BLACK SABBATH, the rulers of the underworld, are back with a new video, shot live in Melbourne, Australia. ‘Loner’ comes off their nineteenth, thirty-five-years-in-the-making album ‘13’, available everywhere since June 2013 through Universal Music and Vertigo/Mercury Records. Featuring the Tony Iommi, the Ozzy Osbourne, the Geezer Butler and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE drummer Brad Wilk, ‘13’ had conquered both the U.K. and the U.S. charts (as well as Canadian, Danish, German, New Zealand, Norwegian, Swedish and Swiss charts) and had been certified Platinum in Brazil and Gold in Austria, Canada, Germany, Poland and U.K. In the United States, the album sold over 155,000 copies in the first week, becoming the first BLACK SABBATH album to top the Billboard Top 200. ‘13’ was recorded with legendary producer Rick Rubin, engineered by Gary Fidelman (with additional engineering done by Mike Exeter and Dana Nielsen), mixed by Andrew Schepsand, and mastered by Stephen Marcussen and Stewart Whitmore. Be part of history and get your own copy of ‘13’ here (BLACK SABBATH store) or on iTunes, Google Play or Amazon:
“Kicking off with two sludgy tracks, each over eight minutes long, the Rick Rubin-produced ‘13’ takes a few moments to get its legs. Once warmed up, however, each element falls somewhere between studied re-creation of the past and logical progression, be it Tony Iommi's spooky guitar tone, Ozzy's nasal howl, or the panic attack dynamics and sense of nuclear dread that made the moods of [1975's] ‘Sabotage’ and [1972's] ‘Vol. 4’ so thick. … The lyrics, all penned by bassist Geezer Butler, are focused on internal religious and mental conflicts, with final track ‘Dear Father’ tackling living with memories of abuse. The album is heavier, more precise, and more interesting than the past several decades of output from the bandmembers would suggest. Without fully replicating the energy of their untouchable first six records, SABBATH have risen to the unique challenge of not becoming self-caricatures, turning in something new while still reactivating the strengths of their younger days,” [wrote Fred Thomas, AllMusic – more here]
Formed in Aston, Birmingham in 1969 by lead vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward, BLACK SABBATH, pioneers of heavy metal, helped define the genre with releases such as quadruple-Platinum ‘Paranoid’, released in 1970. They were ranked by MTV as the “Greatest Metal Band” of all time, and placed second in VH1's “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” list, behind LED ZEPPELIN. They have sold over 15 million records in the United States alone and over 70 million records worldwide. BLACK SABBATH were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, and were included among Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
BLACK SABBATH were signed to Philips Records in 1969; the Philips subsidiary, Fontana, quickly released their debut single, ‘Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games with Me)’, followed in a month by BLACK SABBATH's self-titled debut album, released on a different Philips subsidiary, Vertigo, which reached the UK Top Ten chart and broke onto the American charts, where it remained for over a year, selling a million copies. BLACK SABBATH delivered “one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal albums of all time, the album that defined the sound and style of heavy metal more than any other record in rock history” (Steve Huey, AllMusic – more here), ‘Paranoid’, in 1970. A mere six months after the U.S. release of ‘Paranoid’, the band issued ‘Master Of Reality’ which broke onto Top Ten on both sides of the Atlantic; it was certified Gold in less than two months and eventually went double Platinum. Taking their first break in three years following the ‘Master Of Reality’ world tour, BLACK SABBATH returned in 1972 with ‘Vol. 4’, “the point in BLACK SABBATH career where the band's legendary drug consumption really starts to make itself felt”. The album had sold one million copies in the United States where it reached number 13 on the Billboard's pop album chart and number 8 on the UK Albums Chart. Their fifth studio album, ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’, followed in 1973 and the band's first album that did not achieve Platinum status in the U.S., as well as the final release of BLACK SABBATH's legendary “First Six”, ‘Sabotage’, came next in 1975:
“But more than the compositions, the real revelation on ‘Sabotage’ is Ozzy Osbourne, who turns in his finest vocal performance as a member of BLACK SABBATH. Really for the first time, this is the Ozzy we all know, displaying enough range, power, and confidence to foreshadow his hugely successful solo career. Unfortunately, after ‘Sabotage’, the wheels of confusion came off entirely. Yes, there were technically two more albums, but for the non-obsessive, the story of Osbourne-era SABBATH effectively ends here,” [wrote Steve Huey, AllMusic – more here]
After 1976's ‘Technical Ecstasy’ and 1978's ‘Never Say Die’, Ozzy Osbourne's heavy alcohol and drug usage led to him being fired from the band, after which he began a successful solo career, selling over 55 million albums. He was replaced by former RAINBOW vocalist Ronnie James Dio. 1980's ‘Heaven And Hell’ became one of BLACK SABBATH's best-selling albums and their highest-charting album (at number 9 in the UK and at number 28 in the USA). On its worthy successor, 1981's ‘Mob Rules’, Vinny Appice replaced drummer Bill Ward who left the band due to ill health. Yet by the time their first official live album, ‘Live Evil’ appeared, Dio had left BLACK SABBATH, taking Appice with him. BLACK SABBATH endured a revolving lineup in the 1980s and 1990s that included vocalists Ian Gillan, Glen Hughes, Ray Gillen and Tony Martin. In 1992, Iommi and Butler rejoined Dio and drummer Vinny Appice to record BLACK SABBATH sixteenth album ‘Dehumanizer’. In 1997, all four original members released a live album called ‘Reunion’ which went Platinum in the U.S.; the track ‘Iron Man’ won BLACK SABBATH their first Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. The band would split once more after Osbourne went on recording and touring on his own, while Iommi and Butler reunited with Appice and Ronnie James Dio under the moniker HEAVEN & HELL. The band recorded a live album at Radio City Music Hall in 2007, before releasing a studio effort entitled ‘Devil You Know’ in 2009. That same year Dio was diagnosed with cancer; he had sadly passed away in 2010.
BLACK SABBATH features: Tony Iommi - guitar, Ozzy Osbourne – vocals and Geezer Butler – bass