Legendary heavy metal band BLACK SABBATH will release its much-anticipated new album, “13”, in June via Vertigo/Universal Republic in the U.S. and Vertigo in all other territories. The drum tracks on the group’s first LP with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978 were laid down by RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE sticksman Brad Wilk following original drummer Bill Ward‘s decision to bow out of the reunion.
Osbourne, Tony Iommi (guitar) and Geezer Butler (bass) recorded the album primarily in Los Angeles with producer Rick Rubin. Songtitles set to appear on the CD include “God Is Dead”, “End Of The Beginning” and “Age Of Reason”, the latter two of which stretch out to as long as eight minutes.
“I wanted to make an album that stood alongside their first four albums,” Rubin tells RollingStone.com. “The first album wasn’t a straightforward heavy metal record. You could hear the jazz influence, so that was the goal, and to capture that live interaction.”
Ward in May 2012 announced again that he was declining to join his former bandmates for its scheduled 2012 dates, as well as the recording of the new album, due to a contractual dispute. After SABBATH shot down Rubin‘s suggestion to replace Ward with Ginger Baker (CREAM) (“I thought, ‘Bloody hell?'” Iommi tells the magazine. “I just couldn’t see that.”), Rick suggested Wilk.
Iommi tells RollingStone.com that Ward‘s demands came out of the blue. “I didn’t know Bill was having these issues when we got together — he never even mentioned it to us,” he says. “It was quite confusing. We wanted him involved, but it was just getting too hard.” Adds Osbourne: “You can’t go, ‘Well, I don’t like it.’ You get off your ass and get your shit together. The life of a bohemian rock star is fucking long over.”
Iommi was diagnosed with cancer at the end of 2011, and his treatments forced BLACK SABBATH to cancel all but three tour dates in 2012 after announcing their reunion in November 2011.
“Things are fairly good, dare I say, at the moment,” Iommi tells RollingStone.com. “I’m still here and it’s okay. We had to do this album now. Christ, if it happened in another 10 years, I don’t know if we’d be around.”
Osbourne, who describes the new SABBATH album as “Satanic blues,” also spoke about one of the band’s new tracks, the provocatively titled “God Is Dead”. “It starts off, ‘God is dead,'” Osbourne says, “but at the end it says, ‘I don’t believe that God is dead.'”