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Metal - Released January 1, 2013 | EMI

Distinctions 5 étoiles Rock and Folk
There's a lot of pressure involved with being the rulers of the underworld, and nobody knows it better than Black Sabbath in 2013. Inarguable legends and at least partially responsible for creating heavy metal as we know it with their classic '70s material, Sabbath have spawned generations of followers and become one of the final words of the genre. There have been countless reunions and mutations of the band following vocalist Ozzy Osbourne's first dismissal in 1978, and even 13 doesn't quite deliver on fans' decades-long desires to see all four original members back together. Original drummer Bill Ward sits the record out due to disputes over the recording contract, with Audioslave/Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk providing beats in his stead. Despite this considerable absence, 13 comes closest to recapturing the desperate feel, plodding grooves, and unparalleled metal magic of those first classic Sabbath records than anything the members of the band have done since, in any permutation or combination. Kicking off with two sludgy tracks, each over eight-minutes long, the Rick Rubin-produced 13 takes a few moments to get its legs. Once warmed up, however, each element falls somewhere between studied re-creation of the past and logical progression, be it Tony Iommi's spooky guitar tone, Ozzy's nasal howl, or the panic attack dynamics and sense of nuclear dread that made the moods of Sabotage and Vol. 4 so thick. Sharp tempo changes and caustic drop-tuned blues metal riffs make up tracks like "God Is Dead?" and the doomy "Age of Reason." Many of the album's eight tracks stretch past the seven-minute mark, full of heavy compositional shifting. The mellower acoustic track "Zeitgeist" rewrites the spacy "Planet Caravan" from second album Paranoid, revisiting the same cosmic motif of that song, complete with Iommi's most Django Reinhardt-influenced soloing. The lyrics, all penned by bassist Geezer Butler, are focused on internal religious and mental conflicts, with final track "Dear Father" tackling living with memories of abuse. The album is heavier, more precise, and more interesting than the past several decades of output from the bandmembers would suggest. Without fully replicating the energy of their untouchable first six records, Sabbath have risen to the unique challenge of not becoming self-caricatures, turning in something new while still reactivating the strengths of their younger days. The backwards-looking tendencies of 13 are something the band is fully aware of, as signified by the reappearance of rain and church bells sound effects on the last track, the same sounds that opened their first album in 1970. The influence of early Sabbath has become so omnipresent that it's come back to influence its very creators four decades later, but the results are unexpectedly brilliant, apocalyptic, and essential for any die-hard metal fan. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Metal - Released January 1, 2013 | EMI

Distinctions 5 étoiles Rock and Folk
There's a lot of pressure involved with being the rulers of the underworld, and nobody knows it better than Black Sabbath in 2013. Inarguable legends and at least partially responsible for creating heavy metal as we know it with their classic '70s material, Sabbath have spawned generations of followers and become one of the final words of the genre. There have been countless reunions and mutations of the band following vocalist Ozzy Osbourne's first dismissal in 1978, and even 13 doesn't quite deliver on fans' decades-long desires to see all four original members back together. Original drummer Bill Ward sits the record out due to disputes over the recording contract, with Audioslave/Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk providing beats in his stead. Despite this considerable absence, 13 comes closest to recapturing the desperate feel, plodding grooves, and unparalleled metal magic of those first classic Sabbath records than anything the members of the band have done since, in any permutation or combination. Kicking off with two sludgy tracks, each over eight-minutes long, the Rick Rubin-produced 13 takes a few moments to get its legs. Once warmed up, however, each element falls somewhere between studied re-creation of the past and logical progression, be it Tony Iommi's spooky guitar tone, Ozzy's nasal howl, or the panic attack dynamics and sense of nuclear dread that made the moods of Sabotage and Vol. 4 so thick. Sharp tempo changes and caustic drop-tuned blues metal riffs make up tracks like "God Is Dead?" and the doomy "Age of Reason." Many of the album's eight tracks stretch past the seven-minute mark, full of heavy compositional shifting. The mellower acoustic track "Zeitgeist" rewrites the spacy "Planet Caravan" from second album Paranoid, revisiting the same cosmic motif of that song, complete with Iommi's most Django Reinhardt-influenced soloing. The lyrics, all penned by bassist Geezer Butler, are focused on internal religious and mental conflicts, with final track "Dear Father" tackling living with memories of abuse. The album is heavier, more precise, and more interesting than the past several decades of output from the bandmembers would suggest. Without fully replicating the energy of their untouchable first six records, Sabbath have risen to the unique challenge of not becoming self-caricatures, turning in something new while still reactivating the strengths of their younger days. The backwards-looking tendencies of 13 are something the band is fully aware of, as signified by the reappearance of rain and church bells sound effects on the last track, the same sounds that opened their first album in 1970. The influence of early Sabbath has become so omnipresent that it's come back to influence its very creators four decades later, but the results are unexpectedly brilliant, apocalyptic, and essential for any die-hard metal fan. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Metal - Released December 29, 1970 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Metal - Released July 27, 1971 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Metal - Released February 12, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Between October 1969 and May 1972—a span of just over two and a half years—Black Sabbath recorded four albums, which both individually and collectively provided the cornerstones, foundations, and building blocks of heavy metal. That the band managed such studio productivity is, in and of itself, a miracle, given both their touring regimen and their prodigious drug intake. Even more remarkable is the amount of creative growth Black Sabbath underwent in that time period. The band captured on Vol. 4 is one that has definitively advanced the style they codified on their debut and also one that is clearly straining to find new modes of expression within that style. While not quite reaching the heights achieved on 1973's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Vol. 4 is absolutely a more impressive album than any of the three that preceded it—faster, slower, heavier, more delicate, more brutal, more complex. It is, daresay, more mature. It's also definitely more fueled by cocaine, and that powdery influence is hard to deny here; yes, of course, there's "Snowblind," and, yes, that was the album's original title, but there's also a peculiar clarity and concision to the material that was almost certainly brought about by the band's heightened ... attention. While earlier Sabbath jams could dawdle a bit aimlessly, the grooves here are tight and the riffs are as focused as they are chunky. Throughout Vol. 4, the band eases into their most effective elements and gets straight to business. On Black Sabbath, "Cornucopia" would have had a four-minute opening but here, after a brief, four-bar intro, it careens straight into a breathless, four-minute bash to the back of your skull. Even the album's longest song is technically two pieces ("Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener"). Yes, things are more compositionally complex, but they are also more focused. That's not to say that Sabbath is all cocaine-sparkly speed-jams here; to the contrary, Tony Iommi digs into some of his meatiest, doomiest riffs, complemented by intricate song structures. "Tomorrow's Dream" may be the burliest song in the Ozzy-era Sabbath catalog and its bridge may be the most uplifting moment. It all comes together on two of the album's most contrasting and iconic tracks—the mournful piano balladry of "Changes" and the hard-charging "Supernaut"—both of which are inventive, perfectly executed, and impossible to imagine on any of the previous Sabbath albums. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Metal - Released June 30, 1970 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Metal - Released November 17, 2017 | Mercury Studios

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Metal - Released April 15, 1980 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Metal - Released February 3, 2017 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Metal - Released November 27, 1973 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Metal - Released August 29, 1972 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Metal - Released January 21, 2014 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Metal - Released October 27, 1981 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Metal - Released February 3, 2017 | Rhino - Warner Records

This 31-track collection brings together some of Black Sabbath's most recognizable songs. Including tracks such as "War Pigs," "Paranoid," and "Changes," the album serves as the perfect introduction into one of the U.K.'s greatest purveyors of heavy metal. © Rich Wilson /TiVo
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Metal - Released July 8, 1975 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Metal - Released January 21, 2014 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Metal - Released March 5, 2021 | Rhino - Warner Records

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As far as rock 'n' roll comeback stories go, the story of Black Sabbath's resurrection after the departure of Ozzy Osbourne is among the most satisfying. After a tear through the early '70s that found the Ozzy-led band codifying contemporary heavy metal over a series of five increasingly impressive albums, Sabbath began to show signs of wear and tear by the time of Sabotage in 1975. Osbourne's prodigious alcohol and drug intake was absolutely part of the problem, but the rest of the band held their own when it came to addictive behaviors and egomania. Compound those issues with extensive legal and financial woes and sheer creative and physical exhaustion, and the band literally stumbled through the end of the decade with two albums—Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die!—that did little to burnish their legacy and did much to hasten the end of the Ozzy era. Osbourne played his last show with Sabbath in December 1978, and although he would join the group briefly and sporadically for some early Heaven and Hell recording sessions, those sessions were ultimately scrapped when he left the band in mid-1979, leaving Tony Iommi and the rest of the band to regroup with new singer Ronnie James Dio, who joined the band thanks to an introduction made by, of all people, Ozzy's wife Sharon. Recording for the album took place over just a couple of months in Criteria Studios in Miami, and the Florida sunshine, the approach of producer Martin Birch (Dio-era Rainbow, Deep Purple, Whitesnake), and the compositional and arrangement possibilities opened up by Dio's vocal approach combined to make Heaven and Hell an altogether different kind of Sabbath album. Faster, heavier, and more direct than anything the band had done since Vol. 4, the album was also more spacious and adventurous, evoking a fantastic interpretation of the dark, doomy evil in which the band had long trafficked. Not only does the album provide a clean break with the shambolic clumsiness of the tail-end of the Ozzy era, but neatly positioned Sabbath for a new, forward-looking approach into the '80s. While certainly not sleek or polished, the sound of Heaven and Hell is definitely more focused and impactful. From the speedy chugging riff of "Neon Knights" that opens the set, it's clear that Sabbath had shifted into a different gear, and while there's considerable dynamism to the songs here, from the kaleidoscopic and semi-balladic "Children of the Sea" and the introspective "Lonely is the Word" to the brusque and strutting "Lady Evil", the band finds many different ways to recast the meaning of "a Black Sabbath song"—the connective tissue is the interplay between Iommi's riffs (which are as thick and meaty as ever) and Dio's soaring vocal presence and lyrical imagery. It's an entirely new approach and one that completely revitalized the band, both in terms of their creativity and their cultural relevance. This new edition delivers a new remastering of the 2010 UK deluxe edition, dialing up the warmth and dynamics from earlier reissues, resulting in a recording with ample room to breathe, and, in some cases (like "Die Young," for instance) a presence that's so refreshing it almost sounds like a remix. This edition also tacks on four live bonus tracks recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon that didn't appear on the previous version. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Metal - Released January 21, 2014 | Rhino - Warner Records

Paranoid was not only Black Sabbath's most popular record (it was a number one smash in the U.K., and "Paranoid" and "Iron Man" both scraped the U.S. charts despite virtually nonexistent radio play), it also stands as one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal albums of all time. Paranoid refined Black Sabbath's signature sound -- crushingly loud, minor-key dirges loosely based on heavy blues-rock -- and applied it to a newly consistent set of songs with utterly memorable riffs, most of which now rank as all-time metal classics. Where the extended, multi-sectioned songs on the debut sometimes felt like aimless jams, their counterparts on Paranoid have been given focus and direction, lending an epic drama to now-standards like "War Pigs" and "Iron Man" (which sports one of the most immediately identifiable riffs in metal history). The subject matter is unrelentingly, obsessively dark, covering both supernatural/sci-fi horrors and the real-life traumas of death, war, nuclear annihilation, mental illness, drug hallucinations, and narcotic abuse. Yet Sabbath make it totally convincing, thanks to the crawling, muddled bleakness and bad-trip depression evoked so frighteningly well by their music. Even the qualities that made critics deplore the album (and the group) for years increase the overall effect -- the technical simplicity of Ozzy Osbourne's vocals and Tony Iommi's lead guitar vocabulary, the spots when the lyrics sink into melodrama or awkwardness, the lack of subtlety, and the infrequent dynamic contrast. Everything adds up to more than the sum of its parts, as though the anxieties behind the music simply demanded that the band achieve catharsis by steamrolling everything in their path, including their own limitations. Monolithic and primally powerful, Paranoid defined the sound and style of heavy metal more than any other record in rock history. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Metal - Released September 26, 1978 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Metal - Released September 28, 1976 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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