In recent years, Ozzy Osbourne has performed with the original members of Black Sabbath, but he hasn’t recorded an album with the band in 35 years. The “Godfathers of Metal” released eight studio albums in less than a decade before Ozzy left the band in 1979. Their time together was short, yet they are arguably the most influential band in the history of metal. Today, the first single – “God Is Dead?” – from the band’s upcoming album entitled 13 was released, and Sabbath fans will not be disappointed.
“God Is Dead?” features the traditional dark, haunting, powerful sound that defined the band in the 1970’s. In fact, the song sounds like it could have been recorded in their heyday. This is not to say that it is dated. Quite the contrary! “God Is Dead?” illustrates that Black Sabbath’s sound is as relevant today as it was in the 70’s.
Recording quality has come a long way since Sabbath released Never Say Die in 1978. The one noticeable difference between “God Is Dead?” and previous studio albums with Ozzy is the vocal clarity, which is more reminiscent of Ozzy’s solo albums, but make no mistake, this song is Sabbath to the core. Tony Iommi masterfully blends his signature riffs with a haunting guitar sound that harkens back “Black Sabbath,” the song that laid the foundation for the band.
Not surprisingly, “God Is Dead?” features Sabbath’s customary dark lyrical content…“blood on my conscience and murder on my mind, out of the gloom I rise up out of my tomb into impending doom.” Based solely on the title, “God Is Dead?” may seem sacrilegious, but the song raises the question that many people may ponder after witnessing all of the evil in the world…
“Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Wondering if we will meet again on the other side. Do you believe a word what the good book says…or is it just a holy fairy tale and God is dead?”
It is said that true friends can go long periods of time without speaking and then pick back up like they just spoke yesterday. The nearly 9-minute “God Is Dead?” is like a reunion of old friends picking up where they left off without missing a beat, unless of course, you’re referring to Bill Ward’s missing beat. Due to a contract dispute, Ward chose not to record or tour with the band. He was replaced on the album by Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine), who did an admirable job of replicating Ward’s style and preserving the true Sabbath sound.
“God Is Dead?” is a dynamic song that will appeal to fans of every Sabbath incarnation. It seamlessly blends the original Sabbath sound with Ozzy’s solo vocal style and features shades of the Ronnie James Dio “Heaven and Hell” days. Young metal fans that have yet to dig deep into the Sabbath catalog should be inspired to do so after hearing this timeless song for the ages.