#2 Black Sabbath - 13
Well when I first heard this was going to actually happen I was just as nervous about it as I was excited (which was alot). It is a ballsy move to try and release a new album at this point for Sabbath. Their legacy is obviously already set, there's really no way to dent that armor. But if they released some shitty half assed album then that's something that the 3 of them would have had to live down the rest of their lives as the last thing they put out under the Black Sabbath name. IMO this album has more than exceeded my expectations. Here's where alot my find this blasphemous, I even enjoyed this more than I did Vol. 4. Truth be told I just don't like a whole lot of songs from Vol. 4. There's a few I like on it, but overall I just don't like that album very much. And obviously its stronger than Technical Ecstasy & Never Say Die as a whole.
What got me excited from interviews is that Rubin wanted them to go back to their early bluesier sound. I love the Sabbath that are just balls out like "Symptom of the Universe" but where I love them the most are like alot of the very first album where you can really hear the blues influences. "End Of The Beginning" has a similar quality to the song "Black Sabbath" just not quite as eerie/doomy sounding as the original. But damn that Iommi riff in that after the song picks up, absolutely crushing. Obviously alot of us have already heard God Is Dead?, the 2nd half of that song is another Iommi crushing riff. Loner is ok, seems like they almost ripped themselves off as it has a very N.I.B. feel to it, not my favorite song, its just ok. Zeitgeist doesn't do much for me in the same way that Planet Caravan doesn't really do much for me. You like one, you'll like the other. If you don't like one, you won't like the other. Age of Reason & Damaged Soul are 2 of the best songs on the album, and frankly it's not even close that those are the best 2 songs. Age of Reason has one of my favorite Iommi riffs in the middle of that song that is just so incredibly heavy and Damaged Soul is Tony with a bluesy riff that just makes that whole song absolutely amazing. I liked seeing that they were starting to play Age of Reason on some of their more recent shows, now we just need to hope they do Damaged Soul next. The part I found the coolest about the whole album was the last minute or 2 of Dear Father. I think the song is alright, not great, not bad but alright. The part I love is after the song where you start hearing the bells from the song Black Sabbath, then they started in with the rain. I had goosebumps the first time I heard that. I kinda hope this is the last album. Hearing that at the end felt like Black Sabbath closure, like in the last (soon to be) 44 years that the first album came out they've come full circle and they are going to end right at the same place they began. Can't think of a better ending than that.
I really don't care about the other bs politics that seem to come up when Sabbath are brought up. I don't care about the Bill Ward crap. The petty back and forth legal crap has been going on with bands for probably as long as records have been made, it is what it is, its unfortunate. If they think that Bill would have sounded like shit and didn't think he had the chops to record or tour then they are looking out for the album which I'm fine w/. All I want is a new Black Sabbath album that sounds just as good as their '70s stuff and in my mind they have no doubt accomplished that.
Age of Reason