By Gruesome Greg
Black Sabbath‘s 13 might not have Bill Ward on drums, but this album does. Well, the first four songs of it, anyways. Seems that Bill Sabbath was slumming around back in ’83 when he hooked up with some cat named Mezmercardo for some session work, and the rest was buried in history… until now.
This seven-song album actually compiles a pair of demos, but they smartly put the Ward stuff first. Opening track “The Forsaken” has one of the cheesiest spoken-word intros I’ve heard in a while, along with three full minutes of screams and synths, but when they finally get down to business, on second song “Dead Ones Cry No More,” we get some decent horror-doom a la Blizaro or Dwarr. That being said, this Mezmercardo dude makes King Diamond sound restrained and low-key by comparison. The vocals are definitely an acquired taste.
Alas, Ward doesn’t really go wild on here. His drumming features prominently on “Arabian Nights,” but it’s a pretty static, snare-driven beat, far from the far-out fills of yonder years. Meanwhile, “Victim of Environmental Change” doesn’t have nearly enough bongos to go around the drum circle, although it’s got kind of a neat stop-start thing here-and-there. Mind you, if I didn’t know any better, I couldda sworn Ward recorded this in buddy’s basement. I guess those were the days when he’d do anything for a hit — and I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout a single…
(Shadow Kingdom Records)