Black Sabbath’s 2013 comeback album 13 was historic, but nearly a decade after its release, metal’s founding fathers don’t look back on it quite fondly. Most recently, Ozzy Osbourne has came out and said that it “wasn’t really a Black Sabbath album” in an interview with Stereogum.
Upon its release, 13 was an immediate and overwhelming success as Sabbath notched their first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and reclaimed the top spot on the U.K. charts for the first time since 1970’s Paranoid. After all, it was the first time Ozzy had appeared on a new Black Sabbath studio album since 1978’s Never Say Die and all of the original members had joined in, except for drummer Bill Ward, whose studio role was instead occupied by Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine.
Ward’s absence, as Osbourne tells Stereogum, was just one of a couple sore points regarding 13.
When asked if he feels good about where 13 left things, the Prince of Darkness confesses, “Not really, because to be perfectly honest, I didn’t really get a charge from the album.”
“Although [producer] Rick Rubin is a good friend of mine, I wasn’t really… I was just singing. It was like stepping back in time, but it wasn’t a glorious period. Though Geezer [Butler] did a lot of lyric writing for me, which he’s very, very good at. It wasn’t an earth-shattering experience for me,” he continues.
And as for Sabbath’s future, if there even is one, Osbourne states, “I would like to say it’s completely done. I think it’s time. The only thing I really regret, to be honest, is that Bill Ward didn’t play on the album. It wasn’t really a Black Sabbath album. I’m not saying that one day we might not all go in a room and come up with the perfect Black Sabbath album. But I’ll say,  wasn’t recorded the way Black Sabbath recorded records. We’d gone right back past the point where we took charge, back to when someone else had full control of our recording. Which we never did from [1972’s] Vol. 4 onwards.”
Earlier this year, Geezer Butler also griped about Rubin’s methods as a producer, telling Sirius XM’s Eddie Trunk, “”Some of it I liked, some of it I didn’t like particularly. It was a weird experience, especially with being told to forget that you’re a heavy metal band. That was the first thing [Rick] said to us. He played us our very first album, and he said, ‘Cast your mind back to then when there was no such thing as heavy metal or anything like that, and pretend it’s the follow-up album to that,’ which is a ridiculous thing to think.”
Meanwhile, Osbourne’s recording career has been revitalized in recent years, thanks to producer Andrew Watt, who also co-wrote Ozzy’s latest solo records, Ordinary Man (2020) and the newly released, widely successful Patient Number 9.
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