear a Black Sabbath line up that got back together and were relevant, listen to the album by the Heaven & Hell line up called 'The Devil You Know' - it was the last album with Ronnie James Dio and it was forward looking and relevant. This album is the exact opposite. Nothing new that you would want, nothing forward looking, nothing but money for Ozzy and an empty feeling for the rest of us. Disappointing and dull - file under something’s are best left unsaid.
4 out of ten - Well it is alright, but still......
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
You can visit the band's website here
You can listen to the album on Spotify here