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God Is Dead? Was the first and only single released from Black Sabbath’s 13. This is in no way a traditional three minute single off of your typical album. It is a slow developing, doomy 9 minute slab of Black Sabbath. Once again the Ozzy fronted version of the band shows their creativity and their lack of concern for the mainstream. They do whatever the hell they want to on their own terms. God is Dead is a musical piece, not just a song.
It is not secret that Iommi is a riff master. The song itself starts out slow with that doom and gloom riff that Black Sabbath coined in the early 70’s. Iommi’s riffing conjures up an atmosphere of impending doom throughout the song and he proves once again to be at the top of his game even when facing death. The song moves at a snail’s pace as it ebbs and flows from the softer gloomy riff and the ultra-heavy doom riff. The song really picks up around the 6:00 mark as it rises up from the doom and gloom with a Hole in the Sky flavored fast riff. Almost immediately after we are punished by a more up-tempo riff makes you want to head bang because of the sheer heaviness. We also get an uncharacteristically short solo that acts as icing on the cake to a wonderful performance from Iommi. The solo is short but it really works well with the song. Just because it is a 9 minute song doesn’t mean that there has to be a wealth of careless noodling on the guitar. The solo just fits and enhances the song without losing much focus. Of course Black Sabbath is known for the riffs and I hope I have made that apparent that God is Dead? has a wide variety of classic Iommi.
Much like the entire 13 album, this song is heavy, doomy and certainly thought provoking. The song seems blasphemous at first listen because God being dead is quite the sensitive subject. It is controversial to have a song like this on an album let alone a single release. The informed and intelligent are able to see the connection with Friedrich Nietzsche and his famous phrase. It really doesn’t deal with the literal death of god but it deals with god on a philosophical level. Nietzsche claimed that god was dead in our hearts and all the bad things going on in this world make that evident. That is what this song is about to put it in the most basic way. Geezer takes us inside a religion fellows mind as he tries to justify god’s existence.
If you listen to the lyrics which are easy to follow along with, you can hear Ozzy say “I don’t believe that God is dead”. In my mind the religious individual is not really sure of himself anymore and he could be losing touch with God along with the entire world. I think Nietzsche would be proud. The song delves deep into an age old issue with a twist that proves that Geezer Butler is still capable of writing thought provoking lyric sand that a band from the 70’s can still have their classic sound while still sounding relevant.
There is absolutely nothing that I can find that is faulty with this single. It shatters the mold of a typical single. It has fantastic Nietzsche Purple Spaghetti artwork which is utterly ridiculous in an awesome way. It is a slow, doomy track that the original Black Sabbath is known for with fantastic thought provoking lyrics. Geezer and Tony really shine on this with an incredibly loud bass style and a short but effective guitar solo respectively. In my eyes this song is a great musical piece that fits well in the Black Sabbath discography. I would have enjoyed a traditional single release instead of just digital download on Amazon and Itunes. I would love to have that artwork to look at but the only way you can get it is by getting the super deluxe package only available on BlackSabbath.com. Aside from that small blunder, I cannot find much fault with this fantastic song!