On April 10th at The Montalbán Theatre within the wilds of Hollywood, CA, a late afternoon listening party for the upcoming Black Sabbath album took place. An invite only for press and industry types, no cell phones or cameras were allowed at the event. This would be the public debut of the iconic band’s latest entry entitled 13, and would be a listening party for the ages.
After a brief gathering where the press was treated to Black Sabbath gems of the past, the theatre doors were opened and a short film documenting the making of 13 took place. And then it was time – a listening of the first new studio album in 35 years from the original Black Sabbath members – Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler – who were joined at the recording sessions by drummer Brad Wilk of Rage Against The Machine.
There were eight songs in total, and the audience sat transfixed the entire time as the theatre was filled with the pummeling sounds of the mighty Black Sabbath. The album opens with End Of The Beginning, an eight minute magnum opus showing a band at the very height of their musical genius. God Is Dead? was up next, another stunning Sabbath epic that was simply astounding. The one ballad on the album is entitled Zeitgeist, ominous and compelling with its sinister reveries.
Live Forever was a definitive highlight – this one could be the international call to arms for the timeless Black Sabbath and their supportive fans. The end one-two punch of Damaged Soul and Dear Father feature Black Sabbath at their heaviest and most lethal, a musical force to be reckoned with even after all of these metal years.
The mostly industry crowd applauded after each and every song, with many fearlessly banging their heads. And once the lights went up, the biggest surprise of the event occurred as Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler walked onstage and thanked everyone for attending. A surreal moment to be sure, and of course not documented in pictures because cameras were not allowed into the venue. This mattered not, as Ozzy said “I hope you all enjoyed the album” with a genuine sincerity in his voice and many in the room gave the three legends a standing ovation in return.
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. 13 was produced by Rick Rubin (seven-time Grammy winner, two of those as Producer of the Year), and the album will be released on Vertigo (worldwide) and Vertigo/Republic in the U.S on June 11th. 13 is Black Sabbath in their finest hour, delivering nothing short of a classic onto the world. A glorious comeback that should darken the summer of adventurous metalheads everywhere!
The complete tracks played at the listening party were:
End Of The Beginning (8:07)
God Is Dead? (8:54)
Age Of Reason (7:02)
Live Forever (4:49)
Damaged Soul (7:43)
Dear Father (7:06)
(Article by Kenneth Morton)