Archive for Black Sabbath

Album Review – Black Sabbath “13” 2013

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , on June 26, 2013 by Lightning Slim

images  We live in a world with several fantastic Black Sabbath records, some indifferent ones, and a couple of complete dogs. With the arrival of 13, it would be easy to simply slot this reunion effort somewhere in the middle, say “good job”, slap these rapscallions on their wrinkly behinds and call it a day.

Not so simple. After a couple of listens, 13 is banging on the ceiling, perhaps even clawing at the podium. It’s a lusty, robust metal album by anyone’s standards, and a pretty great Black Sabbath album to boot.

Some folks have complained about overproduction, which is admittedly an unfortunate fact of life these days. I think in the case of 13, these people fall into two categories: those who a) have apparently never heard Death Magnetic and b) are still mad about Death Magnetic and want to blame all of the ills of the loudness war on Rick Rubin. This album shows tremendous restraint on Rubin’s part –  he stays the hell out of the way and lets Sabbath be themselves. Sure, he’s done the audio equivalent of whatever they used to do to Elizabeth Taylor’s photographs to Ozzy’s voice so that now the old dodger sounds stronger than he has in years, but so what? Iommi is speedy and vital as well, and Geezer in particular wields his instrument like a weapon against entropy.

The record is heavy as shit, sounding like a cross between The Devil You Know and something that was supposed to come out right after Volume 4. Long songs, stark and simple lyrics (“Alright now” makes an appearance) are kept afloat with massive, wobbling riffs that nobody else on the planet can create. Enjoy Tony while you can, we may never see his like again.

For various reasons (candidly discussed by the band in the liner notes) we almost didn’t get this record at all. The fact that it clawed its way into existence at all is amazing. The quality is the icing on the cake. If it’s all we get, it is a fitting coda to Sabbath’s long and tumultuous career. This 13 is lucky indeed. 8.5 out of 10


Riff Sammiches: 5 Multi-Riff Masterpieces

Posted in Lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2012 by Lightning Slim

Welcome to the first segment in my new “Lists” category. Lists are a tried-and-true method for bloggers to put up some content when they’re a little lean on material. People also like ’em because they’re so flexible and generate discussion. After all, everyone has their own personal lists and they love to compare. I’m hoping y’all are no exception, so here we go:
We’re all here because we love a good guitar riff, and there are many ways to put them together and make songs. Some artists are stingy or minimalists, and keep their riffs sparse within the tune. Others are total riff factories and splash them about liberally. Here are five tunes made better by generous helpings of guitar goodness. And yes, of course there are more out there, probably by Tool and Machine Head, but I did want to keep things under the 9-minute mark:

5. Bolt Thrower – “Contact – Wait Out”. Featuring an unloved and unfairly judged one-off vocal performance from Dave Ingram, Honour – Valour – Pride starts off with a track featuring an entry riff, a mid-song change-up at around 3:20 and an exit riff that eventually blends with the entry. Superb.

4. Arch Enemy – “Enemy Within”. Another album starter, this time built on one of the best intros in the genre and the big debut of Angela Gossow. I always have to listen to this track twice because as beautiful as the solo section is, the rhythm guitar work underneath it is just as interesting.

3. Iron Maiden – “Powerslave” C’mon, where do you think Arch Enemy got the idea? Sure, we all know the big title riff, but the middle section has enough spare six-string in it write at least three more songs. Those were the days, no?

2. Overkill – “Gasoline Dream”. No strangers to riff largesse, Overkill often close out their records with something even more big and epic. Sometime it has to do with their Overkill-themed masterwork, sometimes not. “Gasoline Dream” is one of the stand-alones, filled with speed changes, multiple ideas and a Sabbath-influenced acoustic ending.

1. Black Sabbath – “Symptom of the Universe”. Did someone mention Sabbath? Mad drum fills! Super-stoned bouncy-bass outro! Cybernetic unicorns! Containing something for literally everyone, “Symptom” is like seven songs in one; none of which make sense and all of which are great.

Deals and Steals: Heaven, Hell and the Dirt and Metal Between

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , on March 23, 2010 by Lightning Slim

  This month’s shipment of used goodies is all about the mighty Dio, with some contributions from Soilwork.  All prices $US.

Heaven and Hell – The Devil You Know $6.29. Sabbath Mark II marches on, and the world is better for it.

Dio – Stand Up and Shout: The Anthology $12.59. Two discs with all of the man’s phases in effect, including some Rainbow and Elf tracks. Great booklet with notes aplenty by RJ himself.

Soilwork – Natural Born Chaos and Figure Number Five $5.59 apiece. The band’s two best at the right price.

Century Media X: 10th Anniversary Collection $11.89 One disc of North America, one of Europe and one rarities. Nothing big I don’t already have on albums, but the lure here is the gorgeous full-colour pocket book stuffed with pictures and memories from the Century Media staff. People after my own black heart!

I’ve never really devoted a lot of time and space to Dio other than his work with Sabbath, but I’m really happy that with the help of this  Rhino compilation I can say I’m done collecting for now. That is, unless he pulls out all the stops and writes another Heaven and Hell.

Walk Away!

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