Aug 15, 2013: Check out my newest essay, "What if Ozzy and Black Sabbath hadn't split in 1979?"
June 21, 2013: The album 13 is #1 in the U.S. and U.K. (and purportedly 48 other countries), and Tony, Ozzy and Geezer are already talking about another album (Tony says he has material for two or three more albums) potentially WITH Bill. A lot of people are hoping/anticipating that will come to pass. Time will tell...
As regards Black Sabbath: The Illustrated Lyrics, it remains in the hands of the publisher.
In other good news, I got to meet Geezer Butler in person at the album's launch party in NY, talk a little about the book and fulfill a lifelong dream! There aren't very man good days, but that was one of them.
April 18, 2013: The new song is out! And I managed to suss out the lyrics. Check it out:
"God is Dead?" Lyric
I stray from the light.
Pray for my father, my brother, my Maker and Savior
Help me make it through the night.
Blood on my conscience,
And murder in mind.
Out of the gloom, I rise up from my tomb into impending doom,
Now, my body is my shrine.
The blood runs free, the rain turns red,
Give me no wine; you keep the bread.
The voices echo in my head,
Is God alive or is God dead?
Is God dead?
Revel of evil,
Run through diving land,
Swimming in sorrow, they kill, steal and borrow, there is no tomorrow,
For the sinners will be damned.
Ashes to ashes.
You cannot exhume a soul,
Who do you curse when corruption and lust, creed of all the unjust,
Leaves you empty and unwhole?
When will this nightmare be over, tell me?
When can I empty my head?
Will someone tell me the answer,
Is God really dead?
Is God really dead?
To safeguard my philosophy until my dying breath,
I transfer from reality unto a living death.
I empathize with enemies until the time is right
With God and Satan at my side, from darkness will come light
I watch the rain as it turns red,
Give me more wine, I donít need bread.
These riddles that live in my head,
I donít believe that God is dead, God is dead.
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
Iím wondering if we will meet again on the other side.
Do you believe a word of what the good book said?
Or is it just a holy fairy tale and God is dead?
God is dead. God is dead. God is dead. God is dead.
But still the voices in my head are telling me that God is dead.
The blood pours down, the rain turns red.
I donít believe that God is dead, God is dead, God is dead, God is dead.
April 13, 2013: 13 means a new video from the band.
April 11, 2013: Track listing
As I put the finishing touches on my latest draft, the 3/4 version Black Sabbath prepare to release their new single (as well as making a "live" appearance with the song "End of the Beginning" on the final episode of CSI on May 15). A Hollywood listening party got to hear the full album yesterday, and have released the track listing and times:
1. End of the Beginning (8:07)
2. God is Dead? (8:54)
3. Loner (5:06)
4. Zeitgeist (4:28)
5. Age of Reason (7:02)
6. Live Forever (4:49)
7. Damaged Soul (7:43)
8. Dear Father (7:06)
Note that eight of the sixteen songs are listed. No word on how many (if any) will appear on the Deluxe edition's second CD, or if foreign releases will contain exclusive tracks (as has been the trend). Three of the known songs missing off the album are "Epic," "Methademic" and "Cry All Night."
April 4, 2013: New snippet and cover art!
Woah! Black Sabbath 13 is looking and sounding pretty good!
March 26, 2013: UPDATE:
It's confirmed that the Super Deluxe Box set (that includes the vinyl and 2 CD set, with DVD and download card) is exclusive to www.blacksabbath.com. So, if you've been waiting to see if Amazon gets it at a discounted price, wait no longer. They're not. No word on how limited this limited box set is, but if I were you, I wouldn't wait too long!
Amazon is currently offering preorders on the vinyl and standard CD and Deluxe 2 CD set. As of right now, the Deluxe box set which will include both the vinyl and deluxe CD with all the extras (see below), is not being offered, and may prove to be exclusive to the official site. The prices on Amazon are equivalent to the ones on the official site, though that may change, as Amazon is currently reflecting the msrp (manufacturer's suggested retail price).
Interestingly, Universal Republic is the label in the U.S. They're an imprint of Universal Music Group. This means that Rhino Records is no longer the distributor of Black Sabbath in the U.S. Universal will, in all likelihood, look to do something with their catalogue, and hopefully pursue rights to their unreleased material which fans have long been clamoring, and which Iommi has capitulated on releasing (as evidenced by the Sanctuary Deluxe editions of the first three albums and his desire to see the original version of "Warning" released.)
March 13, 2013: Appropriate date for the next video. Apparently, 13 is the magic number (so expect more next month on the the 13th), and with it comes the first snippet of new material! It's very, very short, but damn if it doesn't sound really good!! It's also nice to hear Ozzy's voice sounding pretty good, as well as the passion that Rick Rubin (and really everybody) has for the material. I'll say it again because it definitely bears repeating. I wish Bill was there. I miss not seeing him with his mates and the drums. :( That said, Brad is looking to be the best 2nd fiddle that could be found (love seeing him wear the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath shirt!) The video shows some very short clips of him drumming. I don't know about you, but I'm getting excited.
You can pre-order one of four versions of the album on the official site, the standard CD, a deluxe CD with bonus material, a 180 gram vinyl edition, and a Deluxe box set which includes all of the above and a DVD documentary, a download card with interviews, 13 prints and handwritten lyrics. The latter is being sold for about $75.00, and no word, as of yet, as to whether it will appear on Amazon. Stay tuned for more info as it comes out!
Incidentally, one additional song title was revealed in the recent issue of Kerrang magazine, "Isolated Man." Lyrics are included, but whether these are interim or final is yet unknown:
"'I like being alone
I like to stay in my room all day and night
Don't like to talk on the phone
So please forgive me while i just turn out the light
Don't wanna see nobody ever and ever again
Don't you feel sorry, i'm just a happy isolated man
I know me better than you
I hate to hear another persons speaking voice
What are you trying to do
Leave me alone i don't need anymore advice"
Finally, on the new video, Ozzy sings (probably for the song "My Father," a song about killing pedophile priests): "Or do you deny you're responsible for the victims of the sins you devised!"
As to the book, I'm completing the current draft, and am finding that there's much less to work to do on it this time 'round. That means, it's finally getting there! I don't think I've said it before, but I'll mention it now. I may have a publisher. I can't confirm that until the ink is on paper. But I did, at least, want to share the possibility (hopefully, it's not premature!)
Feb 13, 2013: The new video is here, though sadly, it doesn't contain any snippets of new songs. Still, it's a fun watch for 43d anniversary of Black Sabbath. Check it out here. Another two new song titles are revealed: "Dear Father" and "Loner (Found)." These form part of a set-list, which appears to constitute "War Pigs," "Dirty Women" and "End of the Beginning."
Feb 12, 2013: Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow for a new video from the studio of the band discussing the new album. No idea if they'll be featuring new material (though that would be nice). I'll post a link here as soon as it's available. Looking at the picture on the left, I have to admit, it is rather exciting to see these guys working together to make new music. Alas that Bill couldn't be there too.
Also, check out Revolver's new interview. Lots of interesting information, including the name of a fourth song: "Epic," which the reviewer said "is almost impossible to fully digest." At seven minutes long ďEpic" "could also easily pass for a previously unheard outtake from Sabbathís highly creative 1972-75 period." This was one of three songs they got to listen to, including the nine-minute "God is Dead" "that moves effortlessly from an ominous opening powered by Wilkís tribal tom-tom pattern into a swinging groove reminiscent of Sabotage opener 'Hole in the Sky.' 'Up from the gloom, I rise out of my tomb,' intones a double-tracked Ozzy." "End of the Beginning" is described as "Boasting more badass riffs than you can shake a sack of dwarves at, the track only staggers to a close after some eight gloriously demonic minutes, with Iommiís stump-fingered outro solo leaving a spiral-shaped exclamation point on the proceedings."
On the down-side, Rick Rubin is saying they'll only use nine out of the fifteen songs they recorded. Taken aback, Butler asks what will happen to the rest, to which Osbourne responds: "Donít you fucking worry. Theyíll be used somewhere." Speculation as to whether the record company will release an EP of the remaining six songs, or if they'll appear as bonus tracks on various imports remains just that for now.
On the lyrics front, it appears "this will be the darkest Sabbath LP yet." Butler says: ďItís all about death. I mean, the old stuff used to be about death, but there was hope in it. Now itís justÖdeath. [Laughs] Forty years ago, you thought that there was some hope for the world. Now itís like, you know we donít have a chance.Ē
Iommi is described as being "inspirational," and everyone is convinced that cancer "can't stop him." On the Ward front, Osbourne has more to say: ďThe only sad thing is that Bill couldnít keep it together,Ē reflects Osbourne. ďIt would have been great to have Bill with us. Iíve never understood the business side of this. I donít choose to go there. My wife does that for me, and Geezerís wife is his manager, and Tonyís got his manager. So, I keep my nose out of it. But they couldnít come to an agreement with him. I mean, I still love him, and I wish him well, butÖĒ
Feb 11, 2013: In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Osbourne, Iommi and Ward offer more album tidbits. Two new lengthy songs are entitled, "End of the Beginning" and "Age of Reason," which are apparently around eight-minutes long. As regards the controversial "God is Dead," Osbourne clarifies, "It starts off, 'God is dead,'" Osbourne says, before adding a bit wistfully, "but at the end it says, 'I don't believe that God is dead.'" Musically, Butler notes that they had to unlearn what they'd learned to get back to the jazzier sound of the first album. Osbourne terms the sound they'd achieved as "Satanic blues." As regards the situation with Bill Ward, Osbourne i][s the most vocal: "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." Rick Rubin initially suggested Cream drummer Ginger Baker, though Iommi couldn't see it, before Brad Wilk was brought onboard. Wilk says he's never heard a louder band in his life. Read more here.
Feb 1, 2013: Geezer Butler announced on the Eddie Trunk show today that recording for the new album is complete. Iommi is finishing to lay down solos in the UK, and mixing still needs to be done this month, but the album is otherwise complete. Butler said that of the 16 songs, he wrote lyrics for 14 (which likely means that two of them are instrumentals) based on inspiration from Ozzy, who came up with the titles. The album name is still provisionally called 13, "unless we can come up with something more constructive," Butler joked. As regards a tour drummer, Wilk may have prior obligations with Rage Against the Machine, so touring may be split between Wilk and Clufetos. For more, go here.
Jan 25, 2013: Further news on the new Black Sabbath album and Tony Iommi: A new interview with Geezer Butler (see video here) revealed several interesting tidbits. Iommi is responding very well to treatment and will be on the road! This is excellent news and confirms what Iommi himself said in the recent paperback release of his book (which contains two new chapters). In band news, Brad Wilk was auditioned and chosen because he plays and sounds like Bill Ward. Now, admittedly that's going to be met with mixed reviews. Putting that aside because I know it's a hot-topic issue. Oddly enough, though, Wilk isn't confirmed as their tour drummer.
Regarding the album, Butler mentions that the lyrics are about "life, death... doom," joking that "you get Prozak with every album!" Sounds like the Sabbath of old! Speaking of which he said, they captured that early 70s sound, and that the album is not a "heavy metal" album, but more of a rock album, a "heavy rock" album. Again, this is very good news, and should come as no surprise to anyone who recognizes the Sabbath sound of the 70s is more bluesy, jazzy, which is exactly how Butler describes it in the interview. He also mentioned that they've done 16 songs (which is one more than earlier thought). He admits that the title of the album was just a placeholder that stuck, but it's still in flux, and doesn't really go into the meaning behind it (other than they'd intended to put 13 songs on it). As is known, they'll play New Zealand, Australia and Japan prior to the album's release in June, for which they'll be doing promos. They'll then be touring the States in July, and not as part of Ozzfest (fortunately).
All in all, aside from the fact that Ward's not onboard (which we've known for some time, though I'm not sure it makes it easier to hear), everything else sounds like really good news! No word if a preview will be released, but 16 new mostly Sabbath songs is essentially a double-album is quite exciting. Many people are arguing that if Ward has to be replaced, Wilk is a worthy replacement. It's still a bit sad and disappointing that these matters couldn't be reconciled, and there's a lot that we simply don't know. For the record, I fully believe that Ward is more than up to the task of playing (certainly in the studio), and that these matters represent a breakdown in the ability to communicate past managers and lawyers. I still hold out a fool's hope for a last-minute resolution that will let Ward come in and re-record the drums, but I admit that with each passing day, that hope dims. But stranger things have happened.
Jan 14, 2013: The new Black Sabbath album is to be called 13, and is due out in June. It's also been announced that Brad Wilk (formerly of Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine) is to replace Bill Ward. No doubt that news will dampen the enthusiasm of many, but this is where things currently stand. As regards the album title, speculation abounds. Osbourne had said that it would have something to do with 2013, and, of course, the first album was released on Friday, February 13th, 1970. While the number 13 is generally regarded as unlucky, the band has always been regarded it as a lucky number for them. Expect 13 tracks on the album (plus two additional bonus tracks on different/foreign versions).
Jan 1st, 2013: Hope everyone's had/having a great holiday season! This year is going to bring us a new Black Sabbath album and world tour. It will also bring us, at long last, Black Sabbath: The Illustrated Lyrics, which is going to be released in two formats. The first will be an eight volume trade-paperback series, starting with Book I: Black Sabbath, to be followed every few months with another volume until Never Say Die. It will also be released as an oversized hardcover compilation book of all eight volumes, which will appear later in the year. This will allow for a wider array of purchasing options, providing an affordable choice for those on a budget, as well as those only interested in specific albums. It also provides for those who want the ultimate edition coffee-table version with supplementary material.