Black Sabbath releasing first Ozzy-led album in 35 years

For the first time in 35 years, Black Sabbath led by Ozzy Osbourne is releasing an album of new originals. Ozzy, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler combined with Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk and superstar producer Rick Rubin for “13,” due in June.

It was announced in late 2011 that Sabbath was reuniting for some festival dates, along with the promise that a new set was happening. But then original drummer Bill Ward quit over a contract dispute, claiming he was being short-changed, and Tony Iommi continued hard into his struggle against lymphoma.

However, the band still managed to carve out time for “13,” which is their first album with Ozzy at the helm since 1978’s “Never Say Die!”. Sabbath said in a statement that concerts for Australia, New Zealand and Japan are being plotted ahead of release.

For the past year, the band has complicated fans’ excitement — including mine — over the reunion. The sour-tasting split with Ward was rumored to be spearheaded by Ozzy’s wife and manager Sharon Osbourne, whose track-record as of late has been highlighted by a public feud with Lady Gaga, of all people. It doesn’t feel like a true reunion especially when the claim that “we’re all getting along famously” proved untrue in Ward’s case; it’s reminiscent of the tepid album release from the reunited Van Halen last year, softly and confusingly dampened by a subsequent cancellation of most of their tour dates.

“God Bless Ozzy Osbourne,” a documentary headed up by the Osbournes’ son Jack and directed by Mike Fleiss and Mike Piscitelli, was a great and very telling chronicle of Ozzy’s life, now and then, exposing how marvelously he can his his notes and, sometimes, spectacularly lose them.

So, cautiously, we wait for June. Are you excited to hear “13?”

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