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Black Sabbath Abandon Heavy Metal for Blues on New Album

black sabbath, 13

Black Sabbath’s first album with Ozzy Osbourne in 35 years, 13, won’t be unleashed until some time in June (via Vertigo/Republic), but the heavy metal forefathers have just shared a brief peek at the studio sessions behind the upcoming LP. In the above three-minute clip, Osbourne and bandmates Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler pontificate about their legacy to drum up anticipation for their already highly anticipated new full-length.

“This Black Sabbath album is quite possibly the most important album of my career,” Osbourne says in the video, after declaring, “Black Sabbath don’t write songs that you hear on the radio. We write musical pieces.”

Iommi adds, “I think it’s got to this time now, that, after all these years, we can’t leave it any longer. If we leave it any longer it’ll be too late.”

What this preview is light on, if you couldn’t already tell, is actual details about 13. We already know it’s being produced by Rick Rubin and that Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk took over for original percussionist Bill Ward, who bailed on the reunion because of “contract disputes.” But aside from footage of Ozzy getting spooked by Wilk’s drum work (“Fucking hell,” he says, “That woke me up,”) this exlcusive look doesn’t break much news.

One valuable clue, though, comes when Iommi says, “You can’t always repeat what you’ve done, you’ve just to go on… It’ll be today’s version of how it was 40 years ago.”

That’s in line with what Sabbath recently told Revolver. Butler revealed that when the band began working with Rubin on 13, the production guru played their blues-inflected 1970 debut back to them and said, “Forget heavy metal — this is what I want the vibe to be. This is the direction. Don’t copy it, but keep it in mind. Play it like a live gig.”

Osbourne described the forthcoming effort’s sound further, saying, “We originally were a jazz-blues band… On the first album, it was very bluesy, very jammy, and that’s what Rick wanted. He didn’t want the songs to be verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle eight, bridge — he wanted it to flow.”

The English icons also said that Rubin is planning 13 to feature nine new songs. Confirmed song titles include “God Is Dead,” “Epic,” “End of the Beginning,” and, according to Rolling Stone, “Age of Reason.”

As for the back-to-basic record’s tone, Butler and Osbourne seem to have conflicting opinions. “It’s all about death,” Butler said to Revolver. “I mean, the old stuff used to be about death, but there was hope in it. Now it’s just… death. Forty years ago, you thought that there was some hope for the world. Now it’s like, you know we don’t have a chance.”

Osbourne, whose last credit as lead vocalist on a Sabbath album appears on 1978’s Never Say Die!, hinted at a silver lining to the new material, particularly on “God Is Dead.” He told RS, “It starts off, ‘God is dead’… but at the end it says, ‘I don’t believe that God is dead.'”

Black Sabbath are planning a world tour — with an as-yet-unannounced drummer — for later this year, with dates already confirmed in New Zealand, Australia, and Japan (find them below). Performances in North America, South America, and Europe will be announced in the coming weeks. Scroll down for the band’s upcoming concert dates.

Black Sabbath 2013 tour dates:

April 20 – Auckland, NZ @ Vector Arena
April 21 – Auckland, NZ @ Vector Arena
April 22 – Auckland, NZ @ Vector Arena
April 25 – Brisbane, AU @ Entertainment Centre
April 27 – Sydney, AU @ All Phones Arena
April 29 – Melbourne, AU @ Rod Laver Arena
April 30 – Melbourne, AU @ Rod Laver Arena
May 1 – Melbourne, AU @ Rod Laver Arena
May 4 – Perth, AU @ Perth Arena
May 12 – Tokyo, JP @ Ozzfest Japan