Tolling bells and falling rain are the last things you hear on the new Black Sabbath record, just as they are the first things you hear on the band's 1970 debut. That’s not the only echo on “13,” the first full-length Black Sabbath studio album since 1978 to feature singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, and bassist Geezer Butler. The Rick Rubin-produced reunion of the classic Sabbath lineup — minus drummer Bill Ward, with Brad Wilk in his place — rekindles the tones and themes of the band's first few albums. Iommi and Butler construct brooding, monolithic riffs and Osbourne trains his funeral sing-talk vocals on epic struggles between good and evil, God and Satan, and sanity and madness. The generic gloom of “Loner” is the only flat spot among the eight songs. And “13” ends strongly with the furious “Damaged Soul” and damning “Dear Father,” the former a grim resignation and latter an indictment of abusive priests and the churches that protected them (a “War Pigs” for the clergy). (Out Tuesday) SCOTT McLENNAN
Album review | Heavy metal
Black Sabbath, ‘13’
By Scott McLennan| Globe Correspondent June 11, 2013
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