held a top secret listening party in L.A. for their new album "13"
for select members of the press this week, and reports with some early impressions are appearing online.
The event was top secret until after the event to prevent a mob of fans crushing to get in, and security was tight to prevent any unauthorised recording.
Black Sabbath were present to say hello, but it was Jack Osbourne
who introduced the session and previewed some clips of his behind-the-scenes video documentary
before playing eight songs from the album to 60 members of the press.
Here's some notes on the album gathered from early reports on the event:
Five of the eight songs previewed were over 7 minutes long.
There's some seriously heavy production and deep down tuning.
The tempos aren't locked to a tempo track so it has a live feel, but some found it too distracting in places.
Most of the album is very mid-tempo and there's a lot of swing to the grooves.
The most popular song appears to be "Age Of Reason"
It's not clear if the eight songs are the full album, or just a preview to prevent people secretly recording all of the final product.
Some first impressions of the album have started to appear online. Here's a selection of the mixed reaction to "13":
Black-Sabbath.com fan site:
"It is a VERY good record, certainly belonging of a place in the Ozzy-era discography. It is not mind-expandingly original, nor would I want it to be. What it is, is VERY heavy Ozzy-era-sounding Sabbath."
"The cliches start right away, and they're about as hackneyed as you would reasonably expect. Ozzy's first words are 'Is this the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end?' This phrase is drawn out very slowly, word by word, over a dirge made of molasses, so you hear each syllable coming a mile away."
"You'd think we'd have to retrain our minds, even our hearts, to remember why these legends were legendary in the first place. But no, this album sets out to kick the sh-t out of you, and even the most hardened, cynical message-board mercenaries are going to have to concede some solid ground this time around."
"My first thought was how interesting it was to hear that classic Black Sabbath sound through the lens of modern production. From the first 10 seconds of 'End of the Beginning,' any Sabbath fan will be like, 'unholy f--k ... they are BACK!' the album as a whole is exactly what any fan would want: they didn't reinvent the wheel, they are the wheel."
High Wired Daze:
"Ozzy sounds absolutely terrific on '13' singing like a man newly possessed while Tony Iommi rips it to shreds on guitar. Geezer Butler and Brad Wilk make up the perfect rhythm section, assaulting the senses with their ultra-dynamic low-end."
Tracklist of songs played at the Black Sabbath "13" listening party (via Blabbermouth):
01. "End Of The Beginning" (8:07)
02. "God Is Dead?" (8:54)
03. "Loner" (5:06)
04. "Zeitgeist" (4:28)
05. "Age Of Reason" (7:02)
06. "Live Forever" (4:49)
07. "Damaged Soul" (7:43)
08. "Dear Father" (7:06)
Overall, a mixed reaction but generally positive. How do these first impressions affect your expectations of the album? Could it become a classic record? Share your views in the comments.